by Stephen Lendman
How much Trump regime effrontery and abuse will China take before saying no more? Where will its red line be drawn?
Are the world’s two largest economies too irreconcilably apart in trade talks and other issues to strike a meaningful deal on anything other than in name only? More on this below.
The South China Sea and Taiwan Strait are flashpoints for potential military confrontation between both countries. Will the Trump regime formally commit to defend Taiwan if attacked?
In congressional testimony, former Trump deputy assistant war secretary Elbridge Colby said “(t)he United States is committed to the defense of Taiwan against unprovoked aggression,” adding:
“It is in the US interest to continue to be able to effectively and credibly defend our allies and established partners such as Taiwan, in concert with their own efforts at self-defense.”
Taiwan Relations Act legislation pledges only “to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character.”
Since enactment in 1979, Washington never before committed to defend the state China considers a breakaway province.
China’s 2005 Anti-Secession Law justifies attacking the state for renouncing reunification with the mainland. Taiwan’s government is hostile to the notion of one country with two systems, the formula Beijing used with Hong Kong.
How far China may go in pursuing reintegration is unclear. So is the uncertainty of whether the US under Trump or other leadership would go to war with China over Taiwan if its security is threatened.
According to Politico, Trump “is expected to sign an executive order, banning Chinese telecom equipment from US wireless networks before a major industry conference at the end of February” - according to three unnamed sources, the timing days before the March 1 deadline for reaching agreement on bilateral trade.
The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is scheduled for February 25 - 28 in Barcelona, Spain. Trump may sign an executive order next week, a blow to Chinese telecom giants Huawei Telecommunications and ZTE, maybe affecting trade talks as well.
“By preempting MWC, the world’s largest conference for the wireless industry, the White House hopes to send a signal that future contracts for cutting-edge technology must prioritize cybersecurity,” Politico reported, adding:
“That could further roil the Trump administration’s already tense relationship with Beijing, especially if the US push erodes Chinese firms’ significant European market share.”
Cybersecurity is the pretext, hi-tech Sino/US competition the real issue. Huawei is leading the race to roll out next generation cutting-edge 5G technology of mobile Internet use, ahead of US and European competitors.
At stake are trillions of dollars of economic value, why it’s targeted by Washington - wanting US telecom firms advantaged over Chinese competition.
According to National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis, the Trump regime is “working across government and with our allies and like-minded partners to mitigate risk in the deployment of 5G and other communications infrastructure.”
The “risk” is that US telecom firms will lose out to advanced Chinese technology. Ahead of the March 1 deadline on resolving unresolvable trade and related issues, Trump said it’s “highly unlikely” that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet ahead of that date - to formally sign a trade deal, the main reason for meeting.
Talks will continue next week in Beijing between US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Chinese negotiators led by Vice Premiere Liu He.
Key sticking points are structural issues and how an agreement if reached can be enforced. It’s unclear if a deal in principle can be struck, whether talks will collapse, or if the deadline will be extended for continued negotiations.
Trump regime toughness, including the unlawful arrest and detention of Huawei’s CFO Sabrina Meng Wanzhou in Canada, along with a formal US request for her extradition to America, greatly complicates things.
As of now, if agreement isn’t reached by March 1, US tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports will increase from 10 - 25%.
Whatever happens by end of month, bilateral relations are strained. Confrontation between both countries may be inevitable ahead, the risk of economic, financial and/or not war.
The same goes for US hostility toward Russia, economic, financial and sanctions war raging, hot war a major risk if things are pushed too far.
VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
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