The United States and China believed that there was a glimmer of hope for improving their relationship, but that too has died.
Declining tensions between the two countries have escalated once again after the US discovered Chinese spy balloons. It is also less likely that both sides will reduce their aggression.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was preparing to host US Secretary of State Anthony Blanken’s visit to Beijing just over a month ago, but the visit was canceled after the balloon incident.
But now the Chinese president is also in a mood of exasperation, warning this week that the US is trying to “contain, encircle and suppress” China.
The Biden administration has angered China by targeting the trade in advanced chips, citing the risks of military use, and the U.S. tone is expected to get tougher as the presidential election approaches next year.
Washington has also threatened to impose new sanctions on China as it pressures China over intelligence that Beijing is considering providing military aid to Russia to help in its war in Ukraine.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haynes told a Senate hearing on Wednesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech was “the most direct public criticism (of the United States) we’ve seen from him to date.” have seen.’
This, he said, ‘perhaps reflects growing frustration in Beijing about China’s relationship with the US, as well as Xi Jinping’s growing concern about the challenges of China’s domestic economic development, domestic technology and innovation. shows the concern they now accuse America of.’
According to Avril Haynes, China’s policymakers believe they can only advance Xi Jinping’s vision of a strong China “at the expense of American power and influence.”
The director of national intelligence also said that the Chinese president is determined to exert influence over Taiwan.
Some US officials say privately that the political and media hype over the balloon was excessive. Although the US Secretary of State had no choice but to cancel his visit as it would not go down well.
However, American officials were frustrated that Chinese officials continued to deny that the balloon was for spying.
Antony Blanken also clashed with Chinese foreign policy chief Wang Yi at the Munich Security Conference on February 18, where the top US diplomat raised the issue of balloons and Russia.
Jacob Stokes, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said of the strained relationship between the two countries, “I think there was a moment when it looked like the deterioration was diminishing or perhaps even disappearing.” ‘
“It seems that (de-escalation) is not possible without some very creative diplomacy, at least in the near term.”
“Relations are clearly deteriorating because of do-it-yourself, and it is not clear how we will get out of this phase,” he said.
Some efforts are underway to mitigate the risks. Pelosi’s Republican successor, Kevin McCarthy, plans to meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in California, scrapping a potential trip to Taipei. He reportedly took the decision at the behest of Taiwanese officials who feared a strong response from China.
But there are a number of tension points on the horizon, including China’s ban on the popular app TikTok and the activities of the newly formed China Committee of the US House of Representatives.
“The definition of the Cold War was that there was a hotline, that they could pick up the phone and talk and put out the fires that we’ve seen,” according to Comfort Arrow, president of the International Crisis Group.
“But this time there’s no hotline and it’s really annoying.”