China should build more nukes to prepare for Trump, says outspoken tabloid
Nationalistic Global Times calls for significant increase in military spending in case US president-elect attempts to confront China in an ‘unacceptable way’
China should “significantly” increase military spending and build more nuclear weapons as a response to US President-elect Donald Trump, an editorial in the nationalistic Global Times newspaper said on Thursday.
China should “build more strategic nuclear arms and accelerate the deployment of the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile” to protect its interests, should Trump attempt to corner the country in an “unacceptable way”, it said.
“China’s military spending in 2017 should be augmented significantly,” it added in the editorial that appeared in both its English and Chinese editions.
Although the tabloid is part of the People’s Daily group,and has close ties to the ruling Communist Party, its views are not strictly official.
Chinese officials are sometimes thought to use it as a rhetorical hammer, but have also admonished it for its often bombastic language.
But he has also indicated he is not interested in projecting US power away from home, saying America is sick of paying to defend allies like Japan and South Korea – even suggesting they should develop their own nuclear weapons.
The editorial follows a Twitter tirade by Trump earlier in the week blasting China’s trade and foreign policies, as well as a protocol-shattering decision to accept a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a rogue province awaiting unification.
In the editorial, the Global Times said: “We need to get better prepared militarily regarding the Taiwan question to ensure that those who advocate Taiwan’s independence will be punished, and take precautions in case of US provocations in the South China Sea.”
On Wednesday, Trump selected Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who has close ties to Chinese President Xi Jinping dating back to the mid-1980s, as ambassador to China – potentially welcome news for Beijing, which called him an “old friend” upon receiving reports of his nomination.
Nevertheless, the state-owned English-language China Daily newspaper remained pessimistic about the future of relations with the US.
A Thursday editorial said that though the Asian giant had thus far responded to Trump with “laudable” prudence, further provocations from the unpredictable politician would jeopardise Sino-US ties.
“China has to prepare for the worst,” it said. “What has happened over the past weeks tends to suggest that Sino-US relations are facing uncertainty as never before, as Trump’s words are not necessarily more bark than bite.”