Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
March 4, 2023
It is certainly true that the US-China relations have been tense. But there is no imminent crisis that could cause the US and China to start a war anytime soon. In fact, the Ukraine war seems to reach a critical stage anytime. The US, from President Biden to the Congress, should pay close attention so that there should be no surprises.
There are many issues of concern between the US and China but Sunday talk shows in the US will not clarify any US official positions. Certainly, the talk shows may enlighten the US public on the issues of concern. However, there is no consensus among US politicians on how to deal with China. In fact, very opposing positions taken by different US politicians are confusing. There are so many US congressional committees have which jurisdictions over China issue, there is a messaging problem from the US.
The latest US statements about the origin of COVID are typical. Officials make statements but provide no specific evidence. Even some Congressmen are frustrated and demanding the administration to provide evidence. But if the evidence is disclosed behind the closed doors because it is classified, the general public still does not have any chance to make his/her own judgments. Then, of course, China will deny the US assessment.
There is another piece of latest news that should be discussed in open forums: the US government has concluded that the so called “Havana Syndrome” has nothing to do with foreign nations. Because, sometimes ago, CBS did a 60-minute special interview of some US State Department staffs stationed in China, and they swore Chinese government was responsible for their “illness.” If the US news media could clarify this misunderstanding for China, it will stabilize the rocky US-China relations somewhat.
Sunday shows preview: US-China relations remain on shaky ground, (2024 election looms)
BY JULIA SHAPERO – 03/04/23 5:05 PM ET
Tense relations between the U.S. and China and the looming 2024 presidential race are likely to dominate the Sunday talk shows circuit this weekend.
U.S.-China relations have faced repeated complications in recent weeks, from the Chinese spy balloon debacle to Beijing’s potential involvement in the war in Ukraine to renewed interest in the COVID-19 lab leak theory.
A Chinese surveillance balloon spent a week traversing the U.S. in early February, before being shot down off the coast of South Carolina. The initial balloon, as well as a trio of high-flying objects that the military shot down in its wake, caused an uproar among lawmakers in Washington.
Beijing accused the U.S. of overreacting to the incident, which it claimed was simply a weather balloon blown off course. However, the U.S. military has maintained that the balloon was surveilling strategic sites in the U.S.
The balloon drama was quickly followed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other top U.S. officials’ warnings in mid-February that China was “strongly considering” providing Russia with lethal aid for its war in Ukraine.
China hit back at the allegations, urging the U.S. to “seriously reflect on the role it has played” in the Russia-Ukraine war and “do something to actually help deescalate the situation and promote peace talks.”
Beijing has sought to portray itself as a neutral arbiter in the war, even releasing a 12-point peace plan and calling for a cease-fire and peace talks alongside Belarus last week.
However, the U.S. has accused China of providing Russia with non-lethal aid, and Beijing’s relationship with Belarus — one of the few countries to stand by Moscow amid its invasion of Ukraine — has been eyed with suspicion.
Renewed interest in the COVID-19 lab leak theory has also inflamed tensions with China. After reports emerged on Sunday that the Department of Energy had found with “low confidence” that COVID-19 may have been caused by a lab leak, the Biden administration is facing increased pressure to confront China on the issue.
FBI Director Christopher Wray also said on Tuesday that the agency had assessed that the origin of the pandemic was “most likely a potential lab incident.” However, the White House has warned that there is not yet widespread government consensus on the issue.
In response to the allegations, Chinese officials claimed that the country has been “open and transparent” on origins tracing efforts and accused the U.S. of “politicizing the issue.”
“By politicizing the issue, the U.S. will not succeed in discrediting China. Instead, it will only hurt the U.S.’s own credibility,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), who serves as chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, will chat about the unresolved questions on COVID-19’s origins with CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. Wenstrup’s subcommittee is set to hold its first hearing on the pandemic’s origins on Wednesday.
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will also join ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday to discuss rising tensions with China and Russia, while Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will join “Fox News Sunday” to discuss the “current state of foreign relations.”
Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” also appears to have a particular focus on U.S.-China relations this weekend, with a group of Republican lawmakers and leading GOP figures lined up to react to President Biden’s stance on China.
The looming 2024 presidential election is also likely to a major talking topic of discussion on the Sunday shows.