Some Sino-U.S. relations damage 'beyond repair', Chinese state media warns


FILE PHOTO: Flags of U.S. and China are displayed at American International Chamber of Commerce (AICC)'s booth during China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing, China, May 28, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

(Reuters) - Chinese state media warned that some damage to Sino-U.S. ties are "beyond repair" amid a new wave of counter-China measures by the Trump administration, with an ugly Twitter spat between a U.S. senator and Chinese reporter underlining the rising rancour.

The government-backed newspaper China Daily said in an editorial it viewed Washington's decision to limit visitor visas for Chinese Communist Party members and their families and a ban on Xinjiang cotton imports are "worrisome signs."

"Even if the incoming administration has any intention of easing the tensions that have been sown, and continue being sown, some damage is simply beyond repair, as the sitting U.S. president intends," the newspaper said.

Relations between the world's two largest economies have sunk to their lowest point in decades over issues such as trade, technology, security, human rights and COVID-19.

Bilateral ties are being shifted onto "a dangerous path", according to the China Daily editorial.

The U.S. government also added Chinese chipmaker SMIC and oil giant CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged military companies, prohibiting U.S. investors from buying securities issued by the firms starting late next year.

The Chinese ambassador to the United States became the latest of senior Beijing officials to signal a desire to reset the increasingly confrontational relationship as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office in January.

"There are always differences between the two countries. None of them justifies confrontation and war, cold or hot," Cui said on Twitter Thursday. "With sufficient mutual respect and mutual understanding, we are capable of managing these differences so that they would not derail the entire relationship."

A person familiar with the matter also told Reuters on Thursday U.S. prosecutors are discussing a deal with lawyers for Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou to resolve criminal charges against her and end her detention in Canada - an agreement that may end a major source of bilateral tensions.

It is unclear whether a Biden administration would bring a dramatic shift, however.

The Democrat told the New York Times this week that he would not remove existing tariffs set by the Trump administration against China for now.

Legislation targeting China or Chinese officials over charges of human rights abuses in Xinjiang and crackdown against pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have won broad bipartisan support in Congress, as well, further suggesting that current policies towards China have staying power.

An exchange of insults on Thursday between U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn and China Daily journalist Chen Weihua underscored persistent animosity.

Blackburn, a Republican and one of the more outspoken China critics, claimed without evidence on Twitter that China "has a 5,000 year history of cheating and stealing."

Chen replied to her tweet, accusing Blackburn of being the most "racist and ignorant" U.S. senator he has seen and calling her a "lifetime b****."

The senator responded by calling Chen a "puppet" in Chinese President Xi Jinping's "dream for global domination" and that the U.S. won't bow to "sexist communist thugs."

(Reporting by Brenda Goh and Se Young Lee; editing by Jane Wardell and Gerry Doyle)

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