Will Sino-US relations get better if GOP loses midterms?
Published: Aug 08, 2018 10:23 PM

The US midterm elections will be held in less than three months. At a time when China-US trade tensions continue to escalate and bilateral relations are facing major challenges, a few voices within China are pinning their hopes of a China-US rapprochement on Republicans losing the midterm elections in November. Such an illusion should be discarded.

Midterm elections are usually unfavorable to the party of incumbent presidents. Barack Obama became a lame-duck president after the Democrats lost the midterms in 2014. He was faced with growing political constraints on his domestic and foreign policies.

However, despite varied predictions, more observers believe the odds that Republicans will win this year's midterm elections are increasing.

Given the historical summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years and continued economic growth, there are good reasons to be optimistic about Republican chances in the ballot, they argue.

It has to be made clear that even if the Democratic Party wins the midterms, the US will unlikely adjust its current hawkish China policy. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer doesn't agree with Trump on much. But he said "when it comes to being tough on China's trading practices, I'm closer to Trump than Obama or Bush."

Regardless of the results of the midterm elections,  worsening China-US bilateral relations will be a long-term trend. The Trump administration will continue to adopt a confrontational approach and challenge China on trade, economics, technology and security. China must be wise to this.

With Washington's perception of China changing, the country's strategic suspicions are growing. Almost all the US strategists are mulling over how to counter China's rise. It's fair to say Trump's China policy has gained their support to varying degrees. Trump also has support from those who believe China should be blamed for the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs in the US.

Therefore it's impossible for the US to change its confrontational attitude and policy toward China in the short term. Washington regards Beijing as a strategic rival. It will continue to set obstacles for China's development in the long run. China must be prepared for this.  

The China-US relationship is the most important bilateral relationship for China. Chinese should properly handle it. In the face of US aggressiveness, we have to launch counter strikes to safeguard the country's interests without hesitation. But meanwhile, we must map out a long-term strategic plan to deal with a tough US and cannot be led by the nose by the US.

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