Zhang Jun, the new China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, speaks to the press at the UN headquarters in New York, July 30, 2019.
The war of words between the world’s top superpowers is getting more heated by the hour.
China’s new ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, said on Friday that if the United States wanted to fight China on trade, “then we will fight” and warned that Beijing was prepared to take countermeasures over new U.S. tariffs, Reuters reports.
“China’s position is very clear that if U.S. wishes to talk, then we will talk, if they want to fight, then we will fight,” he told reporters. Calling Trump latest tariff announcement an “irrational, irresponsible act”, Jun said that China “definitely will take whatever necessary countermeasures to protect our fundamental right, and we also urge the United States to come back to the right track in finding the right solution through the right way.”
The ambassador also took a stab at the disintegration of good relations between the US and North Korea (with Beijing’s blessing no doubt), saying that “you cannot simply ask DPRK to do as much as possible while you maintain the sanctions against DPRK, that definitely is not helpful” Yun said siding the the Kim regime. It was more than obvious who the “you” he referred to was.
Pouring more salt on the sound, the Chinese diplomat said North Korea should be encourage, and “we think at an appropriate time there should be action taken to ease the sanctions”, explicitly taking Pyongyang’s side in the ongoing diplomatic saga between Kim and Trump.
When asked if China’s trade relations with the United States could harm cooperation between the countries on dealing with North Korea, Zhang said it would be difficult to predict. He added: “It will be hard to imagine that on the one hand you are seeking the cooperation from your partner, and on the other hand you are hurting the interests of your partner.”
As North Korea’s ally and neighbor, China’s role in agreeing to and enforcing international sanctions on the country over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs has been crucial.
However, it is what he said last that was most notable, as it touched on what will likely be the next big geopolitical swan, namely Hong Kong. To wit, Jun said that while Beijing is willing to cooperate with UN member states, it will never allow interference in “internal affairs” such as the controversial regions of Xinjiang and Tibet, and – last but not least – Hong Kong.
And in the latest warning to the defiant financial capital of the Pacific Rim, Jun virtually warned that a Chinese incursion is now just a matter of time, he said that Hong Kong protests are “really turning out to be chaotic and violent and we should no longer allow them to continue this reprehensible behavior.”
And so the die has been cast: Hong Kong’s protesting youth has been given its official warning, and with PLA forces now piling on the border, all that will take for Chinese troops to enter is a provocation.
And to show just how serious China is about all this spontaneous “rioting” nonsense, Reuters reported that Refinitiv (which Reuters owned), has removed from its Eikon terminals in China a Reuters story detailing how an official with Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong had urged residents of a rural area to drive away anti-government protesters days before a violent clash nearby.
The story, which was published late last week, was not visible on the Eikon terminal’s scrolling news feed in China on Friday. Eikon users outside China said they could still see the story. Reuters was unable to determine precisely when the story had been removed from Eikon’s scrolling news feed for clients in China or whether other stories had been blocked.
Refinitiv has a license to provide financial information in China, and a person familiar with the matter said Refinitiv’s regulator there, the Cyberspace Administration of China, or CAC, had said it would shut down the service unless it removed or blocked certain political stories.
“As a global business, we comply with all our local regulatory obligations, including the requirements of our license to operate in China,” Refinitiv said in a written statement to Reuters.
And that is all anyone needs to know about just how nervous China is over the ever growing protest movement in Hong Kong, and how terrified it is that it can eventually spread to the mainland.