There is a grim realisation among China’s leaders that a full blown trade war with the US is now about to become a reality.
Beijing, China – They have been dismantling the old US Embassy in Beijing. Its diplomats moved to a vast complex on the other side of the city years ago.
But this week – of all weeks – Chinese workmen finally began tearing down the old building. It is happening brick by brick and seems like a fitting metaphor for the state of Sino-US ties.
Whatever the outcome of the 11th round of trade talks in Washington, the relationship is bad and it’s going to stay bad for a long time.
The dispute is a symptom of wider friction between the world’s two leading economies: Taiwan, the South China Sea, Huawei, Iran … honestly, the list is endless.
It’s a new Cold War with trade at its core.
Only this week, the United States barred China Mobile – the country’s largest mobile provider – over espionage concerns – the same reason it gave for blocking Huawei, another Chinese telecommunications giant.