Earlier this month, US Vice President Mike Pence gave the first significant policy speech on US-China relations since Donald Trump took office in 2017. Let’s start off by acknowledging that it’s good to know the Trump administration has a China policy other than whether or not Donald Trump thinks Xi Jinping really, really likes him.
Pence’s speech reflected a harder line toward China in the wake of a growing trade dispute and apparent evidence that China is systematically working to influence public opinion – and even elections – within the United States.
There’s also a 100% chance that the Trump administration feels that if they say the word “China” enough times, the American people will forget about Russia. Russian meddling in US relations? China! Hookers peed on Trump in a Moscow hotel room? China! Vladimir Putin had a glory hole in the likeness of Trump’s face installed in his private office? China! China! China!
In Beijing, Pence’s speech went over about as well as letting off a series of taco farts at your grandmother’s funeral.