What effects will US midterm election results exert upon China?

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/8 21:18:41

Editor's Note:

The US midterm elections ended with Republicans expanding their grip on the Senate and the Democrats capturing the House. How will the result influence China-US relations? Global Times reporters Li Qingqing and Yu Jincui interviewed three Chinese experts on this issue.

Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies, Fudan University

Though it's not the "tremendous success" as US President Donald Trump claimed on Twitter, the midterm result is not the worst for Trump. The worst-case scenario was that the Republicans lose both House and the Senate. However, Trump will face greater restraints as Democrats will seek to rein in his policy agenda after taking the House.

Where will the US head in its trade war with China? The midterm elections are not a decisive factor. Whether Trump will continue the trade war depends on his judgment on whether the trade war will help him win the 2020 re-election. It's very likely Trump will change his tough attitude. The US economy is now on an upbeat trend, but it's projected that economic growth in 2019 will slow to well below the Trump administration's 3 percent target. A long-term and intensifying trade war with China will increase the risks of a US economic recession in 2020, which is unfavorable to Trump's re-election.

The Trump administration started the trade war against China with a misjudgment that China will yield to US pressure. But things are not going as expected. The Trump administration is more anxious than the Chinese government.

Lin Hongyu, dean of the College of International Relations, Huaqiao University

Such a result will counterbalance Trump and prevent him from being capricious. Democrats and Republicans controlling the House and the Senate separately is a normal situation in the US two-party system and objectively speaking, it will benefit China-US relations. For the White House, making a decision in a very short time won't be as easy as before. Whatever decision Trump wants to make, including his policies toward China, there will be a counterforce.

The Democratic Party won back the House by a narrow margin. This somehow represents Trump's victory, because the so-called blue wave didn't appear. Instead, the red wave that Trump led showed a sign of increasing. If the midterm elections were held half a year later, the result would very likely change.

Some say the two parties may reach a consensus on China. But this would be hard and such an opinion is mostly hyped by the US elites and media. The real US is diverse and no one is able to represent it. As Trump recently showed an intention to negotiate on the trade issue, Beijing should also keep communicating with Washington. China should also keep opening up, never shut its doors and shape future China-US relations in a more positive way.

Liu Weidong, a research fellow at the Institute of American Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

The Democratic Party has taken back the House and Republicans have held the Senate. In fact, such a result won't greatly affect China-US relations as the two parties have a consensus on China. I'm afraid the Democrats will still support Trump's tough position toward China.

However, Democrats controlling the House means that Trump will face obstructions on many issues. Although the two parties have no disputes on increasing pressure on China, the Democratic Party doesn't want Trump to be tough against Beijing at the expense of hurting Washington's own interests. But such a wish is impossible as both countries will lose in such a game.

Although Trump sent signals of willingness to negotiate on trade, China shouldn't simply believe that Washington doesn't want a trade war anymore. The US has been tough and refusing to compromise, which indicates that Washington will only be tougher in the future. What the US really wants is to contain China's rise. Although the future internal competition between the two US parties will give China a chance to breathe, Beijing should be aware that Democrats and Republicans will only be tougher on China together. To deal with such a situation, China should be prudent and adhere to reform and opening-up.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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