What Does America Want by Intensifying Confrontation With China?

© AP Photo / Ng Han Guan, PoolChina urges US not to interfere in affairs abroad on rights abuses pretext
China urges US not to interfere in affairs abroad on rights abuses pretext - Sputnik International
According to experts interviewed by Sputnik, neutralising China's competitive advantages, curbing the growth of its influence in the world, making concessions in trade negotiations, and tackling the challenges of the presidential election campaign are the main motives for a new round of confrontation with China provoked by the US.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set a new goal on Thursday for an international coalition to deter China, an initiative he called for on Tuesday in London. Speaking at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in California, the American top diplomat urged allies to use “more creative and assertive ways” to force China to change its policies.

At the same time, he virtually acknowledged China's growing political and military power in the world, noting that if the "free world" does not change its attitude towards China, then China will change it. He also said that China's Armed Forces have become “stronger and more formidable”.

Mike Pompeo admitted that one of the US allies in NATO is unwilling to support the American approach to Hong Kong. The ally was not named, but it was said to be afraid of a Chinese response in the form of restrictions on access to its market.

In an interview with Sputnik, Shi Yinhong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the Renmin University of China, called Mike Pompeo's speech at the Richard Nixon Library a new attempt to put pressure on China.

“The US administration bases its approach towards China on political considerations in the run-up to the elections. This is the strategy with a focus on the future and it is the essence of the country's political line. The idea of confrontation with China serves Trump's interests in the upcoming elections. Judging by Mike Pompeo's speech at the Richard Nixon Library on Thursday, the Trump administration is clearly exerting pressure on China and resorting to sanctions and coercive measures to prevent the further development and growth of China, which should make it easier for the US to maintain control in the APAC and around the world”.

China’s national flag is seen waving at the China Consulate General in Houston, Texas, U.S., July 22, 2020 - Sputnik International
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The escalating tensions in China-US relations resulted in Washington's decision to close the Consulate General of China in Houston this week. A reciprocal response from the Chinese side was the termination of the US Consulate General in Chengdu. At the same time, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a briefing in Beijing on Friday that some officials of the US Consulate General had committed acts that the Chinese side regards as interference in China's internal affairs.

Beijing regarded the closure of the Houston consulate as yet another political provocation. Instead of developing cooperation, the US is destroying Sino-American relations, said Alexey Biryukov, senior adviser at the Centre for International Information Security, Science and Technology Policy (CIIS) MGIMO-University. In an interview with Sputnik, he named the ulterior motives for the US' provocative actions against China.

“The US is fighting with a country that is developing very rapidly, gaining power, increasing its competitiveness in areas where previously there was undeniably US leadership. Attempting to neutralise a global competitor is the main goal of Americans. Neutralising China's rapid, dynamic development is the essence of the American strategy. Meanwhile, China is interested in developing friendly relations with all countries. Recently, it presented the idea of building a community of common destiny for humanity. That's what Sino-American relations should be built around. It would seem that the pandemic should have brought people together around the idea of building a prosperous world for all, not just someone. But the Americans didn't understand that: they started looking for the guilty ones. This is the favourite strategy of Anglo-Saxons, Americans including, to look for the guilty. As a result, they found their main competitor – China”.

However, Alexey Biryukov believes that China will not give in to pressure. Americans simply do not understand the national psychology of the Chinese, the Chinese strategy, or China's priorities. Everything comes from their short-sightedness and arrogance in diplomacy, he notes.

Donald Trump is trying to portray himself as a hero in the fight against China, pursuing personal gains in the election race. They are contrary to the interests of the peoples of both the US and China, Yang Mian, professor at the Research Institute of International Relations at China's University of Communications told Sputnik.

“The US has resorted to a variety of measures, creating some barriers to the Chinese side to achieve its strategic goal of deterring China. Trump may not be re-elected because of the adverse epidemiological situation in the country or because of racial unrest. Hence, he uses provocations against China to distract public attention from domestic difficulties”, Yang Mian says.

By casting a shadow on China, Trump is trying to save himself, the Chinese professor notes. At the same time, the US president is trying to awaken American nationalism by escalating contradictions with China, hoping for support, portraying himself as a hero fighting China.

“His policy runs counter to the interests of Sino-American relations and does not take into account the real interests of the Chinese and American people”, Yang Mian stresses.

The US is seeking new bargaining chips in the next round of trade negotiations with China, Andrei Manoilo, professor at Lomonosov Moscow State University, told Sputnik:

“The US intends to force a trade deal so that China agrees to all its terms. To do so, since the closing point in the trade negotiations has not yet been reached, Trump is raising the degree of tensions with Beijing”.

Russian political analyst Andrei Manoilo believes that Trump is thus increasing pressure on China to forcefully dictate terms of trade. Trump always does this – first, he pushes the situation to the extreme and then makes offers to his partners, who believe they are cornered and will have to give in, the expert notes.

“However, it won't work that way with China. But it is important for Trump to show his compatriots at any cost that he is a 'courageous guy', capable of great feats, whom the voters can follow safely”, the Russian analyst says.

Andrei Manoilo emphasises that Trump clearly would not be able to achieve quick results in the domestic economic and political spheres before the elections. That is why it is easier to conduct a PR campaign in the foreign policy domain.

“Trump believes that the most winning card is the conflict with China. So he's playing the Chinese card, believing he is acting for sure”, Manoilo concludes.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on Friday on the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's call to form an alliance against China. He recalled the president's words that Moscow never takes part in alliances against someone and does not make friends against someone. “China is our ally, our partner, a country with which we develop special partnership relations”, Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

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