Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the administration’s most vocal China critic, on Tuesday took the country to task for a failure to be open and transparent when the coronavirus hit, saying, “It took us too long to get the medical experts into country. We wish that could have happened more quickly.”
The China hawks say privately that they see the virus weakening the party’s legitimacy and further separating the two countries.
“You are starting to walk back a couple of decades of diplomatic relations,” said Carl Minzner, a professor of Chinese law and politics at Fordham University. The growing friction, he said, “has its own immutable logic that is dragging both countries backward.”