US President-elect Donald Trump
on Sunday publicly suggested that the one-China policy can be used as a bargaining chip to ask Beijing to make compromises in areas such as trade deals with Washington. The calculating businessman might feel shrewd about seizing China's fate by the throat through the Taiwan question. However, the truth is this inexperienced president-elect probably has no knowledge of what he's talking about. He has overestimated the US' capability of dominating the world and fails to understand the limitation of US powers in the current era.
China has become a country with substantial strength among the countries in the West Pacific Ocean. It has never expanded its battlefront and therefore accumulated enough power to deal with any strategic challenge in its peripheral areas. Especially in the Taiwan Strait, China is now confident enough to arm-wrestle with the US.
A series of outrageous remarks from Trump reflect that he despises China strategically. Pride goes before a fall. Even before entering the White House, he has already put his cards over blackmailing China on the table. After playing the one-China policy card, the greater part of his strategic initiative has been overused.
China must win respect from Trump's team, otherwise it will be hard to interact with Washington in the next four years. Fantasizing over an appeasement policy is not an option. A new round of gamesmanship between the two countries will be needed to test how much respect the two should pay to each other based on their strength.
Over decades of development, China's core interests have barely been enlarged, yet its ability to control the risks in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea has been greatly boosted. We have a whole raft of tools to fight against Trump's economic and trade threats. It will be a decisive battle for Beijing to safeguard its core interests. If Trump wants to play tough, China will not fail.
Beijing should start from severely punishing Taiwan independence forces, exploring the possibility of disciplining those forces through non-peaceful means and make the use of military force an actual option to realize reunification.
Facing Trump, who is always unpredictable, China needs more imagination in its foreign policies. It should dare to make surprise moves and create a new pattern over the relationship with the US - while you play your game, I play mine.
Beijing will never drag out an ignoble existence by paying into a protection racket. The strength gap between China and the US for the moment is the narrowest in history. What reason do we have to accept a most unfair and humiliating deal from Trump?