A New Cold War chill has swept across Beijing in the standoff between the United States and China.
Amid rising rhetoric, diplomatic relations between the two largest economies in the world have been consigned to the deep freeze.
Already the blast of sub-zero temperatures has left China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi warning that Washington will not “plunge the world into chaos” during a major policy interview.
“Ultimately, [some American politicians] want to drag China and the US into renewed conflict and confrontation and plunge the world into chaos and division again,” he told Xinhua, the official news agency of the ruling Communist Party government.
“China will not allow these people to get [in] our way. We reject any attempt to create a so-called New Cold War … but the US must abandon its fantasy of remodeling China,” Wang said.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan in January, US President Donald Trump has ratcheted up the pressure on a myriad of issues.
Flashpoints include the decision by Beijing to increase its naval presence in the South China Sea and the draconian security law that was imposed on Hong Kong, as well as the Taiwan question.
Faultlines have also appeared in a trade conflict that has engulfed 5G juggernaut Huawei and the trendy short-video app TikTok as a “rupture” emerges in the “digital world.”
Earlier this week, Trump announced plans to ban US transactions with e-commerce behemoth Tencent, the Chinese owners of messaging app WeChat, and Bytedance, which runs TikTok.
High-stakes confrontation has replaced high-profile conversation in this war of words.
“This is the rupture in the digital world between the US and China,” James Lewis, a technology expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, said.
“Absolutely, China will retaliate,” he added, according to a report by the Reuters news agency.
Before Trump’s edict, Global Times had accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of showing signs of “madness” because of his hardline stance against China’s technology industry.
The state-controlled tabloid owned by the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, came out shooting from the lip in a blistering editorial.
“Pompeo has uttered anti-China remarks almost every day, and constantly played tricks to intensify conflicts between China and the US, and display Trump administration’s toughness toward China,” Global Times stated.
“From the long-term perspective, it’s incredible that the US information industry could totally detach from the Chinese market,” it said.
Maybe not, if the icy winds of a New Cold War continue to blow.