Bremmer Warns of ‘Enormous’ U.S.-China Confrontations After Vote

Relations between the world’s two largest economies will deteriorate further no matter who wins the U.S. presidential election, according to Ian Bremmer, who heads the risk consultant Eurasia Group.

The New York-based political scientist said U.S. criticism of Beijing’s detention of Uighurs as well as disagreements over Hong Kong, Taiwan, the South China Sea, intellectual property, trade and technology will escalate under the administrations of Joe Biden or President Donald Trump.

Bremmer Warns of ‘Enormous’ U.S.-China Confrontations After Vote

“There will be an enormous amount of confrontation and no trust between the U.S. and China, even if Biden becomes president,” Bremmer said in a phone interview.

Tensions between the two nations have escalated in recent weeks ahead of the vote. On Monday, the State Department signaled its approval for a potential $2.4 billion sale of anti-ship missiles to Taiwan. China said earlier that it would impose sanctions on Boeing’s defense unit, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Technologies Corp. in response to an increase in U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

The gloomy outlook has Chinese officials divided on their preferred election outcome, according to the Eurasia Group president. President Xi Jinping’s economic advisers generally favor Biden, whereas some members of the national security establishment like Trump because they think his administration is damaging American credibility abroad.

If Biden wins, Bremmer expects an increase in high-level engagement with China. Under Trump, trade talks between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He have dominated the conversation.

“I don’t see a Cold War between the two countries, but I think we’ll see antagonism in a lot of key areas,” Bremmer said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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