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According to all major US networks sitting president was defeated earlier this month by Democrat Party rival Joe Biden. However, he is refusing to concede, claiming the election was rigged against him, and has launched a number of legal challenges against the result.
Speaking to the Global Times, a state controlled Chinese tabloid, an international relations expert warned Mr Trump could try and intensify his conflict with Beijing during his final months in office.
The claim was made by Shen Yi, a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai.
Mr Biden won’t be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States until January 20, until which Mr Trump has full presidential powers.
Ms Yi claimed: “Trump is actually setting a trap or planting a landmine for the Biden administration.”
She suggested Mr Trump could use his presidential executive powers to hit China’s technology industry in the United States or punish Beijing over its treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority.
The Global Times argues this would force Mr Biden to continue a hard-line policy towards China unless he wants to be seen as a “panda hugger”.
The paper is owned by China’s ruling communist party and usually reflects officially held opinion in Beijing.
John Ullyot, a spokesman for America’s National Security Council, also warned a Biden presidency will find it difficult to reset relations with China.
He commented: “Unless Beijing reverses course and becomes a responsible player on the global stage, future U.S. presidents will find it politically suicidal to reverse President Trump’s historic actions.”
Relations between the US and China have deteriorated sharply under Mr Trump’s presidency with the two superpowers clashing over trade, Hong Kong, the South China Sea, Taiwan, human rights and the COVID-19 epidemic.
Beijing’s claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea overlaps with rival claims from five of its neighbours.
The US refuses to recognise the Chinese claim and periodically sends warships through the region, on ‘freedom of navigation’ patrols, to illustrate this point.
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The Trump administration also placed sanctions on a number of top Chinese officials accused of persecuting the country’s Uyghur minority.
It’s been reports that as many as a million Uyghur Muslims are being forcibly held in re-education camps were torture and sexual abuse are rife.
Mr Trump’s personal relationship with Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, has varied dramatically.
Early in his presidency Mr Trump claimed “we love each other”.
However, after the coronavirus emerged in China late last year the president has infuriated Beijing by insisting on calling it the “China virus” or Wuhan virus”.
Over the past two years Mr Trump has been waging a partial trade war, including the imposition of tariffs, against Beijing with mixed results.
There have also been fears about what President Trump will do with his remaining days in office with reference to Iran.
According to the New York Times at a meeting last week he asked his security advisors about launching a military strike on Iran’s main nuclear site.
The paper reports senior officials, including vice-president Mike Pence and secretary of state Mike Pompeo, talked him out of the plan fearing it would trigger a regional war.
Mr Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal, negotiated by his predecessor, in 2018.
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