In President Xi’s speech to the 19th Party Congress he referred to the main contradiction within China. This was a throwback to the Work on Contradiction by Mao. It uses the dialectic to analyse contradictions into antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions. If you are the weaker of the two in an antagonistic contradiction you work to reverse the power positions, and try to keep the contradiction until you are in the stronger position.
The report did not refer to the main contradiction internationally, nor which contradiction was the more powerful. I am not in the business of speculation, but I do note the time spent by Xi on Foreign affairs is probably 5 times that of Hu Jintao. And the rumour mills suggest that Wang Qishan is the head of a task force on foreign affairs or on key aspects of it.
So now we have the second Central Foreign Affairs Work Conference – CFAWC – in the Presidents time in office, compared to one for Hu Jintao.
That suggests that the external contradiction is getting the attention.
So China is responding to Trump. It is not initiating action. Depending on what the USA now does China’s tactics may change.
I suggest you might want to read the Xinhua report below and look out for comments in the media. This article is typical of Chinese releases. You scratch your head and ask what does this mean. In two to three years it will become obvious. Again I am not going to speculate but if this was about briefing foreign affairs cadres one might compile a list of options.
The article contains the answer.
If I were advising the USA I would suggest now is not the time to strike out. It is a time to watch and wait. But the USA does not do that. Next time the USA strikes or the one after, or the one after that China may react in its agenda.
China has been expecting this for 20 years at least , and is ready.
Trump and co may not have spent long testing out their ideas. Let’s hope Trump and co do not get frustrated.
Central Foreign Affairs Work Conference