Here’s a good run-down of China-watcher opinion on President Trump’s seemingly rapid about-face on “one China.”
Here’s one particularly biting nugget …
The phrase bandied around after Trump’s Thursday night phone call with Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping is “paper tiger.” James Zimmerman, the former head of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, told Reuters that Trump’s threatening to repudiate the one China policy and then backing down “confirmed to the world that he is a paper tiger . . . someone that seems threatening but is wholly ineffectual and unable to stomach a challenge.” The international affairs expert Shi Yanhong told The New York Times, “Trump lost his first fight with Xi and he will be looked at as a paper tiger,” while The Guardian headlined a piece about the call, “China U-turn is latest sign Trump may turn out to be a paper tiger.” (Mainland Chinese media has, generally speaking, taken a gracious—one might even say victorious—attitude towards the phone call.)
The writer of this particular passage, Isaac Stone Fish, does note that its possible we will later find out Trump extracted some concessions from Xi. But it doesn’t seem likely.