China

Quote of the Day

“I don’t blame China. After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? I give China great credit.”

— President Trump, quoted by Axios, at an event with Chinese officials.

Bannon’s Back and Targeting China

Joshua Green: “Bannon, who’s been consulting with Henry Kissinger and other foreign policy veterans, is preparing a project to sound an alarm about what he views as the primary economic threat to America: China.”

Said Bannon: “If we don’t get our situation sorted with China, we’ll be destroyed economically. The forced technology transfer of American innovation to China is the single biggest economic and business issue of our time. Until we sort that out, they will continue to appropriate our innovation to their own system and leave us as a colony—our Jamestown to their Great Britain, a tributary state.”

In case you missed it: We recently spoke with Green on Political Wire Conversations about his excellent book about Bannon.

Trump Warns China He’ll Go It Alone on North Korea

President Trump, “frustrated by China’s unwillingness to lean on North Korea, has told the Chinese leader that the United States is prepared to act on its own in pressuring the nuclear-armed government in Pyongyang,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump’s warning, delivered in a cordial but blunt phone call on Sunday night to President Xi Jinping, came after a flurry of actions by the United States — selling weapons to Taiwan, threatening trade sanctions and branding China for human trafficking — that rankled the Chinese and left little doubt that the honeymoon between the two leaders was over.”

Washington Post: North Korea claims successful test of intercontinental ballistic missile.

Trump Hands China a Chance for Global Leadership

New York Times: “In pulling out of the Paris climate accord, Mr. Trump has created a vacuum of global leadership that presents ripe opportunities to allies and adversaries alike to reorder the world’s power structure. His decision is perhaps the greatest strategic gift to the Chinese, who are eager to fill the void that Washington is leaving around the world on everything from setting the rules of trade and environmental standards to financing the infrastructure projects that give Beijing vast influence.”

“Mr. Trump’s remarks in the Rose Garden on Thursday were also a retreat from leadership on the one issue, climate change, that unified America’s European allies, its rising superpower competitor in the Pacific, and even some of its adversaries, including Iran.”

Foreign Policy: In dumping the Paris accord, Trump cedes the energy future to China.

China Crippled U.S. Spying by Killing Informants

“The Chinese government systematically dismantled C.I.A. spying operations in the country starting in 2010, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources over two years and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward,” the New York Times reports.

“Current and former American officials described the intelligence breach as one of the worst in decades. It set off a scramble in Washington’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies to contain the fallout, but investigators were bitterly divided over the cause. Some were convinced that a mole within the C.I.A. had betrayed the United States. Others believed that the Chinese had hacked the covert system the C.I.A. used to communicate with its foreign sources. Years later, that debate remains unresolved.”

Trump Offered China a Deal on North Korea

President Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he has offered Chinese President Xi Jinping a more favorable trade deal for Beijing in exchange for his help on confronting the threat of North Korea.

Said Trump: “I told him, I said, ‘You know we’re not going to let that current trade deficit go ahead. But you want to make a great deal? Solve the problem in North Korea.’ That’s worth having deficits. And that’s worth having not as good a trade deal as I would normally be able to make.”

Trump Will Host Chinese President at Mar-a-Lago

Mike Allen: “President Trump plans to host Chinese President Xi Jinping at the gold-plated Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida next month for a lowering-the-temperature summit with vast economic and security implications.”

“No golf is planned during the meeting of the globe’s two superpowers — this will mostly be a working session, according to officials familiar with the planning. The tentative dates are Thursday afternoon, April 6, through Friday, April 7.”

Key takeaway: “For a White House that views China as threat #1, Trump’s willingness to meet with Xi — and give him the Mar-a-Lago treatment, no less — will be seen as a reassuring sign by establishment powers in the U.S. and around the world.”

China Grants Trump Trademarks

“China has granted preliminary approval for 38 new Trump trademarks, paving the way for President Donald Trump and his family to develop a host of branded businesses from hotels to insurance to bodyguard and escort services,” the AP reports.

“If President Trump receives any special treatment in securing trademark rights, it would violate the U.S. Constitution, which bans public servants from accepting anything of value from foreign governments unless approved by Congress, ethics lawyers from across the political spectrum say. Concerns about potential conflicts of interest are particularly sharp in China, where the courts and bureaucracy are designed to reflect the will of the ruling Communist Party.”

Trump Proposes Checking Chinese Visitors

Politico: “The Trump administration is moving to expand social media checks to cover Chinese citizens traveling to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are proposing to ask Chinese visitors to disclose their social media ‘handles’ or other identifiers on common social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The question would be asked online as part of an electronic system Chinese holders of long-term U.S. business and visitor visas use to advise of upcoming travel.”

“Answering the question would be ‘optional,’ CBP said in a notice set for publication Tuesday in the Federal Register. Those who don’t wish to answer will have their travel requests processed ‘without a negative interpretation or inference,’ the notice said.”

Trump Caves on ‘One China’ Policy

President Trump told President Xi Jinping of China “that the United States would honor the ‘One China’ policy, reversing his earlier expressions of doubt about the longtime diplomatic understanding and removing a major source of tension between the United States and China since shortly after he was elected,” the New York Times reports.

“The concession was clearly designed to put an end to an extended chill in the relationship between China and the United States. Mr. Xi, stung by Mr. Trump’s unorthodox telephone call with the president of Taiwan in December and his subsequent assertion that the United States might no longer abide by the One China policy, had not spoken to Mr. Trump since Nov. 14, the week after he was elected.”

Is China Giving Trump the Silent Treatment?

“When the White House announced this week that President Trump had sent President Xi Jinping of China a letter wishing him a happy Chinese New Year, it did not disclose a major reason for the friendly gesture: Mr. Xi has not gotten on the phone with Mr. Trump,” the New York Times reports.

“Stung by Mr. Trump’s unorthodox telephone call with the president of Taiwan and his subsequent assertion that the United States might no longer abide by the “One China” policy, Mr. Xi has not spoken to Mr. Trump since Nov. 14, the week after he was elected. Administration officials say they believe he will only do so after Mr. Trump publicly commits to recognizing a single Chinese government in Beijing.”

China Warns Trump Over Taiwan

“China warned Donald Trump against using the One-China policy regarding Taiwan as a bargaining chip in trade talks, a swift response that indicates Beijing is losing patience with the U.S. president-elect as he breaks with decades of diplomatic protocol,” Bloomberg reports.

Said a spokesperson: “Adherence to the One-China policy is the political bedrock for the development of the China-U.S. relationship. If it is compromised or disrupted, the sound and steady growth of the China-U.S. relationship as well as bilateral cooperation in major fields would be out of the question.”

Trump Adviser Defends Taiwan Call

“Stephen Moore, an economic adviser to Donald Trump, defended the President-elect’s recent call with the president of Taiwan, saying in a local radio interview that he didn’t care if it upset China,” CNN reports.

Said Moore: “Taiwan is our ally. That is a country that we have backed because they believe in freedom. We oughta back our ally, and if China doesn’t like it, screw ’em.”