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Trump could cause problems for China before leaving White House, experts say

According to experts, in his final months in White House, Trump could target China given his repeated efforts to blame Beijing for the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic conditions of the United States.

New Delhi November 9, 2020, UPDATED: November 9, 2020, 12:57 IST

US President Donald Trump has so far shown no signs of conceding defeat to Joe Biden. While Trump remains reluctant, experts fear that he could make disruptive moves to double down on China in his final two in the White House, leaving behind trouble for his successor.

Experts and former officials say they fear a growing risk that he could make disruptive moves to double down on priorities and tie his successor’s hands in his final months in the White House, a report in news agency ANI has claimed.

According to the report, given Trump’s repeated efforts to blame Beijing for the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic conditions of the United States, China could be a particular target.

“Trump has promised to punish China for Covid-19, so the question is, what does that mean,” Jeff Moon, principal at China Moon Strategies and former National Security Council official was quoted as saying by the news agency.

Mangier added that one way to worsen the already fragile US-China relations and to undermine the Biden administration move to improve bilateral cooperation on global environmental and health issues “could possibly involve Taiwan”.

Trump could also attempt to block visas for more Communist party officials, or make trouble by trying to order US athletes to skip the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, the report added.

Other Trump options may include subjecting more Chinese state-owned companies to sanctions, expanding restrictions on “dual-use” civilian-military exports, banning more Chinese apps after its TikTok and WeChat campaigns and blocking all semiconductor sales to Huawei Technologies beyond those for 5G networks.

‘Biden admin will be confronting more emboldened Beijing’

An incoming Biden administration will be confronting a more emboldened Beijing, reported SCMP.

“China’s power has increased considerably in the last four years…I would therefore expect many of the Biden policies to bear some resemblance to the Trump administration,” said Sarah Kreps, a Cornell University law and government professor.

According to the Pew Research Centre, 73 per cent of Americans hold a negative view of China, up 13 percentage points from last year, and 20 points from 2017 when Trump took office.

The US could also take the potentially explosive step of labelling China guilty of genocide for the mass detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

The US government had earlier removed the East Turkestan Islamic Movement from its list of terrorist organisations after nearly two decades that has led to the weakening of China’s anti-terror pretext for a draconian crackdown on Uyghurs in its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The US move came amid worldwide condemnation of China’s policies in Xinjiang, where a large population of Muslim minorities is detained in re-education camps.

China, however, regularly denies such mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training.

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