By Sarah Safa* —
The American administration, a leading force of a chaotic scene on the international arena:
For almost a decade, the world is falling into a horrific situation introduced by the wake of the so called “Arab Spring”. With violence, wars and bloody conflicts, waged by an international terrorism, greater instrument of a fierce rivalry between the world’s greatest powers.
The war ended by a historical retreat of the United States from Syria, where the last battle took place after that the Assad regime army and its allies recaptured most of the Syrian territory. A “US failure of a regime change”, this is how former US ambassador to Syria Mr. Robert Ford, described it on different occasions. Another failure of bringing an end to the George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil”. In an attempt to weaken this axis, the American administration has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal. A deal that was internationally admitted, after almost two years of negotiations under the Obama administration. This withdrawal was eventually followed by the reinstatement of sanctions against Iran.
And few times later by the outbreak of a new war but this time one of a commercial type against China and even maybe Washington’s own allies.
These very particular evolvements on the international arena, are in the eyes of many observers the end of a unipolar world system led by the United States and the beginning of a new world order based on multilateralism with new undefeatable emerging superpowers.
There is no doubt that this new status quo poses a direct threat to the US hegemony. Washington will now have to deal with powers who have been challenging its supremacy in various ways for decades. And who, on the other hand, are also firmly opposed to the financial system it has established since the Bretton Woods Agreements in 1944 which led to the abandoning of the gold standards for the dollar. 
Then also led to the foundation of the Asian Bank for Development in 1966 which was and still mainly led by the United States and Japan, the two main shareholders at 15.56% and 15.67%, consecutively.
During his roundtrip in Asia, in October 2017, Trump has described the trade deficit with China as “horrible” and “annoying”. He has also warned that he would have to withdraw from the NAFTA trade agreement with Canada and Mexico if they fail to renegotiate satisfactory agreements. With such decisions, Trump kept the promises he has made during his inaugural speech “America first”, in which he clearly stated that he will do anything to “protect US borders from invasion and especially from the invasions of countries that produce the same goods as we do, that rob our companies and destroy our jobs “.
Hence, he launches in January 2018 a trade war against China by imposing tariffs on Chinese imports and sanctions against some Chinese companies dealing with Iran. Then in May 2018, he imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, banning Canada, Germany and France from importing these products, who majorly come from China.
These interesting evolutions have changed the power relationship between the major players on a global scale. A new status quo is looming at the end of drastic proxy wars that have transformed the Arab and Muslim worlds and with the victory of Russia in Syria. What would have maybe indirectly led to the outbreak of a global trade war.
With such evolvements, disagreements between allies began to arise, and new hostilities coming to the light. Many experts have already started to analyze the consequences of latest changes on the international market and to observe the evolution of the bilateral relations, which are reshaping at a critical moment in history.For some observers, this seems to be like a new cold war between US and China, as for others, the Chinese model is far away more different than what used to be the Soviet Union. Such interrogations that have also puzzled me, drove me to suggest an in-depth study in order to conclude hypothetical schemes of how the changing dynamics on the international scene will affect the world economy. But hypothetical conclusions for such a wide topic cannot be led without defining a specific spectrum. In my opinion, the most interesting event in these evolutions is the US-Chinese trade war, which is on one hand the element that will have direct consequences on the world stage and on the other hand, will have significant implications for the coming decades. ****
A European Union, scattered between China and the United States: For the first time in its history, the European Union, has expressed its firm disagreement and disengagement with the Trump’s administration new measures and foreign policy new orientations. Normal, when US interests starts to crossway with European ones. German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has in the meantime responded by expressing her motivation to create a European army, and reiterated her decision following the signing of a historical friendship treaty with France. A defense and cooperation treaty that aimed at confirming the union by asserting the establishment of common positions and joint statements on Key issues. Does the formulation of this new treaty a response to the American new measures or is it a defensive treaty against China? However, the decision of the foundation of a European army has provoked the American administration to anger, what pushed the American President to ask the EU member countries to pay their royalties to the NATO before thinking about taking such a step. With these signs of divorces between the EU and the United States, Europe finds itself in a difficult situation as it is forced in one hand, to abdicate to the will of Washington. And on the other hand, be capable of competing with a Chinese crawling. Another interesting point lies in the sanctions the US threatened to impose, in case of any possible trade with Iran that could be cropped up by any European company, as the National Security Advisor of the White House, Mr. John Bolton, declared in May 2018, “Any European company dealing with Iran risk of being hit by American sanctions”. 
These divergences of interests, which are clearly displayed this time between the historical allies, will certainly lead to different approaches on both sides.
According to Marianne Péron-Doise, “Europe and the United States share similar goals in the face of China’s rise, except that Washington seeks to contain or hinder Beijing’s ambitions when Europe needs to regain its place at the international arena. And therefore, shows a certain tolerance towards China’s expansional ambitions. By this, Europe aims at integrating China into the concert of nations while to US seek to undermine its influence at any cost. ”
This point of view seems relevant because the European Union shares concerns with the US about China’s rise and China’s trading practices. For instance, in 2012, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, expressed her concerns over the Chinese dumping of solar panels on the European market, during a visit to China. The same way, French President Emmanuel Macron has promised during his investiture ceremony to encounter “tax havens” and impose taxes against “commercial dumping of countries like China and India. “
In March 2012, the EU filed a complaint with the United States and Japan at the WTO alleging that Beijing is imposing export taxes, quotas and bureaucratic delays on overseas sales of the minerals artificially.
Similarly, the EU and the United States frequently accuse China of “infringing the intellectual property rights of their offshore companies”. 
Now even if a multipolar system would suit more the European interests today, this has not stopped Western countries from launching a joint campaign against China’s trade practices. In January 2018, during his state visit to China, French President Emmanuel Macron held a clear message for China: reducing the trade deficit. And so, he was accompanied by more than fifty businessmen who seek to invest in the Chinese market in order to rebalance trade.
In his turn, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and despite exchanging insults with the US President following the sanctions crisis, accused China in early March 2018 of flooding the world market with its productions of steel and aluminum.
French Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, said on 27 January in an interview with Le Monde, “an independent European financial institution with Britain, Germany and France should be set up in order to face a conquering China in the technological sector.”
Thus, China is now considered as the main potential threat to the United States as well as to the others Western countries, who accuse it of transgressing the rules of the international monetary fund and the World Trade Organization by its unfair competition such as, its attempts to manipulate the exchange rates to make profits on the detriment of the other members of the organization.
In such a politically tense and economically unstable situation, the Trump administration has decided to keep going with its trade war. So, it has imposed tariffs on Chinese goods, and went on threatening China to impose additional tariffs that can reach an amount of 200 billion dollars. And if Beijing retaliates, Donald Trump said ready to tax the overall of the Chinese imports.
The Chinese riposte:
American threats did not frighten Beijing, who has strictly condemned the war, as the Chinese Minister of Commerce declared “China would be forced to a necessary response” and accused the Trump administration of launching “the biggest trade war in the modern economic history,” and finally he promised to defend China’s rights at the WTO. As a result, in April 2018, China imposed tariffs on 128 American products and said ready to impose taxes of $ 60 billion dollars list of products in retaliation for US sanctions.
As a result of the reciprocal threats and growing tensions, the IMF and the Federal Reserve have warned of slower growth and negative consequences on the stability and security of the global economy. According to their estimations, the war could result in a loss of up to 430 billion dollars on the global economic market. In early December 2018, President Trump and President Xi met in the margins of the G20 summit that was held in Buenos Aires, and have both agreed on a truce of 90 days, to put an end to the trade war between the tow superpowers. 
The agreement ended up in being violated few days later, following the arrest by the Canadian authorities, of Mrs. Meng Wanzhou, the financial director of China’s telecom giant, Huawei, at the request of Washington. Wanzhou, who is being held on probation, has to appear before the Canadian Trade Tribunal on February the 6th on an extradition case process, at the demand of the United States.
Considered as a hostage taking case by Beijing, for whom such an incident means an official war declaration. As a result, Canada’s ambassador to China, Mr. John McCallum was forced to resign at the request of his own prime minister.
So, what threat does China actually pose?
China’s process of economic takeoff has lasted almost thirty years, from 1979 to 2010, China became one of the world powers and a key player on the international arena. After the introduction of the Chinese economic reform, by Deng Xiaoping, a former Communist Party leader who is considered to be the great architect of the modern China. Deng held several senior positions in the Communist Party, including the President of the Central Military Commission of China at the time of the Sino-Japanese War and the Secretary-General of the Chinese Communist Party from 1956 to 1967, among other positions. Despite facing stiff opposition, Deng never gave up on his goal, which is the Chinese development of the economic and technological sectors.
Before 1979, the Chinese economy was suffering from a major crisis of recession and a real isolation on the international scene. China had just come out of its cultural revolution. A particular event that had paralyzed the country for a decade. At this stage, the economy was largely based on the agricultural sector and included light industries such as textiles and some unsophisticated electronics. The Chinese economic reform known in the west as the “Opening of china “is therefore, just a tricky illustration of what was the real model. The Chinese communist Party was very prudent and conservative about “Opening”. Reforms that took place didn’t aim at opening up the Chinese market in front of the foreign industries that could take over the internal industrial sector. On the contrary, it aimed at introducing the foreign industries into the market in order to succor the retardment of China through the establishing of contacts with the Western world and the multinational industrial firms. What has certainly contributed to the relocation of a huge number of such companies who saw the Chinese market as a “financial paradise” in terms of savings, low costs of production and hand labor. Consequently, employment in China has reached a peak and the local economy has undergone an overall positive evolution.
As a result, the United States have restored its diplomatic ties, in January of that same year with the People’s Republic of China, after a thirty years breakup.
By the end of 1978, the Boeing aeronautical company had announced the sale of 747 aircraft to the PRC airlines, and the Coca-Cola company had announced about its intention to open a production base in Shanghai. What was to be described as the first signs of a new era that is beginning and that will soon radically transform China.
In less than 30 years, the Chinese economy has undergone a drastic change but has managed to avoid falling into the hands of the Western industrialists, preserve its independence and save the national production in almost every sector. A particular determination which points out of a strong nationalism that could be interpreted as a reaction towards a Western world that has been historically and for a long time hostile to China. In this, I mean the foreign invasions and conquests of China and the past commercial wars, such as the opium wars that involved the United Kingdom, France and US … According to Corinne Autey-Roussel, “Till today, China calls the period between 1839 and 1949, the century of humiliation and considers the opium wars and the economic imperialism that led to the fall of the Qing dynasty as a major and a basic definition of its relationship with the Western world “.
In 2015, China became the world’s leading exporting power with an amount of $ 2.27 billion dollars. In 2017, its exports alone to the United States reached an amount of 505 billion dollars against 130 billion dollars of US exports towards China. A deficit of about 375 billion dollars.
Source: United States Census Bureau.
It is therefore, inevitable to say that the relocation of large industrial enterprises in China had extreme positive repercussions for a country who is in search of a true autonomy. Remains to reveal how much these industrials have actually contributed to this unprecedented development of the country and how? Was it through collaborations and mutual agreements of technology transfer? Or by illegal ways and constant efforts led by the pragmatism of the Communist Party?
The United States accuses China of threatening the future of US productions, particularly in the high-tech sector, such as robotics, aeronautics and artificial intelligence. The complaints alleging the theft of intellectual property from different countries against Chine at the WTO are plentiful.
Under the Obama administration, the Cybersecurity Strategy Advisor at the National Security Agency, Mr. Rob Joyce, declared that “China has violated the agreement signed with the United States three years ago, that strictly bans the hacking for economic espionage purposes. It is clear that China goes well beyond the limits of the agreement reached between our two countries”.
Similarly, under the Trump administration, the US Justice Department chief, Jeff Sessions said that “Chinese economic espionage against the United States has been growing and developing more and more, we are here today, to say that is enough! we will no longer accept that.” Sessions announced the involvement of three Chinese nationals and a Chinese company for stealing trade secrets from “Micron” a US-based company in China that manufactures memory cards for computers, mobile phones and cars. Then he finally added that “it is time for China to join the community of nations governed by law.”
According to a former FBI agent, China’s espionage is obvious given its ability to build weapons that normally need decades to get done, in one to two years. He also added that most Chinese students who come to the United States, participate in espionage operations. At present, new technologies are at the heart of the trade war between the two countries.
China’s technological development:
In less than thirty years, China has done an impressive development in the technology sector. The modernization of railways is a very good example. Before 2000, trains were antique and slow. Since 2010, high modernization took place and speed train networks that can cross the whole of the country has been established.
China has even become the country with the largest network of high-speed lines in the world. It currently has the biggest freight trains, capable of connecting China to Europe. For example, the Jiwu train runs from east of China to London. A second one can run from Shanghai to London, and another one goes from Zhengzhou in the east of China to Hamburg in Germany. Such lines can run a distance of more than 12,000 km in less than 20 days.
But here, we won’t be talking only about conventional industries like machineries, automobiles, electronics, or high-speed trains …
Chinese innovations in high technologies are impressing the world today. As Mr. Miao Wei, Minister of Industry and Technology, has noted in early December 2019,
“China’s annual expenses on industrial production has exceeded 30 trillion yuan; this is (about 4.4 trillion US dollars) for the first time in 2018.”
With the largest research team in the world, China ranks today as the second largest investor in research and development after the United States.
These investments concern the sectors of renewable energies, nuclear energy, telecommunications, robotics and artificial intelligence, and finally military and space technologies. As part of its space program, called “Star Wars”, China has realized spectacular achievements, it currently has its own telecommunication satellites, and navigation system, with a capacity of Earth observation and military reconnaissance, among other capacities. For example, the navigation system or “Beidou”, also called “Compass”, can currently cover a very large area of the Earth. Still under modernization, “Beidou” is expected to become fully operational in 2020… means to cover a broader area.
After launching several space probes on the moon, i.e. “Chang’e1” in 2007 and “Chang’e2” in 2010. This December 2018, China launched a robot explorer, “Chang’e4” that landed on the dark side of the moon. A first experiment of this kind, making a new breakthrough.
In November 2018, China developed its first anchor robot, with a great similarity to a real one, commentators wondered if this would not be the beginning of the end of the TV news presenter position. Similarly, in the world of telecommunication, China has already demonstrated its capabilities, to become today a strident competitor for 5G on the world stage, the fifth generation of standards for mobile telephony.
While in terms of its military capabilities, Chinese developments have also made impressive progress in the eyes of many foreign experts.
At the inauguration of the “China 2018 Airshow”, that took place in November, in Zhuhai, China’s Guangdong Province, China unveiled for the first time new Chinese military equipment of pure Chinese concept.
The fair welcomed officials from more than 43 countries, diplomatic delegations and officials and senior officials of the Chinese government.
China has also unveiled drones like the Cj-6 reconnaissance type aircraft that have been modernized and developed in China. Air defense and missile defense equipment such as HQ-9B and HQ-22 were also unveiled.
According to the current head of the US Pacific Command (US PACOM) and future US ambassador to Australia, Admiral Harry Harris, “In the recent years, China has focused its efforts on equipping itself with hypersonic weapons (which speed exceeds the speed of sound) such as the DF-17 or the Wu-14, of 5th generation aircrafts. Recent reports claim China is preparing to test an electro-magnetic cannon while the US Navy, is not yet at this stage”.
This is to say that China will soon be able to catch up with the United States in its military capabilities and artificial intelligence.
Thus, the “Made in China 2025” plan, which has to bring about a total Chinese “industrial autonomy”, particularly in the high-tech sector, threatens the future of American industries. Hence, the American economy based on military exports and on high-technology productions, has to face a bitter Chinese competition. Same case applies also to the other industrial powers.
The US Treasury Department, has then issued some regulations to prevent China from investing in US high tech companies. In the same time, the US Department of Commerce is actually seeking to limit this type of exports to China in order to prevent a technology transfer.
According to a White House report released on March 22, 2018: ” Chinese companies apply some rules and regulations that encourage the looting of intellectual property and technology transfer. This goes by forcing foreign companies to accept a technology transfer in order to have access to the Chinese market, for example”.
These threats are today compounded by the initiation of the “Belt and Road” initiative, for which at least $ 100 billion has been allocated to invest in Asia and elsewhere. These strategic ambitions meet several objectives:
1- The rail freight construction doesn’t only facilitate trade between China and other countries, but also facilitates China’s access to its needs of natural resources through the transportation and storage of hydrocarbons.
2- The reduction of transport costs and a partial if not total avoidance of customs duties.
3- The establishment of a considerable connectivity that could even revive the Chinese economy.
4- The attraction of foreign capitals.
5- The establishment of an alternative model of exchange to the model led by the United States and which constitutes until today the pillar of the world economy ….
On the other hand, China continues to increase its influence on the African continent and in Latin America. It also supports many countries that are opposed to the United States. China’s attempts to divert the actual status quo that falls in the advantage of the US like the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) or that of the BRICS are good examples. A chamber of economic, security and military cooperation, which denies access to Us and Japan was founded in 1996 through the SCO.
In April 2011, the BRICS member countries have decided to give up the US dollar in their trade.
Thus, several reports were published by the American intelligence services, in which the rise of China was considered as the most serious threat to the United States. The reports underlined few key points, like for example, that China has achieved a development of an average of 10% in less than 38 years.
According to the World Bank, this development was able to lift 679 million Chinese out of poverty. As a result, the purchasing power has increased by $ 23 billion. On the other hand, the increase of China’s military expenditure from $ 30 billion in 2006 to $ 175 billion in 2018, according to the official figures announced by the government, worries the United States.
In addition to the large trade deficit between the two countries and the 1.2 trillion dollars out of the total of $ 6,170 trillion of the US treasury that China holds, the situation seems to be uneasy for the United States.
On the other hand, China is trying to build an alternative trading system that starts in Asia and crosses the African continent and could maybe reach Latin America. This high connectivity between countries of different continents will trigger a great exchange network, able to dismantle the exchange system based on the US dollar, since China will not be dealing in dollar with the countries in question.
Now According to the IMF, the US sanctions against China could cost the world economy a minimum of 1.520 billion dollars. This can lead to a slow in the global growth of up to 50% by 2020. While US companies consider that the Trump administration’s strategy could cost more jobs than of creating and harms the interests of the US companies based in China. According to some others, Trump’s policies as demagogic rather than protectionist, since the imposition of such tariffs will lead to a reduction in the total production, then slows growth and, as a result, prices will go high.
And most probably, this war could endanger the world economy market by affecting the stock market.
In turn, the leaders of the federal bank have expressed serious concerns about the instability that may occur in the global market and that could hit a large number of foreign companies that have already invested with billions of dollars in the market, assuming that the international market is stable and open and will remain so.
And this is what drove Trump’s advisor, Steven Banon, to say: “We are at war with China, and Trump knows that he will need to unite the West against a threatening rise of China. ”
The “soft power” instrument
China is playing well its “Soft Power”, while the United States is damaging it’s their reputation in the world:
While the United States has been pursuing since decades now, a warlike and or a very offensive foreign policy, like for instance, its latest involvements in the “Arab Spring”, and very recently its involvements in the war in Yemen and Syria…what actually so much damaged its reputation around the world. We’ve seen that very frequently recently through the popular protests against US policies in many European countries as well as in many Arab countries and elsewhere, like in Turkey and Iran. For example, in December 2018, an anti-Trump demonstration took place in Paris at the “place de la Republique”, following the appeal launched by a collective union against war. In July of the same year, during a state visit, hundreds of people gathered in London, to denounce the US President’s state visit after harsh criticism over his “fascistic policies” … Similarly, Anti-Trump demonstrations filled up Iran after the US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal…while in the Arab-Muslim world, hostile demonstrations against the United States, took place in many Arab capitals after the US decision to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in an attempt to deny for the Palestinians the right for a state and what is to abort the right of return…
While China conducts a pragmatic soft foreign policy. If compared to the US, it never aims at a regime change or at getting involved in a war under the “ideological war” slogan. It doesn’t violation the sovereignty of the other countries, it cleverly manages to deepen more and more its economic ties without clear interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
In recent years, China has invested heavily in promoting bilateral relations with a huge number of countries. From 2017 to 2019, China hosted more than one hundred heads of states and foreign delegations on its territory.
As part of its “Belt and Road” initiative, China has inaugurated the latest New Silk Road Forum in 2018, which has hosted 65 countries from Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Through this initiative, China aims at creating a narrow platform of cooperation, that could serve as an efficient policy tool in order to build the land and sea silk routes needs. According to the official speech of the Chinese government, “this project aims to promote “globalization” and international cooperation in order to inject a new vitality into the global economy”.
In August 2017, China held the second BRICS summit in Xiamen, in the Fujian Province. The summit this time hosted five leaders from five new countries. Guinea, Mexico, Thailand, Tajikistan and Egypt.
In September 2018, the China-Africa Summit was held in Beijing and hosted leaders from 53 African countries. China, which is now a key player in Africa, firmly hold its growing influence on this continent. It invests not only in the development of these countries and in particular through the build-up of infrastructure but also through the promotion of cultural exchanges. Investing in Chinese foreign channels in French, English, Arabic, Spanish and Russian as well as dedicating efforts in the dubbing of Chinese series for abroad broadcasting. As Africa’s largest trading partner, China repeatedly states that it aims to promote a South-South cooperation. A message that can be interpreted as hostile by a West with a colonial past on the continent.
Likewise, in 2016, China released an official document, the first of its kind, to determine its policy towards the Arab-Muslim world. The document pointed at the historical relationship between the two parties and described a friendship that goes back dates to more than 2000 years back.
The final round of talks between China and the United States took place Wednesday, January the 30th in Washington, to find out a solution before the expiry of the 90-day truce that was decided in March during the G-20 summit. Negotiations were conducted, by, on the US side, senior officials including Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the Chinese side by a Chinese delegation in the presence of former Chinese Prime Minister M. Liu. Although the main issues of disagreement were addressed, but the negotiations cannot be described as effective. The Chinese have shown a willingness to conciliate with the American requirements. They promised to increase their US imports to reduce the trade deficit and introduce a new investment law that takes into account some of the US demands, such as the intellectual property, the forced technology transfer, and the partnerships of foreign companies with local governments. But on the American side, skepticism dominates over the application of these new laws by China. Meanwhile, the Trump’s administration faces real constraints … According to official statements, there are fears about the implementation of customs duties on imports which could have negative consequences for the US market, given the interdependence of the two economies. Trump’s administration officials have in any case made clear to China that the negotiations are not aiming at reducing the $ 250 billion tariffs that have already been imposed by Trump but are rather aiming at the avoidance of imposing additional customs duties of products coming from China. 
The current US administration is involved in a show of strength with China, this strategy in fact, can serve two purposes: first, is to confront a more powerful and competitive China at the global economic market and especially in the sector of new technologies. And secondly, this strategy can totally fall in the advantage of the US President who’s up till now trying to commit to the promises he has made in order to appear as a true nationalist and a credible President in front of his electorate. And he succeeded by doing so in showing harsh decisions to defend America’s interests first and foremost by embarking on a generalized trade war then imposing strict measures to protect the American borders.
Shattered between the two powers, Europe, which is struggling to regain its place on the international arena, is facing a critical situation that has finally led to its neglect to the American threats over dealing with China, Russia or even Iran. Recently, the United Kingdom, Germany and France created a new barter system allowing European companies to trade with Iran, turning a deaf ear to the American sanctions. In the face of US sanctions, Iran says it relies on its exports of gas and oil to escape the sanctions and save the local economy.
Such very remarkable evolvements, are reshaping the actual status quo and bringing about a new world order that seems to be set up soon.
*Journalist based in China, IRA researcher.
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 The J-10 is a fourth-generation multi-role aircraft built by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation in Chengdu, China for the Chinese Air Force. It is known in the West as the “Vigorous Dragon”. It entered service in 2003 in the Chinese air force and exists in several types.
 Chinese stealth fighter plane foreshadows what could be a fifth-generation twin-engine aircraft which is developed by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation for the People’s Liberation Army.
 The Xi’an Y-20, is a military transport plane. The project was developed by Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation and was officially launched in 2006.
 The Nanchang CJ-6 is a military aircraft of the Cold War, built in China popular by Nanchang from the late 1950s.
 The HQ-9B is a Chinese surface-to-air missile equipped with and forming part of the new generation of medium and long-range missiles.
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