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Outgoing Obama Administration appears to be in Differences with President-elect Donald Trump over China Policy

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Trump addressing a debate, wikimedia

December 6, 2016: The outgoing administration of US President Obama appears to be in differences with President-elect Donald Trump over the China policy, saying, “It has been in contact with the Chinese officials to reiterate its continued support to the long-standing one-China policy.”

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According to PTI, “White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest even tended to question the impact of such a policy could have on stability in the region and its impact on not only the US, China but also Taiwan.”

When asked about Trump’s phone call to Taiwanese President, Tsai Ing-wen, Earnest said, “It is hard to determine exactly what the aim was of the President-elect.”

“If the President-elect’s team has a different aim, I will leave it on them to describe,” Earnest said.
“It is unclear exactly what the strategic effort is, what the aim of the strategic effort is, and it is unclear exactly what potential benefit could be experienced by the US, China or Taiwan but I will leave that on them to explain,” he said.

Last week, Donald Trump spoke over the phone with Taiwanese President. Later, in a series of tweets he slammed China for alleged currency manipulation and also for the military build-up in the South China Sea.

His top aids have tended to dismiss the concerns, saying that it was just a courtesy call. Trump’s one of the election campaign promises was to declare China a currency manipulator.

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“I am aware of two different phone conversations with officials at the National Security Council with their Chinese counterparts.”

“What we have made clear in a couple of different phone conversations is that the administration is committed to our nation’s pursuit of a one-China policy rooted in three communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act,” Earnest said.

“This is a policy that is based on three joint US-China communiques that were negotiated by different US Presidents in different parties and, of course, by the Taiwan Relations Act.

“This is a policy that has been in place for nearly 40 years, and it has been focused on promoting and preserving peace and stability in the strait. The adherence to and commitment to this policy has advanced the ability of the US to make progress in our relationship with China and of course has benefited the people of Taiwan,” he said.

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He said, “They certainly benefit from peace and stability in the strait and pursuit of and commitment to that peace and stability advances US interests.”
Earnest further said that after all, the ninth-largest trading partner of the US is Taiwan.

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President Donald Trump Key Force In Driving The Midterms Elections

Trump’s name will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballots, but, he will clearly be front and center in the minds of voters

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally endorsing the Republican ticket in Erie, Pennsylvania, VOA

Three weeks before a crucial U.S. midterm election, it would be difficult to find much that Democrats and Republicans agree on. Both parties, however, seem to agree on one thing: President Donald Trump will be the key issue in elections that will determine control of Congress for the next two years.

For many voters, the “Trump factor” could be a deciding consideration in this year’s midterms. And as the president campaigns on behalf of Republicans around the country, he is quick to remind his supporters that he has a huge personal stake in the outcome on Nov. 6.

“All of this extraordinary progress is at stake,” Trump told a recent rally in Southaven, Mississippi. “I’m not on the ballot. But in a certain way, I am on the ballot. So please, go out and vote. Go out and vote.”

Motivating Democrats

As much as Trump motivates his core supporters, he also energizes critics like Jenny Heinz, who helped organize a recent anti-Trump rally in New York City.

“There is an active resistance to this president, who is operating as if he is above the law.”

No question, Trump is the central figure in this year’s election, according to American University analyst David Barker.

“Yes, Democrats from the day after the election in 2016 have been waiting for this day, and it is all about Trump,” Barker told VOA. “Trump fully embraces that. He wants it to be all about him.”

Historically, midterm elections have been a mix of local issues, local candidates, and partly a referendum on the sitting president.

This year’s campaign seems to have accelerated a trend whereby midterm congressional elections have increasingly become nationalized.

“It really is now all national, and everyone is kind of looking at this as either a referendum for or against the president and his party,” said George Washington University expert Lara Brown.

supporters of President Donald Trump, wearing Mike Braun for Congress shirts, cheer as he arrives for a campaign rally at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. VOA

In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, a majority of voters in both parties said a congressional candidate who shares their view of Trump is an important consideration as they assess the coming midterms.

Seizing the spotlight

Unlike some presidents who have tried to resist the idea that the midterms are a presidential referendum, Trump has willingly embraced it.

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon told Associated Press Television that he favors the approach.

“I think if you make this a national referendum and nationalize this election on the success of President Trump’s program, it is a clear winner, and I think the Democrats get crushed.”

Others are skeptical, including former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

“All right, fine. You want it to be about you? Well, every candidate on the ballot now has to account for your behavior, has to account for your tweets,” said Steele, a recent guest on VOA’s Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren.

Climate Change, Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. VOA

Trump hopes to boost Republican turnout in November; but, Democrats argue he is likely to be just as effective in spurring their voters to the polls.

Maryland Democratic Representative Dutch Ruppersberger also spoke on Plugged In.

“When all you do is care about yourself and not about people, not about what they need – like your seniors needing medical care. And you just want to look good and knock them out (politically), which is happening, this is hurting. And this is why, I think, a lot of people will come out (to vote).”

Tending the base

Trump has been aggressive on the campaign trail courting his base, especially in Republican-leaning states where many of this year’s closer Senate races are taking place.

“They are focusing on their base, and they are trying to make sure that they are going to show up and vote. And it could make some difference in close midterm elections,” said University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato.

Trump, USA
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. administers the House oath of office to Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., during a mock swearing in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, . VOA

Some Republicans have urged Trump to try and broaden his appeal beyond his base during campaign visits this year.

But Gallup pollster Frank Newport said the president has limited options.

Also Read: Obama On Why Its Important To Vote In This Midterm Elections

“He has kind of given up on attempting to broaden his appeal, it looks like. It fits more with his style,” said Newport. “He has, as we all know, a very combative style. He likes to have enemies because that gives him somebody to fight against. So, it would be hard for a president like Trump anyway to try and broaden his appeal.”

Trump’s name will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballots, but, he will clearly be front and center in the minds of voters, and the midterm results could determine the future of his presidency. (VOA)