China facing pressure on trade and geopolitics with Donald Trump in power

US President Donald Trump waves as he arrives in front of the White House on Jan 20, 2017.
US President Donald Trump waves as he arrives in front of the White House on Jan 20, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING - Newly minted US President Donald Trump may not have mentioned China in his inaugural speech, but the thinking is the same as Mr Trump on the campaign trail, and China can expect pressure from the US both on trade and geopolitics.

This is the view of the Chinese Communist Party-linked newspaper Global Times on Mr Trump and his speech in its early morning op-ed on Saturday (Jan 21).

Revitalising the US economy and improving the people's livelihood is his No. 1 goal, and Mr Trump seems convinced that the US problems stem from its foreign economic and trade policy, the editorial said. He sees the turning of all this to be beneficial to the US as pressing.

"Trade friction between a Trump-led US and China is highly probable," said the editorial.

While Mr Trump and his team has probably not finalised the path it will take in its policy towards China, they probably want to expand exports to China and move some of their factories in China back to the US.

In all this "the Taiwan issue is almost certainly a card to be played", it said.

Mr Trump had during the election campaign threatened to slap heavy tariffs on Chinese products in a bid to boost employment at home.

He has also questioned the US' long-standing one-China policy in which it recognises Beijing as the sole government of China. The policy had underpinned Sino-US relations since Washington switched diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China in 1979.

Mr Trump said in an interview shortly after his election: "I don't know why we have to be bound by a one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade."

Mr Trump has not talked about universal values or geopolitics in his inaugural address "and perhaps his interest is not here", the Global Times editorial noted.

But this does not mean that the new US administration will not increase pressure on China in these areas.

And if he wants to pressure China to make concessions, "it cannot be ruled out that he will use various means without scruples", said the editorial.

The official Xinhua news agency, in a commentary before noon, however, downplayed possible confrontation between the two countries, saying they "enjoy more room for cooperation than ever before".

While noting that Mr Trump's intention was to wheel and deal for better gains, it said "he will soon realise that leaders of the two countries must use more mature and effective ways to communicate than trading barbs via Twitter".

The Financial Times reported on Friday (Jan 20) that Beijing censors had ordered media outlets to tone down their reporting of the inauguration.

"It is forbidden for websites to carry out live streaming or picture reports of the inauguration," said a copy of the censorship instructions according to the British paper.