US-CHINA RELATION TOUCHES A NEW LOW
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After an announcement by US President Donald Trump to cut off relationship with China, the signals are clear that two nations are heading for a long drawn cold war and escalated tension. Trump is much upset with China over the way the eastern nation has dealt with dreaded novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan city. US president who had called the virus that has engulfed the entire world, as China virus and has also threatened to charge compensation from China for the damages it had caused due to the outbreak of the deadly virus.
US recently have limited the work of journalist from China in its country to three months by imposing visa restriction. The US president has extended one more year ban on US companies using telecommunication equipment manufactured in China terming it a national risk. The Eastern cointry too have reacted sharply calling the comments by Trump as “a lunatic” and his secretary of state Mike Pompeo “an evil”.
Mounting tension between the two superpowers had forced the international relations experts to call the scenario a refreshed phase of the cold war. Richard Hass who is a President of the council on foreign relations compared to the situation with America’s cold war with erstwhile USSR in the twentieth century. He wrote in the Wall Street Journal at the onset of May month, that a rising chorus of American voices now argues that confronting China should become the organizing principle of US foreign policy, akin to the cold war against the Soviet Union and called it as a strategic error. However many in the US government openly push for a more aggressive approach towards Beijing.
Relations between the two countries saw a turning point in April – May months when US blamed China for not disclosing that a life-threatening virus given the name of COVID-19 has spread in its country, and contrary to the practice that should have been followed the eastern nation that allowed the affected population travel to other countries making the population of other countries also vulnerable.
China’s foreign minister Wang Yi, speaking on the scene said that it has come to their attention that some political forces in the US are taking XHina-US relations hostage and pushing two countries to the brink of the cold war.
TROUBLE BEGAN IN 2017
Much before that in 2017, the Trump administration’s National Security Strategy called China as “a revisionist power” seeking “to erode American security and prosperity” and “shape a world antithetical to US interests”. In September 2019, while responding to US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Ford’s comment that the American government was formulating a strategy to address potential “security challenges” by China, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing said. “We urge relevant officials in the United States to abandon the Cold-War mentality and zero-sum game mindset…”
COVID-19 appears to have aggravated the crisis, pushing both countries, already reeling under trade, technology, and maritime disputes, to take a more hostile position towards each other. “Record high temperatures have been recorded in Sino-U.S. relations in recent years and the pandemic is no exception to this. Competition rules the relationship, and flexibility and mature handling are in short supply on both sides. Uncertainty prevails, whether it on the question of resolving trade problems, or on the maritime front in the East and South China Seas, on technology, or on mutual mud-slinging on COVID-19-related issues,” Nirupama Menon Rao, who served as India’s Foreign Secretary from 2009 to 2011, told The Hindu.
In early April, China’s Ministry of State Security sent an internal report to the country’s top leaders, stating that hostility in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak could tip relations with the US into confrontation, according to a Reuters report.
WHERE’S THE CURRENT CRISIS HEADING?
Where is the current crisis in relations between the US and China heading for? Experts say the tensions will not go away so easily. “This situation is unlikely to ease until the US Presidential election. Post-election, temperatures could decrease, but a deep-rooted antipathy towards China has gripped the popular and political imagination in the US. In China, the leadership and public opinion are both on a nationalist overdrive and the Trump administration is seen as the prime antagonist. The forecast is not encouraging.
Does it mean both countries are already in the Cold War? There are similarities between the current crisis and the Cold War. The political elites of both China and the U.S., like the Soviet Union and the U.S. back then, see each other as their main rivals. We can also see this antagonism moving from the political elite to the popular perception — the targeting of ethnic Chinese professionals in the US. The ties could be worse if Trump is re-elected this November.