Donald Trump is talking about China again, and China isn’t having it. In an editorial by the tough-talking state-run Global Times on Monday, the words “ignorant” and “child” were used in close succession to describe the U.S. president-elect. The paper’s blunt criticism of Trump came as Beijing officially said it was “seriously concerned” about his latest comments on the “One China” policy.
“In the field of diplomacy,” the Global Times wrote, “he is as ignorant as a child.”
The editorial was a direct response to an interview Trump gave to Fox News that aired Sunday evening, in which he suggested there could be an end to the “One China” policy that has informed almost four decades of official relations between the two countries.
Trump took it a step further. When asked specifically about the diplomatic row caused by his unprecedented phone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen last week, Trump said: “I don’t want China dictating to me, and this was a call put in to me. Why should some other nation be able to say I can’t take a call?”
He went on to say that while he fully understands the “One China” policy, the U.S. shouldn’t be bound by it unless China makes certain trade concessions in the future.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang shot back a warning, saying that the “One China” policy was “the political bedrock for the development of U.S.-China relations. If it is compromised or disrupted, the sound and steady growth of the bilateral relationship, as well as bilateral cooperation in major fields, would be out of the question.”
The sparring between the president-elect and China dates back to 2012, with Trump generally being the instigator and the Chinese government generally quick to react – with reserved statements from official channels, condescension and biting criticism from various state-run media outlets, and even shows of military force.
Here are some of China’s recent responses to Trump’s provocations:
- Using force to take back Taiwan – As well as criticizing Trump directly, the Global Times editorial suggested any change in the “One China” policy would leave it with no choice but to use force to take back Taiwan, adding that “mainland China will put forward a series of decisive new Taiwan policies. We will prove that the United States no longer dominates the Taiwan Strait.”
- Little Trick – In response to the news that the Taiwanese president had called the president-elect, China’s foreign minister condescendingly described the move as “a little trick” by Taiwan, in which Trump was used as a pawn.
- Stern representations – Officially the government lodged a diplomatic protest, saying it had made “stern representations” with the relevant U.S. officials.
- Sending a message – Last week China flew a nuclear-capable bomber over disputed territory in the South China Seas in a show of force that U.S. officials said was designed to “send a message” to Trump.
- Rise of a racist – In March, even before Trump became the Republican nominee, China expressed displeasure with him. “The rise of a racist in the U.S. political area worries the whole world,” read another editorial in the Global Times. That piece wasn’t shy in its comparisons, either, nothing that both Mussolini and Hitler came to power through popular votes.
Trump has a long history of antagonizing China, ranging from economic criticism to a full-blown conspiracy theory.
- Creating climate change – Back in 2012 he floated a conspiracy theory that blamed China for creating the “concept” of global warming to benefit the country’s manufacturers and make U.S. companies noncompetitive. “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive” he tweeted.
- Devaluing its currency – Earlier this month Trump criticized both China’s military and economic policy, claiming it devalued its currency to boost exports while also highlighting the build-up of its military complex in the South China Sea.
- The greatest currency manipulator – Trump has long been a critic of China’s economic policies and in particular it alleged currency manipulation, which he made a mainstay of his election campaign. He has called the country the “the single greatest currency manipulator that’s ever been on this planet” — though he is not the only U.S. politician to hold this opinion.
- State-sponsored cyberattacks – In September, Trump accused China’s government of carrying out cyberattacks against U.S. companies before the ink was dry on an agreement with the White House to stop the theft of intellectual property. It wasn’t the first time he has accused China of hacking U.S. targets:
- Stealing our jobs – During a presidential debate in September, Trump warned about losing jobs to China. “They’re using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China,” Trump said. “We have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us.”