Can the US-China relationship ever go back to the pre-Donald Trump days?

Can the US-China relationship ever go back to the pre-Donald Trump days?

  • Observers are pessimistic about where bilateral ties are headed after this week’s escalation of tensions
  • Beijing and Washington have entered their most unpredictable period since the 1970s

With the deepening rift between the world’s two biggest economies now affecting nearly every aspect of bilateral relations, this week’s consulate crisis could spell the end for their engagement policy.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said as much on Thursday, saying nearly 50 years of economic and political engagement had failed to “produce a future with bright promise of comity and cooperation”.Instead, US-China relations entered their most unpredictable period since the 1970s, after Washington on Wednesday ordered the closure of China’s consulate in Houston within 72 hours. It said the move was made to “protect Americans’ intellectual property and private information”. Beijing retaliated, saying on Friday that it had told the US to close its consulate in Chengdu.

Observers say the downward spiral is likely to continue, and they are generally pessimistic about where bilateral ties are headed after the latest escalation of tensions.