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    19-May-2019

US-China escalating tension - Editorial, The Jordan Times

 

 

 
 
The heightened trade tension between the US and China that ensued after President Donald Trump decided to apply a much higher rate of customs duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, followed by barring Huawei telephone products from entering US markets on alleged security grounds, has caused havoc in not only US-Chinese relations across the board, but also in international markets.
 
The mere sound of this new tension wave has caused the stock markets in New York and, indeed, elsewhere in other capitals of the world to nosedive for fear that the trade issues between the two biggest economies in the world could grow even further if left uncontrolled.
 
President Trump could just be driving a hard bargain with China on trade issues, but the implications can have political consequences as well. North Korea is a faithful client of China, and any deal between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on the North Korean nuclear programme depends on the level of cooperation between Beijing and Washington.
 
The dangers do not stop there. The security and stability of the entire Far East region depend also on the kind of bilateral relations that exist between the two giant nations.
 
Many observers contend that the escalation of tensions between China and the US could be reversed if not halted altogether once President Trump decides that his aggressive policy towards China has run its course and that there is no further benefit in deepening the trade conflict with Beijing.
 
US officials are still expected to visit China in the upcoming few weeks on a last minute rescue mission, and try brokering a “deal” of sorts with China. Yet, bridging the gap between the two countries on trade and other bilateral issues may this time be harder, especially if Chinese President Xi Jinping loses patience with President Trump and decides to increase the stand-off between them rather than end it. The Chinese leader is no novice when it comes to dealing with threats from other powers in the world.
 
President Trump has since backed off from his threat to put punitive tariffs on aluminium and other products from Canada. He has also suspended higher tariffs on cars from Europe for six months. The US president could be mellowing on trade confrontations with major US trade partners, and could do the same with China when he sees the boarder picture and decides to put a higher premium on friendly relations with China rather allow their bilateral relations to sink into brinkmanship level.
 
This is what the international community is betting on and hopefully that is what is going to happen sooner than later.
 
 

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