New era dawns as Beijing bucks US

New era dawns as Beijing bucks US, by Glenda Korporaal.

This week’s tension between naval ships from China and the US in the South China Sea has confirmed a growing concern in Beijing.

That is, that US President Don­ald Trump’s angry trade war is not part of a specific goal that can be solved by official-to-­official negotiation, or a specific trade concession, but part of a broader strategy to contain the rise of China on both economic and military fronts.

China’s rising economic power has been accompanied by island-building in the South China Sea, including military installations, and expanding aid and investment in the Pacific.

Now China is finding new and harder lines are being drawn in the sand by the US on the trade front and Western powers on the naval front. …

It is now clear that the US, and its Western friends and allies, including Britain and Japan, have a strategy of more proactively conducting freedom-of-navigation exercises to challenge China’s claims of sovereignty. …

On a broader front, China is starting to realise that the Trump trade threats and US-led tougher line on the South China Sea are all part of the same approach.

“Xi and his team (have) made a fundamental shift in their views of the trade war from thinking it was a manageable dispute to now believing it is part of a broader American plan to keep China down,” US-based China watcher Bill Bishop wrote in the latest edition of his Sinocism newsletter.

He predicts China will begin working “increasingly hard to wean itself from as much ­dependence and reliance on the US as possible … Welcome to the new era of US-China relations.”