China expert and Daily Beast columnist Gordon Chang, author of The Coming Collapse of China, told SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Monday’s edition of Breitbart News Daily that President Donald Trump is making some bold moves to get nuclear talks with North Korea moving again while appearing to ease pressure on China to secure a trade deal.
Chang said President Donald Trump’s Sunday meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un on the Demilitarized Zone was “a historic event by any measure.”
“President Trump is the first sitting American president to go into North Korea,” he observed. “They held a 15-minute talk together, which I think is a good sign.”
Chang said Trump’s goal is to create a “favorable environment” so Kim feels “secure enough” to commit to denuclearization.
“This is President Trump’s attempt to entice the North Koreans into good behavior. The one thing that is important here is that no nation – not the Chinese, not the Russians, not the South Koreans – have been successful in enticing the Kim regime to do the right thing. But President Trump is extraordinary, so we’re seeing an attempt which could fail, or it could succeed.”
Chang said Trump’s meeting with Kim was a surprise, even though some chatter about the possibility had been heard from government sources beforehand. He said it taught an important lesson that “Trump can do incredible things on short notice” that should be heeded by other world leaders, such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“He will assert American power, and he is going to make sure that these guys are kept off-balance,” he said.
Chang acknowledged that “many people, including me, don’t like some of the day-to-day developments, don’t like some of the things he actually says,” such as Trump’s effusive praise for Kim Jong-un when diplomacy is going well.
“Nonetheless, what the president is doing in broad outline is, I think, excellent,” he said. “For instance, he is reducing our involvement in the Middle East, where we have certainly a lot less interest than we once had because we are now going to be the world’s next energy superpower for quite some time.”
“Also, he is deterring the Chinese, and that, of course, is extremely important,” Chang continued. “The one thing we’ve got to focus on, and most Americans don’t, is that we Americans for more than a century have drawn our Western defense perimeter off the coast of East Asia – so it’s South Korea, Japan, Philippines.”
“This is important for us because if we’re going to deal with the bad actors in Asia, we need to deal with them over there – rather than, for instance, on the shores of Guam, or God forbid Hawaii or California,” he explained.
Chang noted that one of Trump’s major Asian policy goals is not merely to denuclearize North Korea, but to “take North Korea away from China.”
“North Korea is China’s only formal military ally. It has been the cat’s paw bedeviling Japan, South Korea, the United States, and others. This could very well be an attempt of a much broader play,” he said.
Turning the trade war with China, Chang predicted that even though negotiations appear to have resumed after President Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Japan over the weekend, “it’s going to be very difficult to come to a long-term deal, largely because there are those political factors in Beijing that are pushing the Chinese away.”
Chang said Trump’s easing of restrictions on China’s Huawei telecom giant are “disturbing” given that the U.S. considers the company’s products a threat to national security because they could be compromised by Chinese intelligence.
“The thing that’s disturbing here is that Xi Jinping issued, before the Osaka G20 meeting, a public demand to Trump to give them a reprieve. Unfortunately, President Trump saw fit to do that, so it looks like the Chinese leader is telling the United States what its policy should be. We need to erase that impression,” he urged.
“I can’t come up with a rationale for doing this,” he said of the Huawei decision. “When we look at Huawei, you know, they compete with us and so do others. That’s fair. But what is not fair is that Huawei, from its founding in 1987 to today, has been stealing U.S. intellectual property.”
“That’s the way that they have been able to grow,” he said. “They’ve got illegal subsidies from the Chinese central government. Their equipment is being used by Beijing to surreptitiously take data from other countries.”
“Clearly they are a threat, and we’ve got to do everything we can to put that company out of business. The one thing we shouldn’t be doing is helping them in any way,” he declared.
Chang saw little serious discussion of foreign policy among the Democrat presidential contenders, aside from a little “carping” about Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-un. He disapprovingly recalled frontrunner Joe Biden saying he does see China as a competitor and later having to “walk that unbelievable statement back.”
“If a Democrat wants to be the president of the United States, that person has got to have serious thoughts about foreign policy challenges, and we have yet to hear that from any of them,” he said.
Chang found it pleasantly surprising that Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo was willing to confront Chinese President Xi Jinping about the situation in Hong Kong, defying Chinese orders not to broach the subject during the G20 summit.
“This is important because, as we speak, there are violent clashes around the Legislative Council building. There could be some pretty adverse developments that take place as the Hong Kong government decides what it’s going to do about the protests,” he said.
“The big issue in Hong Kong is that despite the very large, one million person protests on June 9, there was no response from the Hong Kong government until there were violent clashes on the 12th. It taught the protesters that only violence will move the Hong Kong government,” he recalled.
“That’s why we saw two million people on the streets on the 16th. And yet, even two million people on the 16th did not get Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, to do the right thing about the extradition bill and some other matters,” he said.
“The Hong Kong government has taught people that only force will work, and we know from history that events are going to run downhill very fast,” he warned.
Chang looked at reports of Chinese fighter jets behaving aggressively toward a Canadian warship in the South China Sea as an importing sign that “it’s not just the United States now that is patrolling China’s periphery.”
“It used to be that it was just the U.S. Navy and the Air Force. Now we’re seeing the French, the British, the Australians, and the Canadians do the same thing, which is an important message to Beijing that this is an international issue. It’s not just the United States. The important point for Beijing is that nations in the world are going to keep the global commons open despite what Beijing thinks,” he said.
Chang said it was also important to maintain pressure against Beijing over its appalling treatment of the Uighur Muslims of Xinjiang province, many of whom have been imprisoned in genuine concentration camps.
“These are concentration camps, and Uighurs are dying in these camps,” he said. “These camps are not only in the Uighur areas in the northwestern part of what China considers to be its periphery but also in Tibet. We might see these throughout the rest of China.”
“This is a crime against humanity,” he contended. “We’re facing the question that the world faced in the 1930s about Germany because we now have enough information to know what’s happening. The question is, what are we going to do about it?”
“The most important thing is, we need to start containing China. We need to start talking about this in public, as Secretary of State Pompeo to his credit has been doing. We need at some point to isolate and not have commercial and investment relations with a country that is committing crimes against humanity on the scale that we’re seeing right now,” he advised.
From that perspective, Chang said it was “unbelievable” that Apple is planning to shift production of its Mac Pro computers from the United States to China.
“Apple has told us which side it’s on. I’m just at a loss for words at what Apple is doing by moving production of the Mac Pro out of Austin, Texas to Shanghai,” he sighed.
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