“China Should Build More Nuclear Arms, ICBMs In Response To Trump”: Local Press
While China has been busy de-escalating the recent diplomatic spat with president-elect Donald Trump, with Beijing going so far as to call Trump’s ambassador to China, Terry Brandstad, an “old friend”, in a less diplomatic-context it is busy pushing every bellicose, nationalist button it can find. In a Thursday editorial in Global Times, China said it should “significantly” increase military spending and produce more nuclear weapons as a response to US President-elect Donald Trump,
China should “build more strategic nuclear arms and accelerate the deployment of the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile” to protect its interests, should Trump attempt to corner the country in an “unacceptable way”, it said.
“China’s military spending in 2017 should be augmented significantly,” it added in the print article run in both English and Chinese. While the paper is not part of the official state media, it has close ties to the ruling Communist Party, and is considered the nationalistic affiliate of the People’s Daily. Chinese officials are sometimes thought to use it as a rhetorical hammer, but have also admonished it for its often bombastic language according to the AFP. In any event, what is said there certainly carries if not official weight, then is a distinct warning about what “could happen.”
The editorial follows a Twitter tirade by Trump earlier in the week blasting China’s trade and foreign policies, as well as a protocol-shattering decision to accept a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen. Beijing regards Taiwan as a rogue province awaiting unification.
In the editorial, the Global Times said: “We need to get better prepared militarily regarding the Taiwan question to ensure that those who advocate Taiwan’s independence will be punished, and take precautions in case of US provocations in the South China Sea.”
As noted above, when Trump selected Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who has close ties to Chinese President Xi Jinping dating back to the mid-1980s, as ambassador to China, it was welcome news for Beijing which called him an “old friend” after receiving news of his nomination. Nevertheless, the state-owned China Daily newspaper remained pessimistic about the future of relations with the US.
A Thursday editorial in the far more serious China Daily, which warned that “More provocations by Trump will jeopardize Sino-US ties“, said that though the Asian giant had thus far responded to Trump with “laudable” prudence, further provocations from the unpredictable politician would jeopardize Sino-US ties.
“China has to prepare for the worst, even though it will continue to do all it can to maintain a healthy bilateral relationship. What has happened over the past weeks tends to suggest that Sino-US relations are facing uncertainty as never before, as Trump’s words are not necessarily more bark than bite” it concluded.