Some Sino-US relations damage ‘beyond repair’, Chinese state media warns

Relations between the world's two largest economies have sunk to their lowest point in decades over issues such as trade and technology. PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - Chinese state media warned that some damage to Sino-US ties are "beyond repair" amid a new wave of counter-China measures by the Trump administration, with an ugly Twitter spat between a US senator and Chinese reporter underlining the rising rancour.

The government-backed newspaper China Daily said in an editorial it viewed Washington's decision to limit visitor visas for Chinese Communist Party members and their families and a ban on Xinjiang cotton imports are "worrisome signs."

"Even if the incoming administration has any intention of easing the tensions that have been sown, and continue being sown, some damage is simply beyond repair, as the sitting US president intends," the newspaper said.

Relations between the world's two largest economies have sunk to their lowest point in decades over issues such as trade, technology, security, human rights and Covid-19.

Bilateral ties are being shifted onto "a dangerous path", according to the China Daily editorial.

The Chinese ambassador to the United States became the latest of senior Beijing officials to signal a desire to reset the increasingly confrontational relationship as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office in January.

"There are always differences between the two countries. None of them justifies confrontation and war, cold or hot," Mr Cui Tiankai said on Twitter Thursday.

"With sufficient mutual respect and mutual understanding, we are capable of managing these differences so that they would not derail the entire relationship."

It is unclear whether a Biden administration will bring a dramatic shift, however.

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The Trump administration expanded economic pressure on China's Xinjiang province on Wednesday, banning cotton imports from a powerful Chinese quasi-military organization that it says uses forced labour from detained Uighur Muslims.

The Democrat told the New York Times this week that he would not remove existing tariffs set by the Trump administration against China for now.

Legislation targeting China or Chinese officials over charges of human rights abuses in Xinjiang and crackdown against pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have won broad bipartisan support in Congress, as well, further suggesting that current policies towards China have staying power.

An exchange of insults on Thursday between US Senator Marsha Blackburn and China Daily journalist Chen Weihua underscored persistent animosity.

Ms Blackburn, a Republican and one of the more outspoken China critics, claimed without evidence on Twitter that China "has a 5,000 year history of cheating and stealing."

Mr Chen replied to her tweet, accusing Ms Blackburn of being the most "racist and ignorant" US senator he has seen and calling her a "lifetime b***h."

The senator responded by calling Mr Chen a "puppet" in Chinese President Xi Jinping's "dream for global domination" and that the US won't bow to "sexist communist thugs."

Mr Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of China's Global Times newspaper, also criticised Ms Blackburn on Twitter on Friday, saying it was a pity her "cognitive level is still as low as a monkey's."

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