The fear mongering rhetoric about China made by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during his recent European tour is a futile attempt to drive a wedge between China and Europe.
In a trip that took him to Poland, Ireland, Iceland and Britain, Pence went to great lengths to smear China on almost each and every occasion, touching upon issues concerning China’s telecommunication giant Huawei, trade as well as the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).
But unfortunately, Pence’s allegations are too absurd to withstand any serious fact check.
On Huawei, the U.S. government has launched fierce offensive against the private company by fabricating claims of the company posing a security risk. However, Washington has so far failed to offer any credible evidence to prove its accusations.
As Huawei is deeply embedded in the global supply chain, the Chinese company has been widely regarded as a time-proven, reliable and safe business partner. It won’t be easy for Washington to persuade even its own allies to ban Huawei over groundless charges.
On trade, Washington itself is a threat to the international trade system. Since it took office more than two years ago, the current U.S. administration has taken on many of its major trading partners around the world, claiming that they have been taking advantage of the United States in global free trade.
Moreover, Washington’s trade hawks have launched a tariff war on a global scale, including levying punitive duties on aluminum and steel imports from the European Union.
As these trade disputes linger, the world economy is suffering as well. Some key European powers have collectively called on Washington to back off, including its trade policy against Beijing.
Therefore, Pence’s boast of “a strong stand on free and fair and reciprocal trade” is untenable and will definitely fall on deaf ears.
As for the BRI, more than 150 countries and international organisations so far have signed BRI deals with China, including some European countries like Greece, Hungary and Italy.
Pence’s China smearing campaign will not work. Instead, Washington should reflect on its own policies and deeds, including turning a blind eye to climate change and walking away from the Iranian nuclear deal, moves that have alienated its partners worldwide.