Washington Post: It’s not all on Trump: China favors confrontation with the U.S.

These experts also soft-pedal another issue that is key to understanding the negative trajectory in U.S.-China relations: decoupling. “Decoupling” is a buzzword used to describe the process by which the United States and China have begun to separate their intensively intertwined economies. All of the authors decry decoupling as a strategic error, but they also assume that if the Trump administration decides to forego decoupling, then China will follow suit.

This ignores China’s role in the issue.

China effectively announced its intention to decouple from its dependence on U.S. technology in 2015 — well before Trump’s election. That was the year when Beijing rolled out its Made in China 2025 program, which aims to replace foreign-made high technology with Chinese products.

China has also “decoupled” from international agreements. It has ignored a major treaty, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, by claiming all of the South China Sea as its territory and ignored the verdict of an international tribunal that ruled against China’s claim. It has also declared invalid the Sino-British Joint Declaration, an international understanding made over the future of Hong Kong. And since 2014, when a newspaper in Liaoning province published an article urging students to expose liberal professors, it has intellectually decoupled from the West in a campaign that has led to book burning.

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