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President Trump Can Win Big – in Pending Deal with China

Posted on Sunday, January 13, 2019
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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15 Comments
diplomat

Something big is happening behind the scenes – with China.  In the headlines, China has been put under trade pressure by President Trump, even as that country’s growth rate slows.  China is being called out by the US President for anti-competitive behavior.  The two Presidents – Xi and Trump – have set a March 2 deadline for concluding a comprehensive agreement, to rebalance the trade relationship.

The operative word is “comprehensive.”  There is much more at stake – and President Trump has a chance, behind the scenes, to set things right in a number of collateral areas.  These areas will affect older Americans in important ways, but also the country at large.

Prepare for this:  Even as official Washington obsesses about the “partial shutdown,” which affects exactly one quarter of one percent of the American workforce, the stock market, broader economy, manufacturing and agricultural sectors are going to get a shot in the arm as soon as the China deal is fixed – likely in March. 

This will put pressure on Congress – Democrats and Republicans, especially in 2016 Trump States – to ratify the deal as a treaty, or to endorse if not at treaty rank.  The net effect, will be to reduce worry about the US-China trade war, lift investments, job prospects, wages, employment and pensions. 

When this deal is inked, a major source of uncertainty will be lifted, and a big economic relationship (optimally) rebalanced.  This will represent a “great leap” forward in US-China relations.

That said, other key elements (possible codicils) to this agreement should not be omitted.  Five issues should be referenced in this accord, either as formal commitments or agreed understandings.  President Trump – and his Secretaries of State, Defense, Treasury and Commerce – can then force accountability over the next two – or next six – years.

What are these five big issues with China?

First, overt Communist repression of religious freedom is a major concern, and reportedly getting worse.  The Wall Street Journal recently devoted half a page last week to escalating “foreign criticism of policing, mass detentions and forced-assimilation measures” associated with repression of religious minorities, especially Muslims in Xinjiang region. 

Behind the scenes, China has been pressing members of the U.N. Human Rights Council – a group so ostensibly political the US resigned from it last year – not to examine China’s repression of religious minorities.  The raw fact:  “President Xi Jinping launched a security campaign that U.N. Officials said may have placed as many as one million Uighurs and other Muslims in internment camps.” 

If it can happen to Muslim minorities, it can happen to others – and it is.  Christians are regularly rounded up, imprisoned, reeducated, property taken, barred from worshiping by the Chinese Government. 

Examples of recent Christian repression suggest a Chinese crack down on those of faith, especially Christians.  Thus, last month, Chinese police in Chendu rounded up pastors and congregants of what it considered an “underground” protestant church.  In detail, redible reports state: “The shutdown of a Protestant Church in Chendu epitomizes the Xi Jinping government’s relentless assault on religious freedom in China.”

Accordingly, the Trump White House should press Xi for concrete indications of greater tolerance for basic religious freedom, on merits and tied to conditions – positive or negative – that will flow from future Chinese practices.  Trade is about trade, and also about leverage to prevent bad events from happening.  Americans should be against Chinese imprisonment of those who want only to worship freely.

Second, China is arguably the number one producer of synthetic opioids killing Americans, including fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.  The US Centers for Disease Control reports that overdose deaths rose 54 percent from 2011 to 2016, and continue to rise.  They report that “the synthetic drug fentanyl” is involved in the most US overdoses.

President Trump has been verbally tough on this issue with China – and rightly so.  Last fall, he tweeted:  “It is outrageous that poisonous synthetic heroin fentanyl comes pouring into the US postal system from China. We can and must END THIS NOW!”  He called on the US Senate to pass the “STOP ACT,” which was directed at curbing the opioid crisis – which they did. 

But the inflow of synthetic drugs – especially fentanyl – continues unabated from China.  It is time to insist that they clamp down on the 600 illicit producers in China.  If that Communist country can round up and imprison those of faith for their faith, they can catch criminals producing illicit pharmaceuticals – which kill thousands of Americans annually. 

Third, China’s enforcement of sanctions against North Korea should be reviewed, and – as we watch the enforcement slip and trade creep back up between China and North Korea – we should hold them to account.  If North Korea is to see the value in denuclearization, there must be unity in sanctions enforcement.  Provisions offering some degree of accountability should be integrated into the final accord.

Fourth, China’s full tilt push for hegemony in the South China Sea should be addressed.  While non-military options for rolling back their aggressive behavior are limited, trade is one lever.  The free passage of all international shipping, whether close or far from the artificial islands China assured the world it was not building, then not militarizing – and now stand built and militarized – should still be assured.  The world’s oceans are a global asset; artificial islands do not make them China’s.

Finally, Communist China is a repressor of virtually every human right enshrined in our Bill of Rights – from free speech and press to fair trial and appeals.  We should use this opportunity to reinforce the US and global – indeed the universal – ideal of freedom of the individual against the power of coercive state action.  We can only move the Communist monolith slowly toward individual liberty, but we should not stop trying. 

In the end, President Trump deserves credit for forcing greater parity, mutuality, and trade accountability on a resistant Communist trading partner, but he should widen the conversation to include issues of paramount importance to every American. 

The deal will pop the market and settle the economy, but religious freedom, mounting drug crisis, opportunity to raise pressure on North Korea, throttle back Chinese military ambitions, and stand for values Ronald Reagan once championed in another era all matter.  President Trump can win big – if he aims high.

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Chuck
Chuck
5 years ago

Noble goals that are attainable. Too bad Congress is filled with spineless wimps and obstructionists to pass this as a Treaty with China. We are past the point of President George Washington’s warning of foreign entanglements.

Concerned
Concerned
5 years ago

So we as a country have a “STOP ACT,” which was an attempt at curbing the opioid crisis, but continue to allow China to send these drugs into our country unabated? Do these sill come in and are being delivered via the USPS? If so, as the USPS is a governmental agency, what steps have been taken or are very soon to be taken by our Government to STOP this? Who is in charge of the USPS and what are they doing to comply with the the “STOP ACT”? Do something and do it quickly!

Bob L.
Bob L.
5 years ago

“Dealing” with Red China is no better than the support the West, especially the US, gave to the Soviet Union during WW II.
We shouldn’t be giving Red China the time of day- period.

Ken Carter
Ken Carter
5 years ago

Maybe our “news media” should report on the members of our government that benefit directly and indirectly from the “status quo” trade agreements with China. As if that information will ever be made public!

John
John
5 years ago

As much as I fear the threat of a (possible) eventual Islamic world domination, I really believe that China is a much bigger threat to America & the west right now. Islam is in no hurry with their civilization Jihad but if we dont take care of China soon (while Trump is president) it might be to late. Democrats would probably go in the opposite direction needed. 🙁

JOHN K
JOHN K
5 years ago

One of the last events to happen in china is the collapse of the bamboo curtain for a window of opportunity to open for Christianity Like the opening of Russia to the Gospel when the Soviet Union collapsed and the wall came down. Could this be a catalyst?

Kim
Kim
5 years ago

China is a coiled cat, waiting to pounce. We and all other free economies around the world should be very wary.
Not only are they building islands in open waters of the South China Sea, but their considerable influence is spreading to regions elsewhere and not far from us. The Dominican Republic and some Latin American countries are breaking ties with Taiwan and realigning them with Communist China. An African island nation has committed allegiance to China. Two ports on the ends of the Panama Canal are run by Chinese companies, and they tried to pass legislation in Panama requiring all students to learn Mandarin! I don’t know if they succeeded. This is the tip of the iceberg, and potentially more crucial than trade to the autonomy of free nations. We can all do with less stuff from China, but I don’t relish the idea of learning a foreign language.

Kim
Kim
5 years ago

China is a coiled cat, waiting to pounce. We and other free economies around the world should be very wary. Not only are they defiantly building islands in open waters of the South China Sea, but their considerable influence is also spreading to regions elsewhere and not far from us.

The Dominican Republic and some Latin American countries are breaking ties with Taiwan and realigning with Communist China. An African island nation has committed allegiance to China. Two ports at the ends of the Panama Canal are run by Chinese companies, and they tried to pass legislation in Panama requiring students to learn Mandarin! I don’t know if they succeeded.

This is the tip of the iceberg, and potentially more crucial to the autonomy of free nations than trade is. We can all do with less stuff from China, but I don’t relish the idea of learning a new language, che-che, very much.

Kim
Kim
5 years ago

Excuse me, AMAC, but could you please tell me why my comment about being wary of China’s intentions is still in moderation?

chaly
chaly
5 years ago

Mr. Trump, when talking to China about trade I’m pretty sure the North China Sea will come up. Tell them to stay out of our business and clear out! Our military will respond.

N Slepsky
N Slepsky
5 years ago

Just like what the Demz would like, but only for Christians.

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