US President Donald Trump raised the prospect of “decoupling” the US economy from China and claimed to be overseeing “the fastest recovery in US history”. In a press conference held in front of the White House on Monday, Mr Trump announced a tougher line on trade with Beijing. With less than two months to go before the election on November 3, Mr Trump said that “decouple” — which economists have used for a decade to refer to a potential permanent drop in trade between the two countries — was “an interesting word”.
Mr Trump said: “If we didn’t do business with [China], we wouldn’t lose billions of dollars.
“It’s called decoupling. So you’ll start thinking about it. You’ll start thinking they take our money and they spend it on building aeroplanes and building ships and building rockets and missiles.”
The President also threatened to block companies that outsource jobs to China from receiving federal contracts, and vowed — as he did during the 2016 campaign — to bring manufacturing jobs and crucial supply chains back to the US.
Mr Trump’s speech did not come as a surprise, as under his presidency Sino-American relations have sharply deteriorated.
While some criticise the US President for “declaring a trade war” on one of the world’s largest economies, in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Australian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz showed support for his approach.
Mr Abetz explained: “The US, especially, under President Trump has taken a robust approach to China.
“It’s an aggressive stance.”
When asked if he agreed with it, Mr Abetz replied: “Yes.
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“The history of the world is littered by examples of bullies not being challenged in the early days.
“And then when finally push comes to shove, the challenge that has to be provided is so devastating and with loss of life.
“If a strong stance is taken immediately, then I think there will be a greater preservation of peace.
“And the potential bully will be put back into their place.”
Since the coronavirus pandemic, Australia has also taken a different approach to Beijing.
The relationship is no longer shaped just by trade, but by a stark view emerging widely inside this continent-spanning country – that China poses a threat to Australia’s democracy and national sovereignty.
Mr Abetz said: “Our relationship with China is vitally important. Especially economically.
“We have got about 30 + percent of activity with China, it is a major exporter.
“That being said, Australia was at the forefront of the world community asking for an inquiry into the coronavirus.
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“Indicating that there were issues as far as Australia was concerned to get to the bottom of what happened, how it happened, why it happened.
“And I think that’s a reasonable request to have made.
“That has occasioned some push backs by the Chinese authorities.”
He noted: “Now we find that our barley exports have huge tariffs placed on them.
“Our wine exports are now being subjected to an allegation that we are dumping our premium wines in China.
“There has also been a fairly belligerent, I’ll use that term deliberately, National Press Club address by the deputy ambassador from China.”
At the end of August, one of China’s most senior diplomats refused to say the coronavirus pandemic originated in Wuhan, while accusing the Australian Government of damaging the relationship between the two countries with calls for an independent investigation into the virus.
Wang Xining said at the National Press Club: “We believe this proposal was targeted against China alone, because during that time Australian ministers claimed that the virus originated from Wuhan, from China, and they did not pinpoint any other places as a possible source.
“We don’t think it was fair.”
Mr Abetz added: “So the relationship is being tested at the moment… when it comes to Australia’s pursuit of transparency in relation to coronavirus but also human rights matters.
“And that concerns what we have been doing on the military front with the South China Sea islands.”