The Covid-19 trap, a twist on the Thucydides Trap, has drastically limited policy options for the US and China. But this head-on collision is avoidable, and stable relations can cushion the world from upcoming shocks.
The Occupy Central protests in Hong Kong are still raging, and testing Beijing's rule in the former British colony - bringing into new focus the perennial themes of Chinese politics, democracy and nationalism.
US National Security Adviser Susan Rice's recent trip to China has raised expectations that when President Barack Obama visits Beijing in November, the current testy relations between the two countries can be improved.
The Edward Snowden saga has disturbed the US and caused repercussions around the world. Regardless of the ultimate fate of this unconventional whistle-blower-cum-reckless-rebel, Snowden has already carved his mark in history, given that his actions have a far-reaching impact on people's lives.
For China, Pyongyang's action was shockingly flagrant. The underground explosion was conducted near the Chinese border, generating a 4.9-magnitude earthquake, which startled residents in neighbouring Jilin province.