TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — If he had been elected to a second term, United States President Donald Trump might have performed a 180 on China and become more conciliatory on trade issues, according to former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who spoke on Tuesday (Jan. 12).
The blunt China critic said that after his inauguration on Jan. 20, Joe Biden would not necessarily be softer on China than previous presidents, the South China Morning Post reported.
If Trump had won and Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) had congratulated him on a successful re-election and then offered to discuss trade concessions, the president might have come around, according to Bolton.
He added that Trump did not really have a coherent foreign policy but only followed public opinion. It was only when he saw that views on China turned negative in most of the world after the coronavirus pandemic broke out that he decided to follow suit and hit out harder at Beijing, Bolton said.
Before that, the president resisted taking strong action against Xi over the repression in Hong Kong or the incarceration of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, he added.
As to a Biden administration, the national security expert expected that it would largely follow former President Barack Obama’s China policies.