Biden’s policy declaration in the direction of China after taking office is particularly cautious: the new government will continue to be tough on China, while adjusting the previous government’s approach and carrying out cooperation with China in some areas.
U.S. President Biden made his first speech on the foreign policy of the new government at the State Department on the 4th.
He emphasized “America is back”, describing the importance of the relationship between the United States and allies in large terms, and often vaguely replaces allies with the word “world”.
He called China the “most serious competitor” of the United States, continuing the previous government’s basic attitude towards China, but also expressing the willingness of the United States to cooperate with China in some areas.
Biden’s speech is in line with the current mainstream perception and emotions of American society around foreign relations.
On the one hand, it is his foreign policy speech, and on the other hand, it is for domestic listening.
What Biden does more is to take a stand, talking about big principles, and not many specific policies are announced.
For example, the United States has not said anything about how to do the Iranian nuclear issue, how to sanction the leaders of the Burmese army, and how to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue.
Biden doesn’t have much attention to Sino-US relations, but in fact, this is the focus of Biden’s speech.
Although there are a few words, Biden expressed his strong guard against China’s “overtaking the ambitions of the United States”.
This once again tells us that the strategic anxiety about the “challenge from China” has penetrated and permeated the whole United States and is difficult to resolve.
Biden said that he “will face up to China’s economic evils, counter its aggressive and coercive behavior, and back China’s attacks on human rights, intellectual property rights and global governance”.
This statement is completely different from the previous Democratic Party’s government’s perception of China.
Sullivan, a national security adviser, said on the 4th that “the first priority is to solve China’s trade bullying that harms U.S. employment and U.S. labor.” They speak this obviously in response to the new “political correctness” that the United States has formed on the issue of China.
However, Biden expressed his willingness to cooperate with China twice in his 20-minute speech.
The first time he said he wanted to “do diplomatic contact with our opponents and competitors when it was in our interests and improved the security of the American people”, and the second time he said that he “compated with Beijing when it was in the interests of the United States”, which was a clear departure from the Trump administration’s later tendency to only promote hostility between China and the United States.
Biden spoke most about working with allies before and after taking office. In his new speech, he stressed that he would repair America’s alliances “not alone” and called it “the foundation of America’s global power” and “America’s enduring advantage”.
The United States had never stressed so urgently the importance of repairing its relationship with its allies before the Biden administration took office.
It is not clear whether the United States is going to devote more resources to support this strategy or just use the banner of “values” “empty gloves and white wolves”. In the recent battle for vaccines, the European Union is strongly dissatisfied with Washington.
Overall, Biden’s policy declarations towards China since taking office are particularly cautious.
Biden’s team seems to be building an expectation of American society: the new government will continue to be tough on China, while adjusting the practices of the previous government and cooperating with China in some areas. They don’t spit out how to do it.
On the one hand, they may not have thought about it, and on the other hand, they also feel the political sensitivity of adjusting their policies towards China. Therefore, even if they adjust their relations with China, they will continue to put a tough stance in the lead.
Biden’s speech also emphasized that the practice of American superiority competition is to “do better at home”, which is also the difference between recognizing the competition of great powers and the Trump administration, which once blamed all American problems on external forces, especially China’s destruction.
The new perspective may partially affect the focus of Biden’s governance efforts.
How will Trump deal with the tariffs imposed on Chinese products? Will the blockade on Huawei be relaxed? Will the anti-China policies introduced by Trump before leaving office be implemented or put on the shelf? None of the Biden administration has answered these questions.
However, since Biden emphasizes doing a good job in the United States, China’s fundamental strategy of insisting on doing its own business needs to be firmly implemented.
In short, we see that Biden’s attitude towards China is continuous from the previous government, and there is room for adjustment in the way China and the United States deal with each other.
Looking forward to the long run, the more solid our own strength is, the more positive it will have on us when the United States examines its policy towards China.