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The administration of US President Donald trump views China as the “primary enemy” amid a growing divide between political and business leaders in the United States over how Washington should treat China’s growing military and economic threat, an American political analyst says.
Keith Preston, director of attackthesystem.com, said some in Washington supported Trump’s ongoing military and economic pressure against Beijing while many others called for less tensions in the relationship.
The divide between the elite became clearer on Friday, when Trump implied that the US central bank chief was a greater “enemy” than Chinese President Xi Jinping.
He made the remark after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned the trade war with China is a risk to the US economy.
“We have a very strong dollar and a very weak Fed. I will work ‘brilliantly’ with both, and the US will do great,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?”
Preston told Press TV on Sunday that American corporations relied heavily on China because of cheap labor in the country as well as Beijing’s policy of handing out loans to foreign businesses.
This is while some parts of the US establishment believe the growing trade imbalance between the two sides was hurting the US as it allowed China to boost its economy at America’s expense, Preston added.
“China only has about half the economic power of the United States but the Chinese economy has grown exponentially in recent decades and there are some policymakers and some elites in the United States who are concerned about that and they wish to level this trade imbalance somewhat,” Preston argued.
“Another issue is the fact that China is increasingly viewed [by the US] as a geopolitical rival not only militarily but also economically,” he continued.
The United States is also heavily dependent on China for its military technologies, another factor that has split US officials about the correct approach.
“It is clear that the Trump administration represents a vein of the American that do view China as a primary enemy and wish to take a more hawkish position towards China,” the analyst added.
Trump lashed out at China on Friday, vowing a quick response to its announcement of new tariffs and ordering US companies to leave the country.
China announced earlier on Friday it would impose new tariffs on US soybeans, lobsters, peanut butter and other imports worth $75 billion in retaliation for Washington’s latest round of punitive duties that take effect in two rounds, September 1 and December 15.
The United States will raise existing tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports to 30 percent from 25 percent, beginning on October 1, Trump said on Twitter Friday.
He added that the duties on another $300 billion in Chinese products, set to take effect on September 1, will be increased by 5 percent, reaching 15 percent.