China on high alert as US Presidential elections draw near

Published: November 2,2020 09:25 AM

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November 2, 2020: Beijing is currently on high alert as the US presidential election enters its final stages.

November 2, 2020: Beijing is currently on high alert as the US presidential election enters its final stages, with several Chinese Communist Party (CCP) insiders and observers warning that the turbulent relations between America and China have entered one of the most uncertain and dangerous times in decades.

The Chinese leadership is making it a priority to avoid confrontation and military conflict with Washington, and are expecting further increase in turbulence between the current situation and the winner's inauguration on January 20, reports Shi Jiangtao for South China Morning Post.

Jiangtao writes that the final result of the election may result in a protracted constitutional crisis, stoking chaos and violence and keeping the world on edge.

"Should there be a crisis over the US election outcome, it will be a high-risk period for bilateral relations, risking another turn for the worse towards conflict, especially under Trump's watch," said a Chinese government advisor.

While Beijing has noticeably refrained from commenting on the candidates of the upcoming elections, the issue of China has been a high talking point of the second presidential debate, where Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had described Chinese leader Xi Jinping as one of the "thugs" Trump had cosied up to, along with Russia's Vladimir Putin and North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

According to Jiangtao, not many experts believe Biden is personally antagonistic towards China, yet his remarks illustrated a shift in the Democratic establishment towards a bipartisan consensus that Beijing poses a long-term threat to the US.

The next two to three months would probably be the most dangerous period in the history of China-US relations, especially if there was a narrow victory for Biden, according to Deng Yuwen, a US-based observer.

"Trump looks set to fault China if he loses the election because, for Trump, his re-election may have looked like a sure win if there were no coronavirus pandemic," he said.

"From a long-term perspective, China might benefit from another Trump presidency. But in the short-term, it would probably prefer not to deal with a belligerent and unpredictable America," SCMP quoted Gennady Rudkevich, an assistant professor of political science at Georgia College in the US.

The two countries have sparred over a range of issues in recent times -- China's move to impose national security law in Hong Kong, its human rights violation in Xinjiang and territorial aggression in the South China Sea -- have all drawn fierce criticism from Washington.