News Analysis: How bad could U.S.-China relations get?

President Trump, left, Michael R. Pompeo, Steven T. Mnuchin and Robert Lighthizer walk to the White House Rose Garden May 29.

By ALICE SUTRACY WILKINSONJULY 26, 202010:29 AMBEIJING —   LATimes

Fears are rising on both sides of the Pacific that the U.S. and China could be headed for a total breakdown of relations and even outright conflict within the next few months.

As the two powers ordered the closure of each other’s consulates in Houston and Chengdu last week amid allegations of espionage, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo called for the end of “engagement,” a policy that has defined U.S.-China relations for nearly five decades — and is considered one of the Republican establishment’s most important foreign-policy achievements in recent history.

“We, the freedom-loving nations of the world, must induce China to change,” Pompeo said in a speech delivered Thursday at a pointedly chosen site, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda. Nixon was the first president to reach out to China, in 1972.

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