Full Report: China
- Rising tensions with US mean high-level trade negotiations will be unlikely to resume in coming months
- Beijing will seek to capitalise on COVID-19 outbreak to boost global soft power at expense of US
- Trade negotiations and tariff reductions are unlikely while COVID-19 remains priority, though exceptions may be made for medical goods
The Chinese Ambassador to the US sought to de-escalate rising tensions with Washington on 22 March, following a series of accusations by Chinese officials that the coronavirus (COVID-19) originated in the US military. The ambassador said rumours about US involvement were “crazy” and that such speculation was harmful. Following this, Trump said on 24 March that he will cease calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus”. This came after Beijing said on 18 March that it will expel US journalists working for three major media organisations in mainland China, the largest expulsion of Western journalists from China since 1949.
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