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China warns of 'new cold war' as US trade tensions rise

THE prospects of a trade war between China and the western economies have increased rapidly in recent days as Beijing accused the US of pushing relations towards a 'new cold war'

27 May 2020 - 19:00

THE prospects of a trade war between China and the western economies have increased rapidly in recent days as Beijing accused the US of pushing relations towards a 'new cold war'.

China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, said: 'China has no intention to change, still less replace the United States,' in the latest escalation in tensions between the world's two largest economies. 'It's time for the United States to give up its wishful thinking of changing China and stopping 1.4 billion people in their historic march toward modernisation.'



He said US political attacks on China over the coronavirus and global trade matters 'are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new cold war'.



Relations between the UK and the US have also soured as a string of Conservative politicians pressed on for tighter controls to protect struggling UK companies from Chinese takeovers.



In addition, the UK announced an emergency review of the deal to allow the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei to help run the forthcoming 5G mobile network, reports the UK's The Guardian.



Britain's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is expected to conclude that recently announced US sanctions against Huawei will make it impossible to use the Chinese company's technology as planned.



A government spokesman said: 'Following the US announcement of additional sanctions against Huawei, the NCSC is looking carefully at any impact they could have to the UK's networks.'



Last week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to give in to to Conservative backbench rebels opposed to the presence of Huawei in 5G networks. The prime minister said he was drawing up plans to reduce the Chinese company's involvement to zero by 2023.



Over the weekend, a series of well-known Conservative MPs added their voices to the debate by either writing or tweeting newspaper articles about the UK distancing itself from China. Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, argued in the Financial Times that 'time is running out' to accelerate new legislation designed to make it harder for state-owned companies from countries such as China to take over struggling UK firms.



'Britain needs to bring its laws on foreign ownership in line with partners,' he said. 'The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States provides one model that gives the government discretion and dissuades many inappropriate buyers before a veto is required.'



The debate in the UK came as Mr Wang told a press conference on the sidelines of National People's Congress meetings in Beijing: 'Regretfully, in addition to the raging coronavirus, a political virus is also spreading in the United States. This political virus is using every opportunity to attack and smear China.'


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