US – China Relations

Date: 4/29/20
By: David Brennan

A Chinese state-backed newspaper has again criticized the White House as the war of words between Washington, D.C. and Beijing over the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Global Times—which is backed by the Chinese Communist Party and owned by the People's Daily newspaper, which is the CCP's official publication—published a scathing editorial attacking the U.S. response to COVID-19 as the number of confirmed cases nationwide passed 1 million on Tuesday.

The article suggested that the infection toll, now at 1,012,583 with 58,355 deaths as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University and as illustrated in the below Statista infographic, shows the U.S. is "no superpower."

Spread of COVID-19 across the U.S.STATISTA

"The U.S. government has failed its people and also failed the world," Global Times wrote.

Also on Wednesday, Global Times editor Hu Xijin attacked President Donald Trump on Twitter. Hu cited the president's claim that the U.S. number is so high because the nation's "Testing is sooo much better than any other country in the World." Hu said the comment showed Trump "feels no guilt" about the suffering of Americans.

Global Times suggested that the situation has gotten so bad in the U.S. "because they are in too much despair to fight." China and its state media outlets have repeatedly maligned the U.S. response to the pandemic, framing Trump's administration as incompetent.

"The number of infections and deaths will continue to rise," the newspaper predicted, noting that the poorest Americans are most at risk. "A super power shouldn't lead the virus fight in this way," the editorial read. "It's time for the U.S. to wake up."


The American Interesdt
By: Mitchell B. Reiss

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed, like no crisis before it, just how difficult it has now become for the United States and China to find common cause. One remarkable feature of the past few months has been the near-total lack of communication and cooperation between the world’s two leading powers, who instead have publicly engaged in reciprocal bouts of name-calling, finger-pointing, and blame-shifting. The difference between this behavior, and their more responsible coordinated actions after both the September 11 attacks and the 2008 financial crisis, is both striking and lamentable.

How did we reach this point?

The opening with China in the early 1970s and subsequent normalization of diplomatic relations was initially driven by Cold War realpolitik. A different phase began after Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001. We admired China’s lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and responded enthusiastically as U.S. companies gained market access to Chinese consumers and low-cost production facilities. But as Beijing continued to accumulate wealth and power, a minority warned that Washington was blind to the strategic challenges that China posed to our industrial competitiveness, the U.S. security position in Asia, and democratic norms more broadly. More vocal were those who hoped that as China got richer, it would gradually adopt democratic norms and individual liberties, and it would not upset the liberal world order, but rather supplement America’s leadership of it. These hopes have not panned out.

With the Trump Administration, a more muscular approach to China is now ascendant in Washington. Believing that we have entered into a new period of “great power competition,” China is viewed as a near-peer competitor that seeks nothing less than “international domination,” in the words of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. A competing and more temperate analysis is offered by many experienced academics, scholars, and former U.S. government officials, who acknowledge many troubling aspects of Beijing’s behavior but do not believe that China poses an existential strategic threat, nor that it aspires to replace us as world leader. They also believe that our shared economic interdependence makes it necessary for our two countries to work together.

On either side of the debate, a small cottage industry has arisen of selectively citing historical examples of established powers that have resisted, actively opposed, or accommodated rising ones. From Athens and Sparta to Wilhelmine Germany searching for its place in the sun, these cases are interesting in their own right, but all one can say with confidence is that no one has ever cited an historical precedent that did not support their pre-existing argument.    [FULL  STORY]

Republicans increasingly believe that elevating China’s culpability for spreading the coronavirus may be the best way to improve their difficult election chances. The president is muddying the message.

President Trump says his frustrations with China are growing while he is also working to maintain a working relationship with the country.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The New York Times
Date: April 19, 2020
By: Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman

President Trump says his frustrations with China are growing while he is also working to maintain a working relationship with the country.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The strategy could not be clearer: From the Republican lawmakers blanketing Fox News to new ads from President Trump’s super PAC to the biting criticism on Donald Trump Jr.’s Twitter feed, the G.O.P. is attempting to divert attention from the administration’s heavily criticized response to the coronavirus by pinning the blame on China.

With the death toll from the pandemic already surpassing 34,000 Americans and unemployment soaring to levels not seen since the Great Depression, Republicans increasingly believe that elevating China as an archenemy culpable for the spread of the virus, and harnessing America’s growing animosity toward Beijing, may be the best way to salvage a difficult election.

Republican senators locked in difficult races are preparing commercials condemning China. Conservatives with future presidential ambitions of their own, like Senators Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley, are competing to see who can talk tougher toward the country where the virus first emerged. Party officials are publicly and privately brandishing polling data in hopes Mr. Trump will confront Beijing.

Mr. Trump’s own campaign aides have endorsed the strategy, releasing an attack ad last week depicting Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee, as soft on China. The ad relied heavily on images of people of Asian descent, including former Gov. Gary Locke of Washington, who is Chinese-American, and it was widely viewed as fanning the flames of xenophobia.    [FULL  STORY]

Taipei responded angrily to the WHO chief's assertion that 'racist slurs' against him originated in Taiwan.

Date: 10 Apr 2020

China has accused Taiwan of "venomously" attacking the World Health Organization (WHO), taking advantage of the current coronavirus crisis to seek independence, and conspiring with internet users to spread racist comments, after the WHO chief said a racist attack directed at him had come from the island.

Taiwan had responded angrily on Thursday to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus' assertion this week, and demanded he apologise, saying the accusations were "slander" and "extremely irresponsible".

Taiwan, which China claims for itself, is excluded from the WHO because of China's objections to its membership. 

The government has said this resulted in it being unable to get timely information, putting Taiwanese lives at risk. The WHO denies the allegation.

China says Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is seeking Taiwan's formal independence, but President Tsai Ing-wen says the island is already an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name.

Xi: Nobody can change fact Taiwan is part of China (2:34)

In a statement late on Thursday, China's Taiwan Affairs Office took aim at the "DPP authorities".

"The DPP authorities are unscrupulously using the virus to seek independence, venomously attacking the WHO and its responsible people, conniving with the green internet army to wantonly spread racist comments," it said. "We strongly condemn this."

Taiwan's justice ministry said on Friday that Twitter posts purporting to be from Taiwanese people apologising to Tedros for racist slurs were actually posted by people in mainland China.

"There is a concern it is a deliberate operation by overseas forces," the ministry's investigation bureau said.

"Falsely claiming to be Taiwanese and openly admitting to racist attacks on WHO Director General Tedros and begging forgiveness seriously damages our country's international reputation," it said in a statement. 

Taiwan has reported at least 380 cases of coronavirus to date, far lower than many of its neighbours thanks to early and effective prevention work. On Friday, it said a sixth patient died, an elderly person with underlying health conditions.    [FULL  STORY]

NY Magazine
Date: Apr. 10, 2020
By: Andrew Sullivan

Step back. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP/Shutterstock

Of all the lessons that plagues teach us, surely the most valuable one is humility.

Look around you. The most advanced, sophisticated, and wealthy civilization ever to exist on planet Earth — our glorious, multinational, globalized, technological miracle — has now been brought to a screeching halt by a pathogen so tiny no one was able to see their complex structures until the last century. For all our unparalleled wealth and knowledge, our streets are empty; our businesses for the most part are suspended; and our efficiency and technological mastery have been mocked by a speck of nature. This minuscule organism that isn’t even technically alive could, all by itself, generate a global depression unlike any since the 1930s.

All our carefully maintained, just-in-time supply lines have crashed in a matter of days. Our addictive elixir, economic growth, has evaporated. Global trade has been put on ice. We have no vaccine — and, barring a miracle, we won’t until next year. We have no effective treatments, although that may, with any luck, change. We have only very porous defenses — social distancing — which amount to a drastic, utterly unsustainable shift in how we live from day to day. And that’s it. We don’t know how contagious this virus is, how exactly it may mutate, how widespread it already is in the population at large, and even if it can reactivate in those who have recovered from infection.

We obsess about the responses of our governments, as is only proper, and we parse charts and debate tactics, to gain some sort of edge on tackling it. But when you look at the graphs of the viral curve in most of the major countries, most of them are unsettlingly similar. Yes, there are some more successful countries like Germany, and some outliers, like South Korea, but the rest seem to be following the same rough trajectory. And yes, we are flattening the curve … but it’s a temporary flattening due to unprecedented global shutdown of human activity. We may well be able, by suspending our entire way of life for a long while, to keep this virus from wreaking excessive and immediate damage, and overwhelming our hospitals. But we will not have beaten COVID-19. We will merely have stretched out the time it takes to spread.

The moment we relax, it will come back. Singapore, an early model for suppressing the virus, is now seeing a new wave after relaxing some controls. A leaked draft of a memo from the E.U. notes that “any level of [gradual] relaxation of the confinement will unavoidably lead to a corresponding increase in new cases.” The same risks of a rebound are being seen in China, in so far as we can believe a word that murderous dictatorship tells us. Meanwhile, I look around me and see a slow attenuation of social distancing — the park where I walk my dogs is increasingly crammed. Humans are social animals. There is a limit to our capacity to remain alone. In crises, in particular, our instinct is to seek one another, gather strength from our common experience. The virus exploits this mercilessly.

It’s a brutal reality check, this thing — relentlessly ripping the veil off our delusions of control. So much is being laid bare. The promise of a truly globalized world, where government is increasingly international, and trade free, and all would benefit, was already under acute strain. Now, it’s broken, perhaps irrevocably.

The nation-state was beginning to reassert itself before, but COVID-19 has revealed its indispensability. Europeans realized, if they hadn’t already, that a truly continental response was beyond the E.U. Borders were suddenly enforced, resources hoarded by individual nations, and the most important decisions were made by national governments, in national interests. Americans, for their part, saw their own dependence on foreign countries, especially dictatorships, for core needs — like medicine, or medical equipment — as something to be corrected in the future. Japan is now spending a fortune paying its own companies to relocate from China to the homeland.    [FULL  STORY]

Trump administration officials are discussing taking action after China said it would expel almost all American journalists for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

The New York Times
 March 26, 2020
By:  Edward Wong and Julian E. Barnes

A Foreign Ministry briefing last week in Beijing. At least 13 American journalists stand to be expelled from China.Credit…Andy Wong/Associated Press


WASHINGTON — As China moves forward with expelling almost all American journalists from three major American newspapers, Trump administration officials have intensified discussions over whether to evict employees of Chinese media outlets who they say mainly act as spies.

The action is under consideration because some U.S. officials want to retaliate against China in a new conflict that has revolved around news organizations and is being fueled by hostility over the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the virus began spreading across the United States, Washington and Beijing have waged a global information war over the outbreak. President Trump and his aides are trying to pin responsibility on China, where Communist Party officials initially covered up the dangers of the virus as it was first discovered. Mr. Trump, though, has been criticized for vast failures in the American response.

Some American intelligence officials have pushed for years to expel employees of Chinese media organizations who they say mainly file intelligence reports. The officials now see an opening to make a strong case after Beijing abruptly announced this month that it would expel almost all American citizens who report from mainland China for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.    [FULL  STORY]

US government fights back against Chinese claim US army responsible for coronavirus

Taiwan News
Date:\ 2020/03/14
By: Ching-Tse Cheng, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai. (Twitter photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. government on Friday (March 13) summoned Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai (崔天凱) to the State Department to address Beijing’s controversial suggestion the U.S. army is responsible for bringing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to China.

The conspiracy theory was proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China Spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) a day prior on Twitter. He implied the U.S. military "may" have planted the virus in the Chinese city of Wuhan, adding a video of a U.S. official admitting that some Americans who were thought to have died from influenza may have died from COVID-19 instead.

Contrary to the consensus shared by the rest of the world, Zhao accused the U.S. of hiding information about its first domestic patient and suggested the virus was a bioweapon developed by the Western superpower. The tweet has since sparked debate among American and Chinese netizens, arguing about the validity of the accusation.    [FULL  STORY]

  • US Pacific Fleet calls the action last week ‘unsafe and unprofessional’ and a breach of code of conduct
  • Analyst describes it as a ‘serious provocation’ that could have posed a navigational hazard

South China Morning Post
Date: 28 Feb, 2020
By: Teddy Ng

The US said a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft was targeted as it flew over international waters in the western Pacific last week. Photo: AP

A Chinese destroyer pointed a laser at an American maritime patrol aircraft over the western Pacific Ocean last week, the US Navy said, calling the incident “unsafe and unprofessional”.

The US Pacific Fleet said in a statement on Friday that the destroyer targeted the P-8A Poseidon aircraft as it flew over international waters about 610km (380 miles) west of Guam on February 17.

“The laser, which was not visible to the naked eye, was captured by a sensor on board the P-8A,” the statement said. “Weapons-grade lasers could potentially cause serious harm to aircrew and mariners, as well as ship and aircraft systems.”

It said the action by the Chinese warship had breached the multilateral Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, which “specifically addresses the use of lasers that could cause harm to personnel or damage to equipment”.    [FULL  STORY]

The New York Times
Date: Feb. 26, 2020
By: The Associated Press

GENEVA — A Chinese ambassador on Wednesday ripped into the U.S. for an “attack” on China's candidate to head a United Nations agency that monitors and tracks intellectual property like patents, trademarks and industrial designs — a lucrative and crucial part of the growing digital age.

The showdown over the leadership of the World Intellectual Property Organization amounts to the latest face-off between the United States and China.

The comments by Chen Xu, China's ambassador in Geneva, laid bare rising tensions over an alleged U.S. campaign to prevent veteran WIPO official Weng Binyang from becoming director-general of the money-making agency that counts 192 member states.

"The United States is turning this election into a political game. The United States has no candidate of its own, yet it tries every means to block Ms. Weng Binyang and even takes this venture at its top diplomatic agenda," Chen told reporters at a news conference on the issue at the U.N.'s Geneva compound.    [FULL  STORY]

The New York Post
Date: February 19, 2020
By: Post Editorial Board

AFP via Getty Images

Kudos to Team Trump for calling out some of China’s US-based media outlets for what they essentially are: state-sponsored propaganda.

On Tuesday, the State Department announced that the US operations of five Chinese entities — Xinhua News Agency, China Radio International, China Global Television Network and the distributors of China Daily and People’s Daily — will now be considered foreign missions.

That means that, effective immediately, the agencies are covered by the Foreign Missions Act of 1982, which requires them to report all personnel to the State Department and register any property holdings.

This should give the feds a better a grasp of Beijing’s operations (espionage as well as propaganda) and allow more effective counteraction.

The move is “long overdue,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “For years, these so-called media outlets have been mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party, and these Chinese outlets are becoming more aggressive.”    [FULL  STORY]