US-China relations set to worsen in 2019, says analyst

China's edge in the space race could fuel US anger, and other political predictions made by security analyst

US President Donald Trump and US Vice President Mike Pence(L) visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC on Martin Luther King Day on January 21, 2019.  / AFP / MANDEL NGAN
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China’s relationship with the US is set to deteriorate in the coming year following its record breaking landing on the dark side of the moon, according to a new report predicting major geopolitical risks in 2019.

Falanx Assynt said China’s ambitious space programme could deepen a tech “cold war” with the US and widen the rift in trade tensions over the next 12 months.

China successfully landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon in January, the first country to attempt to do so.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV released the first close upshots of the far lunar surface, though much detail of the mission had been kept secret.

The country launched more spacecraft into orbit than any other country in 2018.

American space agency NASA announced on Saturday that it expects to collaborate more with counterparts in Beijing, an indication that tensions in other areas such as science are slowly thawing.

Relations between US President Donald Trump and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping have been strained since Mr Trump imposed billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs on some Chinese imports, including steel and washing machines, in 2018.

Beijing hit back with $110 billion worth of tariffs.

Both countries agreed to halt further increases in tariffs until March.


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So far, the US has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese goods, totalling more than $250 billion.

President Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on all Chinese goods imported into the US.

In a study of five major political predictions for 2019, analyst Falanx Assynt said it expects the Taliban to capture new territory in Afghanistan, emerging markets to be hit by the spread of fake news, Libyan oil production to hit record highs and an end to the civil war in The Philippines.