2021-09-25 02:07:18 Meng’s Release Could Reduce Friction Between U.S. and China

Meng’s Release Could Reduce Friction Between U.S. and China

The agreement to release Meng Wanzhou may help to alleviate a thorny conflict in US-China relations.

President Donald J. Trump took an aggressively adversarial stance toward China, criticizing Beijing for unfair trade policies, blaming it for the coronavirus pandemic, barring Chinese technology companies from the lucrative American market, and imposing heavy tariffs on Chinese exports. Huawei has also been accused by the Trump administration of stealing technology from its Western competitors.

President Biden has also taken a tough stance on China since taking office. He has sought to establish the United States as a democratic counterpoint to the authoritarian country, emphasizing the importance of the West remaining independent of Chinese technology firms such as Huawei, which manufactures next-generation communications networks.

However, American officials have also sought common ground in areas such as climate change and, more recently, the Huawei deal.

In their first conversation in seven months, Mr. Biden spoke with China’s President Xi Jinping in early September, expressing concern about China’s cyber-activities while arguing that the leaders of the world’s two largest economies could set aside their differences to collaborate on global warming measures. It was only the second time the two leaders had spoken since Mr. Biden’s inauguration, indicating the rising tensions between the two countries as they seek to limit each other’s global influence.

The Huawei case has severely damaged Canadian perceptions of China, which has become a hub for Huawei’s R&D operations and also hosts a large number of Chinese students. After the United States, China is Canada’s second largest trading partner.

According to a May poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, a leading polling firm, only 14% of Canadians have a favorable opinion of China. The majority of respondents believed that China’s release of the two Canadians detained shortly after Ms. Meng’s arrest was a necessary condition for improving relations.

Gordon Houlden, emeritus director of the University of Alberta’s China Institute, cautioned that Ms. Meng’s release would not have a significant impact on Canada-China relations in the short term. However, he believes it could contribute to some sort of healing, particularly by encouraging closer economic and educational ties between the two countries.

“Canada flies close to the US when it comes to China, so much will depend on the Biden administration’s approach,” he said. “China has no interest in prolonging Canada’s misery, but it will take years to repair things.”

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Meng's Release Could Reduce Friction Between U.S. and China