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Author: kltrader   |   Latest post: Tue, 10 Dec 2019, 10:08 AM


Pence Says the US Does Not Want to “decouple” From China

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In a speech in Washington on Thursday, US Vice President Mike Pence commented on a wide array of matters involving China, including the protests in Hong Kong and the spat over NBA Houston Rockets’ Daryl Morey’s express of support. Nonetheless, Pence ended the speech on a positive note as he denies that the US is seeking to “decouple” from China.

Pence’s Speech on Thursday

US Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the Wilson Center’s inaugural Frederic V. Malek Public Service Leadership lecture in Washington, DC, on Thursday, 24 October.

In his wide-ranging speech, he criticized Beijing, including saying that the US government “stands with” pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong (South China Morning Post (SCMP), 25 Oct).

Pence did not stop there, as he also weighed in on an international spat over US National Basketball Association (NBA) team Houston Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey expressing support for Hong Kong protesters. According to an article on BBC (25 Oct), Morey’s comment sparked fierce reactions in China, with NBA products taken off shelves and games boycotted by Chinese state TV. Pence condemned NBA players and executives who have sided with the Chinese government’s criticism of Morey, calling them out for “acting like a wholly owned subsidiary of authoritarian regime”, and also condemned Nike for pulling Houston Rockets merchandise from Chinese stores (SCMP, 25 Oct).

But US does not want to “decouple” from China

The speech came after the US Congress voted on laws to support Hong Kong protesters, where Beijing had indicated “strong countermeasures” if the US allows the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act bill to become law, and amid rising pressure from US lawmakers seeking action from the Trump administration on a number of China-related fronts in addition to the Hong Kong protests, including religions freedom in Tibet and the internment of Muslims in China’s northwest region (SCMP, 25 Oct).

Nonetheless, Pence said in his speech that the US does not want to “decouple” from China, despite “the many challenges we face in the US-China relationship” (CNBC, 24 Oct). Pence further stated that the US does not seek confrontation with China and are not seeking to contain China’s development.

Joseph Fewsmith, professor of international relations and political science at Boston University, commented that it was a “strange speech”, though it “did end on a positive note of saying the US was not seeking confrontation and would hold out a hand to China.” (SCMP, 25 Oct)

Source: Macquarie Research - 25 Oct 2019

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