Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Aug. 24. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting in Jerusalem on Monday to further cool relations with China and limit Chinese investments in Israel over the new strategic partnership agreement China signed with Iran, Israeli and U.S. officials said.

Why it matters: The Trump administration has been lobbying Israel for two years to scale back its relations with China. Until now, those efforts have had very little success.

  • Many Trump administration officials remain frustrated by the Israeli position.
  • Upgrading relations with China — and enhancing trade and investments — was one of Netanyahu's main foreign policy objectives over the last decade.

What happened: U.S. officials said Pompeo raised several China-related concerns:

  • The U.S. wants Israel to sign a memorandum of understanding on 5G that would clearly ban Chinese companies from getting involved in communications infrastructure projects. Negotiations have made progress, but the Israelis are still trying to soften the language in order to prevent a crisis with China.
  • The U.S. wants Israel to upgrade its oversight mechanism on Chinese investments in the country. It currently is only voluntary and has no authority to block deals, but American officials want to see a mechanism "with real teeth."
  • The U.S. is unhappy with the fact that many Chinese-controlled companies are still competing for big infrastructure projects in Israel.

The big picture: U.S. envoy for Iran Brian Hook, who attended Pompeo’s meetings in Israel, told me that the U.S. stressed that Chinese support for Iran on the UN arms embargo and its strategic partnership agreement should change Israel’s calculations regarding China.

  • "China has made its bed with Iran. We think it is important to not let China have it both ways. They can’t strengthen Iran, which chants 'Death to Israel,' and have a business-as-usual relationship with Israel. We have been very clear about that. I am sure Israel will do the right thing on China."

The state of play: Hook added that China plans to start selling heavy weapons to Iran when the arms embargo expires in October, which he claimed would lead to an arms race in the region.

  • "It says a lot about China that they vote no to extend the arms embargo on Iran and enter a strategic agreement with Iran that will not be good for the security of Israel or the Gulf countries."
  • "People need to recognize that China is not a friend of the region. China does not share Israel’s security interests or those of our Gulf partners. It is important that we work together to counter China’s efforts to strengthen Iran."

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Dec 3, 2020 - World

Scoop: Trump's spy chief plans dire China warning

Xi Jinping reviews troops during a military parade in Beijing last year. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Thursday will publicly warn that China's threat to the U.S. is a defining issue of our time, a senior administration official tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's exceedingly rare for the head of the U.S. intelligence community to make public accusations about a rival power.

Iran plans to increase uranium enrichment if U.S. sanctions remain

Protesters burn portraits of President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden in a rally against the assassination of Iran's top nuclear scientist in Tehran, Iran. Photo: Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty

Iran plans to begin increasing its nuclear enrichment levels and prohibit international inspectors from accessing nuclear facilities if U.S. oil and banking sanctions are not lifted by this coming February, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: A new law ratified Wednesday orders Iran's atomic energy agency to expand uranium enrichment to match levels prior to the 2015 nuclear agreement. The move comes as a direct response to the assassination of the nation's top nuclear scientist, and appears to put pressure on President-elect Biden to reenter the 2015 deal immediately upon taking office.

Dec 3, 2020 - World

U.S. blocks cotton imports from China's Xinjiang region over forced labor

A farmer harvests cotton in a field in October in Hami, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China. Photo: Pulati Niyazi/VCG via Getty Images

The Trump administration announced Wednesday the U.S. will block imports of cotton products from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China because of forced labor concerns.

Why it matters: The plan to seize the cotton shipments from a powerful Chinese quasi-military group is the latest U.S. response to China's detention of over 1 million Uighur Muslims in internment camps.