The brief honeymoon between Washington and Beijing appears to be over. Just months ago, President Donald Trump would say warm words to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during their meeting in Florida. Now, the two sides have a hard time describing their disagreements.
It’s been noted that in that in mid-July Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross would complain about the trade gap with China in unusually blunt terms. This event was followed by a statement made by a CIA senior analyst Michael Collin who would announce that China’s growing confidence and resolve fueled by Washington’s inaction against Beijing over the past several years, has become a major concern in Washington. He also remains convinced that China poses a greater threat to the US than Russia.
From the CIA’s point of view, «China is undermining the US-led international order that has brought peace and stability in Asia over the past 40 years. Beijing is seeking to usurp American power and influence in the region».
In turn, CIA’s Director Mike Pompeo announced his belief that China has the capacity to present greater rivalry to America than Iran or Russia over the medium and long term. To make the ratter peculiar situation worse a US admiral has recently shocked the world by stating that he would launch a nuclear strike on China if Trump is to order it.
Against this background, the reports appearing featured by a number of media sources about Washington impending sanctions against China do not look surprising at all.
Trump’s advisers are still unable to formulate measures they are going to introduce against China due to the complicated situation around the DPRK, notes Politico, while citing two officials in the Trump administration. However, the stated measures are supposed to “punish” China for its rapid development. Among the measures under consideration, according to the above mentioned report, there are trade restrictions, along with economic sanctions. It’s safe to assume that protective duties would be introduced at some point against certain products that are being imported from China, but it’s a tough guess what areas of China’s economy Washington is going to choose. It’s also possible that Washington would put a hold on China’s transactions across the US, thus burring joint economic programs that Beijing created with a number of American companies.
Trump noted on Twitter that he’s “very disappointed in China,” adding that “(America’s) foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade.”
It’s been noted by David Loevinger, managing director of emerging markets sovereign research at TCW Group Inc in his interview for Bloomberg that “in some ways the Teddy Roosevelt strategy of talking softly and carrying a big stick is effective with China.”
China’s response to all of the above mentioned developments was announced by China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Qian, who would announce that Beijing won’t intervene in the affairs of other state but at the same time it won’t tolerate any attempts to intimidate it or inflict damage to its national interests.
At the same time, China, just like Russia, has a number of aces up its sleeve when economic retaliation is concerned. Today, all economies are so closely tied together that China has a large pool of measures with which it can respond. Among them one can find the reduction of the number of US diplomatic mission employers being allowed to operate in a foreign state, such a measure has already been skillfully introduced by Russia. In addition, the activities of some American companies in China, like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s can be severely restricted. Additionally China can stop supplying the US with a number of goods that remain vital to its economy or force Washington to leave Asian markets, which can result in a pretty severe economic blow to the US economy.
Strangely enough, China, just like Russia, would only benefit from the introduction of American sanctions against it. Beijing has been gradually developing anti-American propaganda capabilities, and it wants to show both to its citizens and its partners in the One Road One Belt project, that the United States is an unreliable partner, that is unable to conduct negotiations that is why it would only be using ill-conceived through measures. One find a lot of friends across the globe these days by advancing this rhetorics and Washington can only blame itself for that.
Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”