Chinese economy to ‘grind to a halt’ as West could cut off trade routes in ‘death embrace’

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The Chinese economy was dealt a fresh blow last week as the US slapped new sanctions on individuals and entities in Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates. The sanctions, which aim to stop “illicit” Iranian oil reaching China, are merely the latest in a raft of financial penalties Washington has used against Beijing. The nation of 1.4 billion people was also sanctioned by the US last month over its alleged support for the Russian military during the war in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, a string of Western nations, including the UK, sanctioned China last year over human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslims in its north-west region of Xinjiang.

During the Ukraine war, sanctions have been one of the main tools at western leaders’ disposal in the geopolitical fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the country.

Although sanctions have crippled the Russian economy, some analysts have questioned their efficacy against China.

A US military expert has suggested an alternative way for western leaders to decimate the Chinese economy.

The communist superpower, which relies heavily on exports, could have its key trading routes cut off by the West, according to Dr John Callahan.

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The former diplomat and State Department spokesperson works as a military adviser and a dean at New England College in the US.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “We would instantly blockade Shanghai and the Chinese economy would grind to a halt almost immediately.

“Because we’re sort of in a death embrace with China. For China, all you have to do is block the Straits of Malacca, the Philippine Sea, and the access to Shanghai, and you completely end the Chinese economy, because it’s all export.

“Of course, the ripple effect of that we are already seeing with the supply chain crisis.

“The western economies get kicked in the proverbials, because they are not getting their stuff from China anymore. Now, it is a question of who could survive that.”

However, there are also signs that the current occupant of the White House intends to repeal some tariffs.

Mr Biden claimed during a speech in May that no decision had been made but said “we’re discussing that right now”.

Dr Callahan explained that if the West were to pursue even tougher economic measures with China, such as cutting off its trade routes, the results would not be pretty.

He said: “At the last part of the Trump administration, the US successfully prosecuted a trade war with China.

“It ended with the coronavirus crisis… the timing on that is pretty cool.

“The West can weather a crisis with China, but it would be very much living on austerity, while industries will be rebuilt.

“Rethinking pay schemes for people to do jobs that they are not used to doing – all that kind of stuff.”