Trump & China suddenly ratchet up tensions


One of the fears I’ve had since the pandemic broke out was how quickly conflict with an external enemy would benefit both China and Trump.

Questions over the secrecy of China’s initial response are as feared in Beijing for their domestic potential at disruption as it does their world standing while Trump wants to desperately distract a nation in the grip of a pandemic his incompetence has exacerbated.

Both China and Trump have the need to externalise the enemy and with so much tension i  the South China Sea the reality of conflict gets closer every day.

Today it suddenly sped up with threats Trump could cut Chinese student access to America while China threatened an invasion of Taiwan in response.

That’s right. Invade Taiwan…

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Covid 19 coronavirus: US and China tensions soar after Trump trade threat

Donald Trump has threatened to “cut off the whole relationship” with China, as tensions between the US and China continue to rise over the origins of Covid-19.

“I’m very disappointed in China. I will tell you that right now,” the US President said in an interview with Fox Business. “There are many things we could do. We could cut off the whole relationship. Now if you did, what would happen? You’d save $500 billion.”

It came in response to a question about whether the US should refuse Chinese nationals student visas for sensitive science areas.

The Chinese government has hit back at the President through its state-controlled Global Times newspaper, which said cutting off China “may put world peace in a dangerous position”.

The report accused the President of “talking nonsense”, claimed he was “bluffing and acting tough towards China to win more support”, and called him a “giant baby on the brink of a meltdown”.

Beijing also threatened to take Taiwan by force if the US cut China off. “China has nothing to be afraid of as ‘in the past, we didn’t solve the Taiwan question because we wanted to maintain the China-US relationship, and if the US unilaterally cuts it off, we can just reunify Taiwan immediately since the Chinese mainland has an overwhelming advantage to solve this longstanding problem’.”

Looking at yesterdays winners and losers in the budget, I noted that Peace was a loser…

Peace – Thanks to the American Military Industrial Complex Franchise ‘RocketLab’ and NZ secretly signing a space deal with America to launch military satellites into space, NZ is a target for Chinese and Russian Subs sitting off the East Coast so that means we need planes that can drop torpedoes onto those subs. The NZDF is buying four P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft for that task and beefing up with almost $900m to buy new C-130J Super Hercules. With China and America standing off in the South China Sea and implicating each other in the pandemic, it looks like we might spend our money but not get the toys before the fighting starts.

…we might be in need of that extra military far faster than we first thought.


  1. Even if defence was to get more money it would still require a rewrite of the coalition agreement otherwise Labours or Nationals defence policy would stand and those policies is to cut defence expenditures.

  2. It is an interesting historical point as to whether the occupation of Taiwan by mainland Chinese would amount to an invasion or a liberation of province still under the control of an enemy that had been defeated on the mainland but still insisted it was ‘the legitimate government’, and for decades busied itself with plans for invading the mainland with a view to imposing philosophies the vast majority of mainlanders had rejected.

    We do know that that Sun Yat-sen (the founder of the Koumintang) was a socialist bordering on being a communist:

    “The railroads, public utilities, canals, and forests should be nationalized, and all income from the land and mines should be in the hands of the State. With this money in hand, the State can therefore finance the social welfare programs.”

    And we know that his successor, Chiang Kai-shek, lost the hearts and minds of the Chinese people, and therefore lost the civil war [that had been going on from 1925 until the invasion of China proper in the late 1930s, and which was resumed when the Japanese had been defeated].

    We also know that Chiang Kai-shek stole the gold and other mainland treasures before hurriedly departing from mainland China and using his military forces to take over Taiwan, where he established a military dictatorship under martial law that was not rescinded until.

    And we know that the Chiang Kai-shek regime was ruthless and brutal in initial occupation of Taiwan and its subsequent treatment of people living there:

    ‘From 1949 to the end of the Cold War era, the Kuomintang (KMT)—under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo—ruled the Republic of China (Taiwan) under martial law. The martial law decree gave the government immense power to quash any perceived forms of dissent in society. As a result, the KMT imprisoned, tortured, and executed thousands of people over the course of several decades.’

    All that sounds like the kind a regime deserving unstinting support from the US, which was the case, of course.

    Just what Chiang Kai-shek stood for is difficult to determine, since he had a history of rejecting and attacking many things in the name of ‘Project National Glory’ and his policies were full of contradictions. The only thing we can be certain about was his intense need for control and admiration, and his delusional schemes for attacking mainland China and overturning the government there : hence Taiwan was one of the most controlled societies in the ‘free world’ and became literally littered with monuments to Chiang Kai-shek; Chiang Kai-shek park; Chiang Kai-shek school, Ching Kai-shek lighthouse etc. And, of course, Chiang Kai-shek Palace, where he lived in opulence while the people lived in squalor (just as happened in mainland China, under Mao Zedong).

    We know that Trump is ignorant, self-absorbed, inconsistent, incoherent, delusional and often incomprehensible. So it is quite possible he would command the US military to initiate some new crazy scheme for ‘Making America Great’.

    I nearly forgot, America is already full of ‘great people’ with ‘great ideas’. I’m sure that after Trump has given the rest of the world a few lessons in how to run a country he will be asking who has the technology to send rockets to Mars, to show the people who live on that planet just how great America is.

    Whether the US military are prepared to follow the instructions of an increasingly mad POTUS in is yet to be seen.

    In the meantime, both Russia (despite the surge in Covid-19) and China grow relatively stronger as America grows weaker.

    • ‘where he established a military dictatorship under martial law that was not rescinded until’

      I missed completing that sentence.

      I believe it was 1987 but have not yet found a reference to the exact date.

      This gives us a pretty good idea what was going on in Taiwan for decades -one-party authoritarianism and nepotism:

      ‘Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Taiwan was under the authoritarian one-party rule of Chiang Kai-shek until his death in 1975. In 1971, the United Nations recognized the People’s Republic of China as the proper holder of the Chinese seat in the UN (both the Security Council and the General Assembly). The Republic of China (Taiwan) was expelled.

      In 1975, Chiang Kai-shek’s son, Chiang Ching-Kuo, succeeded his father. Taiwan received another diplomatic blow in 1979 when the United States withdrew its recognition from the Republic of China and instead recognized the People’s Republic of China.

      Chiang Ching-Kuo gradually loosened his grip on absolute power during the 1980s, rescinding the state of martial law that had lasted since 1948. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s economy boomed on the strength of high-tech exports. The younger Chiang passed away in 1988, and further political and social liberalization led to the free election of Lee Teng-hui as president in 1996.’

      China, on the other hand, went through a proxy war with America that led to a huge loss of life, , government-instigated starvation of the peasants, a ‘Cultural Revolution’ that saw books burned and people denounced and severely punished for trivial reasons or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and, in more recent years, adoption of western-style industry and commerce to the point of making many locations in China extremely hazardous to health.

  3. I’m not sure the worsening China/US in that bad for NZ as the end of the day, both those countries spend far too much time interfering in the countries in the rest of the world, and now they have something to actually worry about with each other, rather than allegedly burgling academics in NZ, getting corporate welfare and free natural resources in NZ, and controlling the discourses here.

    If China invades Taiwan on top of the Hong Kong riots and everyone’s economy being destroyed by Covid which very likely started in Wuhan because that is where all the cases popped up, the careful strategy of China taking over the business interests around the world and economic power, ain’t gonna work anymore. China are not that stupid.

    But Trump is a wild card, that could do anything. Or maybe he won’t. Because in spite of all the world’s media against him, he hasn’t invaded any other country yet, and plenty of so called ‘good’ US presidents invaded other countries, often illegally and disastrously. He has held off.

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