For President Donald Trump, this has been a week of repeated defiance from China.
On Friday, the Chinese government said it would not abide by Trump’s sanctions on Iran and would continue to import Iranian oil.
China this week reported testing a supersonic (or hypersonic) missile that, according to reports, could be developed to carry a nuclear warhead at up six times the speed of sound (4,563 mph). If these reports are true, then the Starry Sky-2 will be able to evade all U.S. detecting and defense systems.
And on Wednesday, China said it would respond in kind to the latest round of Trump’s tariffs on China — $16 billion, on top of earlier tariffs — by slapping taxes on American cars and crude oil.
The Trump administration on Tuesday said it would impose the new tariffs as of August 23, with the president insisting that his strategy on China is already yielding results:
….China, which is for the first time doing poorly against us, is spending a fortune on ads and P.R. trying to convince and scare our politicians to fight me on Tariffs- because they are really hurting their economy. Likewise other countries. We are Winning, but must be strong!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2018
He also claims that his strategy of imposing tariffs on goods from not only China, but the European Union, Mexico, and Canada is “working big time”:
Tariffs are working big time. Every country on earth wants to take wealth out of the U.S., always to our detriment. I say, as they come,Tax them. If they don’t want to be taxed, let them make or build the product in the U.S. In either event, it means jobs and great wealth…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2018
But according to CNBC, China’s exports increased in July. While it’s too soon to tell what the long-run consequences of the bitter trade war between China and the United States will be, so far, China appears to be doing fine:
China’s closely watched surplus with the United States dipped only slightly to $28.09 billion last month from a record $28.97 billion in June. Washington has long criticized China’s trade surplus with the United States and has demanded Beijing cut it.
The president’s attempts to take Iran’s oil exports down to zero has also hit a glitch in Beijing.
Having pulled the United States out of the multilateral 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (which lifted sanctions against in Iran in exchange for strict controls on its nuclear energy program), the president reimposed sanctions against Iran on Tuesday.
He has also threatened to sanction any country that continues to deal with Iran, even though they would simply be complying with the terms of the nuclear deal, which, despite the U.S.’s departure, is still very much in place.
On November 4, the sanction on importing Iranian oil will go through. China, which is the top importer of Iranian oil, has imported roughly $15 billion in crude oil from Iran each year.
When pushed on what his strategy is on China, President Trump reportedly demurred while at a private dinner on Tuesday night, saying he wouldn’t “go there.”
But China, which is also a signatory to the Iran nuclear deal, has already made it clear that it will not respond favorably to threats, and is more than happy to go there.
“China has consistently opposed unilateral sanctions and long-armed jurisdiction,” said a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry, according to Reuters.
“China’s commercial cooperation with Iran is open and transparent, reasonable, fair and lawful, not violating any United Nations Security Council resolutions. China’s lawful rights should be protected,” the statement continued.