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U.S.-China Relations Are Still Deteriorating

According to data from The New York Times, there is one bright spot on the horizon that four of the 165 currently in development vaccines are in phase 3 trials. Two of the vaccines are manufactured by Chinese companies: the state-owned Sinopharm and the private Sinovac Biotech. There is also a vaccine approved for limited use but developed in China by Cansino Biologics.

The other area of concern for Chinese and American policymakers is the security arena. First and foremost is the future of Taiwan, which remains a volatile point of tension in US-China relations. There are also concerns between the United States and China about the proliferation of weapons technology.

For now, China seems to have accepted the reality of US supremacy, and the Bush Administration decided to focus on cooperation with China in areas of common interest. Many Americans tend to view US-China relations in terms of individual issues, such as trade, Taiwan, and human rights. But the United States has a multi-faceted policy toward China, and there are a variety of US interests toward China.

By and large, the main goal of American officials in the Trump administration is to manage the far-reaching diplomatic and economic relations that have been established between the US and China over the decades since President Nixon began opening up to China in 1971. But there are serious and enduring differences over how China and the United States should be able to build a relationship that benefits both countries and increases stability in Asia and around the world. This version of the US often looks at the reasons for the dissolution of the relationship as if espionage were real, but it is not.

The first major blow to US-China relations under the Trump administration was in mid-2018. Trump began imposing tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese-made goods, and China countered by doing the same on American goods. In addition, the government decided to ban the Chinese app TikTok on national security grounds, marking the first time the United States has blocked foreign information technology.

The Trump administration has also failed to maintain the high level of Sino-American cooperation needed to deal with North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The Biden administration’s technology policy, multilateral relations, and national economic initiatives are geared toward competition with China. The Obama administration’s strategy was essentially to steer China-US relations through the development of new technologies that would benefit China commercially, but would not cut ties with the US, which itself would have at least some benefit (Laskai was fired in 2018).

The Trump administration has identified restrictions on Chinese investment in US high-tech firms and on Chinese doctoral students in key scientific fields as the first steps toward a possible broader decoupling of the US economy from China as an appropriate response to China’s growing challenge. The decision to take more decisive action against China and disrupt its operations coincided with a speech by FBI Director Christopher Wray earlier this month. Wray said Chinese threats to U.S. interests have accelerated over the past decade, noting that he could launch a new counterintelligence investigation into China within 10 hours.

The closure of the consulate suggests that Chinese hawks are gaining the upper hand, fueled by righteous anger in Washington over Chinese governments “lack of transparency, as the virus causes a global catastrophe. It is understandable that people are trying to self-test China’s policies at this point, as US-China relations slide to an unexpected low.

Indeed, compared to other countries in the world, China is right. As a result, it is a leader in many areas, including 5G and quantum communications. It is difficult to see what the US is doing to change this situation without abandoning some of its key objectives in the process of becoming a great power on the world stage.

This was achieved in 2000 with the United States-China Relations Act of 2000, which allowed China to join the WTO in 2001. During the 2008 economic crisis that hit Western countries, the launch of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) provided a way out of poverty for many developing countries that received Chinese aid.

Since China’s accession to the WTO in December 2001, the decline in manufacturing jobs in the US has accelerated as a result of the China shock. The trade war has created a lot of instability in the stock market that should be watched closely. It has a huge impact on companies in the US and outside the US, as it creates a lot of instability in their thinking and business.

But, with Trump facing declining approval ratings and an economic crisis in the months leading up to the election, his comments suggest that the most likely culprit for America’s financial woes is not congressional Democrats or Obama-era policies. It is China, despite the emphasis on the economic damage caused by the outbreak and the discrepancies that preceded it.

Although it is not unprecedented for the US to close foreign embassies, it is a rare and dramatic step that is difficult to reverse. It is also a significant development in the deterioration of relations in the past month including visa restrictions, new rules on diplomatic travel and expulsion of foreign correspondents. Campaign ads for Trump’s likely opponent, Joe Biden, who was Obama’s vice president eight years ago, have begun with China as the focus of the back-and-forth.

Beijing’s moves in Hong Kong have worsened US-China relations, but were not designed to do so. Beijing is well aware that its sudden crackdown on Hong Kong’s limited struggle for democracy will cost China’s relations with Britain, the United States, and many other powers dearly. The damage done to Hong Kong’s freedom in 2020 and China’s relationship with Western liberal democracies, including the United States, seems irreversible for the foreseeable future.

Ronald Reagan’s first two years in office saw US-China relations deteriorate, owing to the president’s vociferous anti-communism and the two nations “inability to agree on the Korean conflict, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Falklands War. The announcement of intention to establish diplomatic relations with mainland China in Taiwan on 15 December 1978 was harshly condemned in the United States and led to angry protests in Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Although the US-China relations have been renewed in early 1979, the Taiwan issue remains a major point of contention.

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