Rookie’ Trump must fall into line: Chinese media
BEIJINGU.S. President-elect Donald Trump is a “diplomatic rookie” who must learn not to cross Beijing on issues like trade and Taiwan, Chinese state media said Dec. 6, warning that America could pay dearly for his inexperience.
Trump’s protocol-shattering call with Taiwan’s president and a subsequent Twitter tirade against Beijing could risk upending the delicate balance between the economic giants, major media outlets said.
“Provoking friction and messing up China-U.S. relations won’t help ‘make America great again,’” said an opinion piece in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily.
The nationalist Global Times newspaper’s Chinese edition also ran a page-one story on Trump’s “inability to keep his mouth shut,” damning his “provocation and falsehoods.”
Trump fired off two tweets on Dec. 4 blasting China for devaluing its currency, taxing U.S. imports, and building military installations in the South China Sea.
The comments followed criticism of Trump in U.S. and Chinese media for taking a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, a move that flew in the face of nearly 40 years of diplomatic protocol and raised questions about whether the president-elect intends to pursue a hard line against Beijing.
The barrage of attacks by state media calling Trump diplomatically inexperienced and reckless followed a muted official response Dec. 5, with the Foreign Ministry declining to comment on the outburst’s motivation.
China often uses state media to telegraph its policy positions, sometimes employing rhetoric beyond the diplomatic pale.
The Global Times’ English-language edition filled its opinion pages with editorials slamming the president-elect.
Noting that Sino-U.S. relations had reached a delicate equilibrium thanks to years of careful management, an editorial in the paper warned that Trump “can make a lot of noise but that does not exempt him from the rules of the major power game,” adding that he “doesn’t have sufficient resources” to be provocative with China.
“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,” it said. “We must confront Trump’s provocation head on.”
A companion commentary warned that Trump “will in time learn not to cross China,” threatening “a fierce competition” with Beijing if the U.S. increases arm sales to Taiwan.
It was illustrated by an editorial cartoon showing an eagle throwing pebbles at a large, scowling panda.
Meanwhile the English-language China Daily newspaper warned that “diplomatic rookie” Trump needs to moderate his behavior or he will create “costly troubles for his country.”
“As president-elect, Trump can expect some forgiveness even when he is shooting from the hip. But things will be different when he becomes president,” it said.
The White House said on Dec. 5 it had sought to reassure China after Trump’s phone call, which the Obama administration warned could undermine progress in relations with Beijing.
The statement from a spokesman for U.S. President Barack Obama highlighted concerns about the potential fallout from Trump’s unusual call with the Taiwanese president.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said senior National Security Council officials spoke twice with Chinese officials over the weekend to reassure them of Washington’s commitment to the “One China” policy and to “reiterate and clarify the continued commitment of the United States to our longstanding China policy.”
The policy has been in place for 40 years and is focused on promoting and preserving peace and stability in the strait separating China and Taiwan, which is in U.S. interests, Earnest said.
“If the president-elect’s team has a different aim, I’ll leave it to them to describe,” he said.
“The Chinese government in Beijing placed an enormous priority on this situation, and it’s a sensitive matter. Some of the progress that we have made in our relationship with China could be undermined by this issue flaring up,” he said.