Saturday, October 19, 2019

US beware: China has won bigger battles than this trade spat

May 21. 2019
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An old Chinese idiom says, “When the map reached its end, the dagger appeared.” It is drawn from a historical account of an assassin unrolling a map for an Emperor whom he wanted to kill with the dagger concealed inside.

America’s real intention towards China resembles that of the assassin – to kill. No matter what it takes and what dirty tricks it needs to employ, America is on a mission to kill China’s rising economic power and the spread of Chinese 5G technology, which it believes is challenging US supremacy. 

The trade war and accusations of China’s improper trade practice is just a pretext. Peter Navarro, one of President Donald Trump’s top economic advisers, wrote a book titled “Death By China” which advocated “death to China”, with the latter being enacted by Trump and Co.

Not satisfied with empty accusations, Trump raised tariffs on Chinese imports from 10 to 25 per cent in an attempt to force a submission in negotiations. Perhaps Trump doesn’t want to buy anything from China at all. Perhaps he wants to force China’s factories to shut down and lay off their workers, creating social unrest that eventually brings regime change – a prospect that his lieutenants Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo and Steve Bannon have been raising in public.

Trump also barred China’s 5G flagship Huawei from selling products in the US, citing a threat to national security – for which he has provided no evidence. His administration this week banned all US suppliers, including Google, from doing business with Huawei – a barbaric act.

Throughout the ongoing trade negotiations, China has acted as a “Jun Zi”, a noble gentleman in Confucius’s terms, while Trump seems to resemble the “Xiao ren” – a nasty opportunist who boasts whenever the US economy appears to be improving and sends false signals of a successful deal if the US stock market starts tumbling.

In fact Trump has been taking his fellow citizens for a ride by drawing money from their pockets to pay for the tariffs, which comes in handy for a government that only six months ago was shut down by lack of funding. He fits the “Xiao ren” tag when he repeatedly lies to Americans that China, not the US, is the one paying for the tariffs. 

China’s government should have realised by now that, after nearly a year of engagement, negotiating with Trump is a waste of time. Bullied by the West over the last century, the Chinese are wary of the fate suffered by Japan after it caved to US pressure and signed the Plaza Accord in 1985. That move forced appreciation of the yen against the dollar and sowed the seeds of economic decline in Japan. 

Losing business from a big market like the US is a loss for any country, but it is not the end of the world. Chinese people have to unite, tighten their belts, and find new markets elsewhere. They have overcome taller hurdles than this. Beijing may not reach its Made in China goals by the 2025 deadline, but there is always 2030 or 2035. 

Incidentally, I damaged my iPhone two weeks ago. Guess what I bought as a replacement? A Huawei. 

China should say goodbye to Trump and his America.

Yingwai Suchaovanich

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