As president will Trump be as he was as candidate?

Updated: 2016-11-09 22:54


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As president will Trump be as he was as candidate?

US President-elect Donald Trump greets his running mate Mike Pence during his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, US, November 9, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

Global stocks nosedived. Gold soared. And the Canadian government's immigration website crashed on the news that voters in the United States had chosen the highly controversial and divisive New York real estate developer Donald Trump as their next president.

After a tight race and some mudslinging by both candidates along the campaign trail, he has been chosen to be the US' next commander-in-chief.

It may take some time even for the US to adapt to Trump being president. But his winning campaign was a logical outcome of the prevailing anti-establishment feelings.

For those wondering how a man with no political experience like Trump could have made it to the Oval Office, they will be looking at the American democratic apparatus as the fundamental way to "make America great again", given the wide divisions in US society the election has exposed.

For the rest of the world, including China, the US with Trump at the helm will be something new to adapt to.

He has vowed to impose a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports to the US. He has accused China of manipulating its currency, and stealing US jobs. He has pledged to withdraw endorsement of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

US Ambassador to China Max Baucus reassured his Chinese audience before the result that no matter who won, it would not affect China-US relations. And, of course, President-elect Trump may think differently than Trump the presidential candidate.

But that does not mean there is no need for Beijing to brace itself for what lies ahead, even if Trump does prove to be more down-to-earth in handling ties with China.

His many statements and partisan affiliation have offered few clues as to what his policies will be when he takes office, although his assertion that "Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo" is likely to shape them. He has promised to scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which may allow room for a more inclusive regional trade agreement if he is willing.

But there has been no indication as to his intentions regarding incumbent President Barack Obama's pet project of a US "pivot" to the Asia-Pacific.

The Trump White House will hardly roll back the US presence in the region, because Asia will remain a global hub of robust growth for many years to come. And the US cannot afford missing out.

However, it will make a huge difference how the Trump-led US goes about it.