U.S.-China troubled timeline
August 10, 2020 - Since coming to power in 2017, President Donald Trump has waged a fractious political and economic offensive against China. Despite Trump initially calling China’s President Xi Jinping “a very, very good friend of mine,” his administration has been hitting China on multiple fronts.
Over the past seven months, relations between Washington and Beijing have fallen to their lowest levels in decades. Trump and his top aides have railed against China for its response to the coronavirus pandemic that began there, calling it the “Chinese virus” and “Kung flu.” The administration has slapped tariffs on Chinese imports, banning Chinese companies operating in the U.S. and hitting Chinese officials with sanctions.
Citing the need to protect Americans’ personal and other sensitive data from China, the White House has launched a global campaign against Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE.
On August 7, the administration imposed sanctions against Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and 10 others. The move is in retaliation for Beijing’s new Hong Kong security law which came into effect at the start of July. Beijing had promised that the former British territory would remain autonomous for 50 years after it reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.
The United States is also negotiating the sale of at least four of its large, sophisticated MQ-9 SeaGuardian drones to Taiwan. The deal is likely to further ratchet up tensions with China.
On August 9, Alex Azar, the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary, arrived in Taiwan for a three-day visit, the highest level visit for 41 years.
Beijing has condemned the visit. Although the Chinese Communist Party has never controlled Taiwan, Beijing considers the island to be a sovereign part of China.
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