The surprise election of Donald Trump as the United States’ 45th president triggered alarm bells in capitals across the world including Beijing, given Trump’s haphazard foreign policy remarks throughout the campaign and his propensity to trust his gut judgment on a range of critical issues. Hence, just how Trump is going to move on key foreign policy arenas, including the all-important US-China relationship, remains largely in the realm of guestimates. Trump’s early national security appointments and nominations, such as Gen. James Mattis (former commandant of the Marine Corps) as the presumptive secretary of defense and Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn as his national security advisor illustrate simultaneous fondness for controversial mavericks but also tested leaders.1 However, it remains unclear how well policy is going to be crafted and coordinated owing to the convergence of extremely combustive forces, i.e., a commander-in-chief who may be driven by his own instincts, a coterie of powerful political advisors without national security responsibilities who will argue against more traditionalist foreign policies, and tested officers and officials who understand the sheer complexity of putting a superpower’s strategies into action.

Trump’s propensity for stirring the pot and claiming the limelight was evinced yet again with his unprecedented phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on December 2, 2016. Trump’s advisors argued that Trump was well aware of the long-standing one China policy and that the press should not overreact, but regardless of how much he decides to flaunt protocol, it is undeniable that there will be foreign policy blowbacks from his actions.2 In another revealing development, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who has been dubbed the “Asian Trump” and has come under intense international criticism over his extrajudicial killings of drug users and dealers, revealed after a telephone conversation with Trump on December 3, 2016 that Trump told him that insofar as Duterte’s harsh antidrug policy is concerned, “he wishes me well, too, in my campaign, and he said that, well, we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way.”3

Chung Min Lee
Chung Min Lee is a senior fellow in Carnegie’s Asia Program. He is an expert on Korean and Northeast Asian security, defense, intelligence, and crisis management.
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These “Trumpian moments” only offer anecdotal insights on how Trump approaches foreign affairs but insofar as the United States’ relations with China are concerned, four factors will assume increasing prominence in assessing the future of US-China relations: (1) key drivers such as China’s growing hard power capabilities, even with lower economic growth projections, which are likely to increasingly constrain US policies in Asia; (2) rising opportunity costs for the United States in terms of global and regional credibility given Trump’s erratic leadership style and China’s growing capabilities and willingness to fill the void left by American inaction; (3) repercussions for critical security alliances throughout the Asia Pacific but with special reference to the US-Japan and the US-ROK alliances if Trump is unwilling to draft a comprehensive Asia strategy above and beyond Obama’s pivot to Asia; and (4) prospects for a significantly weakened US economic posture in Asia just as China assumes a more assertive role on trade and economic integration.

What Trump will actually choose to do on his China policy in the context of his overall foreign policy strategy is likely to be determined by how much he chooses to ignore long-established foreign policy norms in favor of his deeply ingrained but also flawed worldviews. As Thomas Wright of the Brookings Institution has warned since January 2016, Trump actually has a very consistent worldview on which he will, in all likelihood, rely rather than being shaped by traditional foreign policy tenets. “If Trump tries to implement his worldview, he could ignite a new world crisis. World crises are rare. They occur when a fault-line opens up in the international system that generates enormous instability and unleashes powerful opposing forces with no means of reconciling them.”4

Is There a Trump Doctrine?

Wright argues that Trump could undermine the post-World War II liberal international order through a three-pronged strategy: (1) fostering an implosion of the US-led alliance system; (2) imposition of tariffs on China and other states who enjoy large trade surpluses; and (3) upending the hitherto American and European strategy in Syria by teaming up with Putin and Bashar al-Assad to fight the Islamic State (ISIS). According to Wright, Trump is not just calling on key allies to boost their share of hosting US forces in NATO, Japan, and South Korea, he is actually asking Tokyo and Seoul to “pay for the Pacific fleet and US nuclear umbrella” and that “if we add up these sums in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, it runs to hundreds of billions of dollars a year.”5 As for relations with China, Trump remarked on April 27, 2016 in a speech to the National Interest that:

“Fixing our relations with China is another important step towards a prosperous century. China respects strength, and by letting them take advantage of us economically, we have lost all of their respect. We have a massive trade deficit with China, a deficit we must find a way, quickly, to balance. A strong and smart America is an America that will find a better friend in China. We can both benefit or we can both go our separate ways. After I am elected president, I will also call for a summit with our NATO allies, and a separate summit with our Asian allies. In these summits, we will not only discuss a rebalancing of financial commitments, but take a fresh look at how we can adopt new strategies for tackling our common challenges. For instance, we will discuss how we can upgrade NATO’s outdated mission and structure—grown out of the Cold War—to confront our shared challenges, including migration and Islamic terrorism.”6 (italics mine)

Wright has also stated that Trump’s election should be seen as the most important election since the two German elections of 1932 that paved the way for Adolf Hitler’s eventual rise to power. Speaking a few days before Trump’s election, Wright emphasized that while Trump should not be equated with the Nazis, his potential victory would usher in a profoundly different American foreign policy since Trump rejects the status quo and “since the world is essentially organized around American power and American intentions, that would have an enormously disruptive effect. I think you need to go back, in terms of elections just totally unraveling the status quo, to the ’30s. Obviously that was a much more severe case.”7 It is not surprising that Trump sees the world and the role of the United States primarily through a transactional lens so that it is natural to pay a price for services rendered. If allies are protected by US forces and a nuclear umbrella, it makes eminent sense for Trump that these allies should pay the full price. When Trump was criticized for talking with the Taiwanese president, he tweeted that “interesting how the US sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.”8

Even if Trump chose to stick to major pledges such as fundamentally re-crafting the US-Russia relationship, he is going to face considerable structural constraints in implementing his ill-formed and considerably naive foreign and defense policy pledges once he realizes that while he can certainly choose to be a maverick, he will not be able to alter deeply embedded structural realities, including the all-important Sino-American relationship. Specifically, Trump is going to be confronted with three structural constraints as he steps into the White House with significant repercussions for US leadership across the world and Asia, how key allies are going to be caught in a potential cross-fire between the United States and China, and the longer-term consequences of mismanaged Sino-American ties.

Catching Up with the United States

First, Trump is assuming the US presidency at a turning point not only in the US-China relationship but, more importantly, in the growing magnitude of China’s role in the international system and potential longer-term developments such as a power transition between the current and rising hegemon, i.e., what Graham Allison referred to as the Thucydides trap.9 Indeed, regardless of Trump’s foreign policy dispositions, the changing balance of power between the United States and China and the relative decline in American power and influence, both globally and regionally, is likely to have a greater bearing on the conduct of US foreign policy and the future of US-China relations.10

If Trump ends up serving two full terms, his successor will enter office in January 2025—well into an accelerating period of omni-directional competition between the United States and China. Hence, the structure of the evolving international system and the shifting correlation of forces between the United States and China and attendant regional ramifications will have a decisive impact on the shaping of the Sino-American relationship throughout the lifetime of the Trump administration. By one measure—GDP based on purchasing power parity—China surpassed the United States at the end of 2014 (USD 17.63 trillion for China versus USD 17.41 trillion for the United States).11 To be sure, there is a world of difference if one uses other matrixes such as per capita GDP, nominal GDP, ability to project military power globally and regionally, level of science and technology, etc., but China has made significant inroads on its way of catching up with the United States since 2000. In regional terms, however, China dwarfs all other Asian states.12

China’s Increasing “Veto Power”

Second, notwithstanding Trump’s fierce rhetoric throughout the campaign such as his “secret” plan to demolish ISIS and pressuring China to take care of the North Korean nuclear quagmire, Trump will realize before long that any fundamental rupture in the US-China relationship will result in crucial opportunity costs for US policy in Asia. This is because the sheer scale of China’s economic prowess (even though China also faces key economic challenges that are noted below), its progressively modernizing and more lethal power projection capabilities, and the expanding spectrum of Chinese foreign policy means that while China will not be able to supplant the United States as the dominant security hegemon in Asia in the near future, it has the requisite capabilities to selectively deter and, in some cases, even to deny, US moves in the Asia-Pacific.13

Crucially, China has accrued enough hard power to the point where it is now able to selectively deny US and allied policies on virtually every major regional security problem. Whether its tightening sanctions on North Korea, beefing up South Korean defenses, enhancing US-Japan security cooperation and Japan’s collective self-defense capabilities, expanding joint naval patrols in the South China Sea, or helping to modernize Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian states’ military capabilities, China’s leverage is no longer a question of if but by how much and when it chooses to apply it. In essence, China’s anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy “is designed to deter, dissuade, or defeat the involvement of a third party in a confrontation or conflict over such issues, and is targeted at the United States or any of its Pacific allies that might intervene.”14

America’s Selective Retrenchment?

Third, Trump’s ability to forge a viable China policy is going to depend critically on US standing and credibility on the world stage, including Trump’s ability to forge a comprehensive foreign policy doctrine. Trump survived the general election without announcing a well-planned and comprehensive foreign and defense policy strategy, given the American media’s seemingly endless fascination with his tweets. More importantly, other than relentlessly attacking the Obama administration’s foreign policy record, Trump did not provide a viable “Trump Doctrine” other than his declaration of war on radical Islam which was extremely short on details and a national security policy that resembled a collage of bumper stickers, i.e., causing ISIS’s days to be numbered, ensuring unquestioned US military dominance, guaranteeing that Iran will never get nuclear weapons (even when he promised to tear up the Iranian nuclear deal), and restoring American respect throughout the world as soon as he was elected.15

While it cannot be denied that Trump can exercise significant influence on key foreign policy issues, it is also undeniable that a lion’s share of his attention will be devoted to addressing urgent international crises such as the ongoing Syrian civil war, the fight against ISIS, the North Korean nuclear threat, and instability on the Arabian Peninsula. In none of these areas will Trump be able to do as he wishes nor will he be able to register early foreign policy victories since his ability to rapidly shape massively entangled foreign policy problems cannot but be severely constrained. In September 2016, Trump argued in a major foreign policy speech that he would eliminate the defense sequester and rebuild the military, “we want to deter, avoid and prevent conflict through our unquestioned military strength.”16 In the same speech, Trump remarked that he would ask his generals to present him with a plan in 30 days to defeat and destroy ISIS, although he repeated throughout the campaign that he had a “secret” plan to crush ISIS but could not reveal the details since such a move would only embolden ISIS. Trump never had a secret plan to defeat ISIS nor had he seriously thought about a new US grand strategy or contemplate the sheer complexity of world politics and international economics.

The Middle Kingdom and the Apprentice

Trump’s speeches that touched upon Asia and China or, for that matter, Europe and the Middle East, had very little to do with these regions but merely served as background for how Trump was going to remake American foreign policy from the ground up. Unsurprisingly, there was little detail on how Trump was going to do this other than his mantra that “America first” would be the guiding principle of his domestic and foreign policies. Among his more memorable and excoriating remarks on China, for instance, Trump accused Beijing of fabricating climate change and in early May 2016, said, “we can’t continue to allow China to rape our country [and] that’s what they’re doing. It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world.”17 During the first presidential debate with Hillary Clinton on September 27, 2016, Trump said that China was devaluating the yuan “and there’s nobody in our government to fight them. And we have a very good fight. Because they’re using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China.”18

Trump’s China Strategy: Where’s the Beef?

To what extent Trump is willing and, much more crucially, able to follow through with his major campaign pledges, such as imposing a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports, remains largely unknown, although if he chooses to launch an all-out trade war with China, there is little doubt that China will respond in kind. As the Global Times noted in mid-November 2016, “Trump cannot change the pattern of interests between China and the US. The gigantic China-US trade is based on mutual benefits and a win-win situation…If Trump wrecks Sino-US trade…the new president will be condemned for his recklessness, ignorance and incompetence and bear all the consequences” (italics mine).19 Trump has toned down his invectives against critical partners since his victory as illustrated by his first conversation with President Xi Jinping on November 13 when he noted that the United States and China would have “one of the strongest relationships” and Xi emphasized that “facts have shown that cooperation is the only correct choice” for the two countries.20

Given Trump’s unpredictability and his penchant for the limelight, it is entirely possible that he will move rapidly on certain campaign pledges such as his mini-victory against Carrier, the cooling and heating machine manufacturing giant that partially overturned its initial decision to move some 2,000 jobs to Mexico. (However, it was revealed that Carrier received USD 7 million in incentives from the state of Indiana as a quid pro quo to cut the number of job transfers to 1,000).21 But putting into place a viable foreign policy blueprint with a parallel policy machinery in an unprecedentedly complex and dangerous world is infinitely more difficult than placing pressure on an air conditioner manufacturing company in his vice president’s home state.

Trump spent most of his campaign deriding the alleged acute deficits of the Obama administration’s foreign policies citing an imploding Middle East, virtually total loss of US credibility worldwide, tolerance for Iran to eventually get nuclear weapons, and emaciation of the American military. Trump’s pledge to “totally remake” American foreign policy, including a reconfigured US-China relationship, is eerily similar to his promise to “bring back home” all of the jobs that went overseas to China and Mexico. Throughout the campaign, Trump branded and carried himself as the anti-Washington and anti-establishment candidate and even threw out the Republican Party’s long-standing principles such as free trade, strong alliances, and a liberal international order.

Trump spent the campaign threatening to upend what has been called the liberal international order, the network of treaties and multilateral institutions that govern global relations. He has said he would tear up and renegotiate trade treaties and even called into question the US commitment to the NATO alliance, the linchpin of Western cohesion. With a completely new kind of leader preparing to enter the Oval Office, it is already looking like a world turned upside down.22

From a Chinese perspective, while a Trump victory means greater uncertainty on trade and key global agendas such as cooperation on climate change, given the propensity for stability of the Chinese leadership, hitherto new opportunities could arise if Trump actually follows through with some of his campaign pledges, as with his criticism of US allies such as Japan and South Korea for free-riding on US security guarantees. If Trump chooses to incrementally pull back from Asia unlike Obama’s rebalance strategy, it would open up “the tantalizing prospect of an American retrenchment from Asia” and, according to a senior Chinese academic, “from a long-term perspective, this gives China more space to prove itself and it takes off some of the pressure on China.”23 But at the same time, should Trump choose retrenchment over sustained presence and engagement, it would trigger alarm bells among Asian powers since they would have to maximize their payoffs from a hedging strategy that would include much greater military spending but also closer political ties with China.

Assuming Global Leadership (by China!)

One of the biggest windfalls for China following Trump’s victory is his vehement opposition to the TPP FTA that was at the center of Obama’s strategy. Obama gave up on passage of the TPP and even if Hillary Clinton was elected, she would have been highly unlikely to have revived TPP although she had originally supported it as the gold standard of FTAs. Hence, China has assumed the leadership on global free trade. During the November 2016 APEC summit in Lima, Xi reaffirmed China’s commitment to the building of a FTA of the Asia Pacific, which he first proposed during the 2014 APEC meeting in Beijing and stated that “we need to stick to our agenda and take more effective actions to realize the FTAAP at an early date, thus bringing about an Asia-Pacific economy with greater openness."24 Xi also stated that “in 5 years, China is expected to bring its volume of imports to $8 trillion US dollars, total amount of inward foreign investment 600 billion dollars, stock of outward foreign investment 750 billion dollars, and number of outbound tourist trips 700 million.”25 Or as the China Daily noted recently:

“China and the US are not allies, and are not likely to be in the foreseeable future given their dramatic differences. But that does not mean they cannot be partners…The incoming administration should realize that the more open, inclusive Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will turn out to be a far more efficient vehicle for advancing US interests. Washington may want to take advantage of the nascent, evolving platform and become involved from the rule-making stage. US influence in the Asia Pacific will not abate if the Trump administration chooses to engage with the region constructively.”26

If the incoming Trump administration walks back from the United States’ traditional role as the leader of global free trade as is likely, the only other global economic power that can pick up the mantle is China. For the time being, China will not be in a position to assume the role that the United States has played since World War II as the primary architect and custodian of a liberal international order. But China will and has assumed selective global leadership and has also begun to contest the fundamental tenets of a US-led world order. As Fu Ying, chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress observed in July 2016, China has never been fully embraced as part of the liberal international order and is offering its own initiatives, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Silk Road Economic Belt, and the building of a common and cooperative Asian security system. She asked, “But where does China stand in this world order? It is not hard to see, China is never fully embraced to this order system. Despite its tremendous progress, China has long been alienated politically by the western world. The US-led military alliance puts their interests above others and pays little attention to China’s security concerns. It is even asserting increasing security pressure on China in the Asia-Pacific these days.”27

If the incoming Trump administration is beset with deep ideological fissures such as endemic conflicts between the more traditionalist wing of the Republican Party and diehards who emphasize unilateralism through selective retrenchment, it would provide a unique opportunity for China to emerge as a “responsible stakeholder”—precisely what the United States has consistently asked China to do. Ironically, if Trump scales back US engagement, is satisfied with the status quo in the South China Sea, and pressures key allies to revamp their security arrangements with the United States, China would reap a major windfall. Assuming leadership on causes such as fighting climate change, promoting open trade, and combating nuclear proliferation, China has an unexpected convergence of opportunities: on the one hand, to be more of the “responsible stakeholder” that the United States has long urged it to be; on the other hand, to advance its commercial interests more vigorously and intensify a long-term effort to construct a global economic architecture with Chinese characteristics.28

China will not begin to pick up the pieces left by the United States since the post-WWII web of defense alliances and the broader security architecture are likely to outlast the Trump’s policies. But there is little doubt that China’s overarching geopolitical influence in East Asia is going to grow in tandem with two parallel trajectories: waning American power relative to its position during the Cold War era and the so-called unipolar era and increasing inability to put together a viable Asia policy with matching resources and bipartisan political support. The consequences flowing from this strategic arc are likely to be much more damaging to US interests in Asia than any single policy turnaround that could be engineered by Donald Trump.

Trump’s Coming Shocks

The single biggest shock that any incoming US president faces is how much distraction there is as president of the free world and how little time he has to really push his pet projects. All presidents must also cope with legacy issues, unfinished agendas, ongoing crises, and newly erupting ones as soon as he enters the Oval Office, and Donald Trump will not be an exception. According to Mike Leavitt who headed Mitt Romney’s transition team in 2012, “any nominee who is not prepared to do extensive transition planning lacks a critical component required to be president.”29 Trump has not given much thought to the immense challenge of governing and is likely to get a rude awakening from the plethora of urgent foreign policy issues that will cross his desk. And while he may walk back from many cavalier foreign policy suggestions he is highly unlikely to change his leadership style given that he is 70 years old.

Once Trump is inaugurated, he will have to address urgent issues including Syria’s genocide-in-slow-motion and the fight against ISIS, primarily in Iraq and Syria but in other states such as Libya. He also has to put his markers down on critical multilateral issues including abrogating NAFTA, as he has threatened to do, and pulling out of the global climate change accord. Other issues will require his attention such as how he copes with China’s growing power projection capabilities in the South China Sea and how far he is willing to trust Vladimir Putin on a range of foreign policy crises including Syria and Russia’s aggressive intervention in the Ukraine. Trump may well face a North Korean crisis early in his term if Kim Jong-un opts to welcome Trump with a sixth nuclear test or another ICBM test amid the difficulty of coordinating responses with South Korea since the Park Geun-hye government is in free fall with her expected resignation or impeachment in the near future. Indeed, China’s adamant opposition to the deployment of the THAAD system by US Forces Korea because, China insists, such a move denigrates China’s own deterrent capabilities is going to become even more strident owing to the high degree of uncertainty in Seoul.30 Moreover, growing prospects that the major opposition Minju Party’s nominee will win the presidency, perhaps as early as the spring of 2017, mean that the decision to proceed with THAAD deployment may be canceled.

From the perspective of America’s Asian allies, even if the next US administration puts into place an articulate Asia strategy with significant presidential attention, such a move would hardly guarantee sustained US influence at a time of exponentially increasing Chinese leverage at all levels of statecraft. As Xi Jinping consolidates his power more than any other leader since Deng Xiaoping and prepares to enter his second term at the apex of his power (with the possibility that he may do away with the two-term limit), China is going to confront a leader with the least amount of foreign policy knowledge of any US president since WWII and a dangerously simplistic and skewed worldview. By default more than by design, China is going to become the biggest beneficiary of the opportunities tendered by a progressively weakening US posture in Asia under the Trump administration. And even if Trump proceeds to engage in a trade war with China, Trump will realize that none of his allies across the world will support such a move and, more importantly, that China would not sit still.

For the first time since bilateral relations began to be normalized in the early 1970s and since China embarked on its economic reforms in the late 1970s, it may well be China, rather than the United States, that will take the lead in formulating a comprehensive vision for Asia, assuming the lead on trade and economic issues, and even putting into place key pillars of its own regional security architecture. If so, this would mean the biggest setback for American foreign policy and a signal for US allies to completely rethink their long-standing security ties with the United States. And that’s the ultimate opportunity cost that Donald Trump may have to pay if he chooses to go down the path of retrenchment—that in an irreversibly networked, complex world, America can never be great again without real friends and trusted allies.

This article was originally published in the Asan Forum.

Notes

1. Matthew Rosenberg, Mark Mazzetti, and Eric Schmitt, “In Trump’s Security Pick, Michael Flynn, ‘Sharp Elbows’ and No Dissent,” The New York Times, December 3, 2016.

2. Mark Landler and David E. Singer, “Trump Speaks With Taiwan’s Leader, an Affront to China,” The New York Times, December 2, 2016.

3. Felipe Villamor, “Rodrigo Duterte Says Donald Trump Endorses His Violent Antidrug Campaign,” The New York Times, December 3, 2016.

4. Thomas Wright, “48 Hours from a New World Crisis,” The Brookings Institution, November 7, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2016/11/07/48-hours-from-a-new-world-crisis/.

5. Ibid.

6. “Trump on Foreign Policy,” The National Interest, April 27, 2016, http://nationalinterest.org/feature/trump-foreign-policy-15960?page=show.

7. Uri Friedman, “How Donald Trump Could Change the World,” The Atlantic, November 7, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/11/trump-election-foreign-policy/505934/.

8. Anne Gearen, “Trump speaks with Taiwanese president, a major break with decades of US policy on China,” The Washington Post, December 2, 2016.

9. Graham Allison, “The Thucydides Trap: Are the US and China Headed for War?” The Atlantic, September 24, 2015, http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/united-states-china-war-thucydides-trap/406756/.

10. Michael Swaine with Wenyan Deng and Aube Rey Lescure, Creating a Stable Asia: An Agenda for US-China Balance of Power (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2016), 6.

11. Mike Bird, “China Just Overtook the US as the World’s Largest Economy,” Business Insider, October 8, 2014, http://www.businessinsider.com/china-overtakes-us-as-worlds-largest-economy-2014-10.

12. US GDP, The World Bank, http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD?locations=US; US Military Expenditure, SIPRI,
https://www.sipri.org/databases/milex; US Trade Balance, The United States Census Bureau, https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c0004.html; Chinese GDP, The World Bank, http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD?locations=CN; Chinese Military Expenditure, SIPRI,
https://www.sipri.org/databases/milex; Chinese Trade Balance, National Bureau of Statistics of China, http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/ndsj/2015/indexeh.htm.

13. On the effects of China’s growing military presence and middle power foreign policy dilemmas, see Peter Jennings, “To Choose or Not to Choose,” Strategic Insights, no. 7, August 2014, https://www.aspi.org.au/publications/to-choose-or-not-to-choose-how-to-deal-with-chinas-growing-power-and-influence/SI74_China_choice.pdf.

14. Anthony H. Cordesman and Joseph Kendall, “How China Plans to Utilize Space for A2/AD in the Pacific,” The National Interest, August 17, 2016, http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/how-china-plans-utilize-space-a2-ad-the-pacific-17383.

15. “Transcript: Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Speech,” The New York Times, April 27, 2016.

16. Tim Hains, “Trump Foreign Policy Speech: Clinton Trigger Happy, Unstable and Reckless; She Brings ‘Failure and Death,’” Real Clear Politics, September 7, 2016, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/09/07/trump_foreign_policy_speech_clinton_trigger_happy_unstable_and_reckless_she_brings_failure_and_death.html.

17. Cassandra Vinograd and Alexandra Jaffe, “Donald Trump in Indiana Says China is ‘Raping’ America,” NBC News, May 2, 2016, http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/donald-trump-indiana-says-china-raping-america-n565721.

18. Transcript of the First Presidential Debate Between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump,” TIME, September 27, 2016, http://time.com/4508768/presidential-debate-trump-clinton-transcript/.

19. The Global Times noted that such statements are merely campaign rhetoric: “The greatest authority a US president has is to impose tariffs of up to 15 percent for 150 days on all imported goods and the limit can only be broken on the condition that the country is declared to be in a state of emergency. Other than that, a US president can only demand a tariff increase on individual commodities.” See “Will Trump Start a Trade War Against China?” Global Times, November 13, 2016, http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1017696.shtml.

20. Javier C. Hernández, The New York Times, November 14, 2016.

21. Chris Isidore and Eric Brander, “How Donald Trump Got Carrier to Stay,” CNN Money, December 1, 2016, http://money.cnn.com/2016/12/01/news/companies/donald-trump-carrier-jobs/.

22. “What will President Donald Trump do? Predicting his policy agenda,” The Guardian, November 9, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/09/donald-trump-president-policy-immigration-agenda-healthcare.

23. Donald Trump’s Victory Raises Questions in China,” Fortune, November 9, 2016, http://fortune.com/2016/11/09/donald-trump-win-china/.

24. China Advocates APEC leadership in economic globalization despite setbacks,” Xinhua, November 21, 2016, http://en.people.cn/n3/2016/1121/c90000-9144647.html.

25. “Highlights of Xi’s address at 2016 APEC CEO Summit,” New China, November 19, 2016, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-11/20/c_135843072.htm.

26. “Both the US and China deserve better than TPP,” China Daily, November 15, 2016, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2016-11/15/content_27376480.htm.

27. Fu Ying, “China and the Future of International Order,” Chatham House, July 6, 2016,

28. Ali Wyne, “China’s Opportunity To be A Responsible Stakeholder?,” The Diplomat, November 30, 2016, http://thediplomat.com/2016/11/chinas-opportunity-to-be-a-responsible-stakeholder/.

29. Russell Berman, “The Most Important Takeover of Any Organization in History,” The Atlantic, April 22, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/improving-the-presidential-transition-2016/477528/.

30. “China Voices Strong Opposition to THAAD, Vows ‘Necessary’ Action,” Yonhap News Agency, September 30, 2016, http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2016/09/30/0301000000AEN20160930010300315.html.