As rivalry with Washington heats up, Beijing commemorates ‘victory’ in ‘war to resist US aggression’

Analysis by James Griffiths, CNN

Updated 0559 GMT (1359 HKT) October 22, 2020

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Get daily analysis on the historic 2020 US election delivered to your inbox.Sign Me UpNo ThanksBy subscribing you agree to ourprivacy policy.In a lengthy front-page commentary in the People’s Liberation Army Daily, the official newspaper of China’s military, the author hailed the “glorious victory” which “left the Americans with the deepest impression that what Chinese people say counts,” and to respect “China’s red lines.”

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Chinese city offers some people experimental Covid-19 vaccine 03:19One of those alleged red lines potentially came close to being crossed this week, as the US State Department on Wednesday approved the proposed sale of $1.8 billion in advanced weapons systems sales to Taiwan, over the vociferous objections of Beijing, which has warned Washington that such a sale could “gravely” damage US-China relations and cross-straits stability.Taiwan has emerged as a major potential flashpoint between the US and China in recent years, as Washington has become more forceful in its approach toward Beijing and China adopted a threatening posture towards the self-ruled island, which it has vowed to seize militarily if necessary.In an op-ed Wednesday, US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said that Xi’s “ambitions for control are not limited to the people of China,” words that he echoed in an address to the Atlantic Future Forum, an event organized by the British military, in which he accused Beijing of “seeking dominance in all domains and sectors,” according to a Reuters report of the event.Washington has been trying to rally its allies, both in Asia and elsewhere, to take a more forceful approach to China, even as the pandemic and the forthcoming US presidential election has largely distracted attention at home. This week it was announced that Australia will join the US, Japan and India in naval exercises in the Indian Ocean next month, another step in the militarization of the so-called Quad alliance between the four nations.That comes, however, amid renewed questions about the US’ perceived dominance in the Pacific. A new report by the Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank with links to the government, found that Washington’s military and diplomatic influence in the region has suffered as a result of the pandemic, while China’s was on the rise.”Despite its continuing pre-eminence, US standing has waned,” Lowy noted in its recent Pacific Power Index. “Washington, far from being the undisputed unipolar power, can more correctly be described as the first among equals in a bipolar Indo-Pacific.”Meanwhile, the report said, “Beijing has enhanced its military capability by investing in weaponry that could threaten US and allied bases in the region.”

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