Trump Announces New Measures Against China

Will curb US special treatment for Hong Kong

In a news conference directed at China on Friday, President Trump issued a series of accusations against the Chinese government, accusing them of destroying American industry, of stealing important industrial secrets. He also announced the US pullout from the World Health Organization (WHO), accusing China of controlling it. This is leading to banning some foreign nationals, and restrictions on Chinese students.

The big topic though was China’s recent crackdown in Hong Kong, which Trump and other US officials say meant that Hong Kong is no longer to be considered autonomous for the sake of US law, and will lose also of its special status treatments related to autonomy. This is also going to mean the US limiting Hong Kong’s access to US technologies.

Threats of US tariffs on Hong Kong were panned by many, as the US doesn’t import much from Hong Kong in the first place. By contrast, the US exports a fair bit to the area, so retaliatory Chinese measures could hit harder.

This is mostly just a continuation of US acrimony against China, which is leading to their worst relationship in decades, and warnings of a new Cold War. Experts are predicting that China will impose some retaliatory measures against the US over this.

While some of this is likely to be reflected in more trade disputes, the US naval operations in the South China Sea continue to risk military confrontations. Trump accused China of illegally claiming parts of the Pacific Ocean. More US ships approaching China-claimed islands is almost certain to lead to China confronting them. What that leads to remains to be seen.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.