US-China relations on a dangerous road with no trust on both sides: Roach, Cohen

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 | beautiful pictures

Political observers told CNBC that the relationship between the US and China is on a “dangerous” path with “no trust” on both sides.

Stephen Roach, senior fellow at Yale University’s Paul Tsai China Center, said Beijing sees Washington as “its main rival” and “believes that the US intends to block China’s path”.

“Right now, there’s no trust,” he said.Asian Squawk Box” on Tuesday, who is currently attending the China Development Forum in Beijing.

William Cohen, a former secretary of defense under the Clinton administration, echoed a similar sentiment and said the back-and-forth row between the two sides had reached “dangerous” levels.

“I think it’s very dangerous when you have two competing powers and nuclear weapons are in the hands of both of them – it’s a very dangerous place,” said Cohen, now President and CEO of the company. Cohen Group, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia”. in Monday.

Early March, China’s new foreign minister Qin Gang, said relations with the US had gone from a “reasonable path” and warned of conflict if Washington did not “slam the brakes”.

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Roach added: “The hot air balloon was a real spark that took us downhill quickly. “If a balloon can damage this relationship the way it did so quickly, it just shows you how damaged and distrusted two countries have been in this relationship. “

China and the US have also argued over other controversial issues.

Washington is “very concerned that China considers lethal support” with Russia in its war against Ukraine. The Taiwan issue also angers China, with Beijing repeatedly warning that Taiwan is the “first red line” that must not be overcome.

If a balloon can damage this relationship the way it did so quickly, it only tells you how damaged and distrusted the two countries have been in the relationship.

Stephen Roach

Yale University Senior Colleague

“I’ve only been in China for five days, and the story here is a mirror image of what you get in America,” says Roach. “China fully believes it has a problem with the US.”

He added: “I’m going back to the US tonight and I’m going to hear the opposite – that America has a problem with China.”

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Last week, the CEO of the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok, spent hours testifying for US lawmakers who want to know if American data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government.

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

“The videos of that appearance really went viral,” he noted. “That’s really what I want to say to the Chinese experts, officials and business people I’ve talked to at [forum] felt very offensive and made them very nervous.”

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Historically, when you’ve had two competing superpowers rise, it often leads to conflict “in the vast majority of cases,” warns Cohen.

According to him, Beijing is rapidly becoming a global economic power that is closely competing with Washington on several fronts.

Cohen said China has amassed “an incredible amount of weapons that they’ve developed in a very short amount of time. I think their economy is pretty solid around the world.”

He noted that the relationship “will become more difficult,” stressing that both sides need to be involved to avoid misunderstandings or miscalculations.

visit to Taiwan

Stress can flare up again later Taiwan Presidential Office confirmed last week that Ms. Tsai Ing-wen is expected to transit 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 US

Regarding Taiwan, China has repeatedly said that this is an internal matter. Beijing claims that the self-governing island is part of its territory and insists that Taiwan has no right to conduct foreign relations.

The Biden administration has wanted to downplay the Taiwanese president’s transit level, calling it “no wonder”.

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

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“There’s no reason for China to overreact. They have no reason to react. I mean, this is… normal and has happened before, it’s likely to happen again. more. It’s personal. It’s not official,” he added. .

Roach said both countries are “equally guilty and mismanaged their relationship”. He added that Washington needs to figure out its intentions towards Beijing.

“How far are we going to go?” he asks. “If there was ever a time to focus on dealing with a dysfunctional relationship, now is the time,” says Roach.


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