With flight cancellations, tensions between the US and China are now up in the air

With flight cancellations, tensions between the US and China are now up in the air
A passenger wearing a mask, amid the health threat of novel coronavirus, arrives on a direct flight from China at Chicago’s O’Hare airport in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File Photo

The backstory:

  • Under the Biden administration, though, relations have stabilized. In fact, President Xi and President Biden have hopped on several calls with one another.
  • Biden has made his stance on China pretty clear – when it comes to specific issues, like economic ones, the US will compete. But, the US will cooperate on issues like climate change, and when it comes to issues like human rights concerns, they’ll confront.

The development:

  • In recent months, because of China’s zero-COVID-19 policy, China has suspended flights from the US. The US has chosen to live with the virus and, up to recently, was seeing 700,000 cases per day.
  • China also imposed requirements for cleaning planes and mandatory quarantine regulations for aircrew, which also annoyed the US.
  • And so, after several months of China’s flight suspension, the US has hit back. On Friday, the US issued restrictions on various airlines like Air China Ltd. and China Southern Airlines Co Ltd., leading to over 40 flight suspensions between those carriers.
  • In response, China accused the US of “bullying.” At a press briefing on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the US “wantonly suspended Chinese flights and disrupted their normal operations.” Zhao added that it was “irresponsible and unreasonable.”
  • He said that the US should “respect science” and stop “restricting normal people-to-people exchanges.”

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