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Hong Kong is a ‘pawn’ in Escalating U.S.-China Rivalry, says, Former Diplomat

Economic News: Hong Kong is a ‘pawn’ in the escalating US-China rivalry, said Kishore Muhbubani. Kishore is a prominent academic and former diplomat in Singapore.

Kishore spoke to CNBC on Thursday before China’s parliament approved a proposal to impose a new national security law in Hong Kong.

The two superpowers have recently clashed over China’s plans for a new national security law in Hong Kong. The US criticized China’s move for undermining Hong Kong’s freedom and autonomy. China also accused the US of interfering in its internal affairs.

Honk Kong is a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997. It’s now a semi-autonomous Chinese territory with limited self-governing power.

Hong Kong is under the “one country, two systems” policy. It has a separate legal and economic framework which includes limited election rights.

The US-China rivalry spars on several fronts. From trade war to tensions over technology, and the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. The Hong Kong dispute is just the latest feud in the escalating war of words between the two superpowers.

The two developments have also sparked concerns on whether the two countries could end up in a military conflict.

According to Kishore, other countries have to be careful because there could be proxy wars. Superpowers use other nations as pawns.

That’s why Hong Kong has become a pawn in the geopolitical chessboard between the US and China.

China approves a national security bill.

The geopolitical contest continues after China approved the national security bills for Hong Kong. China passed the bill despite the US’s overnight declaration that the city was no longer autonomous from China.

The move has given way for the US to put aside its special treatment of Hong Kong and could lead to the US sanctions on Chinese officials.

It’s not the first time the two countries have fought over Hong Kong. Hong Kong was the former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Last year, a series of widespread pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong led the US to enact two new laws to stop China’s influence and interference in Hong Kong.

Clashes over Hong Kong were part of a broader geopolitical rivalry between the US and China. Hong Kong is a significant business and financial centre.

The US-China conflict has, in the last two years, led the two countries to attack each other with significant tariffs. It became the biggest threat to global economic growth before the pandemic.

Recently tensions between them rose, as they disagreed on the origins of the coronavirus, which has affected close to 5.7 million people and killed over 355,000 others globally.

Structural issues drive the US-China rivalry

According to Kishore, the geopolitical contest will continue. He also added that deep structural issues drove the US-China rivalry.

Kishore explained that structural issues include the fact that China is the first non-western power to emerge on the global stage. Another problem is that the Asian economic giant is not a democratic country.

Kishore added that the US, as a democracy, found it challenging to accept that a non-democracy such as China could succeed.

Kishore spent 33 years in Singapore as a diplomat before joining academia in 2004. He held several appointments, such as Singapore’s ambassador to the UN and president of the US Security Council.

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