(Taiwan, News) -- A fierce critic of China was tapped Wednesday for a newly created position to head the White House National Trade Council. The appointment is believed to signal a tougher U.S. trade policy towards China following Donald Trump's inauguration next January.
Chinese state media expressed discontent with Trump's pick.
Harvard-trained economist Peter Navarro was chosen by Trump to lead a new presidential office for US trade and industrial policy. He is also the co-author of the book "Death By China: Confronting the Dragon" and helped adapt the book into a documentary film. Trump has singled out Navarro's work as influencing his views on trade.
A Taiwan-friendly economist and policy adviser to Trump
Navarro is a professor of economics and public policy at the University of California, Irvine, and also a prolific writer with nine books. He has been writing commentaries and has appeared on several major network news shows. In an over 2,000-word commentary titled 'America Can't Dump Taiwan' published in the National Interest in July 2016, Navarro showed sympathy towards Taiwan's predicament by describing Chinese President Xi Jinping as a bully who threatens a cut-off of diplomatic ties and sanctions on trade and tourism.
With a detailed narrative of the entangling U.S.-Taiwan relation over the past five decades, Navarro in that article continued to tell the inconvenient truth that "Taiwan has periodically been used by the White House merely as a 'bargaining chip' in a game of amoral realpolitik and 'realeconomik' to woo and placate mainland China."
Navarro also gave a rationale why the U.S. should not dump Taiwan and to have the country as a pro-U.S. ally, including China’s aggression in the East and South China Seas and the island country’s critical political geography.
“Taiwan’s exclusion denies the island a precious opportunity to improve its defensive and coordinating capabilities. It’s dumb and offensive to many in an American navy that is going to bear the brunt of the causalities if and when China starts firing its swarms of anti-ship ballistic missiles and torpedoes at American aircraft carrier strike groups.”
Tough on China
Navarro has published several books raising criticism against China, such as Death by China and Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World. He also participated in the production of a 2012 Netflix 100-minute documentary adapted from his work Death by China, blaming Beijing for the loss of 57,000 American factories and 25 million jobs.
CNN, citing several sources, reported Wednesday that the Trump transition team is discussing a proposal to impose tariffs between 5 and 10 percent on imports from China.
On Thursday, a Chinese state news outlet warned that the nomination may raise risk of China-US conflict.