America’s Asian allies are nervous that President Donald Trump could strike some kind of bargain with China that will strengthen China’s power in the region, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to Andrew Browne, China sees Trump’s upcoming visit as an opportunity for deal-making. While China is unlikely to give up its mercantalist trade policies or do anything that would lead to the collapse of the North Korean regime, it may make some minor concessions in pursuit of control of territory in the South China Sea and East China Sea, Browne writes.
And how is China hoping to manipulate Trump into striking a more-or-less one-sided bargain? By using his family to influence him, as they have been doing ever since election day.
Chinese diplomats work on the U.S. president through his family. Jared Kushner opened the door for them to the inner circle. On the day she and her father were meeting Mr. Xi in Mar-a-Lago earlier this year, Ivanka Trump scored a breakthrough in an application to obtain Chinese trademarks for a line of handbags and spas.
The outreach has paid dividends for Beijing. Mr. Trump is gushing about his Chinese counterpart, telling Lou Dobbs on the Fox Business Network after Mr. Xi’s elevation to Mao-like status at last month’s party congress that “some people might call him the king of China.”
To the “barbarian handlers” around Mr. Xi, all this sets up well for Mr. Trump’s visit to Beijing. They inherit an imperial tradition of statecraft that bought off hostile tribes along the borders with a mixture of flattery and baubles.