How the Opium Wars Shaped China's Approach to Trump's Trade Threats

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No need to be caught off guard by the latest tweet from Donald Trump about tariffs and China. The underlying nature of Western economic links with the Asian nation today follows a pattern set by events almost 200 years ago. Britain, then the world's pre-eminent industrial power, wanted to reduce its trade deficit with China and muscled Beijing to reduce barriers. The result was a conflict that weakened Imperial China irrevocably, but framed President Xi Jinping's view of foreign relations. Stephen R. Platt, author of a new history of the opium conflict, speaks with Scott Lanman of Bloomberg News and Daniel Moss of Bloomberg Opinion about how much -- and how little -- has changed.

 

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