Archive for the ‘Trump and China’ category

Haley: China’s Been a ‘Really Great Friend’ to the U.S. Regarding North Korea

April 24, 2017

Haley: China’s Been a ‘Really Great Friend’ to the U.S. Regarding North Korea, Washington Free Beacon, April 24, 2017

(Please see also, Chinese media: ‘China’s intervention not needed when only N.K.’s nuke facilities are hit’ — DM)

 

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called China a “great friend” on Monday regarding its efforts to assist the U.S. with pressuring North Korea over its nuclear program.

Haley appeared on “CBS This Morning,” in addition to the other two network morning shows, to discuss rising tensions with North Korea over its nuclear and missile tests, as well as other foreign policy issues facing the Trump administration.

President Trump spoke on the phone Sunday night with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and CBS host Norah O’Donnell asked Haley what more China needs to do to deter the North Koreans from taking more provocative actions. China is North Korea’s most important ally and main trading partner, giving Beijing strong influence over the rogue state.

“I think China is really in good faith doing quite a bit,” Haley said. “They are trying to put pressure on North Korea. What we’ve said is we want you to put more pressure on North Korea, whether that’s with coal, whether that’s with oil, whether that’s with other sanctions … I think China’s been a really great friend of ours, and the way they came together with us to do the statement last week showed that we are united against wanting North Korea to stay away from doing any sort of nuclear threats.”

Haley added that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is “flailing” and trying to show strength to his people.

“They’re panicking right now,” she said.

Last week, a Chinese spokesman said Beijing was “gravely concerned” about North Korean nuclear activity and praised the U.S. for “constructive” remarks about resolving the issue peacefully.

North Korea has continually made belligerent gestures toward the U.S., displaying a video last week showing the U.S. in flames during a military celebration.

Trump has softened his rhetoric about China, even refusing to call the country a currency manipulator after months of calling it one on the campaign trail, due to its assistance in pressuring North Korea.

“What, am I going to start trade war with China in the middle of him working on a bigger problem with North Korea?” Trump said last week. “I’m dealing with China with great respect. I have great respect for him. We’ll see what he can do.”

Trump has also cited friendly relations with the Chinese president as a reason to not start a trade war with the world’s largest country.

Chinese media: ‘China’s intervention not needed when only N.K.’s nuke facilities are hit’

April 24, 2017

Chinese media: ‘China’s intervention not needed when only N.K.’s nuke facilities are hit’ Dong-a Ilbo, April 24, 2017

A Chinese state-run media outlet said that if North Korea continues nuclear and missile development, China may not provide military support to China even if the U.S. launches preemptive strike on the North. China and North Korea have agreed to provide military assistance if one of them gets under military attack, and hence the latest report is construed as Beijing’s stern warning against Pyongyang.

If the U.S. launches surgical strikes on North Korea’s nuclear facilities, China will seek diplomatic deterrence but military intervention is not needed, China’s state-run Global Times said on Saturday. However, the daily repeated its previous stance that f the U.S. and South Korean militaries cross the 38th parallel to invade the North and seek to topple the North Korean regime, China should immediately start military intervention.”

With the U.S. and China stepping up pressure on North Korea, U.S. President Donald Trump held calls in succession with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping Sunday morning, and discussed ways to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue. President Trump reportedly asked the Japanese and Chinese leaders to extend cooperation to manage the situation wherein signs of North Korea’s sixth nuclear test are mounting. Notably, in his call with Chinese President Xi, President Trump reportedly commended Beijing’s recent efforts to deter the North’s nuclear development and called on Beijing to use more specific measures to pressure the North.

In the premiere of “Born in China, a movie jointly produced by the U.S. and China held at the Chinese embassy in Washington on Friday, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai said that President Trump will visit China in the second half of this year. After President Trump and President Xi held summit at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on April 6 and 7, the two leaders agreed to President Trump’s return visit to China at the earliest date.

CNN: Trump’s North Korea Policy Might Just Be Working

April 19, 2017

CNN: Trump’s North Korea Policy Might Just Be Working, BreitbartJoel B. Pollak, April 19, 2017

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Former British ambassador to North Korea John Everard writes at CNN.com on Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s assertive strategy towards the rogue nuclear power may have actually worked, despite domestic criticism.

Everard writes:

In my opinion, the most plausible explanation for this is that North Korea blinked. Although it is possible the extensive preparations around its nuclear test site were intended only to wind up the international community, it seems more likely that the North Koreans did indeed plan a nuclear test Saturday but desisted, probably because they assessed the risks of serious retaliation were too great.

The US carrier group it thought was near Korea and China’s threat on April 12 to support UN sanctions, including cutting off North Korea’s oil supply — which would have quickly brought its fragile economy to a halt — probably weighed heavily on Pyongyang as well.

Though domestic critics attacked Trump for stating that the USS Carl Vinson and an “armada” were sailing toward the Korean peninsula, when in fact the ships were far away, Everard says that Trump’s statement was a successful bluff.

The North Korean dictator thought the carrier group really was off the Korean coast, Everard writes. “Very few people outside the US administration knew the carrier group was in fact some 3,500 miles away from the Korean Peninsula.”

He concludes:

Perhaps the North Koreans calculated (rightly, it seems) that either a nuclear test or a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile — a long-range missile of the kind they would need to carry a nuclear warhead to the continental United States — was too dangerous. Instead, launching a medium-range missile would allow them to deny they were buckling under foreign pressure while not triggering a vigorous international reaction. The fact it failed doubtless also softened responses.

If this analysis is right, then the United States has, for now at least, succeeded in its long-term goal of halting the development of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles.

One observer who predicted Trump’s success in the confrontation was Dilbert illustrator and author Scott Adams, who had been stating for weeks that Trump’s unpredictable military moves might scare China into reining in its client state.

CNN is rarely positive in its coverage of the 45th president, making Everard’s article particularly noteworthy.

Trump Sends a Message to China Through Syria

April 10, 2017

Trump Sends a Message to China Through Syria, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, April 10, 2017

On Thursday evening, President Trump met with China’s President Xi and bombed Syria. The decision came as Trump traveled on Air Force One to meet with Xi at Mar-a-Lago. An hour into their dinner, 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles launched and pounded an airbase in Syria. The message wasn’t just for Assad and Putin. It was for Xi and his North Korean client state. The era of a weak America was over.

Xi had come to America expecting an easy photo op visit. President Trump would urge action on North Korea and Xi would smile coldly and shoot him down. Talk of fairer trade would be similarly dismissed.

And then Xi would go home and laugh that the bold new American leader was another paper tiger.

Except that President Trump had a different plan. Instead of Xi showing how tough he could be, Trump gave him a front row seat to a display of American power. The message was both obvious and subtle.

And President Xi, along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei, aren’t laughing.

The obvious part was as blatant as a 1,000 pound explosive warhead slamming into concrete and steel, and as obvious as upstaging Xi’s efforts to stonewall Trump while warning that North Korea could be next if the Chinese leader continues to be obstinate.

Trump had warned throughout the campaign that he would not be laying his military plans on the table. “You’re telling the enemy everything you want to do!” he had mocked Clinton.

His address to the nation came an hour after the missiles had struck. The element of surprise had held.

And Xi came away with a very different message. The Obama era was over. The new guy was bold, dangerous and unpredictable. Like many of Trump’s American opponents, Xi understood now that the jovial man sitting next to him could and would violate the rules of the game without prior warning.

China would have to be careful. There was a cowboy in the White House again.

And that was the subtle part. Trump does not care very much about Assad. What he truly cares about is American power. Left-wing critics quickly pounced on Trump’s past opposition to strikes on Syria and his criticisms of Obama for not enforcing his own “red line”.

There is no contradiction.

Trump didn’t believe that strikes on Syria were a good idea. But once we had committed to a red line, then we had to follow through if we were going to be taken seriously.

And so Trump enforced Obama’s red line. Not because of Obama or Syria. But because of America.

“When he didn’t cross that line after making the threat, I think that set us back a long ways, not only in Syria, but in many other parts of the world because it was a blank threat,” President Trump said.

President Trump intends to get things done. And he knows it won’t happen with “blank” threats.

Asked about whether the strikes represented a message to Xi and North Korea, Secretary of State Tillerson replied, “It does demonstrate that President Trump is willing to act when governments and actors cross the line and cross the line on violating commitments they have made.”

“President Trump has made that statement to the world tonight,” he added.

The message is more subtle than a 1,000 pound warhead. But not by that much.

President Trump’s move bewildered leftist critics who had to shift from accusing him of having a secret relationship with Russia to accusing him of ruining our relationship with Russia. It also enraged some supporters who maintained a dogmatic non-interventionist position. But Trump doesn’t make decisions based on ideology. He measures policies against real world objectives, not abstract philosophies.

What he has always wanted to do is solve real problems.

The problem he was solving on Thursday wasn’t Assad. President Trump recognizes that Syria is an unsolvable problem and that little good can come of extended engagement with it. There are no good guys in Syria. Only Sunni and Shiite Jihadis and their victims. Syria is and will always be a dead end.

The problem is that Obama thoroughly wrecked American prestige and power over eight years. And that makes it painfully difficult to get anything done when no one in the world will take us seriously.

President Trump sees North Korea’s nuclear weapons as a major threat. But he also sees the crisis as a way to leverage our military might to achieve better trade deals with both partners and rivals. He is not wedded to a globalist or anti-globalist ideology. Instead he sees every problem as an opportunity.

He is not committed to any international coalition, globalist or anti-globalist, except where it temporarily serves American purposes. That is what being a true nationalist actually means.

That is what makes him so unpredictable and so dangerous.

President Trump made a point in Syria. He timed that point for maximum effect. The point isn’t that Assad is a bad man. Though he is. It’s not that he isn’t a Russian puppet, though only the lunatic left could have believed that. The point is that he is determined that America will be taken seriously.

Cruise missile diplomacy isn’t new. Bill Clinton fired over 500 cruise missiles into Iraq. Not to mention Sudan. Bush fired cruise missiles into Somalia. Obama signed off on firing cruise missiles into Yemen and Syria at terrorist targets. The difference is that Trump isn’t just saving face with cruise missile diplomacy.

President Trump’s real objective isn’t the Middle East. It’s Asia. He doesn’t see Russia as our leading geopolitical foe, but China. Syria was the opening shot in a staring contest with the People’s Republic. The moves in this chess game will sometimes be obvious and sometimes subtle. And Trump is usually at his most subtle when he’s being obvious. That’s what his enemies usually miss.

President Trump’s first step in Syria was to reestablish physical and moral authority on the international stage while the President of China had to sit there and watch. He humiliated Democrats and their media operation at the peak of their Russia frenzy. And he sent the message that America is back.

It’s not a bad return on a $60 million investment. We’ve spent much more in the field with less to show for it.

The Obama era in international affairs ended with whimper and a hollow Nobel Peace Prize as a trophy. The Trump era in international affairs began with 59 cruise missiles and a big bang.

Did the Syria strike push China toward action on North Korea?

April 8, 2017

Did the Syria strike push China toward action on North Korea? Hot Air, Jazz Shaw, April 8, 2017

(Kim Jong-un has been deemed “crazy” because he is unpredictable. Trump is far from crazy, but can be unpredictable when he wants to be. China does not know what Trump might do about North Korean nukes and missiles, and that is a good thing. — DM)

So the fireworks in Syria have produced all sorts of interesting results on the international diplomacy front. World leaders in western nations who have seemed at least somewhat skeptical of President Trump (to put it mildly in some cases) were suddenly praising him. The Russians, who Democrats regularly assure us are pulling Trump’s strings, are getting nervous. But perhaps the biggest potential sea change came in an unexpected area. China’s position on North Korea and their diminutive dictator may be shifting quickly. This is probably a result of leaked information about the options Trump is being presented with and considering in terms of the Korean Peninsula. NBC News is reporting that the possible moves include not only assassinating Kim Jong-un, but moving nukes back into South Korea for the first time since the end of the cold war.

The National Security Council has presented President Trump with options to respond to North Korea’s nuclear program — including putting American nukes in South Korea or killing dictator Kim Jong-un, multiple top-ranking intelligence and military officials told NBC News.

Both scenarios are part of an accelerated review of North Korea policy prepared in advance of President Donald Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week.

The White House hopes the Chinese will do more to influence Pyongyang through diplomacy and enhanced sanctions. But if that fails, and North Korea continues its development of nuclear weapons, there are other options on the table that would significantly alter U.S. policy.

Excuse me… did you say nukes? And assassinations? That got China’s attention, at least according to the Secretary of State. (Washington Examiner)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has agreed to boost cooperation with the U.S. on trying to persuade North Korea to abandon its pursuit of long-range nuclear weapons, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday.

In an off-camera briefing with reporters on the second and final day of President Trump’s summit with his Chinese counterpart, Tillerson said the two leaders recognized the imminent threat North Korea poses and agreed to respond accordingly.

Clearly, the Chinese aren’t any more worried about Kim Jong-un today than they were a few weeks ago. The guy is just as crazy as ever and his missile program remains in the same state of clunky, but still worrisome progress that it has been. But the fact that all of this Syria business was rolling out just as Trump was having dinner with Xi Jinping probably has China’s leader more worried about… Trump. After eight years of Obama foreign policy which basically boiled down to speak softly and never even pick up the stick, the rest of the world is now keenly aware that the new administration isn’t all peace, love and unicorns.

In terms of China’s attitude, fold the two stories above together. That leak reported by NBC never should have happened, obviously, but now that it has the Chinese have clearly noticed. The options under discussion, even if they are nothing more than worst case scenarios, are the stuff of nightmares for Xi Jinping. Having the United States move some nukes into South Korea would be far more than a threat to Kim in the North. It would be incredibly provocative towards both China and Russia. Keep in mind that you could basically ride a bicycle from Seoul to the Chinese border in a single day (assuming you could find a road) and Vladivostok isn’t much further up the coast. An attempt to move nukes into the area could actually provoke a showdown similar to the Cuban missile crisis and nobody really wants that.

And assassinating Kim Jong-un? While appealing in a hypothetical sense it would no doubt provoke a response which may well include a very different sort of “nuclear option.” The Chinese have got to be wondering just what sort of tiger they have by the tail in the White House right now. Obama was reliable in terms of not doing anything seriously provocative, but now Xi Jinping has had a chance to see Trump fire off nearly five dozen cruise missiles right while they were bringing out the Crème brûlée in Mar-a-Lago. He’s got to be wondering if Trump isn’t the sort of guy who’s going to wake up in a bad mood one day next week and decide to go punch Kim Jong-un in the face just to see what happens.

So now the Chinese are looking like they’re going to take Kim out behind the woodshed for a chat. Was this part of Trump’s strategy all along or just a happy bit of collateral diplomatic debris? His most ardent supporters can use this as evidence to argue that he’s playing three dimensional chess on the international front after eight years of Obama playing checkers. His detractors will call it dumb luck. Personally, I’m guessing that he was already briefed on and anticipating some benefits from the missile strike in areas which are almost totally unrelated to Syria, but it’s not the sort of thing he wanted to predict publicly because China can be fairly tough to anticipate at times.

A new age of diplomacy

April 5, 2017

A new age of diplomacy, Israel Hayom, Prof. Abraham Ben-Zv, April 5, 2017

The character of the new American diplomacy is slowly becoming clear, both in terms of style and essence, and especially as it pertains to the Middle East. We are being given the impression that U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to adopt the management style of late U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who tended to bypass his secretary of state.

Preliminary signs indicate that Trump sees his current wandering adviser and envoy, Jared Kushner, as a confidant and trustworthy emissary for sensitive diplomatic missions. This is clear from his mission to Baghdad at the beginning of the week and in his ongoing involvement in advancing the peace process in the Palestinian arena. Kushner is also expected to take part in the U.S.-China summit (set to take place in Florida this week), reflecting his role as moderating figure in the charged relationship between Trump and the Chinese leadership and indicating his growing power.

While a young and energetic Kushner hops between continents as the president’s representative, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lags behind him, excluded and disconnected from the big decision-makers.

This gives a good idea of style. As for the essence — when it comes to the Middle East in particular, we are seeing a sort of diplomacy that is radically different than former U.S. President Barack Obama’s approach. This is especially true regarding the Trump administration’s efforts to establish a Sunni anti-Iranian axis led by Cairo and Riyadh. While the Obama administration abandoned the United States’ traditional partners on this front, and instead, worked tirelessly to reconcile with Iran, the current White House is signalling unequivocally that it is determined to at least turn over a new leaf in its relationship with these regional powers and to upgrade strategic cooperation with them in order to uproot terrorism.

While Obama’s relationship with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was characterized by coldness (in contrast to the warmth he showed to Egypt’s previous leader, Muslim Brotherhood member and sworn Hamas supporter Mohammed Morsi), Trump’s approach is quite different. El-Sissi’s state visit to Washington this week was marked by extraordinary warmth and cordiality on the part of the American president. This was an effort to erase the remnants of the recent past — especially the memory of punitive and alienating policy led by Obama against the Egyptian leader — from the Egyptian consciousness.

A similarly dramatic improvement can be seen in U.S.-Saudi relations, wherein strategic cooperation has also been upgraded recently, especially (but not only) regarding fighting on the Syrian front and in the struggle against the Houthi militias operating in Yemen with Iran’s help and support (against al-Qaida forces in the field). This follows the deep ebb in their relationship due to Obama’s tireless efforts to appease the Ayatollah regime in Iran, the sworn enemy of the Saudi royalty. Regarding Syria, in 2013, Obama abandoned the civilian population there to its fate, remaining, despite his declarations, completely passive even after Syrian President Bashar Assad crossed all the red lines by using murderous chemical weapons against masses of civilians. On Tuesday, too, Assad’s forces carried out a major chemical attack, harming many civilians, in the country’s destroyed and divided north. Based on the growing military involvement and the Trump administration’s determination to deal with the “axis of evil” there too, we can assume that the White House will have a different response to this war crime.

Finally, regarding U.S.-Israeli relations, we are witnessing the expression of exceptional support and identification, reminiscent of the golden age of late U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson (during which time then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Arthur Goldberg’s speeches reflected the strength and resilience of the “special relationship”). While the Obama administration focused on efforts to settle the conflict, which it defined as a core issue of utmost local and regional importance, the Trump administration is demonstrating a much more relaxed and relevant approach to the complex situation. On this front too, there is real change in the form and style of American diplomacy in the Trump era.

Trump, Xi and Taiwan

April 5, 2017

Trump, Xi and Taiwan, Washington Times, Lester Wolff, April 4, 2017

Illustration on China and Taiwan by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

This week’s TrumpXi meetings are an opportunity for the president to both publicly and privately make the same important points. U.S. engagement with China is important to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, but it is also vital that the mutual interests of the United States and Taiwan should not in any way be compromised by this process.

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This week, the world will witness the first meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. There has been much speculation on which topics their conversations will address, and it is a safe bet that Taiwan will be on the list. The U.S.-Taiwan relationship is a vital one, and it is necessary — especially in this time of change and uncertainty — to restate the reasons why.

Thirty-eight years ago this month, the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), an important, bipartisan creation of the U.S. Congress, was signed into law. Necessitated by Washington switching its official diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, the TRA has allowed the United States to maintain its friendship and ties of cooperation with Taiwan and its people. It states that the status of Taiwan should be determined by peaceful means, and that nonpeaceful means to do so are a threat to the region and of grave concern to the United States.

At the same time, the TRA recognized, and continues to recognize, the reality of the world in which we live — one where Beijing has never renounced the use of force to take Taiwan, and where it engaged first in a massive military build-up across the Taiwan Strait, and now in the waters of the East and South China Seas. The TRA mandates that the United States “make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability,” and we have done so in the decades since with bipartisan support.

Relations between the United States and Taiwan were further bolstered through the Six Assurances made to Taiwan by President Ronald Reagan in 1982, which stipulated: the TRA would not be altered, the United States would not mediate between Taipei and Beijing, and the United States would not alter its position about Taiwan’s sovereignty or formally recognize China’s sovereignty over Taiwan.

As a result of U.S. commitments to Taiwan, an environment was created where the people of Taiwan — the population of which is now more than 23 million — built a true, functioning democracy that has experienced the peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another three times since 2000 at the presidential level, and for the first time at the legislative level last year. Americans who have visited Taiwan or worked with Taiwanese people know that the reason the relationship is so strong is because we share many of the same values — a commitment to democracy, personal freedom, individual expression and the rule of law. Taiwan has concurrently grown into a vibrant society garnering achievements in science and technology, education, the arts and popular culture that have been exported and embraced by people elsewhere in the region and around the world.

In every sense, the TRA and the relationship that has been built upon it have been successful. Just as Taiwan has benefited, so has the United States and the wider global community. Taiwan today is not only one of America’s most dependable allies in the Asia-Pacific and its 10th-largest trading partner, but it is an example for emerging democracies everywhere and a leader in providing humanitarian aid in times of need — all this in spite of the regrettably limited international space in which Taiwan is allowed to operate.

At a time when democracy appears to be in retreat in many parts of the world, Taiwan demonstrates how it can be a success. As American diplomats and foreign policy experts have pointed out time and again, the U.S. commitment to Taiwan underscores to America’s friends and foes its commitments to its allies and to democracy, and helps to maintain U.S. credibility abroad.

In the five months since the U.S. presidential election, there has been needless uncertainty regarding U.S. policy on China, Taiwan and cross-strait relations. Before his confirmation earlier this year, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reaffirmed the TRA and the Six Assurances and said, “The U.S. commitment to Taiwan is both a legal commitment and a moral imperative.” This was a positive first step.

This week’s TrumpXi meetings are an opportunity for the president to both publicly and privately make the same important points. U.S. engagement with China is important to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, but it is also vital that the mutual interests of the United States and Taiwan should not in any way be compromised by this process.