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​The United States and China are in the midst of a cold war, a former Pentagon official said Wednesday at an AFA Mitchell Institute breakfast. “Call it Cold War 2.0 or Cold War with Chinese Characteristics,” Joseph Bosco, now a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said. Bosco said the confrontation is there even though neither government admits to it. Washington has only recently acknowledged the competition, but “Beijing has been waging it vigorously and purposefully for decades,” he added. Bosco called the Beijing government a “proliferator of proliferators,” and said it helped North Korea begin its nuclear weapons program despite assurances it hoped for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula to gain political leverage. Bosco blamed the communist nation’s “cold war behavior” for spoiling the relationship former President Richard Nixon began in an effort to bring the Asian nation into the family of nations. “Engagement has given us Cold War 2.0,” he said. But unlike during the decades-long hostility between Western nations and the Soviet Union, Bosco said, the two governments have found some common ground and genuinely cooperate on climate change and anti-piracy activities.