Tensions between the United States and the Chinese communist regime had already been rising due to an ongoing trade war — but they now appear on the verge of reaching new heights in light of both the coronavirus pandemic, as well as recent moves by Beijing to further crack down on political dissent in Hong Kong.
In the view of China’s foreign minister, those increased tensions have led both nations to “the brink of a new Cold War,” Breitbart reported.
China warns of “new Cold War”
That rather chilling declaration from Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi came on Sunday as he addressed reporters and decried the “political virus” that has infected Washington, D.C. and led to the fabrication of “rumors” regarding the origins of the coronavirus meant only to “stigmatize China” in the eyes of the rest of the world.
The remarks emerged as President Donald Trump and others in his administration including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as a number of Republicans in Congress, have made it abundantly clear that they hold the communist regime responsible for the deadly pandemic and intend to hold Beijing accountable for the deaths and accompanying economic destruction.
“Some political forces in the U.S. are hijacking the China-U.S. relations and pushing our two countries toward a ‘new Cold War’,” Wang Yi said, according to CBS News. “This dangerous attempt to turn back the wheel of history will undo the fruits of decades of long cooperation between the two peoples.”
Tensions continue to simmer
The CBS report seemed to suggest that the Chinese communist regime’s crackdown on Hong Kong was the driving factor behind the rising tensions on the U.S. side of the equation, but a report from NBC News offered a theory that it was instead the pandemic and resultant economic devastation — and China’s lack of transparency throughout — that pushed tensions to a new high.
Interestingly, NBC noted that Wang blamed unnamed “political forces” in the U.S. for the worsened relations.
That bit of careful wordplay may have been part of an effort to avoid damaging the public relationship between Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump by directly naming the latter, and it is likely that the true target of Wang’s comments was Secretary Pompeo.
Pompeo, among others, has issued sharp critiques of the Chinese communist regime and its actions in recent days and weeks and, suffice to say, the regime is none too pleased with the unsolicited advice it has received.
“China has no intention to change, still less replace the United States,” Wang said, according to The Guardian. “It’s time for the United States to give up its wishful thinking of changing China and stopping 1.4 billion people in their historic march toward modernization.”
Future relations remain unclear
There is no denying that relations between the U.S. and China have become fraught with tension, for a whole host of reasons.
As to whether those increased tensions have truly pushed the two nations into a new Cold War, and calmer heads can yet prevail and bring both sides back from the brink is a question that will remain unanswered for the time being.