Why China Will Never Put America First

A Chinese People's Armed Police guard on Tiananmen Square. Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons/Luo Shaoyang

The Trump administration will eventually awaken to the fact that Beijing cannot, and has no desire to, deliver on North Korea.

Indeed in the current phase the Taiwan “irritant” gets in the way of the relationship President Trump wants with China in order to deal with Pyongyang, and consequently Taipei and other longstanding U.S. partners in Asia will have to show resilience and patience and not expect anything substantial to come their way for the foreseeable future. When it comes to arms sales, Taiwan has experienced long delays before, both under Bush Jr. and Obama; and in the present case the lack of progress can probably also be attributed to the fact that the people at the Department of Defense and other agencies who handle such matters have yet to be appointed by the Trump administration.

Like those that came before it, the Trump administration will eventually awaken to the fact that Beijing cannot, and has no desire to, deliver on North Korea. When this happens, Beijing will lose much of its luster in the eyes of Trump administration officials, and much of its leverage. Following that, U.S. policy towards the Asia-Pacific region and Taiwan will swing back toward the center and become recognizable once again.

Like his predecessors, President Trump suffers from amnesia and is currently ignoring the lessons of history. The day will come when he realizes that China will never be the partner that he would like for it to be.

J. Michael Cole is a Taipei-based senior nonresident fellow with the China Policy Institute, University of Nottingham, UK, and a research associate with the French Center for Research on Contemporary China. He is chief editor of Taiwan Sentinel.

Image: A Chinese People's Armed Police guard on Tiananmen Square. Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons/Luo Shaoyang

Pages