Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic，the tension between China and the US has been heightening. With the early trade war, disputes over the South China Sea, and issues on human rights and Hong Kong sovereignty and the following closure of consulates, now the confrontation has stretched into more fields such as economy and diplomacy. Observers assume that these two are probably moving towards absolute opposition, forming the structure of the “new cold war”.
Since Trump assumed office, the US has withdrawn from ten organizations and treaties, including the United Nations Human Rights Council, the World Health Organization, the Paris Agreement, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. On the contrary, China has always been pushing ahead with the Belt and Road Initiatives, which not only promotes its influence internationally but suspends 77 countries’ treasury bonds. For good measure, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the fights against coronavirus of both are constantly made comparisons in the international community, making the US feel its status being threatened.
To guard its global position and interests, the Trump administration attempts to invite the European countries to duel with China. On June 20, the US Secretary of State Pompeo delivered a speech with the keynote of “China and the Challenge to Free Societies” in the online Copenhagen Democracy Summit, publicly calling for Europe’s choosing between “freedom and tyranny”. Analysts believe that by this, European countries are forced to make a choice between China and the US. Considering the deterioration of COVID-19 and the decline of global economy, such insolent demand would exert an impact on global economy, trade and stability, and increase uncertainty to Europe.
Still, some analysts entertain that the deepening America strategic dilemma has implications for Trump’s re-election. So Trump damages the relation between China and the US deliberately, aiming at infuriating China and instigating conflicts to reverse his inferior position in the election. Therefore, in case of becoming a supporter of the new cold war structure, European countries are supposed to figure out the political imbroglio behind and might as well make neutral gestures.