At home in the UK recently, in my mother’s house, we assiduously separated her household trash into recyclable and non-recyclable, washed out the cans and took the caps off the plastic bottles, congratulating ourselves that we were doing our bit for the environment, as we tipped the trash into the special blue recycling bins the local council provides to each household. I even took some old cellphones and spectacles back from China, because I knew I could take them to charity shops, who could recycle them for money.

But it turns out all is not well in the rotting kingdom (not a metaphor for Brexit). It seems that much of the solid waste put out for recycling is not being recycled. Either because waste companies are not doing their jobs properly, or they are overwhelmed by the amount of trash, or because consumers are not sorting out garbage properly. Non-recyclables, tossed carelessly in with the recyclables makes the whole lot useless. And this poorly sorted garbage has apparently been finding its way to Asia.

Now countries are starting to kick out their foreign trash mountains. The Philippines has been in dispute with Canada for five years over 69 containers of what they say is 1,500 tons of contaminated trash – useless for recycling. The issue caused a diplomatic spat, which has now culminated in Ottawa agreeing to take back the household waste – originally said to be plastics for recycling. Authorities in Malaysia said they would no longer accept imports of waste, after tons of trash was found to be illegally flooding the country. Malaysian Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin told media that Malaysia is not the “dumping ground of the world.”

Even in China, where imports of plastic waste from overseas have dropped to almost zero, other forms of illegal waste have been imported. On May 22, customs authorities at Dalian port, Liaoning Province, sent back over 688 tons of smuggled aluminum waste, believed to have come from Australia, CGTN reported.

For years, European nations, the US and Australia, have been deflecting their waste problems onto others. China’s decision to stop accepting certain categories of solid waste, particularly plastics, is laudable. According to the National Geographic, since 1992, China has taken in 45 percent of the world’s trash. In 2016, Japan was the biggest supplier of plastic waste imports, followed by the US. However, much of the trash China took in also came from countries in the region – followed by Germany, Belgium and surprisingly, the Philippines itself. Other middle-income countries, such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia, exported more waste in 2016 to China than did the UK or Spain.

Earlier, China’s developing industries could use the raw materials, which became an easy option for both companies and cities in the West to ship their waste away. The downside was that recycling technology remained undeveloped. But this changed in 2018 when China decided to receive no more trash. Global supply chains scrambled to find an alternative and Southeast Asian countries took up the slack.

Greenpeace, in a report focusing on Malaysia titled “The Recycling Myth” found unregulated dumping sites of imported “recycling” from all over the planet. There were Starbucks cups and cosmetics packaging. The waste came from the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland. Greenpeace investigators found plastic waste from 19 countries, the US being on top, followed by Japan. Much of this was burned in illegal factories.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s thumping victory on May 23 reflects the power of nationalism in an ascendant nation. Such a sentiment led voters to re-elect Modi and vest their future in him.

Modi’s victory has come about more because of his image as a strong politician.

India badly needs a strongman politician. The country is anxious for rapid development. Indians are keen on realizing in short time the great dream – build India into a developed economy – they have had since independence from British suzerainty in 1947.

The Indian population is largely young. The number of Indians under the age of 35 accounts for more than 60 percent of the population. The majority of over 80 million new voters in the general election are young people who have just gained the right to vote.

These young people, who know more about modernization than their predecessors, are full of passion for modernizing India. The young people don’t want to stagnate, but help bring about transformation, which is the repository of hope for India. They have deeply nurtured by nationalism, especially Hindu nationalism.

India does need a strong leader to break through some of the drawbacks that have percolated into the national fabric over the years, regardless of the interference of some interest groups, so that it can advance reforms that have been impossible to implement for years.

Meanwhile, as a strong prime minister, the 68-year old Modi will encounter another challenge in his next term over five years – how to improve India’s relations with Pakistan.

The two problems are related to China. Economic opening-up and policy integration among all states will benefit economic and trade cooperation with China, especially when some Chinese enterprises are seeking opportunities to go global. Complex ties with Pakistan have always affected India’s view on China, impeding cooperation in economy and trade. India has not participated in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.

To a large extent, Modi’s victory did not stem from the fact that he delivered the promises he made five years ago, especially the promise of development and providing more jobs, but because he was playing the security card during the election.

During the election, terrorist attacks occurred in Sri Lanka and New Zealand. More importantly, clashes in Kashmir between India and Pakistan made quite a few voters feel that only a strong and domineering leader like Modi can bring Indian people the sense of security.

Some foreign observers contend that Modi winning his second five-year term in office may become a rare opportunity for improving India-Pakistan relations. On May 26, Modi received a congratulatory phone call from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, the first telephone conversation between the two leaders since the air strikes in February. This is a good start.

However, incidents of hate crime have been seen after the election. And Indian people’s hostility toward Pakistan can be sensed on the internet.

The strong leader that Modi is, he can of course rein in impulsive nationalism, further open up India’s economy and improve ties with Pakistan. But his strength is closely linked to nationalism, populism and the revival of Hinduism. That being said, Modi’s rule might turn out to be more nationalistic given the constraints of other powerful forces. It may hinder further opening-up and secularization, and deepen the sense of distrust and hostility between the people of India and Pakistan.

From trade and tech wars to maritime disputes in the South China Sea, a troublesome downward spiral casts doubt on the future of US-China relations. Where is the bottom? The US designates China as a “strategic competitor.” However, what does that mean? Are there no longer overlapping areas of shared interests for Sino-US cooperation, or is there a “new normal?”

In the US, there is a strong bipartisan consensus that the core assumptions and expectations that guided China policy in the past are no longer valid. The notion of China as a partner, a “responsible stakeholder” with whom the US broadly cooperates, and manages differences, is gone. Familiar Cold War habits of mind have taken over, with China replacing the USSR in the mindset of many US strategists.

There is a one-dimensional view that China’s economic and geopolitical behavior is harming US core interests and also seeks to undermine US interests in Asia and beyond. Some advocate economic divorce. President Donald Trump sees his “tough on China” trade war as an asset for his 2020 re-election campaign.

This may be acceptable in US politics, but as a policy it is incomplete. The current trajectory is not sustainable. US-China ties are in a protracted transition period and it may take a major crisis or near-death military confrontation before a new stasis is reached.

Why? China is the second largest economy, top trading power and capital exporter, a major military power and a nuclear weapons state. That is a reality, whether the US likes it or not.

Even if China were playing by all the rules the US preferred, there would still be discomfort, a problem coming to terms with China’s re-emergence after seven decades of US primacy in the Asia-Pacific. This is part of a broader difficulty the US has had in adjusting to a transition to a new “polycentricism,” with the center of economic and strategic gravity moving from West and North to East and South.

To the US, China’s assertiveness since the 2008 US financial crisis, whether its growing maritime capabilities and actions or the Belt and Road Initiative, is seen as a zero-sum game. However, are we on a “Thucydides trap” path toward war? Not necessarily.

Even at the height of the Cold War, there was a strategic framework for stability in US-USSR relations. It took several crises, and near nuclear war in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis before Washington and Moscow relations stabilized. Sooner or later, the US and China will need to reach a modus vivendi.

Unlike the USSR, China’s economy is not autarchic, but one deeply integrated into the world economy and a driver of global economic growth. US-China trade reached almost $660 billion in 2018.

Economic divorce is not an option in a complex economy of global supply chains. However, the US-China economic relationship will be diminished, as techno-nationalism in both countries curbs Chinese FDI in the US and vice versa. Nonetheless, relations between the world’s two largest economies will shape the global economic system.

The question is, what will be the new baseline of Sino-US relations. Economics has been a key pillar of US-China relations. The outcome of current trade talks is key to putting a floor under bilateral relations. If Beijing implements the reforms agreed to at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the majority of issues which the US seeks change — albeit in an unnecessarily belligerent, and confrontational way — would be addressed and likely result in a mutually beneficial trade deal.

A US-China trade deal could begin a reset of the relationship, and perhaps facilitate efforts for much-needed WTO reform, which the US, China, EU, and Japan support. US-China agreements on the governance of technology may also influence WTO rules pertaining to e-commerce and emerging AI technology.

A more stable economic relationship could change the tone of contentious geopolitical issues. There are vital areas of overlapping interests that could be a source of US-China cooperation: the future of the Korean Peninsula, a peace settlement in Afghanistan and the fragile Middle East. In addition, there are global issues like counter-terrorism and the environment, to global infrastructure where room for cooperation exists.

Finally, a framework for strategic stability would benefit both sides. Conduct standards covering AI, maritime, and space, for example, would make sense.

None of this will be quick or easy, but the process needs to begin. There is a compelling need for a new kind of sobriety, beyond the emotional angst on both sides. The alternative, however, is something neither the US or China would want to contemplate.

Huawei said FedEx diverted two parcels sent from Japan and destined for Huawei address in China to the US and attempted to reroute two others sent from Vietnam to Huawei offices elsewhere in Asia: all without Huawei authorization. The Chinese tech giant will review its cooperation with FedEx. FedEx claimed it was “an isolated issue limited to a very small number of packages.”

But a majority of people would link the incident to the US all-round suppression of Huawei: Is FedEx cooperating with some US government order? Of course there is another possible reason: FedEx’s service is so shockingly bad that four parcels sent by one company from two different countries have been misrouted within a couple of days. Such an error rate could be fatal for a package delivery company.

How would the US media react if the incident happened between a US high-tech company and a Chinese package delivery company? Not only the US media but also senators and even high-level officials would accuse the Chinese government of manipulating behind the curtain. Now the US media tolerates way too much of its country’s irrational and illogical moves and even argues for their rationality.

But in China, Huawei merely told media about the incident, stuck to the facts and reconsidered its relationship with FedEx. It didn’t directly accuse FedEx of helping its government with dirty tricks. Neither did the Chinese government give any response to the issue as of press time on Tuesday. Likewise, Chinese media didn’t carry out nationalist incitement when it analyzed the possibility that FedEx assisted the US government.

This is Chinese society’s rational reaction amid intensifying China-US disputes. By comparison, the US seems aggressive. US officials, senators and media all have a tendency toward double standards. Relying on its strength, it seems that the US does not care about morality and justice. People are increasingly worried that the US can do anything bad.

It’s time for US society to propel the Washington elite to seriously reflect on themselves. Is FedEx allowed to make such an error seemingly with government intervention? Should the supply cut-off to Huawei without any credible legal basis be encouraged? How many international rules has the US violated? How many treaties has the US ruined? Are all of these proper behaviors for a self-proclaimed world leader?

The US government has been acting recklessly. Where have those critical public opinion organs been? The Wall Street Journal published an article on Saturday headlined “Huawei’s yearslong rise is littered with accusations of theft and dubious ethics,” wantonly slandering the global 5G leader and citing one-sided examples without basic objectivity.

Washington accused Huawei of being subject to government control and proclaimed there were “hidden backdoors” in Huawei’s devices. But no evidence has yet been found. By contrast, problems with US equipment have been constantly detected, and now FedEx has diverted packages. Not to mention the PRISM project that shocked the world. So which country of the two is the true risk to world information security? Has the sensitivity of US public opinion been overwhelmed by anti-China sentiment stimulated by those Washington right-wing elites?

China is very restrained. We hope the US can see rationality and calm from our restraint, rather than weakness. There is always a price to pay for being evil. Is the US doing evil by cracking down on Huawei and launching its brutal tariff war against China? US public opinion should figure this out by itself.

Ford: AI is going to have a huge impact on our lives in the next five, 10, 20 years, and beyond. I think it is the biggest thing that will shake the future. The best scenario is that human beings will find a way to leverage AI on behalf of everyone, so that it won’t create significant inequalities and everyone can benefit from it. That’s why I have covered this in my writing and through TED Talks regarding basic incomes.

Maybe you will need to give everyone income and jobs to maintain social stability. This is also good for the economy because it helps drive consumer spending and avoids an economic downturn.

It is a way of moderating inequality, because otherwise the wealthy will only get richer and average people might lose their income entirely. They will be left behind. If we apply such a strategy and make sure everyone benefits from AI, then the future could be very optimistic. We can then imagine technology that makes everyone wealthy, rather than people worrying about survival. This is the vision I have for the future, but there’s still a lot we have to do to make that happen. We need more policies, and we must address the risks.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the major topics in the current world. Will AI replace humans and deplete employment opportunities? What should we do to stay competitive? Where is the so-called AI war between major powers heading? Global Times (GT) reporter Li Qingqing discussed these and more with Martin Ford (Ford) at the recent 16th Eurasian Media Forum in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Ford is a futurist and founder of a Silicon Valley-based software development company and author of several bestselling books on AI.

GT: In your TED Talks in 2017, you mentioned a 1964 Triple Revolution report and said the US is on the edge of an economic and social upheaval because industrial automation was going to put millions out of work. Will this come true in the foreseeable future?

Ford: At the minimum, AI is going to make things more unequal. Some jobs will definitely disappear entirely. Another thing that will happen is that at some point, people had to have a lot of training to do a job, but now technology comes along, and anyone can do the job. For example, taxi drivers. The taxi drivers in London were required to undergo extensive education. Now, GPS and Google maps come along, and anyone can do the job.

I think this will be very destructive in 10 or 15 years. For some groups of workers, there definitely could be unemployment. Similar fears have been raised many times in the past, and it has not happened yet. Even though it hasn’t happened for a long time, eventually, it could happen. Things do not stay the same forever.

Elon Musk said that in years, there will be millions of fully autonomous robotic Teslas on the road. That was a good example of hype. I don’t think that is going to happen in years. In the short run, we tend to overestimate the pace of change. But in the long run, we underestimate it.

GT: AI benefits human society, but it brings challenges and risks to our security and governance as well. As AI has had problems including opaque decision-making processes and algorithmic bias, is our future world becoming more uncertain and unreliable?

Ford: There are two sides of AI. On one side, it is going to be a huge benefit to all of us. It can be a tool that brings medical breakthroughs which make human beings healthier, or brings us scientific achievements that may help resolve climate change.

On the other side, there are things we need to worry about, such as AI systems that can be hacked and thus leak our privacy. Another thing I often talk about is increasing inequality. The potential for bias rises because the data that you train the algorithm on comes from people. For example, there is a company in the US that stopped using its AI system to screen resumes for new jobs, because the system was biased against women. It happens because the data that the algorithm was trained on is also biased. People are now working on to fix the problem, and it’s actually easier to fix biases in an algorithm than it is in human beings. We may not rely on algorithms totally, but hopefully in the future, an algorithm can act as a second opinion that checks us, and if we are too biased, the algorithm will find that.

Recently, an organization named OpenAI made a very powerful AI fake text generator. It can generate stories. If you give it one sentence, it will automatically generate a whole narrative. It is very coherent. Imagine that in the future, machines literally generate junk information that is meaningless, and this will make our whole system overwhelmed. These are all real risks, and these are the areas where we really need regulations.

GT: In April, the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on AI published its Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI. According to the guidelines, trustworthy AI should be lawful, ethical, and robust. Will the guidelines help regulate the AI industry, or will they kill AI’s development potential?

Ford: I’m not too concerned about the guidelines. Guidelines are important, but they can be very fuzzy. The question is that you need to have really heavy regulations instead of guidelines. Specific AI applications would definitely need regulations, such as self-driving cars or in the medical field. Since we’ve regulated cars and doctors, so of course, self-driving cars and medical-related AI need regulations.

What would be dangerous that might hold things back is the regulation on AI’s general basic research. I hope that AI regulations will not be too broad, but focused on specific areas. As long as we do it carefully, then I don’t think it would hold back development.

The annual Shangri-La Dialogue kicked off in Singapore Friday. Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will attend the event and make a speech, raising observers’ expectations on this year’s Dialogue.

This is the first time for China’s defense chief to attend the Dialogue in eight years, showing Beijing’s willingness to communicate with all sides over security issues. With China-US relations becoming tense, new uncertainties loom large in the region. How Beijing and Washington deal with their differences will affect the dynamics in East Asia and beyond.

The strong military presence of the US in Asia is reality. The problem is that the US has been hyping this presence in recent years and is using it to contain China’s rise. Such strategic orientation of the US has become the largest source of threats to regional peace and stability.

The most disputed area in East Asia is the South China Sea. With the progress in negotiations on the Code of Conduct, a military clash is less likely. China and other stakeholders have shown their willingness to manage maritime disputes, making friendly cooperation overwhelm territorial disputes.

On the other hand, the US is obsessed with instigation and provocation, as its East Asia policy needs a somewhat chaotic and disputable South China Sea. Washington is trying to make regional countries believe that confronting China and acting as the US’ geopolitical lever suits their interests better.

Another focal point in East Asia is the Taiwan Straits. The radical Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan coordinates with the US’ China strategy and keeps provoking the Chinese mainland, which intensifies the situation across the Taiwan Straits.

The US attaches importance to the Indo-Pacific strategy which could immensely satisfy Washington’s ambition to contain China. However, relevant countries have made complementary interpretations of this concept that fit their own interests.

After defining China as its strategic competitor, Washington wanted to set up an alliance or a united front from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean to counter China. But it suffered a major setback in the South China Sea, the core area of such a US strategy. China has engaged in more candid and effective conflict management efforts with stakeholder countries, which embarrassed the US which came to tout zero-sum confrontations.

It also proves that China has no expansion ambitions. Engaging in cooperation is the consistent diplomatic thinking to extend national interests and seek win-win results.

International relations are complicated. As a powerful force, the US making waves in Asia will only make it more difficult for regional countries to safeguard their interests. All Asian countries, including China, should understand each other and prevent confrontations incited by Washington. None should indulge in geopolitical games.

The US should realize that disputes among Asian countries are decreasing. If it wants to take extreme containment measures against China, it can only act alone. Asia realizes that the chaos the US has created in the region has far exceeded its balancing role, and that Washington’d better behave itself.

US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently spoke at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. On the same day, the US Department of Defense (DOD) released its Indo-Pacific Strategy Report (IPSR). A day later, China’s State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe addressed the meeting. These events naturally drew the attention and stirred international public opinion.

Some saw Shanahan’s speech as relatively restrained, not particularly scathing. Shanahan said the US was willing to work with China. He used the word “competition” rather than “conflict” or “confrontation” to define current Sino-US relations. This is thought to be Shanahan’s surprising display of “softness.” But there are other experts who think the underlining tone of Shanahan’s speech is tough.

Shanahan’s speech cannot be separated from the Indo-Pacific Strategy Report released by the US. The report accuses China of being a “predatory economy” and a “revisionist power,” explicitly targeting China with the Indo-Pacific Strategy. Clearly, this carefully considered and long-honed strategy report is more representative of the official US position.

But Shanahan’s tone and language were somewhat mild when he came face-to-face with the Chinese defense minister. The occasion may have reined in Shanahan’s impulses. After all, Asian countries are increasingly worried about the deterioration of Sino-US relations, and all nations know that Washington is primarily responsible for the plummeting ties.

Shanahan however has not softened on specific issues. He specifically mentioned Taiwan, claiming that the US will continue to implement the “Taiwan Relations Act” and “make defense articles and defense services available to Taiwan for its self-defense.” After the twists and turns of recent years, it has become more difficult for the US to sway the countries involved in the South China Sea row as they have become less pugnacious than in the past.

The Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities are acting recklessly on the US’ “Indo-Pacific Strategy.” From last year to this year, the frequency of American warships crossing the Taiwan Straits has increased, and the US has passed a series of Taiwan-related anti-China acts. Here in particular, we should warn the Taiwan authorities not to assume that now is their chance to achieve a strategic breakthrough by becoming the political and military pivot of the US’ “Indo-Pacific Strategy.” That would be very dangerous for Taiwan.

Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe made this point very clear in his speech. He said that “if anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs for national unity.” China is committed to peace and opposes provocation. China is fully capable of defending its own security and interests.

All sorts of voices came out from the summit. All parties concerned need to study them carefully and weigh the situation. To create the maximum space for peace and room for maneuver, no one should take the first step toward provocation. The people of the entire region are determined to oppose using military means to resolve disputes.

China’s Ministry of Commerce announced on Friday that the country will release its non-reliable entity list. Foreign entities, individuals and companies that block and shut the supply chain, or take discriminatory measures over non-commercial reasons, and when their actions endanger the business of Chinese companies will be included in the list.

The US recently put Huawei on its entity list and threatened to blacklist more Chinese high-tech companies. Meanwhile, some US companies have taken part in cutting supplies to and blocking Chinese companies. China’s non-reliable entity list comes out under this background.

The first signal of this move is that China will never yield to US pressure and China will take active countermeasures instead of reacting passively under US suppression.

The move also shows that China is improving laws and regulations in its contention with the US, and China can take precautions ahead of any US crackdown against Chinese enterprises.

The entity list is a long-term endeavor. Its deterrence will help protect Chinese companies. But China will stick to its commitments of opening up. The country will not discriminate against foreign companies and will not weaken China’s opening-up efforts. Rather, it will make rules clearer and draw a more certain line of relations between foreign companies and the Chinese market. This is another signal the entity list conveys.

China will not make unprincipled compromises in the wake of unreasonable demands of the US and will take countermeasures when necessary. But the trade war will not affect China’s attitude toward foreign companies. It will continue to open its market to US companies. This is China’s existing policy and also a consensus of Chinese society.

Resolve and calmness are two sides of the coin of determination in the eyes of the Chinese people. The US side has been saying that high tariffs have brought a destructive impact on China and foreign companies are leaving China. China’s response is to calmly signal that it may restrict rare-earth exports to the US and announce the establishment of the non-reliable entity list. The prosperity of China can’t be impeded by US imposing higher tariffs. Washington’s arrogance is merely the bubble in the air.

China is ready for a long-term trade battle with the US. Compared to last year when the US started the trade war, the Chinese public is more supportive of the government taking tough countermeasures. More and more Chinese people now believe that the real purpose of some Washington elites is to ruin China’s development capabilities, and these people have hijacked the US’ China policy.

Peace-loving Chinese people do not want to see a worsening relationship with the US, nor will they want to be involved in a long trade battle with the US. But they also know that fair negotiations can only be achieved with a resolute fight. To safeguard China’s right to develop and strive for a fair and just international environment for China’s development, Chinese society will fight to the end of the trade war.

An official of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Tuesday that China will not tolerate foreign high-tech products made from rare earths produced in China being used to contain and suppress China’s development. “If anyone wants to use the products made from rare earths exported by China to contain and suppress the development of China, I think the people of the old revolutionary base area in the south of Jiangxi Province and the people of China will not be happy,” said the official. He made those remarks when asked by reporters if China will use rare earths as a countermeasure against American moves to contain China. Obviously, the response is a strong signal from China to the US.

As the biggest producer of the world’s most rare earths, more than 80 percent of the world’s annual output, China is the uppermost source of rare earth for Western countries, including the US. About 80 percent of the US rare earth supply is from China. Containing 17 rare metals, rare earths have widespread civil and military uses, such as in cell phones, electric vehicle motors, military jet engines, satellites and laser equipment. That is why rare earths are also known as “industrial catalysts.”

Since the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to the “entity list,” conjecture quickly spread that China may limit or even stop exporting rare earths to the US. It is believed that if the US increasingly suppresses the development of China, sooner or later, China will use rare earths as a weapon.

China is fully aware of the fact that the global supply chain is exercising its influence over industries of almost every country in the world. If China decides to ban rare earths export to the US, it would produce complex effects, including incurring certain losses on China itself. However, China also clearly knows that the US would suffer greater losses in that situation. Recently, some US media suggested that China’s export ban on rare earths would not serve its interests in trade tensions and could even “hurt the country’s economy.” Those remarks show that the US is deeply worried about China using export bans on rare earth as one of its tactics, which puts pressure on the US.

Despite the existence of rare earth mines in the US, it will take years to complete mining and build up a relatively sound industrial chain. It is also generally believed that the US rare earths inventory can meet its domestic demand only for months. Meantime, compared with other producers like Australia and other US allies, China has great advantages in output and variety. Once China’s rare earth supply stops, it will certainly pose a great challenge for the US to face.

Some US media outlets speculated that the US might sub purchase Chinese rare earths from allies, or that China’s restriction on rare earths will destroy its reputation as a stable supplier. Such speculation is not logical as the reality is that China-US trade tensions are escalating and China is stepping up its preparations for the challenge. As a powerful country with vast market potential, China has leverage that could impact the global industrial distribution structure.

China does not want to escalate the trade war. However, the US keeps provoking disputes on trade issues. Recently, Washington wielded administrative powers and ordered US companies to suspend business with some Chinese companies, including Huawei, without giving any good reason. In this case, if China does not retaliate against irrational actions by the US, then it is not in line with the basic logic of international relations, nor does it meet expectations of the general public.

Undoubtedly, the US is too powerful to be defeated by one single move. Same with China. It is believed that a prolonged trade war will have an adverse impact on both countries, especially any escalations and non-supply of critical resources. Without being urgently pressed by the US again and again, China has exercised restraint as a preferred choice in coping with trade frictions.

If the trade war continues to escalate, it will definitely trigger a growing chain reaction to global production and consumption. Undoubtedly, the US should be held liable for such a situation because it initiated the trade war, abused international rules, and has put its “America First” policy above international rules and moralities.

An export ban on rare earths is a powerful weapon if used in the China-US trade war. Nevertheless, China will mainly use it for defense. It is not the first choice of China’s offensive weaponries. This indicates that China will resolutely defend its core interests and will never bow to pressures exerted by the US. It is sincerely hoped that the US will remain restrained on trade issues and stop upping its stakes ignorantly. Otherwise, the US will see that China has a lot more countermeasures to put to use, and China has the resolution and will to fight to the end.