Airstrikes on Syria might also send message to North Korea

Violet Powell
April 17, 2017

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, seeking assurances of USA protection, was an early visitor to both the White House and Trump's Florida resort Mar-a-Lago.

The second point that is clear is that the new United States administration is abandoning former President Barack Obama's "leading-from-behind" posture, resuming its traditional leadership role on issues of major importance.

Xi's comments came after Trump tweeted that China should do more on an issue that Washington sees as an increasingly urgent threat, or else the US would go it alone. For China, whose foreign policy bureaucracy continues to wrangle with the overall direction of Trump's foreign policy amid mixed signals, factoring these tendencies in USA decision-making on the North Korean problem and the South China Sea will be a necessity. The American reaction - condemnation as usual - raised expectations that the "dealmaker-in-chief" might push for a bargain with Xi in order to contain the growing projection capabilities of nuclear Pyongyang.

North Korea now has the strength to "wipe out" the United States "in a moment" with an H-bomb, the editorial said. Mr. Trump accepted with pleasure and said he hoped to go soon.

Lin Fei-fan, 28, a political science graduate student at Taiwan National University, was chiefly concerned with Trump's policy toward Taiwan after he backed down over the "One China" policy in keeping with Beijing's wishes.

Trump's upbeat assessment of the relations with China contrasted with blunt talk about ties with Russian Federation, a country with which he had repeatedly vowed to start a new partnership. It was an affront to China, which takes pains to restrict and curb any official actions of Taiwanese representatives that may appear as diplomatic acts of a sovereign nation.

The ministry said it also showed once more that there was little to gain from talking to Britain, which it said had no real influence over world affairs. Nevertheless, the meticulously orchestrated Trump-Xi summit could produce fruitful results.

No less contentious are China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, which overlap with those of its neighbors Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Trump declares US-Russia relations may be at 'all-time low'
During the election campaign he resolved not to become involved in costly foreign wars such as that in Syria. Washington said that account was not credible, and rebels have denied it. "I like to think they didn't know".

Meanwhile, a joint command centre made up of the forces of Russia, Iran and militias supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday said the USA strike on a Syrian air base on Friday crossed "red lines" and it would respond to any new aggression and increase its support for its ally.

On security issues, experts foresee more confrontation as China's military is seen to be challenging over 70 years of United States dominance. Beijing has been gasping for a right strategy to deal with the unpredictable and less-restrained USA under Trump ever since his campaign days, and the attack seems to have delayed the inevitable. Official statements released after the summit stuck to generalities.

Would Donald Trump be an exception to the presidential rule on America's China policy? But the notion that China would replace the USA as the dominant global power was not considered plausible - by either the Chinese or observers around the world - until Trump's presidency. He signed two executive orders calling for tighter enforcement of tariffs imposed in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy trade cases, as well as a comprehensive review of U.S. trade deficits.

The visit was overshadowed by the missile barrage aimed at Syria, announced shortly after Trump and Xi wrapped up dinner Thursday night.

The official Chinese reaction was muted. "It's hard to imagine any other country in the world making that kind of unilateral strike - certainly not China".

Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the development "bodes well for cooperation between the USA and China".

"When it comes to the issue of the Korean Peninsula, violence is not an option", he said.

Three months into his presidency, Trump has entered the playing field of geopolitics.

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