The PRC’s Message to President Trump

By Danny Lam

President Trump’s state visit to PRC began with an explicit warning from the PLA who tested a solid fueled, road mobile ICBM capable of reaching the US on the Monday November 6 when President Trump was in Japan.

This is consistent with past practice where the PLA rolled out a new J-20 fighter in January 2011 when Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited Hu Jintao.

Previous incidents like the PRC’s 2007 anti-satellite missile test that revealed a central government “in the dark” about the issue;   The abrupt cancellation of the 2007 Kitty Hawk’s routine and previously scheduled port visit in Hongkong – a decision that was subsequently reversed but too late for the families that flew in to Hongkong for the reunion – is indicative of the real China, not the fictional China of Xi’s propaganda.  This incident was most recently repeated (without the reversal) for the April 2016 visit of the carrier strike group John C. Stennis.

These incidents involving the PLA acting on their own apparently with little knowledge, input, or consideration, let alone command and control from the civilian authorities – the CCP – that nominally control the Chinese military, illustrate the extent to which the PLA is a law onto themselves irrespective of the “leading role” of the communist party that is enshrined in the PRC constitution.

Chinese political tradition dating back to Sun Tzu that military trumps civilian authority in war supersedes PRC-CCP institutions that subsume the PLA under CCP.

The ICBM test before President Trump arrived could have been intended by Xi.

But previous incidents suggest that it was likely done without the knowledge and consent of Xi. If President Xi Jinping intended to present himself as a “core leader” “most powerful since Mao”, he apparently failed to either intentionally or negligently recognize the damage done to his claim of peaceful development with the ICBM test.

If it was done without his knowledge, it affirms his standing as the Generalissimo Chiang Kai Sek of the era.

President Trump arrived November 8 with the intention of only a brief 20 minute dinner, but that became a 2 hour discussion with President Xi.

The welcoming parade next day was intended to convey to President Trump the military might of the PRC that is nominally under the command of President Xi.

But at the same time, the schedule that put bilateral issues like trade ahead of security issues reflected Xi’s intention to deflect US demands for PRC to act on DPRK.

However, there were interesting hints in the Joint Press Statement as to what was discussed: President Xi termed it, “in-depth discussions on China-U.S. relations and major international and regional issues of mutual interest”.

At the top of that agenda for the US is PRC’s stance toward DPRK, and how PRC will respond to a US led military solution?

And what ability does Xi have to command and control his own military?

Xi’s statement: “The two sides will maintain communication and cooperation on the Korean Peninsula issue.”   When taken together with JCS Chairman Joe Dunford’s efforts in August during his visit to PRC to “continue to develop our military-to-military relationships, to mitigate the risk of miscalculation in the region and to have cooperation where those opportunities exist.” This required the implementation of a “hotline” between the PRC and US which have been long stalled by the PRC.

What about the PRC’s demand for carving out a sphere of influence in the Pacific?   President Xi referred to: “Pacific Ocean is big enough to accommodate both China and the United States”, which reflected the longstanding demand by the PRC to force the US out of Northeast / East / Southeast Asia.

Moreover, Xi then adds: “It is important to respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, respect each other’s choice of development path and our difference.”

From the PRC’s view, “sovereignty and territorial integrity” will include expansive claims to nearly the whole of South China Sea, Senkaku Islands, and Taiwan to start.

But there is more.

The PRC’s iridescent claims based on “history” was used by President Xi to persuade President Trump at Mar-a-lago that Korea was formerly a part of China. By that standard, PRC will have claims to vast stretches of Russian territory ceded under the Treaty of Aigun and the Convention of Peking under the Ching Dynasty, and Outer Mongolia which Republic of China argue was illegally detached from China.

The ramifications of the PRC’s “One Belt One Road” program for PRC sovereignty claims have been little noticed.

If one compares the OBOR scheme with the Mongol Empire’s maximum extension circa 1279 — which by PRC logic is a successor state of the Mongol Empire — would expand territorial claims across Eurasia from the Pacific Ocean to all of the Middle East and Central Europe.

President Trump, in his rejoinder, explicitly called out (without naming PRC) “All responsible nations must join together to stop arming and financing — and even trading with — the murderous North Korean regime.”

This statement made clear the US is fully cognizant of how complicit PRC elements (whether with or without Xi’s knowledge and consent) are actively working to arm, finance and trade with DPRK.

There was no support for Xi’s OBOR scheme or his iridescent territorial claims in President Trump’s remarks.

The State Dinner was a particularly interesting feature —- as this was a sharp deviation from Chinese hospitality where “face” is a quality that is valued above most things.   The menu was austere and featured a $30 Chinese wine.

This matched the basic menu offered by President Trump at Mar-a-lago in April and is one step up from four dishes and one soup.

President Trump’s achievement on the visit was to make clear to President Xi that he has one last chance to “faithfully implement United Nations Security Council resolutons on North Korea” and use his “great economic influence” to denuclearize the Korean Peninsular.   Song Tao, special envoy of President Xi was sent to DPRK on Nov. 17 to negotiate with Cohe Ryong Hae, vice chair of the WPK.

The military threat posed to Beijing by DPRK’s nuclear weapons was underlined by North Korea’s accelerating work on a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile capability that almost certainly is intended to be a second strike capability aimed at the PRC.

No doubt President Trump impressed on President Xi that he has no credible defense against a DPRK nuclear attack on Beijing.

The PRC strategy of giving President Trump a symbolic victory by announcing $250 billion in non-binding trade commitments was instrumental in limiting any overt public criticism of PRC and President Xi while President Trump was on PRC soil, but as soon as President Trump arrived at APEC, his stance toward PRC was made clear by his commitment to end ““audacious theft” of intellectual property from American companies and the forced transfer of technology”, though he carefully skirted direct criticism of President Xi.

President Xi, on the other hand, successfully pushed for his own view of globalization with Chinese socialist characteristics: the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) alternative to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

But there is more.

In a stunning upset, Canada’s Trudeau regime sabotaged the signing ceremony for the Trans Pacific Partnership 11 (without USA) trade agreement that was co-chaired by Japan and Australia by raising last minute objections and demanding major changes.

The Trudeau Liberals gave lame excuses after the fact as to why they reneged on their prior (less than 24 hours previous) commitment by Canadian Minister for International Trade François-Philippe Champagne to sign the deal.

Minister Champagne reneged on the deal with a Twitter post late in the evening of November 9 (9:30am ET) without informing the Co-Chairs.

Meanwhile, PM Trudeau met with President Nieto of Mexico to undermine the consensus before meeting with PM Abe to demand major changes 20 minutes before the signing ceremony – which collapsed the consensus.

The clear and direct beneficiary of terminating TPP11 was PRC.

Canada and the Trudeau regime’s motives and intentions in acting in a manner that guaranteed the TPP11 to be set back for years, rather than graciously withdrawing from the pact well before the signing ceremony initially puzzled allies.

When viewed with the high priority effort by Canada to join the East Asia Summit and become an elected member of the UNSC, it raises other questions.

Why the sudden interest by the Liberal regime in two forums that are “strategic and security forum[s], focused on practical measures to improve regional co-operation and certainty, not just rhetoric.”

And if Canada joined, what and who’s interest will they be speaking for?

Canada’s sudden interest under the Liberals in joining and participating in strategic and security forums is all the more curious when it is placed in the context of the Trudeau Liberal’s intentional undermining of NATO’s efforts to increase member’s defense spending during the past year by creative (or fraudulent) accounting that saw Canadian defense spending rise from 1% GDP to 1.3% within months. Meanwhile, Canada refused to contribute troops to NATO’s Afghanistan mission.

Both moves are indicative of a substantial decline in Canada’s traditional commitment to security in Europe.

Meanwhile, Canada is curiously silent on many critical and top priority security issues in the Indo-Pacific, including the “sea grab” by the PRC, DPRK’s nuclear threat, etc.

Increasingly, Canada is seen to be more and more siding with the PRC on many issues.

Could it be that America’s longstanding and formerly close ally is becoming a geopolitical ally of the PRC?

The most clear and obvious message from President Xi to President Trump may be that CCP subversion of US allies is working.

In other words, the PRC can get what they want without firing a shot by exploiting America’s allies.



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