U.S. is no longer hiding its priority of containing China
Lionel Vairon

Editor's note: U.S. policy towards China has taken a drastic turn under the Trump administration. By now, the bilateral relationship has deteriorated to a point where many believes is the beginning of a "new Cold War". Lionel Vairon, a former French diplomat, sinologist, and president of CEC Consulting Company in Luxembourg, shares his views on the current China-U.S. relationship. The views expressed in the video are his own, and not necessarily those of CGTN. 

Lionel Vairon: For the last two years, we've seen the United States taking every opportunity to put pressure on China, on any subject. And especially since January, since the last six months, you've seen that for the listed companies, you've seen that for students, you've seen that for technology exchanges, you've seen that in telecoms, you've seen that on Tibet and so on. We see Hong Kong today. And this is just one more way to pressure China.

This is the containment policy. In the containment policy, the U.S. would use any opportunity to put pressure on the country. And in this case, it's China.

In 2009, China's relations with Western countries had been improving for a few years. But that doesn't change this strong ideology campaign which is waged for many years in the newspapers and with the media against China. The problem today is that China, in 2019 or 2020, is not the China what it was in 2009. Now the main optic, the main objective is to constraint the rise of China because the United States, before Europe, has understood that China's development process' was very much advanced, and that they had to find ways to stop it.

So they put the maximum pressure on China. And Obama started it in 2012 when he claimed this new policy, the Pivot to Asia policy. This was the first act of Cold War, because this is clearly about containment. 

But then came Donald Trump. The advantage is that he doesn't hide anything of what the U.S. thinks. Before, a lot of things were hidden, but Trump is not able to hide anything. If we look at what's going on since the last few months in the U.S., with the Congress and the Senate, it is obvious that now ideology and geopolitics are considered more important.

The acts on Tibet, on Hong Kong and on Xinjiang, can be damaging for American companies and American interest, including financial interest in Hong Kong But both Democrats and Republicans today believe that the top priority is to stop China's rise. It's not to protect American companies, as Trump would say, it's just to stop China's rise by any means.

And we see in Washington, there's a consensus between both parties on these main objectives for years to come. So, this is not something which is going to improve in the next few years. We don't care about the election. Is it Donald Trump or would it be Joe Biden? Actually, it would be the same. Only the appearance will be different.

Interviewer: Huang Jiyuan

Graphic design: Li Jingjie 

Video editing: Liu Shasha

Managing editor: Huang Jiyuan

Senior producer: Wei Wei

Managing director: Mei Yan

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at opinions@cgtn.com)