'Patience Bears Sweet Fruit': Beijing Adopted Watch-and-Wait Policy Toward Trump

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US President-elect Donald Trump's "unpredictability" has prompted growing concerns among the US' longstanding allies and partners in both Europe and Asia. However, Beijing remains calm and unwavering regardless of Trump's tough rhetoric toward China.

Donald Trump's China policy still raises a lot of questions and has prompted observers to assume that his presidency will add uncertainty to the Sino-American relationship.

"Yet prudence flows through China's Confucian veins," Dr. Keyu Jin of the London School of Economics wrote in her November op-ed for Project Syndicate.

"Rather than jumping to conclusions about future US policies, much less taking premature action, China's leaders have remained neutral in their response to Trump's victory," she emphasized.

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Beijing has not been disheartened by Trump's tough rhetoric, Dr. Jin noted, highlighting that "Trump has all but ceased China-bashing since the election."

Furthermore, the video of Trump's granddaughter reciting a poem in Mandarin has become an "instant hit" in China, the academic remarked.

It was also reported that Trump offered Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who called Chinese leader Xi Jinping his "long-time friend," to become the US ambassador to China.

"As past US elections have made clear, rhetoric may well bear little relation to reality," she noted, stressing that "the truth is that the Chinese are far more offended by national leaders meeting with the Dalai Lama, as President Barack Obama did in June."

Up until now nothing hinted at any trouble, however, Trump's Friday telephone conversation with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen sparked a storm of criticism from Chinese observers.

"The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!" Trump tweeted later that day.

​Indeed, "it is believed to be the first time a president or president-elect has spoken with the leader of Taiwan since diplomatic ties between Washington and Taipei were cut off in 1979," The Wall Street Journal reported on December 2.

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For its part, Taipei has made an attempt to downplay the incident.

"One phone call does not mean a policy shift. We all see the value of stability in the region," Tsai underscored in her interview with USA Today.

However, the controversy continued to simmer.

"The call mirrored the attempt of Tsai's administration to break through its dilemma in the current cross-Straits ties and to provoke the Chinese mainland," Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, noted in his op-ed for The Global Times.

"Yet for Trump, answering the call means that he still has much to learn about how to deal with the Sino-US relationship, especially the Taiwan question," the Chinese academic stressed.

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Despite the US have maintained unofficial cooperation with Taiwan since 1979, Washington de juro is pursuing the "One China policy" which stipulates that those who are seeking diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC) should break official ties with the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) and vice versa.  

Trump's phone conversation amounted to a violation of the One China principle in the eyes of the Chinese.

To add insult to injury, the US President-elect criticized China for building "a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea" and currency manipulations following the controversial phone call.

​​"The president-elect's behaviors have jeopardized China's interests, breached the one-China policy, and thus aroused a public uproar in China," The Global Times pointed out Tuesday.

However, Chinese scholars highlight that Beijing has adopted "a watch-and-wait policy" toward the US President-elect actions.

"The Chinese government is still taking a watch-and-wait policy, and expects a smooth development of the China-US relationship in Trump's era," Shi Yinhong, director of the Center for American Studies at Renmin University of China, told the media outlet.

"There is no need to make a fuss about Trump at present as he has not yet officially taken office, and his provocations will result in little serious consequences," Wang Yiwei, senior fellow of international relations at Renmin University of China, noted, "To put the situation under control, China can choose to protest against Trump's irresponsible words and deeds via diplomatic channels at the current stage."

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