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China's wolf warrior trade threats backfire, uniting Asia and West

Nations hit by sanctions and boycotts form alliances, shift supply chains

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison have been at odds since spring, when Australia called for an independent investigation into the original source of the novel coronavirus. (Source photos by AP and Reuters) 

TOKYO -- A belief that as trade increases nations become less disputatious won the day about 20 years ago when the global community was debating whether to allow China into the World Trade Organization.

But the hypothesis, long maintained by liberally minded international relations experts, is being challenged as President Xi Jinping and his government exploit other countries' trade reliance on China, and as they increasingly wield this reliance as a diplomatic cudgel.

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