Top China Expert Has Doubts Over Trade Deal As Tensions Are "Getting Worse"

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) is reporting that Jia Qingguo, a top foreign policy expert in China and professor of international studies at Peking University, said the "phase one" trade deal with the U.S. and China wouldn't lead to "phase two" trade deal because "excessive" demands by Washington have left Chinese officials feeling "useless" to engage. 

"Despite the recent announcement that we are going to have the first phase agreement, [the] relationship between China and the U.S. is still in deep trouble and is heading south rather than north. It is getting worse," the SCMP cited Jia at the Regional Outlook Forum 2020 hosted by the ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore on Thursday.

Jia, who was a panelist at the forum, said Sino-American relations are in pretty "bad shape." 

He said the trade war has morphed into a tech, stating that the U.S. has blacklisted some Chinese firms from purchasing semiconductor components from U.S. companies. This has forced firms, especially Huawei, to develop domestic microchips as an alternative. 

"[This] makes it impossible for the two countries to interact and benefit from interaction … It is bound to affect the trade relationship between the two countries," he said.

As for the hard agriculture commitments in phase one trade deal, he said it was "very unreasonable" for China to purchase that much from the U.S. 

Jia said a "whole deal" might not be likely, considering the Trump administration wants "to topple the Chinese government and contain China simultaneously." 

He explained that the U.S. feels threatened by China's ascension to become a global superpower, and a great power competition was underway.  

"The U.S. has come to the South China Sea and tells us how to handle territorial disputes their way," said Jia. "But China has not been telling the Americans to do all these things."

He said the U.S. military is increasing tensions between both countries by conducting Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea near China's militarized islands. 

Jia said a cold war could break out between both countries -- for that to happen, there would need to be continued military confrontation, economic decoupling, and ideological rivalry.

"[U.S. President Donald] Trump has not been able to decouple [our economies] as much as he may have wished. But the chance for China and the U.S. to get into a cold war is increasing," he warned.

With increasing doubts of a full trade deal between the U.S. and China, this comes at a time when President Trump has switched from pumping a phase one agreement to a phase two deal -- all of this is optically pleasing in an election year.