Sino-US clash shows little hope for settlement

By Choe Yong Nam

The conflict between the US and China is aggravated further.

Since the US levied additional tariffs on imports from China on the pretext of inequality in bilateral trade last year, the two countries have been involved in a head-on clash while raising tariffs against each other.

Despite several rounds of working-level talks for finding common ground, neither of them would like to make a concession. The tariff issue was also put on the table during the Sino-US summit in late June, but there is still little hope for the settlement of the trade feud.

The bilateral trade conflict cannot be seen as a simple economic matter, but a collision of their strategic interests which have been in contradiction for a long time.

The contradiction has recently come to the fore.

While playing up the rumour of China’s “stealing of military technologies”, the US included the Huawei and 70 relevant businesses in the export control list and passed the national defence authorization act for the 2020 fiscal year which contains a request for strong countermeasures against such theft.

It is also putting political and military pressure on China.

As far as the issue of Hong Kong is concerned, it is now pointing an accusing finger at China, asserting that Hong Kong’s autonomy is “corroding”. Only three days after making public the sale of F-16V fighters worth US$ 8 billion to Taiwan, it sent its naval vessel through the Straits of Taiwan to give a strong hint that it would support Taiwan militarily. Last July, the US Department of State ratified a document on arms sale worth about 2.22 billion dollars to Taiwan.

The US is trying to gain military control over the circumjacent regions of China. Viewing Japan’s Okinawa which is close to Taiwan geographically as the foremost post for containing China, it is expanding and strengthening the military base on the island.

The US Department of Treasury declared that it officially designated China as a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994.

China is also pursuing a hard-line approach to the US.

It expressed its tough stance that it would not tolerate any country that causes trouble at its doorstep but safeguard the security and interests of the country by taking all necessary measures.

As to the issues of Hong Kong and Taiwan, it declared that it would not allow any conspiracies that stand in the way of its development and that it would impose sanctions on US businesses that have their share in the arms sale to Taiwan.

The Chinese People’s Bank described the US Treasury Department’s branding of China as a currency manipulator as a double-edged sword, and warned that the US will be caught in its own snare.

(Pyongyang Times - November 1, 2019)
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