The warning is clear, the gesture precise. No sooner had outgoing President Donald Trump boarded Air Force One to leave office for good and return to his property in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, when China drew a press release announcing the sanctions taken. against 28 American officials linked to the outgoing administration. Among them are White House advisers Peter Navarro, Robert O’Brien and Matthew Pottinger, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia David Stilwell, Secretary of Health Alex Azar, Representative of States -United at the UN Kelly Craft, but also former advisers to Donald Trump, John Bolton and Steve Bannon. The list arguably wouldn’t have been complete without Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who never spoke harshly enough against China and was one of the architects of the fight on all fronts. All of these personalities and their families are now banned from entering Chinese territory and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao.
Sanctions until the end
In a statement from the Foreign Ministry, Beijing notes that “ some anti-Chinese politicians, due to their selfish political interests, prejudices and hatred of China (…) planned, promoted and executed a series of mad maneuvers that seriously interfered with the internal affairs of the country, undermined its interests, offended the Chinese people and seriously disrupted (the) relations (between the two countries). ” Beyond the trade war, this is a question of retaliatory measures against fourteen vice-chairmen of the standing committee of the Chinese Parliament who voted for the internal security law relating to Hong Kong, or the blocking of imports of products. from “Forced labor” Uyghurs. In one of his latest ukases, Donald Trump signed an executive order to ban, within forty-five days, all transactions with Alipay, WeChatPay and other Chinese mobile applications. The smartphone giant Xiaomi has also been placed on the US Defense blacklist.
From the start of his campaign in 2016 until the last day of his mandate, Donald Trump patiently targeted the Chinese enemy, even if it meant nullifying hours of negotiations to reach a trade agreement between the two powers. Steve Bannon, the ideologue of Trumpism, architect of the conspiracy theory around the origin of Covid-19 and its creation in a laboratory in Wuhan, hoped in the spring that the “Chinese threat” would be “The key subject of the 2020 presidential election”. Clearly, the Trumpists pushed the future Biden administration to the end to position itself vis-à-vis China.
With the publication of the list of 28 American personalities sanctioned, China takes control and warns the new president. However, Emily Horne, spokeswoman for the National Security Council of the White House, was quick to outline Joe Biden’s Chinese policy: “ Imposing these sanctions on inauguration day seems an attempt to play on partisan divisions. Americans on both sides must criticize this counterproductive and cynical measure. President Biden looks forward to working with leaders from both parties to position America to supplant China. ” The question of containment of the second world power is therefore still on the agenda, both inside and outside American borders. The new tenant intends, in fact, to reconnect with the multilateralism destroyed by Donald Trump in order to build a pompous “Summit for democracy” worthy of “Free world” of the Cold War in order to ensure the sustainability of American leadership. In this instance, Joe Biden’s first steps gave a glimpse of the relationship to come by breaking free from the concept of a“Only China”. On Wednesday, Taiwan’s representative to the United States was officially invited to the inauguration ceremony. A first.