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Fears of US-China clash see stocks tumble worldwide

STOCKS fell globally today as the United States geared up for a confrontation with China.

US President Donald Trump was due to give an evening press conference “on China” as the Morning Star went to press. 

The embattled leader, whose country leads the world in coronavirus infections and deaths, with the latter figure passing 100,000 this week, did not indicate in advance what he planned to announce.

His administration has repeatedly blamed China for the spread of Covid-19 worldwide, despite its rapid sharing of the genome structure of the new virus, and the president has even labelled the pandemic an assault “worse than Pearl Harbour … worse than the World Trade Centre. There has never been an attack like this.”

Other flashpoints include Hong Kong, where a new security law passed by China’s National People’s Congress on Thursday in response to a year of often violent protests against Beijing has been seized on by the US.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that Washington may decide to cease treating Hong Kong as an autonomous territory, which would mean the punitive tariffs the Trump administration has slapped on Beijing would apply to it too.

And India, which has drawn far closer militarily to the US since the election of the far-right Narendra Modi government in 2014, could be the premise for another potential clash as thousands of Indian and Chinese troops are massing at the countries’ disputed border in the Himalayan Aksai Chin plateau.

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