Diana Choyleva

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US China tensions remain high as 2020 draws to a close

Tensions stayed high between the US and China as they ended 2020 in the same increasingly confrontational manner that characterised the rest of this deeply troubled year: swapping sanctions and accusations of foul play. This article is a summary of important news related to China US relations in December 2020. Even as time ticked down on his administration, President Trump and his opposite number kept the Sino-US relationship in turmoil with several moves that underscored strained ties between the world’s two strongest economies. China expressed anger after Trump signed into law measures to bolster support for Tibet and Taiwan, including sanctions against Chinese officials who interfere in the selection of the Dalai Lama’s successor, and support for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in UN bodies and regular arms sales. The US ambassador to the UN will visit Taiwan, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called Taiwan “a reliable partner and…

Tough times for Sino-US relationship despite Biden US presidency election win

In late November, Chinese leader Xi Jinping finally congratulated his next US opposite number on his election victory over Donald Trump, despite Joe Biden calling Xi, more than once on the campaign trail, a “thug” for China’s human rights abuses. This article is a summary of major news items concerning China US relations in November 2020. Amid the vote count, Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Le Yucheng hoped the next US administration would meet China halfway, manage differences and push China-US ties along the right track. Yet turmoil and a very bumpy ride still look more likely, with tensions high over trade, the military, the South China Sea, cyberspace – and actual space. Senior Trump officials said they were pushing for new hard-line measures against Beijing, even as he winds down his final two months in office. Among multiple thorny issues for Biden to tackle, the Trump administration approved the latest in a series of arms sales to Taiwan, while…

US trade war with China misses targets as election nears

President Trump kept up the tough talk on China, who he blamed for hurting the world economy with Covid-19, but his trade war that has defined US China relations appeared to miss key targets as the election neared on 6 November. Tensions soared over Taiwan as Beijing stepped up military preparations to improve its invasion capability, and the US State Department approved the potential sale of three weapons systems to Taipei. This article is a summary of major news items concerning China US relations in October 2020. Focus on “preparing to go to war” Xi Jinping told marines at a Guangdong military base, while the PLA increased preparations by air, sea and land to exert pressure on the Taiwanese government. The USS Barry passed through the Taiwan Strait, enraging China. At least 60 American warplanes conducted close-up reconnaissance flights near China in September, and analysts concluded that the US is preparing for future long-distance missions in…

US China turmoil may split the globe: UN

Sino-US decoupling took its most prominent global stage to date when Donald Trump and Xi Jinping brought their virus row and trade tensions to the 75th United Nations General Assembly. “We must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world, China,” said Trump. This article is a summary of major news items concerning China US relations in September 2020. “Any attempt of politicising the issue or stigmatisation must be rejected,” said Xi, also by pre-recorded video, who urged countries to respect the WTO and not bury their heads in the sand “like an ostrich” to avoid globalisation. “We are moving in a very dangerous direction,” warned António Guterres, the UN secretary general. “Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a great fraction, each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities.” Yet exactly such splitting continued throughout the month. In the digital war,…

Trump cancels talks as US China relations stew

All the mixed signals were on display this month of the troubled, complex and still wide-ranging relationship between the world’s two largest economies. President Trump cancelled talks but top trade officials managed to speak even as both sides swapped barbs and sanctions. This article is a summary of important news affecting China US relations in August 2020. “I had a great relationship with President Xi. I like him, but I don’t feel the same way now,” after the pandemic, said Trump, admitting they haven’t spoken “in a long time”. Later he added that he had cancelled talks with China. “I don’t want to talk to China right now.” Top US and Chinese trade officials did hold their first formal dialogue since early May (by phone), reaffirming commitment to the Phase 1 deal. Beijing is set to buy a record amount of American soybeans this year, possibly enough to salvage the deal even if not reaching the promised total.…

China US relations at worst point for decades

Bilateral relations appear at their worst for decades. Diplomats at China’s Houston consulate burned documents into the night after the US gave China 72 hours to close “to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information”. Beijing then ordered the US shut its consulate in Chengdu, southwest China. This article is a summary of important US China news in July 2020. Amid the heated rhetoric, and continued decoupling, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told his French counterpart he blames the turmoil on the US – “Such behaviour is stark power politics that can be captured by one word: hegemony.” Earlier in the month he had called for reconciliation, and suggested three lists to identify and resolve disputes. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo angered Beijing and the World Health Organisation by telling British lawmakers China had “bought” the WHO head. In the fourth speech in a month critical of Beijing from a top US official, he called on China’s citizens to join…

Critical words and actions trouble US and China relations

The US and China exchanged plenty of critical words over the Covid-19 pandemic and Hong Kong – but they’re still buying and selling stuff too. Soybean exports from the US during one June week were the largest in at least 16 months, with the majority headed to China. This article is a summary of important China US news in June 2020. The hard-won US-China trade deal “is over”, said Trump adviser Peter Navarro. “The China Trade Deal is fully intact,” President Trump Tweeted, as the confusion roiled markets. In 2019, Trump had pleaded with Xi Jinping for domestic political help – stressing the importance of increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in this November’s electoral outcome – and subordinated national-security issues to his own re-election prospects, former adviser claimed John Bolton claimed. And Beijing wants him to win again, concluded Bloomberg, however much Trump argues China is rooting for Joe Biden. Amid Bolton’s allegations, Trump signed…

More decoupling as Trump threatens to cut US China relations

The coronavirus pandemic has worsened already badly frayed China US relations. “This is worse than Pearl Harbor” or 9/11, President Trump said of America’s “worst attack”, that “could have been stopped in China.” “We could cut off the whole relationship,” he later threatened. Beijing aimed most fire at Secretary of State Pompeo, who changed tack to admit Covid-19 may not have come from a Wuhan lab. This article is a summary of important China US news in May 2020. Beijing’s new security law means Hong Kong no longer warrants special treatment under US law, declared Pompeo, and Trump could within days issue an executive order on wide-ranging economic penalties against Hong Kong and China. The US House of Representatives approved legislation calling for sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for oppression of Uighur Muslims. In the latest push towards financial decoupling, the US Senate passed a bill that could force some Chinese companies to de-list from US exchanges. Baidu,…

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