US-China Ongoing Spat: A Glance at Recent Developments

  • Sep 15, 2020 AEST
  • Team Kalkine
US-China Ongoing Spat: A Glance at Recent Developments


  • The tension between the two largest economies in the world, which started as a trade war, has shifted gears and moved on to the next level.
  • The bitterness between both the countries has only increased, starting from the US restricting Chinese apps to the restriction on visas to foreign journalists by China.
  • When the US announced the banning of TikTok app, TikTok’s parent, ByteDance, sued the US government in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California.
  • The US also restricted the travelling of the Chinese diplomats in the country. Against this, China retaliated and restricted US Diplomats and US Media.

By now, most people are familiar with the trade war between the US and China. The trade war started way back in 2018, where the two were seen imposing heavy taxes on import of the goods of one another. The US President blamed China for exercising unfair trade practices and Intellectual Property. The trade war continued until the COVID-19 pandemic occurred.

The relationship between the two countries was challenging, and the outbreak of coronavirus only added fuel to the existing fire. The US alleged China for the source of this virus and transmitting to different corners of the world. The virus in the present times has created human disaster. It has not only impacted human health but also resulted in the slowdown of the global economy.

RELATED: President Trump goes vocal on the US-China decoupling

The global pandemic thwarted any chances of reconciliation between the two nations. Dramatic growth has been seen in the bitterness between the two nations, which continues to worsen day by day. The Trump administration has made efforts to blame China for all the facets of COVID-19.

The rivalry between the two nations is now not only restricted to trade war and COVID-19, but it has now broadened to new areas as well. It now entails the banning of the Chinese app as well as restricting the Diplomats in both the countries.

ALSO READ: Why has China Imposed Sanctions on 11 US Lawmakers and NGO Leaders?

With this backdrop, let us look at the rising tensions between the two nations.

Trump Announced to Ban Tik Tok App in the US:

During the first half of August 2020, Donald Trump passed an order to ban Chinese apps like TikTok and WeChat, stating that the two apps are a threat to national security. The concern related to TikTok was that it collects personal data of people and is passed on to the Chinese government. The order to ban these two Chinese apps was passed on 6 August 2020 and was declared to become effective after 45 days of the announcement. The US government granted the 45 days as Microsoft was in the phase to acquire the app. However, on 14 September 2020, ByteDance denied the bid offered by Microsoft and chose another bidder, Oracle for its TikTok US operation.

Against this step taken by the US government, TikTok’s parent, ByteDance, sued the US government over the ban of the TikTok app. The lawsuit was filed in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California. The challenges between TikTok and the US official continued to escalate. Meanwhile, the TikTok app was in the process of discussion with the potential bidders in the US. The two leading bidders were Microsoft and Oracle. At the same time, ByteDance was negotiating with other possible suitors for the app. Many dropped out of the discussion related to the bidding.


Restriction imposed by the US on the travel of Chinese Diplomats:

In the first week of September 2020, further tension between the two geographies was seen when the US restricted the travel of Chinese diplomats to the US. Restrictions were imposed on the holding meetings with the academics or even host a cultural event.

The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, stated that US-based Chinese diplomats would be required to take permission for visiting any American Universities or in case they want to meet any local government official. Earlier these US-based Chinese diplomats only had to inform the State Department in case they have any such plans.

A Tit-for-Tat reaction by China on US Diplomats and US Media:

Restrictions on US Diplomats:

On 11 September 2020, China announced a new set of rules for the US diplomats’ activities in mainland China and Hong Kong. A foreign ministry spokesperson stated that the constraints would apply to Senior diplomats as well as other personnel in the US Embassy in Beijing and other consulates across China.

At the same time, the Chinese spokesperson stated that China supported regular exchanges and collaboration between all the industries of both geographies. The spokesperson also said that these restrictions would be lifted in case the US revokes the measures it imposed during October 2019.

Further, the spokesperson urged the US to rectify their mistakes and lift the unreasonable sanctions which it imposed on the Chinese Embassy and consulates as well as their staff.

Restrictions on US Media:

Another retaliation from the Chinese government was the restriction imposed by China on US media. The Chinese authorities have imposed restrictions on the foreign officials working in the US-based news companies in China.

A week before the routine renewal of press credential, various journalists were given a letter which stated that the applications were being processed instead of a new press card. Generally, in normal circumstances, press credentials are valid for one year. These journalists are now required to carry a letter along with the press card as their identity.

Now, as their Chinese Visas are linked to their press cards, the journalists were assigned new ones with just two-month validity. Also, the Chinese officials have made it very clear that the visa can be revoked anytime. The Chinese officials are targeting reporters who work for the US media, irrespective of their nationality.


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