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Following Super Tuesday, China and Xi Jinping May Prefer Trump Over Biden

Credits: South China Morning Post

Super Tuesday has concluded, setting the stage for a likely Biden-Trump rematch in 2024, a scenario that does not bode well for China. According to an expert in Shanghai quoted by the Associated Press earlier this year, both candidates are seen as “bowls of poison” for Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

While one might assume that former President Donald Trump poses the greater threat to China, given his history of initiating a trade war with Beijing and his anti-China rhetoric, a growing perspective among China experts suggests that Beijing may actually prefer Trump to win another term.

The rationale behind this theory is that with Sino-American relations already strained, neither candidate is expected to significantly improve the global situation for China, which seeks to catch up with the US.

Xi Jinping, Trump and Biden (Credits: Business Insider India)

Both President Joe Biden and Trump are likely to maintain their aggressive stances toward China, with Biden imposing restrictions on US tech exports and Trump recently threatening a 60% tariff on Chinese goods.

Therefore, Beijing may not be hoping for the candidate who would inflict the least damage on China, but rather the one who poses more risks to Western stability.

Pan Chengxin, an international relations professor at the University of Macau, suggests that while China may find Trump’s bombastic style less comfortable, it could find dealing with a second Biden administration more challenging. This is because Biden, being a globalist, could more effectively rally US allies to counterbalance China.

On the other hand, Trump’s unpredictability, which appeals to his supporters, could make US allies nervous, as he has a history of breaking agreements and joint efforts. This uncertainty could lead to the erosion of alliances, creating opportunities for China to exert its influence.

For instance, China could benefit from building its version of the SWIFT financial transaction system as a hedge against global uncertainty.

Agathe Demarais, a senior policy fellow on geoeconomics at the European Council on Foreign Relations, suggests that if Trump were to return to power, countries might seek a Chinese alternative in response to the unpredictability of US policies, citing the panic buying in the market that ensued after Trump’s administration sanctioned Russian aluminum firm Rusal in 2018.

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