Instead of paying into President-elect Trump’s protectionist ‘racket,’ China should instead expand its 2017 defense budget for nuclear arms as well as its DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile program, according to the Chinese press.
“China’s military spending in 2017 should be augmented significantly,” the Global Times reported. The country said that it would greatly appreciate the appointment of former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, “an old friend of China,” to a top diplomatic post in Beijing. Wednesday morning, Trump said that he would nominate Branstad for the post. Branstad and Chinese President Xi first became friends 30 years ago when Xi visited the Hawkeye state to observe agricultural research. Chinese news outlet Xinhua noted that Branstad’s “expertise on China and friendship with Chinese and US leaders are expected to facilitate him in lubricating the development of the most important bilateral relationship in the world.” Further, Xinhua added that if Branstad’s appointment is confirmed in the Senate after Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, it would be a “positive” result from Trump’s team in promoting “healthy” and “stable” relations between the two largest economies (by GDP) in the world.
Branstad’s selection demonstrates that the President-elect and his team comprehend “that it is important to have an ambassador who has access to Xi Jinping,” Bonnie Glaser, a China specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Reuters.
Trump has said that he will label China a currency-manipulator upon entering the Oval Office, claiming that when China’s central bank targets a lower foreign exchange rate, it artificially makes all Chinese goods appear cheaper, thus adopting a ‘beggar-thy-neighbor’ policy that makes China better off at the expense of its trading partners.
Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2016
Trump finished his comment writing “their country (the US doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!”
There is reason to think, however, that China’s call for a bigger military is not solely motivated by financial reasons or increasing trade negotiation leverage. Trump’s phone recent conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen threatens China’s regional dominance by violating the decades old “one-China” policy.
Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2016