US President-elect Donald Trump is living up to his reputation of being a disrupter.
First he riled China with his protocol-breaking ten-minute telephone conversation with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen. Then he followed up with an equally provocative tweet - "Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the US doesn't tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don't think so!"
The telephone conversation with the President of Taiwan was pre-arranged and was seen as a deliberate provocation by Beijing. The tweet extended US concerns beyond only economic ones to the militarisation of the South China Sea.
China reacted to Trump with hard-hitting opinion pieces in the state media - something that allows it to bypass diplomatic niceties.
Thus, the overseas edition of Peoples' Daily, the official organ of the Communist Party, declared in a frontpage opinion piece: "Provoking friction and messing up China-US relations won't help 'make America great again'."
The Global Times described Trump's comments as "reckless" and said, "Trump's China-bashing tweet is just a cover for his real intent, which is to treat China as a fat lamb and cut a piece of meat off it."
In another article it noted, "After Trump's phone conversation with Tsai, many US politicians blasted Trump for his "irresponsible" rhetoric, warning that the president-elect may cause a war in the Taiwan Straits. The world will be dragged into a mess if leaders all speak irresponsibly. This shouldn't be allowed. Trump as future US president should know what to say properly on different occasions."
The Chinese official media also predicted that India-US relations will be an important part of Trump's diplomacy but would not be sufficient to cure the international "headaches" of America. India, Chinese analysts claim, can only play a limited role in furthering US diplomatic goals and realising this the Trump administration will lose its enthusiasm for building a "quasi-alliance" with India to balance China or limit its rise.
The goal of India-US ties to curtail China's geopolitical clout is likely to be weakened, they argue. The Chinese are hopeful that India will not "set a goal of allying with the US in suppressing China as the US hopes".
Watch what former Indian foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal has to say about Trump chastising China and the implications of his China policy for the US' relationship with India.
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