April 17, 2024

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US-China Relations Are On a Dangerous Path Without Trust on Both Sides: Roach, Cohen

US-China Relations Are On a Dangerous Path Without Trust on Both Sides: Roach, Cohen
  • William Cohen, the former Secretary of Defense under the Clinton administration, echoed the sentiment and said the rift between the two sides had reached a “dangerous” level.
  • Stephen Roach, a senior fellow at Yale University’s Paul Tsai China Center, said Beijing views Washington as its “primary adversary” and believes the United States is intent on blocking China’s path.
  • Tensions between the US and China have risen over the years, ranging from trade and tariffs to technology rivalry and alleged espionage.

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) shake hands as they meet on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on November 14, 2022.

Saul Loeb | Afp | Getty Images

US-China relations are on a “dangerous” path, with “lack of trust” on either side, political observers told CNBC.

Stephen Roach, a senior fellow at Yale University’s Paul Tsai China Center, said Beijing views Washington as its “primary adversary” and “believes that the United States is intent on blocking China’s path.”

“At the moment, there is no trust,” he told “Squawk Box Asia” on Tuesday, who is currently attending the China Development Forum in Beijing.

William Cohen, the former Secretary of Defense under the Clinton administration, echoed the sentiment and said the rift between the two sides had reached a “dangerous” level.

“I think it’s very dangerous when you have two competing powers, nuclear weapons in the hands of both powers – that’s a very dangerous place,” Cohen, Chairman and CEO of The Cohen Group, said in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia program. on monday.

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In early March, China’s new foreign minister, Chen Gang, said relations with the United States had left a “rational course” and warned of conflict if Washington did not “put on the brakes”.

Tensions between the US and China have risen over the years, ranging from trade and tariffs to technology rivalry and alleged espionage.

Recently, things escalated again after the United States shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon. This prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel his trip to Beijing because of the incident last month.

“The blimp was a spark that really put us on a rapid ramp,” Roach added. “If the balloon is able to derail this relationship as quickly as it did, it just tells you how much damage and mistrust there is between the two countries in this relationship.”

China and the United States have also been arguing over other contentious issues.

Washington was very concerned about that China is considering lethal supportRussia in its war against Ukraine. Taiwan-related issues have also angered China, which Beijing has constantly warned about Taiwan is the “first red line” It must not be exceeded.

If the balloon was able to quickly derail this relationship the way it did it, it just tells you how much damage and mistrust the two countries have in this relationship.

Stephen Roach

Senior Fellow at Yale University

Last week, the CEO of Chinese-owned social media app TikTok spent hours testifying before US lawmakers, who wanted to know if US data could fall into the hands of the Chinese government.

Roach said there was “a lot of discussion” on the issue at the China Development Forum.

“Videos of this look went viral,” he noted. “It’s really something I’d like to say about the Chinese experts, officials, and business people I spoke with in the… [forum] I found it very offensive and it made them very anxious.”

Historically, when you have two competing forces escalating, it often leads to conflict, Cohen warned, “on the majority of occasions.”

He said Beijing is fast becoming a global economic powerhouse, competing closely with Washington on several fronts.

Cohen said China has accumulated “an amazing amount of weapons that they’ve developed in a very short period of time. And I think their economy is very strong all over the world.”

Noting that the relationship is “going to get tough,” he stressed that both sides need to engage to avoid misunderstandings or miscalculations.

There is a possibility that tensions could flare up again after that Office of the President of Taiwan It confirmed last week that Tsai Ing-wen is scheduled to pass through New York and Los Angeles at the end of March during her visit to Guatemala and Belize. The office did not provide details of her itinerary while in the United States

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Regarding Taiwan, China has repeatedly said that the issue is an internal matter. Beijing claims the self-governing island as part of its territory, and maintains that Taiwan should not have the right to establish foreign relations.

The Biden administration has been careful to downplay the Taiwanese president’s crossing, calling it “not uncommon”.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that “President Tsai has done it six times. Every Taiwanese president in recent memory has done it.” press conference last week.

“There’s no reason for China to overreact. Heck, there’s no reason for them to react. I mean, this is something…common and it’s happened before, and it’s likely to happen again. It’s personal. It’s unofficial,” he added. .

Roach said both countries are “equally guilty of mismanaging their relationship”. He added that Washington needs to know its intentions towards Beijing.

“How far are we willing to go?” Asked. “If there was ever a time to focus on resolving a dysfunctional relationship, now is the time,” said Roach.