Chinese President Xi Jinping outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 25. Photo: Reuters.
World News

The political challenge besieges China in 2019


China celebrates its 70th anniversary, but faces challenges from Taiwan, Hong Kong and relations with the United States.

Chinese negotiators at the end of December were happy to announce a partial trade agreement with the United States, believed to be a push to help the country's economy fight off the storms caused by the trade war and swine cholera. Africa in the past year. However, outside the economic field, Taiwan, Hong Kong and relations with the US are the three major challenges facing Chinese leaders since the beginning of the year, according to commentator Chi Wang SCMP.

Chinese President Xi Jinping outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 25. Image: Reuters.

Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghua said in October Beijing considers solving the Taiwan issue as "the greatest national interest", in an attempt to "recognize the complete unity of China", in the context of the strained Taiwanese strained relations for many years.

China has always considered Taiwan a part of its territory waiting for reunification, including by force if necessary. However, Beijing has recently given priority to promoting economic ties with the island, in an effort to draw Taiwan closer to the mainland and away from the United States.

According to 2016 survey data, at least 64% of people on the island of Taiwan thought that Beijing would use economic leverage to bind Taipei politically. This belief of Taiwanese people is likely to make the strategy of "seducing" the island with the economic interests of mainland China difficult to promote effectively.

The fact that Thai Anh Van, who did not recognize the "One China" policy, came to power in 2016, making relations between Beijing and Taipei cool. Thailand's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) increased its influence with a view against mainland China, but even the Nationalist Party (KMT), a pro-Beijing party, expressed an "alienation" attitude towards its side. Power struggle with DPP. This fact makes the political distance between the two straits of Taiwan become more and more distant.

In this context, the policy of the US President Donald Trump administration widens this gap. Previous presidents recognized the "One China" policy and only limitedly supported Taiwan, refusing to sell the most modern weapons to the island to avoid offending Beijing.

But under Trump, the U.S. Navy in 2019 strengthened its freedom of navigation operations in the Taiwan Strait. The country also in August approved a sale of 66 F-16V fighters worth $ 8 billion, the largest arms deal between the US and Taiwan in years, a move that angered China.

The US Senate also approved the Defense Authorization Bill (NDAA) on December 17 and will almost certainly be signed by President Donald Trump, including a provision to increase high-level visits, military exchanges, and weapons sales between the US and Taiwan.

Taiwan is one of a series of issues US-China tensions are escalating seriously, especially the trade war has both hurt American farmers and burdened the Chinese economy. The third quarter GDP of the country increased by only 6% compared to last year, the lowest in more than 27 years. Other economic indicators were also disappointing and foreign investment gradually slipped out of China.

With no "weapons" to respond to Trump, Beijing on December 13 accepted a first-rate trade deal with Washington, helping postpone the tax increase with $ 160 billion of Chinese goods from December 15, At the same time, it helps reduce the tax rate of 15% with 120 billion goods down to 7.5%.

However, the prospect of ending the trade war is still unclear, because no matter how much China tries to negotiate, President Trump remains unpredictable. Beijing is thought to adopt a "time-grabbing" tactic to seek better deals, but this also adds pressure to the economy.

Experts say that regardless of the trade war, US-China relations will worsen because of nationalism and competition for global influence. In addition to Taiwan and trade, the two countries also have a lot of other tensions such as China's unjustified sovereignty claim in the South China Sea, the Belt and Road initiative, the Xinjiang issue or the allegations Beijing has. Washington's espionage and intellectual property theft.

Jonathan Sullivan, an expert on China at Nottingham University, said this was the inevitable consequence of the overlapping national interests of Beijing and Washington. "The trade war has sparked an unprecedented confrontation between Chinese society and the United States. I am worried that hostility may get out of control, causing a major setback to all international relations." , editor-in-chief Global Times Ho Tich Tien said.

In the context of struggling with the US on many "fronts", China last year faced a terrible crisis related to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Protests in the special zone broke out in June and lasted for months, with hundreds of arrests and countless violent clashes between protesters and police.

Hong Kong protesters burned

Hong Kong protesters smashed, setting fire to the entrance of a train station in Central District on September 8. Video: CNA.

The cause of the protests was the extradition bill that would allow suspects to be transferred to jurisdictions where there is no extradition treaty with Hong Kong, including mainland China. Although the special zone government withdrew the bill, protesters continued to take to the streets demanding to meet other requirements.

Prolonged protests on a large scale have put the Beijing government in a dilemma. The policy of "sitting still" waiting for the protests to subside does not seem to work. However, according to commentator Bret Stephens NY Times, If China takes strong action against Hong Kong protesters, the discontent will become even more boiling, possibly leading to the destruction of the region's global financial center status.

Stephens added that by implementing a tough policy with Hong Kong, China has the potential to increase tensions with the United States, and at the same time the risk of countries in the region away from Beijing and closer to Washington.

China, meanwhile, believes that if it accepts softness and meets the requirements of Hong Kong protesters, Beijing's ability to control special zones will be reduced, causing even more instability and water. This becomes "discredit" to the world.

Trump on November 27 signed the "Hong Kong Democracy and Human Rights" act, which includes a provision to punish officials who are considered human rights abuses in the special zone. China condemned the President's decision as "disgusting and malicious," warning that he would retaliate fiercely, but did not specify the response.

Commentator Wang said Chinese President Xi Jinping has so far not been able to reverse the pressure to surround Beijing in all three matters of Taiwan, Hong Kong and relations with the US, when their reactions were all "blow".

Xi has set his sights on "The Chinese Dream" with the desire to turn the country into a modern and powerful nation. However, according to commentator Stephens, after a year of besieged challenges, the task of Chinese leaders is now to help the country avoid the "nightmare" of economic decline as well as reduce the situation of being isolated on the international stage.

Luster (According to the SCMP, NYTimes)


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