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China and US in Honolulu hoo-ha

Judging by the hostile diplomatic environment, it was rather apt that Mike Pompeo and Yang Jiechi should hold talks at a Honolulu military base in Hawaii.

All that was missing were the flak jackets as the US Secretary of State and the veteran Chinese diplomat discussed explosive issues, such as the new Hong Kong security law, the Uighur Muslim “indoctrination camps” in Xinjiang and Taiwan’s status.

After a meeting that lasted nearly nine hours, there appeared to be little room for maneuver. 

Relations between China and the United States have been decidedly icy in the past six months amid concerns of a New Cold War. A further drop in the temperature looks inevitable.

“Over the past three years, the United States has provoked trade wars, technological wars, and public opinion wars, deepened its military deployment against China, and openly attacked the Chinese Communist Party and questioned China’s political system,” Fu Ying, the former Chinese deputy foreign affairs minister, said earlier this week before the Honolulu talkfest.

“The continued provocation of the US side has forced China to respond and react, and Sino-US relations have experienced a rapid decline,” Fu, now a professor at Tsinghua University, wrote in a 13,000-character commentary in the latest edition of China’s version of Newsweek before it was translated.

Still, there were reports of a thaw in one key policy area involving the Covid-19 pandemic. The coronavirus crisis has proved an open sore with Washington accusing China of a cover-up after the outbreak in Wuhan last year.

In response, Beijing has claimed that the US made China the scapegoat to deflect the way it handled the epidemic, which has so far killed nearly 120,000 Americans.

Read: Vaccine race intensifies amid virus second wave

Read: Cold War chill sweeps through China

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