He has raised eyebrows in China over comments made on trade, Taiwan and North Korea.

And while Beijing has hardly been thrilled about US President-elect Donald Trump's comments regarding the Asian powerhouse, he will have much bigger issues on his plate than China.

That is the view of China expert Professor Greg Austin, a researcher at University of NSW, Canberra.

He warned the path to good diplomacy between the US and China would not always run smoothly.


Asked what a Trump administration would mean for the US-China relationship, Prof Austin said there would almost certainly be strained relations between the two powerhouses.

"I predict there will be many hiccups because of Trump but no major earthquakes," he said.

Prof Austin said presidents usually didn't play a huge role when it came to China and foreign policy as that was more a role for ambassadors and secretary of state.

"For most US presidents, foreign policy is not the highest priority," he said.

"Clinton, Bush and Obama didn't spend a lot of time on China policy development, leaving it more to the next tier down in the administration rather than leading it."

Instead Trump will be too busy focusing on crime, jobs and immigrations issues, all of which Americans expressed concerns about during the election.

Trump's promise to deport millions of illegal immigrants will remain one of his biggest issues and is sure to spark a backlash on both sides of the political divide.

"He will have as much time to think about China as he does composing a tweet," Prof Austin said.

While acknowledging the President-elect had raised the issue of China apparently not doing enough to halt North Korea's nuclear ambitions, Prof Austin said the US didn't have any major links or influence over Pyongyang and neither did previous US administrations.

"There's nothing the US can do differently when it comes to North Korea, and China has limited influence there," Prof Austin said.

And while Trump's controversial phone call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was not well received in Beijing, Prof Austin said the US would not suddenly move to recognise the island as a sovereign state either.

"The US will not abandon it's One China policy under Donald Trump," Prof Austin said.


According to research Fellow at United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, Ashley Townshend, Trump appears poised to shake up US-China relations by adopting a hawkish approach towards Beijing on economics and security.

However this will come at a price.

"This will stoke more, not less, instability in this pivotal major power relationship, " he said.

Townshend said getting tough on China wasn't the right way to encourage Beijing into making difficult concessions or getting more co-operation.

Trump's willingness to create uncertainty over the One China Policy is the most provocative aspect of his hawkish China policy to date, he added.

"This is likely to lead to a more unpredictable, and possibly unstable, Asia-Pacific in which Australia and other US partners will be grappling to deal with an unprecedented degree of uncertainty America's foreign policy and strategic behaviour," he said.

However when it came to North Korea and Trump's criticism of Beijing, Townshend said this was one example of how his "overtly hawkish approach could backfire."

Townshend said the President-elect is correct that China could do more to enforce new UN Security Council sanctions designed to punish Kim Jong Un's regime for its repetitive nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests, although China has agreed to sanctions in 2016.

"But lambasting China on Twitter for its failure to enforce sanctions only serves to push Beijing on the defensive," he said.

"Trump also needs to realise that relying on Beijing do the heavy lifting on North Korea is ultimately not a winning strategy.

"Given China's acute concern to prevent regime collapse in Pyongyang and its imperative to avoid stirring domestic economic instability along the China-North Korean border, Beijing has an uncomfortable interest in avoiding crippling sanctions."


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves at parade participants at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo / AP
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves at parade participants at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo / AP

The One China policy isn't the only one to draw Trump's attention in recent weeks.

Just days ago Trump tweeted about his concerns about nuclear threats from North Korea, and said China needed to do more when it came to Pyongyang.

In a New Year's address North Korean leader Kim Jong-un revealed his country was close to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile, which, if successful, could wipe out parts of the United States.

However Trump dismissed the threat, tweeting that it wasn't a possibility.

And while Trump has taken a swipe at the Asian superpower in the past, particularly over "cheating" the US on international trade, he then launched an attack on China over its apparent refusal to help defend against North Korea.

The comments didn't sit well with Beijing with Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stressing the country's "proactive" participation in quelling the nuclear issue.

He said the country has proactively participated in relevant discussions on the North Korean nuclear issue and have jointly passed several resolutions with other parties.

The country's nationalist newspaper The Global Times accused him of "pandering to irresponsible attitudes" and having "selfish motives".

He also made global headlines after he questioned the One China policy, and publicly acknowledged a phone call he had with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen - the first US president to do so since 1979.

In the speech Kim revealed his goal was "to cope against the vicious threats for nuclear war by the Imperialists," in an apparent reference to the United States.

And according to the Eastern Daily, Trump is targeting China and attempting to use its influence over North Korea to put an end to its missile threat.

Trump has even made suggestions the US will make trade difficult with Beijing with his tougher stance on China appearing more aggressive than Barack Obama's.


Donald Trump sparked controversy when he took a phone call from Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen. Photos / AP
Donald Trump sparked controversy when he took a phone call from Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen. Photos / AP

The issues raised by Trump have been echoed by other US politicians, particularly when it came to US autonomy.

On Sunday, US Senator Ted Cruz met with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-Wen, despite objections from Chinese diplomats, AFP reported.

The Republican from Texas, who lost in the US primary elections to Trump, said in a statement that the two discussed arms sales, diplomatic exchanges and economic relations during the meeting in Houston.

"Furthering economic co-operation between our two nations must be a priority; increased access to Taiwanese markets will benefit Texas farmers, ranchers and small business owners alike," Cruz said.

Cruz also revealed more about China's objections to the meeting.

"Shortly before our meeting, the Houston congressional delegation received a curious letter from the Chinese consulate asking members of Congress not to meet with President Tsai, and to uphold the 'One China policy," the senator said.

"The People's Republic of China needs to understand that in America we make decisions about meeting with visitors for ourselves."

"The Chinese do not give us veto power over those with whom they meet. We will continue to meet with anyone, including the Taiwanese, as we see fit."

- with wires