Talking Trump at Asia Society’s US-China relations event

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Three speakers discussed US-China Relations at the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre.(Photo credit: Jasmine Lee)

For an event focusing on US-China political relations, it is no surprise that President Donald Trump was the name under the spotlight of a discussion hosted by Asia Society on 16 May. Taking place at the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre’s banquet hall, the event consisted of three esteemed speakers: Charles E. Cook, Yuan Ming, and Ronnie C. Chan. These speakers spent an hour and a half engaging critical dialogue surrounding relevant topics and followed up with a Q&A session to conclude the event.

Highlights from the event include discussion around the case of Trump’s anti-China political campaign, where Trump made several accusations against China prior to his presidency. Such accusations include his threat to label China a currency manipulator, while he also claimed on Twitter that “[t]he concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese”. Cook raised the question as to why Trump dropped that line of dialogue after he was inaugurated into the presidential position, further elaborating on its implications and what further consequences his presidency will incur in the coming future of US-China relations. Most of the night centred around Cook’s critical discussion on Trump and the prospective consequences of his presidency, with Ming and Chan’s commentary relevant to the Chinese political sphere interspersed amongst the conversation.

This event was a good reminder that including audiences of all ages in political dialogue encourages the contribution of a wide variety of differing perspectives, which can then enrich discussion.

If there’s one lesson to take away from the event, it would be Ronnie Chan’s blunt statement: “China has no choice but to deal with the United States.” For the rest of Trump’s first term, China’s political leaders (along with other international leaders) will have to prepare for a more volatile playing field in order to keep afloat of the currently unpredictable state of the international political sphere.

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