US-China trade war taking dangerous turn

Chinese shipping containers are stored beside a US flag after they were unloaded at the Port of Los Angeles in Long Beach, California on May 14, 2019.
Chinese shipping containers are stored beside a US flag after they were unloaded at the Port of Los Angeles in Long Beach, California on May 14, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

After reading the US-China trade war package in The Sunday Times, I now fear that what United States President Donald Trump started as a trade war is now turning into a political war (China won't give in to an unequal deal, and US swinging to demonisation?, both May 26).

The danger signs are that it is not just the leaders who are disputing trade; now ordinary citizens are involved with national feelings running high.

Even TV news reporters from both countries are involved in heated, emotional arguments. Journalists are supposed to be factual and neutral in reporting the news.

The danger to world peace is that the rest of the world is forced to take sides - either support the US or China. There are no in-betweens.

The issue with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is an example.

It is dividing the world into two isolated technological blocks.

China will by necessity develop its own technological system, and the US will be more protective of its own technological prowess.

Digital technology, as in all scientific endeavours, can only progress with the sharing of new knowledge and technology.

The world and civilisation will be poorer from such selfish, protective policies.

I hope the world will be conscious of this danger and that scientists, in particular, will not be manipulated by politicians motivated by selfish national drum-beating.

The world must stand up against such narrow nationalist thinking for the sake of peace and harmony.

Forcing people to take sides, dividing the world into two, is a sure way of bringing on another world war.

George Wong Seow Choon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2019, with the headline 'US-China trade war taking dangerous turn'. Print Edition | Subscribe