Cold War 2.0: China and U.S. Tensions Rise; U.S. Revokes Open Skies Treaty With Russia

By Aaron Kesel

China and U.S. tensions have sharply risen over the past few months, but many might have missed this as the CV pandemic takes over our global consciousness.

China has used the cover of the pandemic to take over the autonomy of Hong Kong, with a security measure causing backlash within HK. China’s bill states  that the law is to prevent and punish any acts of secession, subversion or terrorism. Several pro-democracy lawmakers within Hing Kong criticized China’s move to take over national security legislation, accusing them of implementing a law to take away their limited autonomy.

The U.S. also responded, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the White House economic adviser, Kevin Hassett, stating the Trump administration would punish China. Trump himself warned of consequences for Beijing, which at first wasn’t immediately clear. However, it has now been reported that the U.S. has sanctioned 33 Chinese entities including businesses and institutions for human rights violations.

As reported by Voice Of America, the Commerce Department stated it was sanctioning nine companies and institutions on grounds they were “complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.”

China replied  to the U.S. threats by daring the U.S. to do something, elevating the already exceptionally high tensions mounting between the two countries, in addition to previous threats about sanctioning U.S. tech companies by adding them to their “unreliable entities list.”

More specifically, China essentially told the U.S.: “We’re going to do what we want in Hong Kong, and we’re not scared of the consequences,” according to Bloomberg.

Then a few days later Beijing said that the U.S.’s plan of changing China was “wishful thinking,” warning directly and distinctly that some in America were pushing relations to a “new Cold War.”

“China has no intention to change the U.S., nor to replace the U.S. It is also wishful thinking for the U.S. to change China,” China, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

However, these recent events aren’t the full story, the two countries have been fighting in what is being deemed a “cold war” by U.S.Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) for the past few months. Starting with trade deals which fell apart, then human rights violations in Hong Kong, tensions in the South China Sea and, finally, the most recent blaming of China for the CV pandemic which points to being started in Wuhan as an accidental bioweapons lab leak.

Another key conflicting issue with Hong Kong is that some of the weapons being used by Hong Kong police including tear gas, pepper spray, and batons, are coming from U.S. companies which produce the chemicals and ammunition. Last year lawmakers in early August called for a ban on weapons of war that are being used for crowd control, The Epoch Times reported.

Amnesty International identified several U.S.-based companies that are supplying the crowd control equipment to police, according to a statement by the humans rights organization.

U.S. President Donald Trump promised Chinese President Xi Jinping in a June phone call that he would stay quiet on the protests in Hong Kong in exchange for progress in the trade war, Business Insider reported.

Although in September, during a meeting at the UN after the trade deal seemed to fizzle out, Trump criticized China by stating that it must respect the city’s democracy and abide by the decades-old agreement giving it semi-autonomy, CBS reported.

In November, Trump signed into law legislation backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, which further threatened sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials deemed responsible for human rights abuses. The Senate passed the bill almost unanimously except for one lawmmaker holding out, The Guardian reported.

Then in December, one month later, China banned U.S. military ships and aircraft from visiting Hong Kong and slapped sanctions on several U.S. non-governmental organizations for allegedly encouraging anti-government protests according to Beijing, Reuters reported.

The U.S. sailed twice through the Taiwan Strait in April, after firing several live missiles off the coast of the Philippine Sea as a warning to China in March. While, just one month prior in February the U.S. sent a total of three aircraft — two B-52 bombers and an MC-130J Commando II tanker — near the Taiwan Strait after Chinese naval and air forces flew over the island twice, military publication Stars And Stripes reported.

China responded to the incident in April by scrambling ships and aircraft to “track, monitor, verify, identify and expel” the U.S. USS Barry (DDG-52)  from the Paracel Island chain in the South China Sea after it conducted its “freedom of navigation” mission, South China Morning Post reported.

“These provocative acts by the U.S. side … have seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security interests, deliberately increased regional security risks and could easily trigger an unexpected incident,” reads a statement from PLA Southern Theatre Command spokesman Li Huamin, said.

Vietnam also has long taken issue with China’s activity in the area and launched an official protest in April after a fishing boat was allegedly rammed by a Chinese surveillance vessel, according to Reuters.

The U.S. also got involved in defending a Malaysian drillship that also felt threatened by China’s movements in the area during China’s April expeditions, as detailed by Foreign Policy.

Meanwhile, the U.S. also taunted Russia by sailing through the Barents Sea, for the first time in more than 30 years.

Additionally, the U.S. walked out of an open skies treaty with Russia recently as well, marking the third withdrawal from an international treaty, The Guardian reported. Ironically, Russia will now be able to fly over U.S. bases in Europe but the U.S. will no longer be allowed to observe Russia.

The OST is the third arms control agreement Trump has left. He took the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, and the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty in 2019, as this writer reported.

If that’s not enough, and it certainly should be, the U.S. has just discussed testing nuclear weapons last week, something that hasn’t happened since 1992 according to San Francisco Gate. This comes after accusations of an alleged secret low-level underground nuclear test that happened last year according to the U.S. State Department which didn’t provide evidence, The Guardian reported.

If true, that would mean that China violated a nuclear arms treaty, the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which allows activities designed to ensure the safety of nuclear weapons, but not test explosions of such, South China Morning Post reported.

U.S. President Donald Trump is attempting to renew a nuclear weapons treaty with Russia which expired and to get China to sign a contract revealing the exact number of nuclear warheads it has in its arsenal. According to sources in the U.S. military, China fired more than 100 ballistic missiles during testing and exercises in 2019, reported Japan Times.

Early warning satellites for missile defense operated by the U.S. military detected the launches by China, the sources claimed.

Defense officials have warned that the US would lose a war with China fought in the Pacific, is unable to defend Taiwan from an invasion, and fears the Guam military base is at risk, MSN reported.

If you don’t hear the sound of war drums by now you may need a hearing aid. For several years this author has been doing geopolitical updates and we seem closer than ever to a heated conflict breaking out. In the meantime we can expect a cyberspace battle and trade sanctions from both China and the U.S.

No one wins in war except the controllers elevated in power, and those with shares in various military industrial complex companies like Lockheed Martin to name an American example. Meanwhile, the poor are sent to die as soldiers are sold a propagandized lie that the enemy is different from them, when the people dying have more in common with each other than those giving the orders to go die.

**By [@An0nkn0wledge](**

Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post.

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