Briefing

China: December 15, 2016

Foreign policy under President-Elect Donald Trump is only bound to have a massive pivot. He’s been incredibly outspoken about the war in Syria, Mexico, and Korea. But China has been unpredictable regarding his policies, with his plans seeming to point towards a trade war. Apple has already started some consultation regarding moving manufacturing to the US, a move that would be largely unmatched in scale, and would also lead to prices being hiked globally from the manufacturer. And to make matters worse, Trump called the Taiwanese President only a few days ago, which some analysts in China believe should be a call to invade Taiwan. China has also been on the move in the South China Sea by investing more into their artificial islands, breaking some of their earlier promises. Someone I know is in Taiwan right now so I’ll try to reduce the extremity of this article if they read it.

One China

A state controlled newspaper in China has reported that it is important for the nation to invade the smaller island nation of Taiwan. This is a direct response to the call Trump made to Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen some weeks ago. This action has desperately called into question the stability of diplomatic relations between mainland China and the US. The US talking with Taiwan would break the “One China” agreement, which requires nations to only consider China or Taiwan as China (remember, Taiwan’s official name is the Republic of China). After the Chinese civil war two Chinas were effectively formed, with the Taiwanese nationalists being the defeated who retreated to Taiwan. Ever since the two have debated over which one is the true China. Only up to around the 70s Taiwan was considered the only China in the United Nations, and the US only established proper diplomatic relations with mainland China around the same time period. Taiwan isn’t exactly in a good place for defence, China by far has more resources and land to take down the small nation. But Trump contacting Taiwan directly could pose a threat to China, which has taken the diplomacy of the US for granted for many decades. If the US were to end up backing Taiwan, we could end up seeing a proxy war fought through Taiwan.

South China Sea

The debate over which country owns the rights to land in the South China Sea rolls on, but regardless China has been deploying military aircraft there. Now they are apparently deploying weapon systems, as well as fortifications across their artificial islands. This would be a conflict with China’s earlier promises, where President Xi Jingping only last year said the nation did “not intend to pursue militarisation”. China expressing its power in South China Sea could further tensions in the region, as outlined by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. The disputed territory passed over major trade routes which China may try to capitalise on. This issue needs to be fixed soon, and apparently action by the UN won’t be enough.