Some US officials suspect that Chinese President Xi Jinping is lashing out at the United States over Taiwan to divert attention from his economic and pandemic problems at home. USSC CEO Dr Michael Green tells the New York Times he does not think Xi is looking to cause trouble but needed to demonstrate that he could force the United States to back down before the November party congress.

“He’s being tough going into the party congress, and he does have domestic problems, big ones,” Dr Green said.

“Zero Covid is unpopular and hurting the economy, and the real estate debt is mounting. There are signs of quiet dissent in China. Xi is going to get his third term, but he’s not in the strongest domestic position, that’s true. It doesn’t mean he’s trying to wag the dog and create a crisis, but it means he has no flexibility.”