Nearly a month has passed since President Biden was officially sworn in on January 20 local time, and his policy towards China has been widely concerned. Reuters has commented that how to deal with Sino-US relations is one of the biggest challenges facing Biden.
Since taking office, the Biden administration’s team dealing with China has become increasingly clear.
According to Bloomberg, on February 17, local time, Biden appointed three members to his newly established DoD China Strategic Working Group, namely Melanie Hart, Ely Ratner and Elizabeth Rosenberg (E. Lizabeth Rosenberg.
Of course, the Biden administration’s “China team” goes far beyond that, including senior foreign policy experts Kurt Campbell, Laura Rosenberger, and the younger generation of Chinese-savvy Du Rusong ( Rush Doshi) and Julian Gewirtz.
After observation, some American media found that Biden formed a “strong China policy team”. However, Bloomberg also pointed out that it is not clear whether the Biden administration will really take a tough line with China, because many officials on its government team committed to establishing close and friendly relations with China during the Obama era.
On February 8, in response to Biden’s recent statement that the United States does not want to conflict with China, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said: “China is committed to developing non-conflict, non-confrontational, mutual respect and win-win cooperation with the United States, and will continue to firmly safeguard the interests of national sovereignty and security development. The two sides should move towards each other, focus on cooperation, control differences, promote the healthy and stable development of Sino-US relations, and better benefit the people of the two countries and the people of the world.
Biden’s administration’s “China team” adds new members
The Biden administration, the Pentagon China Strategic Working Group, was established last Wednesday (February 10) to study China policy. Some analysts say that Biden attaches great importance to China affairs.
Among the three new members mentioned above, Hart was a senior researcher at the Center for American Progress. Under the latest appointment plan, she will be responsible for helping the Biden administration review the “clean network” plan launched by former U.S. President Trump, which is intended to force countries to ban Huawei’s 5G networks. Hart has made many tough remarks against China. In October 2020, Hart also issued a report that the subsidies provided by the Chinese government to Huawei have promoted Huawei’s development, and it is necessary for the U.S. government to take relevant measures to provide more support to suppliers of the United States and its allies.
The other two are also hardliners against China. Both the Department of Defense Ratner and the Treasury Rossenberg, who worked at the New American Security Center, said in cooperation with other research members, “This is the moment for the Chinese challenge.”
Long before Biden officially took office, he identified two key figures in the “China team”, Kurt Campbell, coordinator of Indo-Pacific affairs of the National Security Council, and Lola Rosenberg, senior director of China affairs.
Kurt Campbell has rich diplomatic experience and served as a senior official of the Department of Defense as early as the Clinton administration in charge of Asian affairs. From 2009 to 2013, Campbell served as the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs in the Obama administration, helping Obama plan the “Asian Rebalancing” strategy.
Laura Rosenberg is also a senior expert in U.S. foreign affairs. She is Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the director of China and North Korea affairs of the National Security Council in the Obama administration. Previously, she was the chief of staff of the current Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
In addition, there are Du Rusong, Senior Director of China Affairs of the National Security Council, who is equivalent to Lola Rosenberg, and Julian Gerwitz, director of China Affairs.
Du Rusong is fluent in Chinese. He was previously director of China Strategic Plan and foreign policy researcher at the Brookings Institution, researcher of Cai Zhongzeng China Research Center at Yale University in the United States, and a member of Hillary’s Asian Policy Working Group in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Gerwitz, a former senior researcher in Chinese Studies at the American Foreign Relations Association, is also proficient in Chinese. He has just received his doctorate in modern Chinese history from Oxford University in 2018.
What signals did Biden’s “China team” send?
Biden’s importance to China’s affairs is self-evident. In addition to the special establishment of the Department of Defense China Strategic Working Group, all teams of the National Security Council have included China affairs in their priorities.
“Campbell’s Indo-Pacific team is the largest regional team on the National Security Council, and China and Indo-Pacific affairs are undoubtedly a priority for the National Security Council,” spokesperson Emily Horn told the U.S. news website Axios. In fact, not only the Indo-Pacific team, but also China affairs have extended to all the teams in the National Security Council, including other teams such as technology and national security, global health security and biological defense, and the international economy.
Biden mentioned in his first foreign policy speech that China is an important competitor of the United States, but at the same time, the United States is ready to cooperate with China in the interests of the United States.
Kurt Campbell, coordinator of Indo-Pacific Affairs, agreed to define China as a “strategic competitor” on the one hand, and advocated cooperation between the two countries on some matters on the other.
Campbell has repeatedly said that China-US cooperation in the fight against the epidemic is what everyone expects. Last March, he and Du Rusong published an article in Foreign Policy, calling for a war of words that would be of no benefit to curbing the coronavirus epidemic. China and the United States should not only cooperate in epidemic prevention and control, but also work together on other global challenges such as climate change. Du Rusong also published an article suggesting that the two countries establish a better communication mechanism to reduce the risk of conflict.