U.S. President-elect Donald Trump started off the New Year with some more fearmongering in his latest round of threat inflation about China. He wrote on Twitter, “China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won’t help with North Korea. Nice!” Trump’s words are alarming, but his claim is groundless.
The Boeing Company sees China as a $1 trillion market. Chinese President Xi Jinping toured the company’s commercial airplane factory in Everett, Washington, in September 2016. At the welcome ceremony, President Xi noted Boeing’s cooperation with China and praised the win-win results. The results are backed by solid data. According to a report by Bloomberg, the company has delivered 967 aircraft to China since 2000, worth about $60.2 billion at 2016 prices. The vice chairman of the company said deliveries to China by Boeing support approximately 150,000 American jobs every year.
Chinese companies create jobs and fight unemployment in America. Golden Dragon, a Chinese company based in Xinxiang, China, invested nearly $100 million to build a large copper-tube plant in Thomasville City, Alabama, employing about 150 people in one of the poorest regions in America. At the grand opening in May 2014, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley called Golden Dragon a “significant opportunity for the people of Wilcox County.” It was the first manufacturing project in the county in over half a century. If Trump wants to rebuild America, he will be happy to know that Chinese investors are making trade and investment between the two countries a two-way street.
According to a report by the Rhodium Group, the U.S. became the largest recipient of China’s outbound foreign direct investment in 2016, with $45.6 billion worth of acquisitions and investments, and direct investment by Chinese in the U.S. economy since 2000 exceeds $100 billion. China is the top market for Apple and GM, and Telsa and other companies are building their brands in China. Companies both big and small understand the importance of China’s huge market, including The Trump Organization. Trump Hotels plans to open 20-30 luxury hotels in China, according to a report by The Washington Post.
However, misunderstandings about the China-U.S. relationship persist, even within the President-elect’s small inner circle. Michael Flynn, who will advise Trump on important national security issues, believes China is allied with “radical Islamists.” In his book, The Field of Fight, Flynn makes the argument that China is a member of an “enemy alliance” in a global war against the West. His claim is not based on solid facts, and this type of thinking is dangerous if he advices the next President in this way.
Fortunately, most Americans do not share the incoming administration’s fondness for fake news and conspiracy theories about China. In June 2016, Flynn tweeted that he was “now following” China, and asked users to “please send me anything you get on China activities.” The humorous responses show the deep interconnectedness between China and the U.S. Below are some of them:
@stanleyfosha tweeted: “Sir, report from the field. Discovered a coded [message] on the label indicating China manufactured this keyboard.” @liguy743 tweeted: “They have a huge population. People in orbit. Lander on Moon. Nukes. Bigly army. Lots of US T-bills,” then added, “Chk CIA factbook for details.” @marvelle tweeted: “We’ve got 4 suspicious Chinese nationals under surveillance in DC,” and included a link to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Panda Cams. @BruceNV tweeted: “They just started non-stop flights to Vegas. Might be the start of the invasion,” then added, “[Can’t] tell if they are staying [at The Trump Organization].” @dtom_dangerzone tweeted: “There is an unusual amount of activity near the Shenzhen area. Lots of technology being made... investigating.”
Trump and his inner circle at the White House need to develop a realistic understanding of the China-U.S. relationship. The amusing comments under Flynn’s tweet show that China and the U.S. are in a deep, interconnected relationship; not just economically, but also on cultural and people-to-people exchange fronts. If random Internet users know the reality, Trump and his inner circle should too.