tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV November 2, 2017 10:00pm-10:31pm PDT
♪ melinda: hello and welcome to "quadriga." donald trump is packing his bags for asia, the longest trip of his presidency so far. it will not be an easy one, even though he does plan to do some golfing in japan. the most important stop is china, where he will encounter his newly exalted counterpart, xi jinping. the recent communist party congress wrote the chinese president's name and dogma into the constitution, cementing his status as on par with the nation's founding father, zhongshu dong. xi is behind a course that has
seen china doubling down on projecting power economically, politically and militarily. and donald trump, nearly a year after his election, he has little to show in the way of domestic success. and abroad, he risks isolation with his policy of america first. america backs off, china steps in -- that is the question we posed today. here to answer it are our guests. it is a pleasure to welcome gudrun wacker. she is an expert on china and security affairs. she says, xi jinping projects an image of china as a great power that can offer the world a new approach to tackle problems, and is ready to take more international responsibility. andreas kluth is editor in chief for "handelsblatt global." and he says that china's horizon is much longer than donald trump's. on that scale china is a rising power, while america is stagnating. and that is not a good thing. and a great pleasure to have shi ming on the show with us. he is a freelance journalist
from china and he says whether china will become the next superpower depends on how other parts of the world position themselves. for example, europe. and i would like to start with ming, xi is the new strongman of china, apparently, but will china emerge stronger as a result of his policies? shi: to be frank, we do not know. there are very contradictory signals coming now from china. on the one hand, the ecoconomy s facing a deepening crisis. we see that the money valves are opened up since three or four years ago and still the growth is stagnating. on the other hand, the expenses are increasing very quickly, not only for military purpose, but also for insurance purpose, for
stabilizing the society, for fighting against ecological problems. from that point of view, i am not very sure whether xi jinping 's policy dominated by state, , whether this policy will succeed. melinda: in that sense would you say the international press is overreacting when they say that xi jinping is the new dong? dong in, if we compare his last two years, he was dying, but nobody dared to say anything against him. nobody dares to say anything against his policy. and his henchmen just stated, that happens instantly. we could also compare xi jinping
with deng xiaoping. hehe traveled in 1992 to south china. office did not have any any longer and he gave just two short interviews, and instantly we experienced a great wave of reform and opening up policy, only 13ad gathered officers of his person. but we could see that he could not get through so much, not part of what he could afford. melinda: some doubt that we have heard about how strong the new strongman really is. your opening statement says that china, that xi jinping is making an effort to project china as a great power, and to offer a new approach. now for years, the international community has been calling on china to become a stakeholder in
-- and really take responsibility in the national system. would you say it is prepared to do that now? gudrun: selectively, yes it is. but i have to stress "selectively." it is not ready to take over the position of the united states, for example. but i think we see that in the last five years, under xi jinping there is more self-confidence and more effort to really contribute to certain global issues. peacekeeping is one of the examples where china has really stepped up its profile and where we see that it becomes more active. and it is important to see that if china talks about responsible stakeholder, it has the right or thinks it has the right to define what responsibility means. so it will not just do what though -- the west expects it to do. melinda: certainly here in germany, at the meeting of the
g20 powers in hamburg this spring, xi jinping was making every effort to look like a great protector of the climate treaty, just as the u.s. was deciding it wants to get out of the paris accord. andreas kluth, would you say this is going to be a bumpy process, the process of adjustment as china rises and as america, as you said in your opening statement stagnates or , declines? andreas: absolutely. it is interesting, even before hamburg, in davos, with respect to world trade he is positioning himself as the successor to the old american leadership of the world order, which is very fascinating. from china's point of view, it is incontestable that china is gradually reclaiming its historical place as a world leader. they think back to dynasties and beyond, and they think of the
last few centuries of western dominance as an aberration. will it be a bumpy ride? it will be a very bumpy ride. and for the chinese leadership it is a good thing to be aware of this. i am told the chinese leadership has been assassinated for years -- fascicinated for years by studying peers of history, because what you get is it when one world power stagnates or declines another rises, is unfortunately war and apparently, they are especially interested in studying the late 19th century when germany rose and the british empire stagnated, and it led to tensions and eventually war, because their whole thing is about peaceful rise and avoiding that. but the bumps are there and i think we will get to them. can you avoid conflicts of interest, especially when there is somebody like donald trump on the other side. the other reason why it will be bumpy and not an entirely good thing, chinese rise does not mean the rise of the values or ideals that the west has
traditionally stood for, even if we have hypocritically not honored them, but at least we strive for. china makes no credence at all that this will be a more democratic or just world. melinda: ok, let's talk about some of those bumps. a year ago, donald trump, we remember back to the time before the election, was doing a lot of china bashing. but following his first meeting with his chinese counterpart at his florida resort home, donald trump indicated that the two of them could become the best of friends. at least some of the time, at least he is now singing xi jinping's praises. let's look at how this relationship is evolving. >> for donald trump, the biggest threat to the u.s. economy is china. "the meeting will be a difficult one," he tweeted in april, andnd cocomplained about the high trae deficit. china warned of a trade war. at the meeeeting itself in
florida, there was the appearance of harmony. and the following presidential insight. president trump: we had a long discussion already and so far i have gotten nothing, absolutely nothing, but we have developed a friendship. i can see that. and i think in the long term we will have a very, very good relationship and i look forward to it. >> at that meeting, both were able to save face. has donald trump learned from that? [applause] melinda: shi ming, after the party congress donald trump said that xi jinping had emerged as something like the king of china and he said in the same interview with fox news that he quote, "very good person." how would you say that the chinese leadership would be reacting to these statements that are nearly fawning?
shi: i suppose they are not going to react at all, because they know how donald trump can be unpredictable. they know that donald trump is, to be very frank, a good back -- um. how to say -- um. that donald trump could play with pressure. different kinds of pressure. this bashing is sort of playing like blackmail, and this game with north korea and with the south china sea could also be regarded as a huge stage of pressuring china and -- melinda: are you saying they do not trust donald trump? shi: no. not at all. but donald trump does not trust xi jinping either. andreas: does anybody trust donald trump?
[laughter] gudrun: i do not think so. melinda: donald trump said he has the best relationship with xi jinping of any president. would you say that is true and what accounts for this radical change in tone over the course of his presidency? andreas: between his tweets and his statements, it is showmanship and it means absolutely nothing. i think xi jinping, we often think the chinese have a plan and everything, i think xi jinping will run circles around this man intellectually. so does angela merkel, so do they all. i do not think anybody, i do not think anybody places any currency on donald trump saying we are good friends after this meeting. so i think they just disregard that and they get down to the long-term interests, both angela merkel and xi jinping i think do it that way.
melinda: so gudrun, aside from the overall notion of trust, what kind of relationship do you think we might see evolve between these two leaders, and also these two countries? certainly one of donald trump's big issues has been trade and particularly chinese steel. since the election campaign, he has talked about possibly putting punitive duties on chinese steel. so far it has not happened, but do you think the last word has been spoken? gudrun: no, the last word has not been spoken because this is one of the topics donald trump really seems to care about, the unfairness of the free trade agreement that the united states has signed in the past. we have met with china, but there is a huge trade deficit. soso this will remain a topic, i am sure. but there are other topics that
sort of overshadow or take priority over this. also, i mean the u.s. at the moment has its hands full to renegotiate nafta so this will probably keep it busy, but they already introduced punitive customs on aluminum foil or something like that, so the measures are starting, but they are not really, you know, it is not a trade war yet. so this will remain structurally so. and also, in terms of strategic thinking, the strategic ambition of the other side, i think this is where the major mistrust between the united states and china comes from. that china does not trust the ambition of the united states, there is always the idea of the united states trying to contain china and its rise. and on the other hand, the u.s. does not trust the ambition that china has in the asia-pacific
region. melinda: speaking of the region, shi ming, one of the ways the u.s. had intended to try to contain china was the transpacific trading and investment agreement, tpp. donald trump's first act as president was to get out of that agreement. did he in essence hand the rest of asia to china by doing so? shi: i do not think the issue is so plain and is so simple. we can study china's response upon donald trump quitting tpp. many people supposed that china would step in with other trade allies, alliances with southeast asia. it does not happen yet and china is not intending to do that, apparently. instead, china, despite all the
declaration of protecting of free trade, china produces -- purses something else. pursues something else. they have pursued for example this year, europe, just the one-sided investment without any fair play for the protection of -- china shut down the market for european enterprises. it is not just the policy of xi jinping, but xi jinping continues. i think it is quite obvious that the united states, in some term, they are following china's example. donald trump says, america first. china does not say that. but china acts in that sense, china first. why not? gudrun: actually, the chinese ambassador to the u.s. said, if ththe u.s. says america first, d we need to protect ourselves
from the trade deficit, it is like looking in the mirror. so what you just said is reflected on the chinese side as well. melinda: in fact, andreas said earlier that certainly donald trump, or that china is not going to be looking to play a values-based leadership role, but that is hardly what donald trump is looking for either. his approach to foreign policy is explicitly transactional. so what would you say he will be looking for from xi jinping in this meeting in china, in terms of getting a good deal? andreas: first of all, i wanted to briefly respond to your previous question about the trade deals, because to me it illustrates that there are bigger issues, north korea and the south china sea that we will get to, but his response to these two trade deals is to me an illustration of his intellectual failure, and
perhaps of the entire group around him, to understand the issue of china's rise and the decline of america. because in the transpacific trade deal he had an opportunity of all the pacific regions with america, but without china, to tie them together. at the same time, he had an opportunity to do the same thing with the transatlantic free trade to combine the traditional west closer together and he said, out of the protectionist impulse, totally misisided, no -- allowing china, he could've contained china in that context quite well, but allowing china to rise and take america out of it. it is forcing all of these other countries to look for leadership elsewhere. so just on that i will stop , there for now. but i wanted to get that in. melinda: what would you say donald trump will be looking for from xi jinping in this meeting? andreas: i think he is interested in anything, with both germany which has a larger trade surplus toward america and
china he looks for anything that , allows him to declare victory in that issue. they are exploiting us by selling more to us than we do to them, a rhetorical point, because he will not succeed. and he is going toto look, he wl really concentrate on north korea, getting the chinese to solve this problem and possibly dropping more threats that if they don't, he will solve the problem which will not be a , solution at all. and the south china sea may come up and i doubt that taiwan will come up, because they consider it stable. melinda: we talked about with -- about what the two leaders might have in common come of the transactional approach, but another thing of course is their willingness and desire to lay claim to power. xi jinping misses no opportunity to reinforce the notion of china's superpower status and he has thrown to the wind the former self-imposed restraint of chinese leaders. ♪ >> a show of strength by chinana to assert dominance in a asia ad the world.
conflict over islands and marine rights in the south china sea hahas been smoldering fofor yea, wiwith both china and the neighboring states laying claim. anand it has also repeatedlyly sparked disputes with the u.s. another showowdown is with north korea over nuclear weapons. donald trump expects xi jinping to send stronger signals in reining in the north korean leader. china is also expanding economically, investing worldwide. the country is staking its claim in africa in the contest over valuable natural resources. china no lonr r wants to b be te west's factory, it wants to drive its own innovations. in addition, it is the largest creditor of the u.s. is china on its way to becoming the world's new number one superpower? ♪ certainly donald trump will be looking to give some sort of message on north korea. he has repeatedly said he wants to see china exercise more influence over north korea. can it and will it?
shi: i am not sure. china has done two little steps ahead of this visit of donald trump. the one is, china has joined more international sanctions, including shutting up all enterprises of north korea in china. and the other is, china tried to pave the way to set up a new relationship to south korea, to reduce the tensions and so on. and if donald trump comes the beijing, xi jinping might say, my friend i have done all that i can. what can you demand more of than what i have done? melinda: would you expect any of that to make any difference in north korea's behavior?
shi: not at all. melinda: speak to that if you like, by also want to ask about the south china sea. it is rated by experts as one of the most volatile geopolitical hotspots in the world. could we see it become in fact the site of hot conflict? gudrun: well, hot conflict can always spiral out of control, but i think we see both sides trying to keep it within the limits. actually, you could have expected more after the ruling of the hague, but because there was a government change in the philippines it made it possible to reopen the door for better relationships between the philippines and china. on north korea i think china , will not do more. cannot do more probably, because their biggest priority is north korea stays on the map. they do not want an implosion of north korea, they do not want the millions of refugees that
come with it and they do not want a reunited korea peninsula with american troops at the chinese border. that is their priority. so on the south china sea, i think it will depend on what donald trump will say in other stations of his trip. i mean, he will go also to vietnam, to the apex summit, and it is rumored there will be a speech about open and free oceans. so there will be some announcement of, or concerning the indo pacific. and for the chinese, the word indo pacific alone is a no go. they talk of the pacific ocean and the indian ocean, but not of both as a connected think. -- thing. i think there will be counter movements led by japan, australia, india, and the united states. so i do not see that the facts on the ground will change.
melinda: is it possible, that if donald trump does not get at least the appearance of stronger chinese action on north korea, that he could turn sour? some people say one of the reasons he has been making nice is he has kept on hoping china might exercise some leverage there. and if this relationship were to go sour either because of the , south china sea or north korea, what consequences would that have? andreas: i am smirking because you asked if it is possible donald trump could unexpectedly turn sour. i think that is the whole about -- thing about donald trump, the unpredictable and sour is not even the word, look at his tweets at 2:00 a.m. the scary thing is, by the way it is ironic that taiwan, which was the big issue for many decades, appears stable given on one side, and on the other side we have much more dangerous conflicts, and what makes them dangerous is that china is the
only rational actor of all the ones involved, of the three major ones involved, with north korea maybe it is rational, but it is difficult. anand donald trump now, he may e faking to being mad or he may be it, and i think it is unpredictable, the chinese side was described very well by shi, with donald trump on the other side it has become totally a unpredictable. and i think that could blow up. in the south china sea, i think it is inevitable that sooner or later, in what they consider the chinese pond, the rest of the world cannot back down and say these are internatioional water, yoyou cannot build permanent aircraft carriers on these islands and it will lead to conflict. melinda: what kind of conflict and what kind of intentions do you think we will see from china in regard to the south china sea? if we look at the party
congress, xi said a very strongly that china will defend its interests and china has been investing heavily in cutting edge military technology. would you say that china will not back down when it comes to the south china sea? and could we see in fact a conflict arise? shi: you are virtually taking the words out of my mouth. i think the strongest message from the last party congress iss to make china's army at the top of the world, not just china's economy, but their army. within a short time. gudrun: 2049. it is soon. a little ways to go. melinda: hot conflict, yes or no? shi: yes. i suppose even militarily. melinda: ok. somber closing words. thank you very much for being with us. and thank you to all of you for tuning in. see you soon. ♪
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