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A plethora of US-China disputes

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Paris, France   /   Thu, July 23, 2020   /   09:50 am
A plethora of US-China disputes The United States and China are at loggerheads over a long list of issues, from the cause of the novel coronavirus to Hong Kong, and trade. (Shutterstock/-)

The United States and China are at loggerheads over a long list of issues, from the cause of the novel coronavirus to Hong Kong, and trade.

An overview, after Washington ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston within 72 hours, accusing it of being a center for spies.

                                      

Coronavirus

Washington and Beijing have been engaged in a war of words over who is to blame for the novel coronavirus, since Trump described it as a "Chinese" virus in March.

China's Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian retorted by suggesting that the US army might have brought the epidemic to Wuhan, the central Chinese city where it first emerged late last year.

The two superpowers then cracked down on each other's news outlets.

In May the foreign ministry pointed to American errors in the handling of the pandemic, while Trump fired back it was "incompetence of China and nothing else, that did this mass Worldwide killing."

 

Vaccine hacking 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in May warned healthcare and scientific researchers that Chinese-backed hackers were attempting to steal research and intellectual property related to treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

On July 21, two Chinese nationals were indicted in the US for allegedly hacking hundreds of companies worldwide.

 

Hong Kong 

Washington reacted to China's imposition of a sweeping new national security law on Hong Kong by ending preferential trade treatment for the former British colony.

It also restricted visas for Chinese officials seen as infringing on the city's autonomy and stopped the export of sensitive technologies.

China pressed ahead with the law in late June.

 

Uighurs 

The United States earlier in July froze the assets and imposed visa bans on several officials from China's northwestern region of Xinjiang over rights abuses of its Turkic speaking minority.

It accused the group of "horrific and systematic abuses" in Xinjiang including forced labor, mass detention and involuntary population control.

It then put 11 Chinese companies suspected of taking part in the persecution on a black list, limiting their access to American technologies and products. 

Washington says more than one million ethnic Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking minorities have been rounded up into a network of internment camps.

China contends that the facilities are vocational education centers.

 

Trade war 

Weary of its hefty trade deficit with China, Washington declared a trade war in March 2018. It quickly escalated with tit-for-tat punitive duties on hundreds of billions of dollars of bilateral trade.

After truces and resumptions of hostilities, the two superpowers in January 2020 signed an initial accord under which China agreed to buy an extra $200 billion of US imports over two years.

But earlier this month Trump said he does not plan to proceed to the second phase of the accord, as relations with China have been seriously damaged.

 

Huawei 

The US has accused Chinese telecoms giant Huawei of spying for Beijing and of rights abuses by allowing the Chinese regime to carry out surveillance of dissidents. It is also accused of installing large scale surveillance technologies in Xinjiang and non respect of the embargo on Iran.

Trump's administration has stepped up sanctions against the worldwide leader in 5G and has pressured allies, such as Britain, to shun the group.

 

South China Sea  

On July 2, the US Defense Department criticized Chinese military exercises around the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, in an area also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.

Two days later, the Pentagon said two of its own aircraft carriers had carried out drills in the South China Sea to "support a free and open Indo-Pacific".

 

Nuclear talks 

In early July Beijing rejected a new US invitation to join arms control talks with Russia.

Trump's administration has demanded that China take part in talks on a successor to the New START treaty, which caps the nuclear warheads of the United States and Russia -- the two Cold War-era superpowers.