US – China Relations

Date: Aug 5 2020
By: Yen Nee Lee


  • China’s top diplomat has called out the U.S. for attempting to start a new Cold War between the two largest economies, and in the process plunging the world into “chaos and division.”
  • Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told state media Xinhua News Agency that China is not the former Soviet Union and has “no intention of becoming another United States.”
  • Wang said relations between the two countries are “facing the gravest challenge since the establishment of diplomatic ties” and blamed the U.S. for that deterioration.

Lintao Zhang | Getty Images News | Getty Images\

China’s top diplomat has called out the U.S. for attempting to start a new Cold War between the two largest economies, and in the process plunging the world into “chaos and division.”

In an interview with state media Xinhua News Agency on Wednesday, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said “today’s China is not the former Soviet Union.” He added that his country has “no intention of becoming another United States.”

“We have no intention of becoming another United States. China does not export ideology, and never interferes in other countries’ internal affairs,” he said.    [FULL  STORY]

The Trump administration wants to keep other countries from weaponizing technology the way the U.S. and its allies already have.

The Intercept
Date: August 6 2020
By: Sam Biddle

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AFP via Getty Images

THE STATE DEPARTMENT has a new vision for a “clean” internet, by which it means a China-free internet. This new ethno-exclusive network “is the Trump Administration’s comprehensive approach to guarding our citizens’ privacy and our companies’ most sensitive information,” by ensuring that China won’t be able to do a litany of subversive and violative things with technology that the U.S. and its allies have engaged in for years. As a policy document it’s nonsensical, but as a moral document, a piece of codified hypocrisy, it’s crystal clear: If there’s going to be a world-spanning surveillance state, it better be made in the USA.

A statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo includes a five-pronged plan for beating back Red China’s attempts to siphon and abuse your data: Working to keep Chinese phone carriers (presumably compromised by Beijing) out of U.S. markets, to have privacy-violating Chinese apps kicked off American app stores, to remove U.S. apps from app stores run by Chinese companies, to keep U.S. citizens’ data off of Chinese cloud servers “accessible to our foreign adversaries,” and to ensure that the undersea cables that ferry internet signals between continents aren’t secretly tapped by eavesdropping Chinese intelligence services.

The real question, even more than how could any of this practically be accomplished by State Department diktat, is: Why should anyone in the world take the initiative seriously? How can any network fondled for decades by American spy agencies be considered clean? The absolute gall of the United States in condemning “apps [that] threaten our privacy, proliferate viruses, and spread propaganda and disinformation” is just slightly too stunning to be laughable. Without exception, the United States engages in every one of these practices and violates every single one of these bullet pointed virtues of a Clean Internet. Where do we get off?    [FULL  STORY]

China says they’ve never participated in cybersecurity theft, DOJ indicted Chinese government-backed hackers last week

Fox News
Date: August 1, 2020
By: Caitlin McFall 

.Hackers backed by the Chinese government attempted to steal coronavirus vaccination data from US-based biotech company, Moderna Inc., a U.S. security official tracking Chinese hacking revealed in an exclusive Reuters report Friday.

China pushed back on this accusation and said, “Such allegations are pure slander.”

“Recently so-called sources from the US government have been accusing China of hacking to steal technology and data of U.S. vaccine research, but there has been no evidence whatsoever,” Wang Wenbin, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in a press conference Friday.

Webin pointed to the fact that the intelligence sources were all anonymous.

“The international community can see through such vilifying ploys,” he said.

Why cool heads must prevail

The Economist
Date; Aug 1st 2020

In a book of essays called “The Next Great War?”, which examines Sino-American relations through the lens of the first world war, Richard Rosecrance warns of “the tyranny of small things”, the points of friction and misunderstanding between rival powers that, without leadership to manage them, can lead to conflict. China and America today are not about to take up arms, but small things are rapidly accumulating. The two distrust each other more now than at any point since Richard Nixon went to China almost 50 years ago. As a presidential election draws near, the potential for dangerous miscalculation is growing.

On July 27th America’s consulate in Chengdu closed on orders from Beijing. It was in retaliation for the Trump administration’s order, a week earlier, to close China’s consulate in Houston, the first such moves since the normalisation of relations in 1979. This capped a month in which America sanctioned a sitting member of China’s Politburo, also a first, over the internment of Uighurs in Xinjiang; declared China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea illegal; ceased to recognise Hong Kong as distinct from mainland China; and claimed a victory in its campaign against Huawei, when Britain announced that it would bar the telecoms-equipment giant from its 5g networks.

For the hawks who surround President Donald Trump, this is overdue. In a series of four speeches that evoked the cold war, they laid out their case for abandoning “blind engagement” with China for a more confrontational relationship. On June 26th Robert O’Brien, the national security adviser, said that Xi Jinping, China’s president, “sees himself as Josef Stalin’s successor”. On July 7th Christopher Wray, the fbi director, claimed that China was seeking to become “the world’s only superpower by any means necessary”, and warned of its extensive efforts to spy on, influence and co-opt Americans. On July 17th William Barr, the attorney-general, charged that Hollywood studios and America’s tech giants had become “pawns of Chinese influence”. And on July 23rd Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, declared that Mr Xi was engaged in a decades-long battle for global supremacy, and that America and other democracies must fight back.    [FULL  STORY]

The decision to close China’s diplomatic outpost in Houston appears to have deterred further meddling in America’s COVID-19 vaccine research – but not before the U.S. paid a price.

U.S. News and World Report
Date: July 31, 2020
By: Paul D. Shinkman, Senior Writer, National Security 

The Chinese flag flies at the Chinese consulate, July 22, 2020, in Houston, Texas.(MARK FELIX/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

CHINA'S ESPIONAGE effort to recruit American scientists and steal U.S. medical research using its consulate in Houston succeeded in its partial goal of slowing down the U.S. ability to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report, which also assesses that Beijing does not appear interested in escalating the incident – at least for now – after the Trump administration shuttered the diplomatic outpost last week.

The consulate in Houston had become a central hub for collecting and analyzing information on biomedical research that Chinese spies were stealing and procuring in a broader attempt to obtain federally funded research, according to a source familiar with the assessment who spoke with U.S. News on the condition of anonymity. The campaign to steal information not only benefited China's own attempts to develop a vaccine to the coronavirus, but it undermined U.S. efforts to reach that monumental breakthrough by potentially corrupting its existing data.    [FULL  STORY]

Juan Tang is accu6sed of lying about links to China military, amid tensions between Washington and Beijing after US orders Houston consulate to close

The Guardian
Date: 22 Jul 2020
By: Julian Borger in Washington

A Chinese researcher is in the San Francisco consulate amid FBI claims she lied about links to China’s military. Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters

A Chinese researcher charged with lying to the FBI about her military affiliation has taken refuge in China’s San Francisco consulate, according to court documents, further escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The standoff in San Francisco comes at the same time the US ordered the closure of China’s Houston consulate, on grounds of involvement in theft of “American intellectual property and private information”.

China called the closure “unprecedented” and an “outrageous” escalation, and threatened retaliation, with state media putting out a poll asking which US consulates should be closed.

Donald Trump said in response to a question at a Wednesday night briefing that the closure of more consulates was “always possible”.

The researcher, Juan Tang, is named in a prosecutorial memo filed on Monday at the federal district court in San Francisco calling for the continued detention of another Chinese researcher at Stanford who is also charged with lying about links to China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on her visa application.

Tang is accused of claiming never to have served in the PLA on her visa application, when an open-source investigation allegedly unearthed a picture of her in the uniform of the PLA’s civilian cadre and further evidence she had been a researcher for the Air Force Military Medical University. In an interview with the FBI on 20 June, according to the document, she claimed not to recognise the insignia on the uniform she is wearing in the photo.

“That same day, FBI executed a search warrant of Tang’s residence, and a search of her electronic media found further evidence of Tang’s PLA affiliation,” the memo, first reported by the Axios news site, said. “The FBI assesses that at some point following the search and interview of Tang on June 29, 2020, Tang went to the Chinese consulate in San Francisco, where the FBI assesses she has remained.”    [FULL  STORY]

In defense, trade, technology, media and diplomacy, among other areas, the rancor between the Trump administration and China’s ruling Communist Party is worsening.

The New York Times
Date: July 22, 2020
By: Rick Gladstone

President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, last year.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Tensions between China and the United States have reached the most acute levels since the countries normalized diplomatic relations more than four decades ago, with the American government’s ordering that China close its Houston consulate being just the latest example.

In defense, trade, technology, human rights and other categories, actions and reprisals by one side or the other have escalated sharply under President Trump’s administration, despite his repeated expressions of admiration for President Xi Jinping of China.

The administration is even weighing a blanket ban on travel to the United States by the 92 million members of China’s ruling Communist Party and the possible expulsion of any members currently in the country, an action that would likely invite retaliation against American travel and residency in China.

“I think we’re in a dangerous and precipitous spiral downward, not without cause, but without the proper diplomatic skills to arrest it,” said Orville Schell, director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society. The severity of the confrontation, he said, “has jumped the wall from specific and solvable challenges to a clash of systems and values.”    [FULL  STORY]

NPR News
Date: July 22, 2020
Heard on All Things Considered

U.S. flag and China's flag flutter in winds at a hotel in Beijing Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in Beijing to press Chinese authorities to agree to peacefully resolve disputes with their smaller neighbors over competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. But as she began her meetings here, China questioned the stated neutrality of the United States. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

In recent weeks, U.S.-China relations have unraveled with alarming speed, and some analysts say they are now at their worst since the two countries normalized diplomatic ties in 1979.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration ordered China's consulate in Houston to close, a step that significantly amps up the tension in already fraught relations between the world's top two economies.

The administration has heaped blame on China for the coronavirus pandemic and restricted the number of Chinese journalists in the U.S. It says its moves reciprocate the strict limits that China places on American journalists.

It has also imposed a string of measures to punish China for alleged human rights abuses in Tibet and Xinjiang — and for a national security law written and passed in Beijing, which many believe effectively ends the high degree of autonomy promised to Hong Kong when it returned to China's control in 1997.

The Chinese government has responded in kind, deflecting blame for the pandemic, kicking out some U.S. journalists and putting pressure on those who remain. It has also announced sanctions on U.S. lawmakers and at least one American defense company.

With threats of further action from the White House, including possible financial sanctions, and with China turning into a key 2020 campaign issue, the downward spiral seems likely to continue.    [FULL  STORY]

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SPAT: Firefighters and police were called to the consulate building after reports that documents were being burned in trashcans in the courtyard

Taipei Times
Date: Jul 23, 2020

Photo: AP

The US yesterday ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, Texas, and accused it of increasing its spying operations, dramatically escalating diplomatic tensions between the feuding nations.

The announcement infuriated Beijing, which vowed to retaliate as the two nations squabble over a slew of issues ranging from trade to the COVID-19 pandemic — as well as China’s policies in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and the South China Sea.

“We have directed the closure of PRC [People’s Republic of China] Consulate General Houston in order to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information,” US Department of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters during a visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Denmark.

She added that under the Vienna Convention, states “have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs” of the receiving state, but there were no further details about the reasons behind the decision.

In another statement, the department said that China has engaged in massive spying and influence operations throughout the US for years.

“These activities have increased markedly in scale and scope over the past few years,” it said.

Before the news emerged, firefighters and police on Tuesday were called to the consulate after reports that documents were being burned in trashcans in the courtyard.

The Houston Police Force Twitter feed said that smoke was observed, but officers “were not granted access to enter the building.”    [FULL  STORY]

The US has imposed sanctions on Chinese officials it says are committing human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet.

Al Jazeera
Date: 17 Jul 2020
By: Katrina Yu

The combative language between China and the United States has continued in recent days, as relations between the two superpowers deteriorate.

It has been a challenging few months for Beijing, where it has been criticised for a Hong Kong security law, and faced resistance on the use of Huawei's technology.

Al Jazeera's Katrina Yu explains… [FULL  STORY]