Trump escalates US-China conflict with new sanctions, measures

Yolanda Curtis
May 30, 2020

The European Union on Saturday urged President Donald Trump to rethink his decision to terminate the USA relationship with the World Health Organization as spiking infection rates in India and elsewhere reinforced that the pandemic is far from contained.

China has lodged diplomatic protests with the United States, the UK, Canada and Australia for "interfering" in its internal matters by criticising its new security law for Hong Kong and also warned America of countermeasures if it did not stop the "frivolous" political manipulation over the issue.

"China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying which is approximately $450 million a year", he said. Trump said the USA would be "redirecting" the money to "other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs", without providing specifics.

The trade agreement brought a temporary truce in a long-running tit-for-tat tariff war, with China agreeing to boost its purchases of US goods and services over the next two years by at least $200 billion, a move that is expected to help the United States reduce its trade deficit with the world's second-largest economy.

Other critics of the administration's decision to cut funding called it misguided, saying it would undermine an important institution that is leading vaccine development efforts and drug trials to address the Covid-19 outbreak.

Even Senate health committee chairman Lamar Alexander, a Republican senator from Tennessee, opposed the President's decision. Earlier, Hong Kong's Beijing-backed government told Washington to keep out of the national security debate, and warned that withdrawal of the financial hub's special status could backfire on the USA economy.

In China, where the virus outbreak began, only four new confirmed cases were reported Saturday, all brought from outside the country, and no new deaths.

The WHO needs to continue being able to lead the worldwide response to current and future pandemics, they said, adding: "For this, the participation and support of all is required and very much needed". "But since we're doomed anyway, we hope mainland China will suffer through our demise", she told The Guardian.

In a bombshell press briefing, U.S. President Donald Trump said the U.S. will cancel special treatment to Hong Kong, after China chose to draft national security laws for Hong Kong.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set the stage for Trump's announcement by notifying Congress on Wednesday that Hong Kong no longer has the high degree of autonomy that it is guaranteed under the "one country, two systems" framework.

"It is said that we are becoming "one country, one system" and we've lost our autonomy", said Cheng. "Our actions will be strong, our actions will be meaningful", Trump added.

If the president follows through, Congress could sue him in federal court over the matter, says Gostin - but Trump will still have succeeded in halting US funding until the courts decide. "President Trump, however, is today beginning to change that and is doing what previous presidents have failed to do".

The president also said the US would be suspending entry of Chinese graduate students who are suspected of taking part in an extensive government campaign to acquire trade knowledge and academic research for the country's military and industrial development.

The president's order includes an exemption for students whose work is not expected to benefit the Chinese military. Premier Li Keqiang told reporters on Thursday that both countries stood to gain from cooperation, and to lose from confrontation because their economies have become so interconnected.

US President has announced that he was beginning the process to end preferential treatment for Hong Kong when it comes to trade and travel.

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