Trade deal no panacea for rocky U.S. relations with China
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[January 16, 2020]
By Andrea Shalal and Cate Cadell
WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) - From Huawei
to the South China Sea, deep political rifts between Beijing and
Washington are set to persist, despite a trade relations breakthrough,
as the United States pushes back against an increasingly powerful and
Relations between the world's two largest economies have deteriorated
sharply since U.S. President Donald Trump imposed punitive trade tariffs
in 2018, igniting a trade war.
"The broader, darkening picture is not going to be brightened much by
this deal," Bates Gill, an expert on Chinese security policy at
Macquarie University in Sydney, said of the initial trade deal signed on
This backdrop spans China's militarization of the South China Sea;
rising tensions over Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own; U.S.
criticism over human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang and a backlash
against telecoms gear provider Huawei.
While the initial deal defuses an 18-month row that has hit global
growth, experts say it is unlikely to provide much balm for broader
frictions rooted in U.S. fears over an economically and technologically
powerful China with a modernizing military.
"We can see Phase 1 as an emergency treatment to lower the temperature,
but it has not addressed the fundamental problems," Wang Heng, a
professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney who studies the
China-U.S. economic relationship, said.
Washington is increasingly alarmed about the security implications of
Chinese technology, and has tightened its rules to keep better tabs on
acquisition of key technology by China, setting in motion changes to the
global supply chain.
"The Chinese leadership are not naive about this," said Gill. "They are
already making moves to be more autonomous and thinking about a future
... in an environment of hostility."
The Trump administration put Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei
Technologies Co on a trade blacklist on national security concerns in
May, banning it from buying supplies from American firms without U.S.
[to top of second column]
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. President Donald Trump shake
hands after signing "phase one" of the U.S.-China trade agreement
during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington,
U.S., January 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
It has also taken measures to crimp exports of artificial
The two countries are also at odds over Taiwan, which counts the
United States as its biggest weapons supplier but which China sees
as one of its provinces.
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen was re-elected on Saturday, vowing
not to submit to Chinese pressure or control.
Tsai's campaign was helped by seven months of anti-government
protests in Hong Kong, which Beijing accuses Washington of helping
to foment, eroding China's case for a "one country, two-systems
model" similar to Hong Kong's for Taiwan.
U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said last week that China "will
emerge as America's strategic threat" and that the United States
planned to deploy two task forces to the Pacific over the next two
years capable of information, electronic, cyber and missile
operations against Beijing.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Wednesday that the
United States was concerned about other issues involving China but
these should be dealt with separately.
"You have to negotiate different pieces at different times".
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom, Phil Stewart and Andrea Shalal in
Washington and Cate Cadell, Stella Qiu and Tony Munroe in Beijing;
Editing by Alexander Smith)
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