Trump shifts from provoking to engaging to pressuring China


"US arms sales to Taiwan and the sanctions against Chinese enterprises have damaged the basis and mutual trust between the two countries, it also contradicts the spirit and consensus of the two leaders' meeting in Mar A Lago", said Cui.

China, which borders North Korea and is considered its only major ally, argues that negotiations are the best way to persuade Pyongyang to halt its nuclear and missile activities. On Friday, Axios reported the White House is "hell-bent" on potentially imposing tariffs of around 20 percent on steel and other imports from countries such as China.

Bass noted that the US on Thursday announced sanctions on a Chinese firm and two Chinese citizens for their dealings with North Korea.

Donald Trump was violently blasted the trade policy of China during the presidential campaign.

"All that is built upon a massive credit expansion that they're going to have to come up" against, he said.

The US arms sales is testing the waters and is a common move in worldwide politics, but Taiwan should play it smart, especially amid growing disparity of military strength and political influence between Taiwan and China, he said.

"China has already lodged protests with the U.S. side here in Beijing and in Washington". The US moves have sparked speculation about a new slump in bilateral relations but this is probably premature.

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U.S. officials told Reuters this week that Trump was growing increasingly frustrated with China over its inaction on North Korea and bilateral trade issues, and is now considering possible trade actions against Beijing.

The US imposed sanctions on a Chinese bank and a shipping company on Thursday for helping North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and accused a Chinese bank of laundering money for Pyongyang. "The Chinese leadership will wonder if the Trump administration will sanction a medium-sized Chinese bank next", he said". Instead of engaging in an open back-and-forth on North Korea strategy, he said, Chinese officials including foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi presented Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis with well-recited policy positions.

Jia Qingguo, dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University and who has advised the government on foreign policy, cautioned against interpreting recent events as indicating a shift in China-U.S. relations, saying it was still too early to tell. Last year, the number of group tourist arrivals from China dropped by about 18 percent over 2015.

The Trump administration has formally notified Congress of the defense sales comprised of seven parts, the official said, which are "based on an assessment of Taiwan's defense needs" and include upgrading defense systems from analog to digital.

China reserves the right for further response to United States actions, Cui added.

"The US has repeatedly said that it has profound interest in maintaining peace and stability across the Straits".

With relations between the U.S. and China fragile, holding a joint live-fire military display with the Thai army could be seen as making things worse - especially when Trump's chief advisor Steve Bannon believes America and China will be at war 'within a few years'.