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China Warns Tough-Talking US Could Push Pair Into a ‘New Cold War’

Relations between the U.S. and China have devolved in recent months, and now challenges could escalate from back-and-forth tariffs to an all-out war if tensions can’t be checked.

The U.S. has consistently pointed the finger at China for its present position with the pandemic, and as the domestic death toll nears 100,000, the hostility is reaching new heights.

In an interview Sunday, President Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien accused China of covering up early information about the COVID-19 virus, which he said will ultimately be exposed similarly to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

“The Chinese knew this was happening November, December, January and were giving false information to the WHO,” O’Brien said on CBS’ Face the Nation. “This is a real problem and it cost many, many thousands of lives in America and around the world because the real information was not allowed to get out. And it was a cover-up. And we’ll get to the bottom of it eventually.”

Trump has made similar claims in recent weeks, and his apparent outrage over the crisis has fueled promises to levy new tariffs as punishment and potentially offer tax breaks and subsidies as encouragement for companies to pull their supply chains from China.

China, however, isn’t sitting quietly awaiting the United States’ next play. The country’s foreign minister Wang Yi said Sunday that the U.S. should abandon its efforts to change China and stop pushing the two countries “to the brink of a new Cold War.”

“It’s time for the United States to give up its wishful thinking of changing China and stopping 1.4 billion people in their historic march toward modernization,” the Washington Post reported Wang as saying during China’s National People’s Congress. American politicians, he added, “are taking China-U.S. relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new Cold War.”

If the political hostility between the U.S. and China reaches levels once seen between the U.S. and the Soviet-bloc countries, threats and other measures short of open warfare could worsen economic conditions in an already pandemic-crippled market.