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Bitter Diplomacy Between World’s Top Powers

U.S. and Chinese diplomats clashed on Thursday (3/19) at their first meeting after President Biden took office, which took place in the frozen Anchorage, Alaska. The U.S. immediately descended into bickering and recriminations illustrating the deep dive that remains despite the changes in the white house. The two superpowers sharply criticized each other over multinational trade, human rights, and international alliances. U.S. Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, said at the opening of the two-day meeting that China's actions "threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability." The U.S. side said that they will discuss their deep concerns with China's action, including Xinjiang, where Washington has accused Beijing of "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims. These remarks resulted in a warning by the Chinese Communist Party's top diplomacy official, Yang Jiechi, that China will not tolerate any U.S. interference in China's internal affairs. They will also take firm actions in response. It appears that the world's top two powers will discuss a list of issues which they diverge broadly with cold war mentality. China Foreign Minister Wang Yi also condemned the latest U.S. penalties against senior Chinese officials over what Washington assumes Beijing's nullification of Hong Kong's freedoms. "This is not supposed to be the way one should welcome his guests," he added.

The mounting tensions between the U.S. and China push the U.S. to establish strategic economic actions against China with increasingly clear Chinese companies restrictions. Previously on Tuesday (3/9), China's third-largest oil company stopped trading in the New York Stock Exchanges complying with the former U.S. president's order. The order has been around, banning Americans from investing in firms the government suspects to be either owned or controlled by the Chinese military. China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is the fourth Chinese company to be struck with such a significant punishment. CNOOC had previously traded in NYSE since 2001 and currently in a filing to Hong Kong Stock Exchange, avoiding impacts to their price and volume following the bleak situation. On Wednesday (3/17), the U.S. Federal Communications Commission commenced legal proceedings that could dismantle three Chinese state-owned telecommunications company's operation rights in the United States. They also said that these three Chinese firms--China Unicom America, Pacific Networks, and ComNet, have failed to adequately prove their Americas operations were not subject to "undue influence" from Beijing. The agency's 4-0 vote decided these actions, which continues a security crackdown that earlier touched Chinese gear makers Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. The FCC Commissioner, Brendan Carr, stated that "When it comes to Communist China, we have set a high bar for action over the last few years." However, on the 2nd week of March, regulators listed tech giant Huawei to a roster of communications companies thought to feign "an unacceptable risk," indicating that hopes are set with the United States under President Biden.

Biden himself has been inherited a tense and messy relationship with China from his predecessors. It happened because the Trump Administration has spent much of the past four years heaping pressure on the United States' biggest economic rival. The situation has heated up in recent weeks as Washington imposed additional restrictions on Chinese business and investment. Earlier, the Trump administration agreed to a so-called "ceasefire" with Beijing in early 2020. However, the Agreement did not turn out as expected. In the future, some experts say the administration wants to make better use of its main alliance to devise a more predictable trading strategy. Biden must also cope with the increasing tensions in technology and business. That possibility will not subside, given bipartisan support for the view that China poses a significant threat to U.S. national security. On the other hand, some argue that the prospect of worsening US-China tensions still exists. Eurasia Group consultants see US-China tensions as one of the most significant risks in 2021, adding that Biden is likely to ask allies from the European Union, Japan, and India to pressure China.





The Jakarta Post

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