China-US Cold War? Beijing must pull back from its hyper-nationalist approach

May 25, 2020

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi has said that relations with the US are on the brink of a new Cold War. He went on to assert that the US has been infected by a “political virus” that is compelling leaders there to continually attack China. Needless to say this is quite a stretch. The US political landscape is hardly uniform but there has been a growing bi-partisan approach towards China. For, China itself has been doing much to start a Cold War with the US. From trying to dominate the South China Sea to now bringing in a national security law for Hong Kong, Beijing has been undertaking moves that directly go against US interests and values.

Plus, there has been a perceptible change in China’s diplomacy. It is far more aggressive than before, highlighting an appetite for a fight. It’s clear that the Chinese leadership feels this is the right moment to show its true strength. And it wants to turn the Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity. This is further exemplified by the recent border skirmishes between Indian and Chinese troops.

True, US President Donald Trump might be partly indulging in anti-China rhetoric with an eye on his re-election bid. But there is no denying that as things stand American and Chinese interests are heading for a collision. A new Cold War where the US will champion the liberal order and China will push authoritarian models may well be around the corner. This will of course not be good for the world. But the onus of pulling us back from this fate lies with China. It must renege on its aggressive hyper-nationalism and become more transparent in its approach.

Read full story: China says virus pushing US ties to brink of ‘Cold War’

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