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Trump's coming election relies on a new wave of 'China Threat Theory'

CIIS Time:10 10, 2018 Writer:Kang Jie Editor:Wang Jiapei




"China Threat" has become the most commonly used poll slogan for Republicans and the Trump administration, especially in the run-up to the mid-term elections scheduled in November. China has even been labeled as the culprit behind shrinking US defense industrial base.

The White House released a report titled "Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States" on October 5. The study was directed by an executive order Trump signed on July 21, 2017. 

The 146-page report, according to many defense experts, offered very little new content on the American defense industry. Most of the issues raised in the report were a duplication of another report released by the Pentagon earlier this year.  

The report, while indirectly blames the budgetary and acquisition policy under the Obama administration, directly fires at China. According to the report, China's "significant and growing risk" to the US defense industrial base lies mainly in two aspects.

First, "Predatory practices, including state-sponsored dumping, public subsidies, and intellectual property theft, are destroying commercial product lines and markets of the US' domestic department of defense suppliers."  

Second, "the US will face a growing risk of increasing department of defense reliance on foreign sources of vital materials," which mainly refers to rare earth.

In the field of international rare earth trade, China has never mastered the pricing power, and has never used export restriction to wage a trade war; in fact, such tactics have been applied often by the Trump administration. 

Western countries headed by the United States have enjoyed strategic rare earth supplies at an unimaginably low price for a long time.

As for the field of supply chain, it was the US defense contractors who decided to transfer production chain to China or purchase on-shelf products from China to gain from lower prices, leaving China to deal with environmental costs.   

The US has ripped every fruit from its transactions with China and now it's turning the back to depict China as a "thief." There is no better phrase to describe US' allegations than "thief shouting thief." 

The release of such a report just a month before the mid-term polls is nothing more than a political stunt by Trump and his friends in the Grand Old Party (GOP) to deviate and divert public attention from their own failures.  

Given the timing, the White House report, along with US Vice President Mike Pence's October 4 speech on China's "meddling in elections" and a Bloomberg report about "Chinese hacker chips" published on the same day, have constituted a coordinated new wave of "Chinese threat theory."

For voters, Trump administration and the GOP have created a tense atmosphere, where they must vote for hard lined "dragon-slayers." For business, it's forcing them to flee the Chinese mainland and establish a new manufacturing chain completely decoupled from China.

American voters and companies should realize that the Trump administration and hawkish Republicans are unable to provide the country with a long-term strategy. What they are pursuing is short-term political capital, for which they don't hesitate to hurt every important economic partner of the US.

The American people have benefited a lot from Sino-US strategic stability and economic cooperation in the past and will continue to benefit as the bilateral relations flourish.

The Trump administration's hazardous and short-sighted political tricks will only result in a double loss for both Chinese and American people.

 

 

Kang Jie is an assistant research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies. 

 

 

Source: CGTN, October 6, 2018.

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