Chinese commentary on the Trump administration’s foreign policy has avoided making hostile responses to what Beijing may regard as notable U.S. provocations. This cautious stance most likely reflects at least three factors. First, the Chinese recognize that presidential campaigns often produce aggressive rhetoric, but a new administration eventually moderates its stance in the face of practical constraints. Second, the upcoming 19th Party Congress in fall 2017 strongly indicates the need for Beijing to avoid actions that could generate a foreign policy crisis. Third, the Chinese probably believe that Trump ultimately will take a pragmatic and transactional approach toward the Sino-American relationship. The current Chinese viewpoint, however, could darken considerably were Washington or Beijing to adopt confrontational stances toward sensitive and potentially volatile foreign policy issues such as North Korea, Taiwan, or the South China Sea.
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Chinese Views on the Trump Administration’s Asia Policy