China eyes ‘The Art of War’ as Trump signals battle on trade

There’s a Chinese saying that stems from the philosophy in Sun Tzu’s ancient text “The Art of War”: You can kill 1,000 enemies, but you would also lose 800 soldiers.

Centuries later, the proverb is suddenly apt again, being mentioned frequently in discussions around Beijing. Now, it highlights the potential damage U.S. President-elect Donald Trump could inflict if he makes good on his threat to start a trade war with China, the world’s second-biggest economy.

Having backed off some other campaign pledges, it’s unclear if Trump will end up slapping punitive tariffs on China — and Beijing has signaled some optimism he will be more pragmatic in office. Still, the message from China is that any move to tax Chinese imports would bring retaliation: The U.S. economy would take a hit and America would damage its long-standing ties with Asia. Continue reading

China is ready to pounce if Trump axes Pacific trade deal

If Donald Trump turns his back on Asian economies, China is ready and willing to step into the vacuum.

During the election campaign, Trump blasted international trade deals, tapping intoa deep well of popular anger over the effects of globalization. Now, President-elect Trump’s first victim could be the huge Pacific trade agreement that he slammed as a “disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was a key plank of President Obama’s push to boost U.S. influence in Asia. But now it looks doomed, with Congress refusing to ratify it and Trump having vowed to kill it. Continue reading

It’s not checkmate yet: Beijing to counter US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact

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China to speed up talks on regional accord in face of landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership deal

China will seek to quicken the pace of its free-trade negotiations with other Asia-Pacific economies to counter a mammoth Washington-led trade pact in the region, observers say.

The United States and 11 other countries that in total make up 40 per cent of the world’s economy scored a landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal in Atlanta on Monday.

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Welcome to the World Without the West

It’s become standard practice for U.S. officials to describe the future of Sino-American ties as the central drama of international politics. In early November, just ahead of President Obama’s summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, Secretary of State John Kerry told an audience in Washington that, “The U.S.-China relationship is the most consequential in the world today, period, and it will do much to determine the shape of the 21st century.” National Security Adviser Susan Rice took to the Twittersphere shortly after touching down in Beijing in September to reiterate the oft-repeated phrase that, “Most major global challenges of 21st century cannot be addressed effectively without U.S. and China working together.”

This isn’t just diplomatic courtesy; it’s a core signal of how American foreign-policy makers see the world. The dominant framing in Washington is that the United States and China will in the final analysis sink or swim together, and carry most of the rest of the world with them. If the two powers manage to get their relationship right and cooperate effectively, things go well; if they don’t, then the coming decades will be difficult to navigate for just about everyone. Continue reading