WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has held an unequivocal position about China and the coronavirus — several of them. Trump initially praised China, then excoriated Beijing after it made unsubstantiated claims that the virus originated in the United States. Now, Trump is back to offering niceties. The diverging messages have generated finger-pointing by both Beijing and Washington that is further destabilizing a critical relationship between countries with the two largest economies and militaries. There might not be radical shifts in U.S.-China policy during the next several months, but China’s cover-up and disinformation campaign will color the relationship going forward, Dan Blumenthal, director of Asian studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said Wednesday. “It’s very hard to see progress on trade talks after this,” he said. He added that he expects Congress will push to address American dependence on China for medical and other manufacturing supplies. There are calls in Congress to hold China accountable for initially covering up the outbreak. Anticipating a backlash, China’s official Xinhua News Agency last month suggested that Beijing could retaliate against the U.S. by banning the export of medical products that would leave the U.S. stuck in the ”ocean of viruses.” Early in the… Read full this story
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