Having cast off the Deng-era policy of not taking the lead in world affairs and of biding its time, China under Chairman Xi Jinping has adopted instead one of seemingly deliberate aggressiveness. (It has been brought to the attention of this writer that there is no “president” in China; Mr Xi has three titles, one of those translating to “Chairman of the Country”.)
That policy has now encountered pushback by countries in China’s immediate neighbourhood and much further away. While some of the countries in China’s immediate neighbourhood, such as those that are members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations, have chosen not to take an aggressive stance of their own against Beijing, they have made it evident that they will not be entirely cowed by its overwhelming economic and military might. Larger countries, such as India, have confronted Chinese actions on occasion, while other major players, such as the European Union, appear to have now decided to counter some of China’s aggression. It is the United States under the Trump presidency that has, however, taken the most aggressive anti-China stance of all, deliberately working to contain China’s bid for worldwide influence by enhancing its own military and economic might.
- China’s economic and trade “free ride” is well and truly over.
- It is also encountering pushback from regional countries, and especially so by the United States.
- President Trump appears to wish to confront China at every stage and in every way.
- China needs its trade with the US, however. Without that trade, it would find itself with a very small trade surplus, which would derail its growth plans.