David Yeliang Xia: Trump Is Just as Capable as Predecessors

Ms. Gao: Now Trump is ready to place tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports. Do you believe he is likely to impose tariffs on all Chinese products? If he does so, what would be his final goal?

Mr. Xia: In fact, Trump has shown almost all his cards. The purpose of his doing so is to deter China or give it a harsh warning, hoping China will not take any confrontational, retaliatory responses. In that case, tensions will naturally ease up. But, if China vows tit-for-tat responses, a trade war will escalate so that both sides will endure significant losses. As I repeatedly stressed, America’s strength wouldn’t be critically undercut. But China wouldn’t be able to endure consequences of this war. Some have doubts: Given his background as a businessman, does Trump only care about commercial interests? I don’t think so. He has greater visions, part of which are never mentioned publicly. But his considerations have gone beyond trade and economy. As an admirer of President Reagan, I’m convinced Trump is no less capable when compared with any of his predecessors in terms of international patterns and strategies. So, give him time and opportunity. And we’ll see he’ll come to greater accomplishments in many fields.

Ms. Gao: Because of pressure from Trump, Chinese authorities repeatedly responded in a provoking manner. What’s Xi Jinping’s attitude towards the U.S.-China trade war? Will Xi make a fundamental change under pressure, both domestic and abroad?

Mr. Xia: Well, Xi Jinping — it’s said — received only an elementary education. He’s a fake doctorate degree holder. Further, his character is somewhat reckless, unlikely to listen to others. So, he’ll be stubborn and stick to his ideas until his collapse. Despite pressure, resistance or challenges from within the party over his dictatorship or personality cult, he has renewed another purging campaign and restored his grip on power.  Recently, support for his personality cult and dictatorship has resumed. He chose this moment to visit the Middle East and African countries as scheduled, marking his confidence over his control of power. He had to make sure there’s no danger or crisis in store for him before his visit. However, many hope that Xi will choose to follow President Chiang Ching-kuo as an example towards constitutional democracy. Under huge pressure, domestic and abroad, will he do it? My answer is very definite: Never.

 
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