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President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Artyom Ivanov\Tass via Getty Images.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday that the U.S. should stop its "wishful thinking" of trying to change China, accusing the Trump administration of taking actions that are pushing the two nations toward a "new Cold War," Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: U.S.-China relations have grown increasingly sour during the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump and many of his Republican allies directly blame the Communist Party's cover-up in the early days of the Wuhan outbreak for allowing the virus to spread throughout the world.

  • Tensions could further spiral if China moves forward with a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong that could dramatically constrain the city's autonomy.
  • White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that the U.S. government will likely impose economic sanctions if Beijing follows through.

What they're saying: Wang said that "some U.S. political forces are taking hostage of China-U.S. relations" and that "this is dangerous and will endanger global peace."

  • "China has no intention to change the U.S., nor to replace the U.S. It is also wishful thinking for the U.S. to change China," Wang argued.

Wang also warned U.S. officials "not to challenge China’s red line" on Taiwan, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took the rare step of congratulating Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on her second-term inauguration.

  • China considers the island of Taiwan a province, and Beijing threatened action against the U.S. last week for Pompeo's alleged "interference" in domestic affairs.
  • "Reunification between the two sides of the Strait is an inevitable trend of history, no one and no force can stop it," Wang said.

The big picture: It's unlikely that the Trump administration will ease up on its hawkish rhetoric against China, whose authoritarian turn has caused Americans' views of the country to darken dramatically.

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo opened a press conference last week by saying, "The media’s focus on the current pandemic risks missing the bigger picture of the challenge that’s presented by the Chinese Communist Party.”

Go deeper: The "new Cold War" started in Beijing

Go deeper

House committee launches contempt proceedings against Pompeo

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Mike Segar/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The House Foreign Affairs Committee announced Friday that it will launch contempt proceedings against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over his refusal to comply with a subpoena for records related to the State Department's involvement in attempts to link Joe Biden to corruption in Ukraine.

Why it matters: Democrats on the committee say that Pompeo gave similar documents to Senate Republicans, alleging he has undertaken a "transparently political misuse of Department resources" and shown "an unprecedented record of obstruction and defiance of the House’s constitutional oversight authority."

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

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