Trump shows ignorance on China

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2016/9/28 0:28:39 Last Updated: 2016/9/28 0:33:39

GOP candidate blames Beijing multiple times at debate

Chinese students react as they watch a live broadcast of the presidential debate between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at a cafe in Beijing on Tuesday. Photo: AP

China was in the spotlight in the US presidential debate, though analysts said Donald Trump displayed ignorance on both China and international politics by lashing out at Beijing for US job losses and the North Korean nuclear issue.

Trump said that "Our jobs are fleeing the country ... You look at what China is doing to our country in terms of making our products ... and there's nobody in our government to fight them … Because they're using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China, and many other countries are doing the same thing."

Liu Weidong, a research fellow at the Institute of American Studies of the China Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that Trump cited China to win support from Americans who feel frustrated amid employment pressure and fierce international competition.

Trump's remarks on China also showed his isolationist stand - putting US interests above everything else and showing little concern to what would happen to other countries, Liu said, noting that Trump was passing the buck to China  by discussing the North Korea nuclear issue and climate change during the debate.

In response to the moderator Lester Holt's question on nuclear weapons, Trump said "China should solve that problem for us. China should go into North Korea. China is totally powerful as it relates to North Korea."

Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton quoted her rival as saying he did not care if other nations like Japan, South Korea and even Saudi Arabia, acquired nuclear weapons.

 "It has become a US norm for politicians to shirk responsibilities on the North Korean nuclear issue by blaming China while increasing its military presence in the region. But what Trump wants is for the US to pass the buck in the region," Yuan Zheng, deputy director of American Foreign Policy Studies at the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

"Trump's remarks during the debate show that he knows little about China, US foreign policy or the geopolitical situation. And that's why many of his statements were confusing and inconsistent," said Yuan.

And when Clinton pointed out that Trump had said climate change is "a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese" during the debate, he immediately denied it.

However, Trump's Twitter account shows that he tweeted "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive" on November 7, 2012.

Both Yuan and Liu agree that presidential candidates' remarks on future foreign policies during the election were aimed at winning support, and would be adjusted after they assume power.

"Regardless of who wins, they need to know that China and the US share many common interests and that the US needs a rising China in many ways," said Yuan.

Chinese 'entertained'

The debate, which took place Tuesday morning Beijing Time, attracted huge Chinese interest.

A webpage with hashtag "US Presidential Election" kept abreast of the debate on Tuesday on Sina Weibo, and had been viewed more than 630 million times with 226,000 comments as of press time.

Many Chinese media, including news website, and online streaming platforms like, broadcast the debate live Tuesday morning.

Many Chinese viewers found the debate "entertaining" as Trump and Clinton accused each other of distortions and lying, and called on people to check the facts on their campaign websites.

Clinton called Trump's tax policies "Trumped-up trickle-down" economics and knocked Trump for not releasing his income tax returns, while Trump accused Hillary of being "all talk, no action."

"The back-and-forth, especially on some negative news, was fierce and sharp, which was different from previous presidential debates. Trump was coaxed by Clinton to confront accusations and forgot to discuss his policies," Sun Chenghao, an assistant research fellow at the Institute of American Studies of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.

A CNN poll found 62% felt Clinton won compared to 27% for Trump. And the latest Reuters poll shows the two candidates in a very tight race, with Clinton ahead by 4 percentage points.

Compared with Clinton's experience, Trump was ill-prepared, said Sun, adding that although he avoided making controversial statements, Trump still tried to impress his supporters with fiery remarks.

Newspaper headline: Trump ignorant on China

Posted in: Diplomacy

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