The President is behind in the polls. The pressure on China is increasing. This week Trump signed an executive order banning TikTok in the US. A forced sale to Microsoft may follow. Trump is expecting a slice of the action, for the arranged marriage.
Huawei, TikTok and now WeChat. The Tencent App was added to the hit list this week. The clear and present danger threat continues. The anti China stance makes for great ratings in the Trump camp, masking the problems with his handling of the Covid crisis.
Sanctions were imposed this week on eleven Chinese state officials including Hong Kong leader, Carrie Lam. The Treasury department singled out Lam for her role in "overseeing and implementing Beijing's policy of freedom and democratic process."
Trade sanctions, consulates closing, social media apps banned. Chinese companies listed in the USA have been given notice of compliance with US accounting norms or face de-listing.
This week, the State Department announced the highest level visit to Taiwan in decades. The US Health Secretary is to lead a delegation to Taiwan to discuss the pandemic and to "celebrate the shared value of the two democracies".
The visit is adding to tensions between Beijing and Washington. China's ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, has warned military activities in the South China Sea are increasing the risk of potential confrontation. The US is garnering allies in the region. The US led "Five Eyes Alliance" including Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand is turning its gaze to the East. New Zealand changed course last week and aligned with other alliance members in suspending the extradition treaty with Hong Kong. The move was in protest against Beijing's decision to impose the new national security law in the province.
Japan this week announced an interest in joining the alliance. Defence Minister, Taro Kono said the five members "share basic values with Japan" and Japan wants to "continue to cooperate closely with the five countries."
The clock is ticking to the election in November. TikTok goes the cold war clock. "I don't think a new cold war would serve anybody's interest" said Cui Tiankei this week, "why should we allow history repeat ... when we are faced with so many new challenges? ... why indeed ...
The Saturday Economist
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