Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has warned that the costs of China’s decoupling would be high for the United States as tensions between the two countries increase as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Schmidt said CNBC’s Squawk Box on Thursday that a severed relationship with the country would be negative for the US as a whole.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed China for the global COVID-19 pandemic after the outbreak started in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
There are now 1.4 million infections in the United States and more than 85,000 deaths.
Trump said on Thursday that he was very disappointed in China for not keeping the virus under control, and said the pandemic was confusing his US-China trade deal.
When asked about the harsh approach the Trump administration is currently taking against China, Schmidt warned that China was perfectly capable of surviving without the US.
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt told CNBC’s Squawk Box on Thursday that a broken relationship with the country would be negative for the US in general.
“You would think that if we had one common enemy around the world – this virus that kills millions of people around the world – we would unite,” said Schmidt.
“We’ve been disconnected instead. The costs of the decoupling are quite high. ‘
Schmidt said that while tearing down China would allow for resilient supply chains and production in the U.S. due to a lack of exports, long-term tensions would not be right.
“The tensions are not good,” he said.
“All these countries have huge armies. They play with their domestic politics in many ways and can do negative things.
“I think it’s very important to understand that if you disconnect from China – and they are perfectly capable of building their own chips and their own software – they won’t come back and that hurts us.”
Trump has previously said that he is certain that the virus may have come from a Chinese virological laboratory.
He has vowed to punish China for what US officials have increasingly described as a pattern of deception that took precious time from the world to prepare for the pandemic.
Schmidt said it is important that the US continue to communicate with China, especially during the global pandemic.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed China for the global COVID-19 pandemic after the outbreak started in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. Trump and Chinese President Ci Jinping are pictured in June 2019
Trump has repeatedly blamed China for the global COVID-19 pandemic after the outbreak began in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. There are now 1.4 million infections in the United States and more than 85,000 deaths
“We are stronger worldwide if we have a common information platform, if we communicate with each other – the net of this is that we need more communication, not less,” he said.
“We will never become good friends, but we can work together on common problems like this pandemic.”
Schmidt’s comments came as Trump said in an interview on Fox Business Network that he was disappointed in China.
The coronavirus outbreak started in Wuhan, China in December and spread silently when the U.S. and China signed a Trump-acclaimed Phase 1 trade deal as a significant achievement.
“I am very disappointed in China,” said Trump.
“They should never have let this happen. So I make a great trade deal and now I say this doesn’t feel the same to me. The ink was barely dry and the plague came over. And it doesn’t feel the same to me. ‘
Trump’s pique extended to Chinese President Xi Jinping, with whom Trump repeatedly says he has a good relationship.
“I just don’t want to talk to him at the moment. I don’t want to talk to him, “said Trump.
Under the Phase 1 agreement signed in January, Beijing pledged to purchase at least $ 200 billion in additional US goods and services for two years, while Washington agreed to phase in tariffs on Chinese goods.
A Chinese state newspaper reported that some Beijing government advisers were pushing for new talks and possibly invalidating the agreement.
Trump said again that he was not interested in renegotiation.
While U.S. intelligence agencies said the virus did not appear to be human-made or genetically modified, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in early May that there is “a significant amount of evidence” that it came from a laboratory in Wuhan.
Pompeo’s comments followed Trump’s claim on April 30 that he was certain that the virus may have come from a Chinese virology laboratory.
In April, the World Health Organization said that all available evidence suggested that the virus came from bats and was not manipulated or constructed in a laboratory.
In the Fox Business interview, Trump focused more on China’s response to the outbreak than its origin.
“We have a lot of information and it is not good. Whether from the lab or the bats, it was all from China and they should have stopped it. They could have stopped it at the source, “he said.
“It got out of hand.”