Any hope that the U.S. and China will hit "pause" in their rapidly deteriorating ties was dashed by the rare open display of mutual antipathy during Mike Pompeo's brief visit to Beijing, the shortest on record by an American secretary of state, on Oct. 8. Instead of patching up a relationship in free fall, the occasion turned into an acrimonious exchange of accusations.
Pompeo's visit occurred at an inauspicious moment. Four days before he landed in Beijing, American Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech on China that is so harsh that it was seen as a turning point. Commenters, both in China and the West, even labeled it America's official declaration of a cold war with China.