WASHINGTON VOA News) — A deterioration in U.S.-China relations, seen most dramatically in their escalating trade dispute, is spilling over into the military arena.
The Pentagon on Tuesday confirmed that China had canceled a Washington visit by the head of its navy, and U.S. officials said China had denied a request for a U.S. Navy ship to make a port visit next month at Hong Kong.
Also on Tuesday, China demanded the Trump administration cancel a planned $330 million sale of military equipment to Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing considers a renegade province. The Chinese foreign ministry warned of “severe damage” to bilateral relations if the sale announced Monday goes through. Washington has no official relations with Taiwan’s democratically elected government but is obliged by U.S. law to see that it has the means to defend itself.
The backdrop to these tensions is the U.S.-China trade dispute. Each imposed tariff increases on the other’s goods Monday, and Beijing accused the Trump administration of bullying. A Chinese official said China cannot hold talks on ending the trade dispute while the U.S. “holds a knife” to Beijing’s neck by imposing tariff hikes.