United States-China: Soon neither country will have an ambassador in the other’s capital. Will it make a difference?
Cui, 68, whose time in Washington covered the presidencies of Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, has witnessed a profound change in US-China relations. During his tenure, Beijing grew increasingly confident and assertive, demanding that he be treated equally. Washington, on the other hand, has been wary of China’s rise to power, viewing it as a strategic rival and a potential threat to the US-led world order.
And until the arrival of his successor, which has not yet been announced, neither Beijing nor Washington will have a main envoy in the other’s capital.
The unusual diplomatic vacuum is just the latest sign of the current breakdown in formal relations in what is considered the most important bilateral relationship in the world.
Under the Trump administration, tensions between the United States and China erupted on a variety of fronts, from trade and technology, geopolitics and national defense.
Cui is expected to be replaced by Qin Gang, a career diplomat who currently serves as deputy foreign minister overseeing European affairs. Qin is considered a trusted aide to President Xi Jinping, having accompanied the Chinese leader on numerous overseas trips as chief of protocol.
But unlike Cui, Qin has never been an Ambassador and has no direct experience with the United States.
Before Cui was sent to Washington in 2013, he had already had a close relationship with the Obama administration during his four-year tenure as Deputy Foreign Minister in charge of the Americas and Oceania.
But for Qin, it’s a much more difficult time to build bridges in Washington, which has taken an uncompromising bipartisan stance towards China.
In increasingly strained relations, there is very little room for maneuver for the Chinese Ambassador, as all important policies and decisions will be made in Beijing. But Qin can still make a difference by not further deteriorating relations with inflammatory remarks, as some Chinese “wolf warrior” diplomats have done in other countries.
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Tong, 24, pleaded not guilty to both counts of inciting secession and terrorism. He was arrested on July 1 last year after allegedly riding his motorcycle among a group of police officers during a pro-democracy protest, less than 24 hours after the sweeping new law came into effect. At the time, he carried a banner with the popular protest slogan “Free Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time” – which is now a ground for inciting secession under the new law, prosecutors said.
Tong also faces an additional charge of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm.
China crackdown upsets cryptos
This is not a new strategy for Beijing, which for years banned financial and payment institutions from dealing with bitcoin and called on cryptos to pose risks to financial stability.
But the country has recently picked up the pace of its anti-crypto campaign.
Cryptocurrency prices fell to double digits in May after Beijing said it would “curtail bitcoin mining and trading,” prompting some miners to suspend operations. Crypto mining is a critical step in the process needed to bring more of these coins into circulation, and China is taking the lion’s share of that activity.
Over the weekend, Chinese state media reported that Sichuan Province, a mining hub, ordered all crypto mining operations to stop and cut power to many mining facilities. . And on Monday, the People’s Bank of China said it summoned digital payments giant Alipay and a number of major commercial banks to warn them against trading in crypto.
Bitcoin has recovered somewhat since its plunge on Tuesday, now trading just below $ 34,000. But it’s still a long way from the all-time high of nearly $ 65,000 per coin it hit in April, and analysts are warning of more volatility to come.
âBitcoin is in the danger zone,â wrote Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a research note. If the cryptocurrency’s value drops beyond $ 29,000, he warned that an even larger drop to $ 25,000 could come quickly.
âThe bullish case for Bitcoin is falling apart,â Moya said, adding that some long-term investors might fear that even a value of $ 20,000 per coin cannot be defended.
–By Laura Il
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