A cold war in the 21st-century seemed unlikely… until now.
Tariffs by the United States on $200 billion worth of Chinese products and retaliatory tariffs by China on $60 billion worth of American goods went into effect on Monday.
While the United States and China are competing for global supremacy, they maintain mutual agreements to handle their complicated relationship. But, the tide might be turning…
The two countries have over 1,000 meetings with each other each year, which entail mid-ranking officials to summits with each nation’s leaders, touching on matters from investment and trade to fisheries and coastguard.
While nuclear weapons on both ends are a tremendous influence to avoid conflict, and despite their numerous meetings, there’s sometimes little compromise. China is more economically stable than the former Soviet Union, which may embolden them to start a cold war.
“Now that the United States has adopted such a huge trade restriction measure, How can the negotiations proceed?” asked Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen, emphasizing that the US has broken its mutual agreement with China. “It’s not an equal negotiation.”
The Chinese government won’t step down in the trade dispute. Giving up a state-owned market means the ruling Communist Party has to give up the benefits that come from controlling the economy.
The United States will also make it tough to settle anything because it would give China more confidence in their model and a readiness to go on the offensive when it comes to challenging the U.S.
“If this continues, it will destroy in an instant the gains of the last four decades of China-US relations,” Wang said.
Chinese senior officials have also rejected Washington’s allegations that China pushes foreign businesses to share their tech with Chinese joint-venture partners. Beijing set a rule prohibiting government entities from such unlawful practice.
“The government has not forced this, and a lot of joint ventures are actually performing very well in China,” Wang said. “Ford produces more cars and makes more profits in China through its joint venture than it does in the United States.”
A new cold war could lead to the departure of foreign investments in each country, which could lead to further economic disputes.
UK Press tabloids have taken the Cold War comparison one step further, warning of a possible Third World War arising out of these tensions.
The state-run, English-language China Daily said that a recent US arms deal with Taiwan would only escalate the situation.
“Now that the Trump administration is aggressively seeking to challenge China’s interests on both the economic and military fronts, one wonders whether Washington wants to permanently damage Sino-US relations,” it read. “And since the Trump administration is trying to jettison all principles that govern bilateral relations in a desperate bid to suit its own purpose, China should not only prepare for the worst but also be ready to appropriately respond to the US’ provocations.”