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US will pay dearly for ‘rookie’ Trump, warns Chinese media

world Updated: Dec 06, 2016 21:40 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Chinese state media

A newsstand vendor stands behind newspapers, including one with a headline story about US president-elect Donald Trump, in Beijing on December 6, 2016. The headline reads "Trump's inability to keep his mouth shut is stunning". Donald Trump is a "diplomatic rookie" who must learn not to cross Beijing on issues such as trade and Taiwan, and America could pay dearly for his naivety, the Chinese state media warned. (AFP)

The Chinese state media blasted Donald Trump on Tuesday for his tweets on trade, currency devaluation and the South China Sea, with an academic arguing that any effort by the president-elect to ramp up US-India ties would not impact China.

The tirade against Trump, led by the Communist Party of China mouthpiece People’s Daily, included phrases such as “diplomatic rookie” and “treating China as a fat lamb”.

Trump’s tweets on Sunday targeted China for devaluing its currency, taxing imports from the US and building military installations in the South China Sea.

The tweets were preceded last week by his phone conversation – which broke a nearly four-decade protocol – with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, which China claims as a breakaway province.

“Provoking friction and messing up China-US relations won’t help ‘make America great again’,” said a front-page opinion piece in the People’s Daily’s overseas edition.

The nationalistic tabloid Global Times too ran a front-page opinion piece damning Trump’s “provocation and falsehood”. The piece was headlined: “Trump wants to treat China as a fat lamb... Forget about it!”

It said, “No matter what the reasons are behind Trump’s outrageous remarks, it appears inevitable that Sino-US ties will witness more troubles in his early time in the White House than any other predecessor. We must be fully prepared, both mentally and physically, for this scenario.”

The state-controlled English-language China Daily warned that “diplomatic rookie” Trump would create “costly troubles” for the US if he didn’t moderate his behaviour. “As president-elect, Trump can expect some forgiveness even when he is shooting from the hip. But things will be different when he becomes president.”

In another opinion piece in the Global Times, a Chinese academic wrote that India-US relations will be an important part of Trump’s diplomacy. But these ties will have little impact on China as Trump is expected to recalibrate security cooperation between Washington and New Delhi, said Li Haidong from the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University.

The outlook for India-US trade ties does not look good either, Li said, adding they too will have little impact on China’s influence.

“To sum up, US-India relations during Trump’s term will have a limited impact on China. The intensive US-India security cooperation during the (Barack) Obama administration will be changed due to Trump’s adjustment in diplomacy, easing off the pressure on China,” Li argued.

“Besides, the prospect of US-Indian cooperation in trade is not optimistic, and it will only exert a limited effect on China’s influence on regional trade.”

Not that, according to Li, Trump will give less importance to India. But two aspects – one, his domestic compulsions and, two, India’s non-aligned foreign policy – could trump the ties.

“US-India relations will become an important part of Trump’s diplomacy…the Trump administration will seek an improving relationship with India. However, due to its own domestic problems, India can only play a limited role in assisting the US in solving headaches, thus the Trump administration will not put US-Indian relations in a very important position, and its enthusiasm for building a quasi-alliance with India will decrease,” Li wrote.