- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Microsoft President Brad Smith questioned Wednesday whether the U.S. is on the brink of a technological “cold war” with China.

Mr. Smith first predicted a coming “tech cold war” this decade with China in a blog post earlier this month and renewed his speculation in a speech in Seattle. The Microsoft executive’s talk of a burgeoning cold war with China comes just as President Trump signed his phase-one trade agreement with China at the White House on Wednesday.

“Increasingly in Washington, Brussels, Berlin, Paris, and Beijing itself, people are asking: ‘Are we heading toward a new cold war? A tech cold war?’ That is one of the questions the 2020s will answer,” Mr. Smith said Wednesday, according to GeekWire.

Mr. Smith added that one unnamed government official told him that the U.S. is already in the middle of a cold war with China.

The Trump administration has not been shy about rhetorically challenging Chinese aggression even as it has negotiated the new trade agreement. Earlier this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Silicon Valley and warned tech execs not to work with the Chinese military and publicly ripped China for alleged cybertheft of American intellectual property.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump labeled this phase one of his administration’s trade agreement with China as an initial step “toward a future of fair and reciprocal trade,” in remarks at the White House.

Microsoft also has an ongoing working relationship with the American government to help ensure national security. The Pentagon awarded Microsoft a $10 billion “war cloud” contract last year, besting competitors such as Amazon.

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