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Trump presidency poses economic challenge to China, but Sino-US ties will be unaffected, says state media

China’s official state media say Donald Trump becoming the next US president will pose an economic challenge for Beijing in areas such as trade and currency, but the general pattern of Sino-US ties will not be affected.

The Liaowang Institute, a think-tank affiliated with Xinhua news agency, said in a report that, judging by the content of Trump’s presidential campaign speeches, his China policy would focus more on economic opportunities, rather than security challenges.

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Trump would prioritise economic ties and introduce harsh measures such as tax imports, or even file a lawsuit with the World Trade Organisation, if he believed China was dumping or subsidising its products, the report said.

It also predicted that the next US government was very likely to brand China as a currency manipulator, or introduce protectionist measures, such as hefty punitive tariffs.

Trump’s public preference for low interest rates might ease depreciation pressures on the renminbi, but would “undoubtedly make any economic rebound in China more difficult” and cause commodity prices to rise and bring additional inflationary pressure to China.

The report assumed Trump’s remarks that he viewed China as a military threat were made only as lip service to garner support, and that he was very likely to introduce measures to reduce the US’ military strategic presence abroad. This would, in turn, allow China to expand its field of influence in the Asia Pacific region.

However, the report also said that, at the same time, such a policy might spark instability in the region and upset the existing status quo.

Trump’s pledges on East Asia would bring about “dramatic change” to the balance of power in the region, which meant an opportunity – and greater demand – for China providing its diplomatic advice and experience.

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“If handled properly, East Asia will become an area where China’s power and influence can spread and help to banish the Cold War mentality.

“If not, any imbalance of power in the region could grow worse and become a source of problems that could challenge China’s security,” the report says.

Meanwhile, a signed commentary in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily said Trump becoming the next US president would have an impact on the whole world, including the Sino-US relationship, but generally ties between the two countries would not alter.

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Bilateral trade volume last year reached US$ 550 billion and was estimated to reach US$ 1 trillion by 2024, so it was in the interests of both nations to have good relations – rather than conflicts, it said.

Even it there were disagreements, the two nations had adopted a mature and effective framework for handling disputes, it said.

“China and the United States, as two mature countries, can handle many different complicated and sensitive issues and cooperate constructively in solving all disputes – whether they are involve bilateral, regional or global matters,” it said.