US impeachment won’t change China’s trade stance

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/18 21:51:11

US President Donald Trump holds an umbrella as he speaks to journalists before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day, House Democrats announced they will seek two articles of impeachment against him. Photo: AFP

The seemingly never-ending partisan fight in the US is set to take another dramatic turn, as the US House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the articles of impeachment of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, putting on another grand show for the world to see the increasingly ugly realities of the US political system.

However, beyond the tremendous theatrics, many in China and likely around the world will watch closely to see if and how the impeachment proceedings would affect the China-US trade relationship. Where is the world's most consequential bilateral relationship headed amid an increasingly toxic political environment in the US?

If the trade war over the past 19 months or so offered any hint, it is this: the China-US trade relationship has already taken an irreversible turn, where rising conflict over economic and trade issues and rivalry over cutting-edge technologies have overshadowed constructive dialogue and cooperation. The China-US relationship is shaping up as a contest between two different political and economic systems.

Against this backdrop, the growing understanding in China is that the impeachment inquiry, even if it results in a different US president, will not change the overall direction of the bilateral trade relationship. China has come to the realization that no matter who sits in the White House, whether Republican or Democrat, the US' ill-advised intention to contain China's economic and technological rise will not change.

However, the trade war has also shown that China would never bow to maximum pressure from the US, whether in the form of punitive tariffs or a global crackdown on Chinese technology companies or flagrant intervention in Chinese internal affairs in Hong Kong and Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. 

China stood up to the US for nearly two years until a mutually acceptable phase one deal was reached last week, while many others buckled at the first stroke of the US' tariff stick. All the while, China marched forward with its ambitious development plans, making breakthroughs in a wide range of areas. Just this year alone, it became one of the first countries to roll out commercial 5G. It also opened the world's largest airport, and it has launched dozens of satellites for its homegrown BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. On Tuesday, it commissioned a domestically made aircraft carrier into active service.

More importantly, China has also grown more adept in dealing with an increasingly hostile and irrational US. At the beginning of the trade war and the lead-up to Trump's presidency, there was much unease or even fear in China about the future of China-US relations. But months later, China has become much more calm and determined to follow its own development path.

The bottom line is this: the US impeachment proceedings are just a political show. They won't change the direction of the bilateral trade relationship, let alone China's path.

Posted in: GT VOICE

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