Alwaght- As the US-Chinese confrontation elevates to new heights every day, the latest dispute has led them to a war of consulates as both in reciprocal measures ordered diplomatic missions closure.
Beside the economic war the US President Donald Trump waged two years ago and the tensions in the South China Sea, the new encounter is pushing the two global powers towards a new cold war on the global arena. The White House has so far imposed several sanctions on Beijing under the excuse of coronavirus outbreak cover-up, new national security law in Hong Kong, and the situation of Uyghur minority in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. Now the consulate closure is a new point in a wider counter.
The consulates crisis
In recent days, the diplomatic relations between the two countries deteriorated after the US gave China diplomats three days to close down their consulate in Houston.
The US Department of State in a justification statement said that the order of consulate closure came to protect the American intellectual property and private information of the Americans.
Pompeo on Wednesday said: “We are setting out clear expectations as to how the Chinese Communist Party is going to behave,” adding: “And when they don’t, we are going to take actions that protect the American people, protect our security, our national security, and also protect our economy and jobs.”
Meanwhile, American attorneys said that the China consulate in San Francisco is harboring a Chinese scientist who covered up his relationship with the Chinese military.
Following the shutdown order, reports said that the Chinese embassy staff burned documents inside the building, as Beijing leaders vowed retaliatory action. They said that the US measure was an unprecedented and astounding escalation of tensions between the two countries by Washington.
In reaction, on Friday, the Chinese foreign ministry in a statement said that Beijing leaders have ordered the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu.
While the Americans have so far failed to present evidence of Chinese diplomats’ espionage through Houston consulate, on Saturday media published videos showing some people taking over the diplomatic building shortly after evacuation. The move very likely was an effort to find documents proving the US allegations of espionage while Washington has not given adequate evidence that illegal actions were taking place inside the building. Another probability is that they sought to find the Chinese scientist who the Department of Justice says is stealing technology in favor of the Chinese military.
On Friday evening and a couple of hours after the consulate was shut down officially, some people, among them federal officers, broke into the building from the backdoor. According to the Reuters news agency, the Chinese staff had left the building at 4 pm.
Russian broadcaster RT reported that the federal authorities less than an hour after the Chinese staff left the building forced their way into the building.
According to the report, the federal agents, who were believed to have been from the State Department, finally managed to open the backdoor using tools after attempts to open three other doors.
Chinese Frankenstein: From coalition making to the anti-Beijing propaganda by White House
Since the presidency of Barack Obama, Washington felt the upcoming Chinese economic, military, and technological threat for the US global hegemonic position and responded with a “pivot to East” policy. When Donald Trump assumed White House in 2017 and adopted protectionist and neo-mercantilist policy, tensions began to brew between the two economic titans, pushing the political observers to suggest that a new Cold War with new features seems inevitable between Washington and Beijing. In the middle of this situation, the American political and military moves signaled that the White House leaders are seeking to create an international bloc to counter the fast-moving China power gain.
Making an address at Nixon Library in Yorba Lina in Californi, Pompeo last week said said: “President Nixon once said he feared he had created a Frankenstein by opening the world to the Chinese Communist Party, and here we are.”
“Look, we have to admit a hard truth. We must admit a hard truth that should guide us in the years and decades to come, that if we want to have a free 21st century, and not the Chinese century of which Xi Jinping dreams, the old paradigm of blind engagement with China simply won’t get it done. We must not continue it and we must not return to it,” Pompeo continued as he repeated his past accusations against China about unfair trade tactics, human rights violations, and efforts to penetrate the US society.
He warned that the Chinese military is growing “stronger and stronger.” “President Reagan said that he dealt with the Soviet Union on the basis of “trust but verify.” When it comes to the CCP, I say we must distrust and verify,” he said using an acronym for the Chinese Communist Party.
“The truth is that our policies – and those of other free nations – resurrected China’s failing economy, only to see Beijing bite the international hands that were feeding it,” he further said at Nixon Library.
He continued: “We, the freedom-loving nations of the world, must induce China to change, just as President Nixon wanted. We must induce China to change in more creative and assertive ways, because Beijing’s actions threaten our people and our prosperity.”
In response, China's foreign ministry accused Pompeo of reversing the reality about and adopting ideological bias in his remarks concerning China. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin called on the US to discard its “Cold War mindset.”
Just contrary to China, Trump seeks retaliation for what he calls the “Chinese virus” damages caused by the coronavirus to the US economy. New revelations about his secret business empire’s trade with China give him doubled motivation to blow into an anti-Chinese atmosphere just a couple of months before the presidential election in the US.
President Donald Trump on Thursday at a White House coronavirus briefing said that the trade accord with China means “much less to me” because of what he called that country’s role in the spread of the coronavirus.
Still, reports say that he told his advisors that now he does not want more tensions with Beijing and currently ruled out any further sanctions on top Chinese officials. One reason for this show of respite from challenging China can be a lucrative business with China of the Trump companies.
Last week, a CNN report revealed Trump's business ties with China while he in public usually blasts Beijing. CNN reported that since September of last year, Trump properties in the US have imported more than eight tons of goods from China, CNN has learned by reviewing US customs data compiled by ImportGenius, which tracks information companies are legally bound to provide to US customs when they import goods to the US. The imports have arrived to decorate his properties while the President has sought to dress down China.
But the US differences with its European allies over the past three years on the one hand and the deepened transatlantic gaps on the other hand give experts the reason to question the US power to forge a coalition against China. Furthermore, despite Trump’s anti-Chinese shows in reaction to coronavirus crisis, polls hold that more and more people in the US now criticize the president’s handling of the pandemic crisis as they blast his “blame-shifting campaign.”