China warns about U.S. putting countries on 'brink of new cold war,' amid litany of flash points

The coronavirus, Hong Kong, ongoing trade-tariff war are few of the ongoing, disputes between the world's two biggest economies

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U.S. and China diplomacy
Gen. Joseph Dunford chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Gen. Fang Fenghui shake hands
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Last Updated:
May 25, 2020 - 3:39pm

China’s foreign minister is issuing a cryptic warning about political forces in the United States putting the countries “on the brink of a new Cold War.”

"Some political forces in the U.S. are taking China-U.S. relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new Cold War," Foreign Minister Wang Yi  said Sunday during China's week-long annual parliament session. “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.”

While the foreign minister didn’t cite a specific situation or situations, the countries are enmeshed in several major issues to which he was likely referring. 

President Trump is perhaps the most openly critical among world leaders about China’s public warnings and response to the coronavirus, which started in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Furthermore, Wang spoke as the China parliament prepares to limit freedoms in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory in which residents have staged a nearly year-long protest to call attention to their demands for a more pro-democracy government. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week said after the proposed change was announced that passage would be a “death knell” for democracy.

Wang’s warning comes about three months after China and the United States effectively brought a truce to their roughly 18-month trade war with the so-called Phase One deal. Trump essentially started the trade-tariff war in response to what he considers China years of unfair trade restraints and currency manipulation. 

On Sunday, White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien advanced Pompeo’s observation, suggesting that the national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong by China, which after the U.S. has the world’s second-largest economy, could result in another round of sanctions.  

“It looks like, with this national security law, they’re going to basically take over Hong Kong, and if they do … Secretary Pompeo will likely be unable to certify that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy, and if that happens, there will be sanctions that will be imposed on Hong Kong and China,” O’Brien said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

 

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