January 20th local time, U.S. President Biden and Vice President Harris were officially sworn in. Previously, U.S. media reported that Biden intends to appoint Kurt Campbell, a senior Asian foreign policy expert in the United States, as the director of Asian affairs.
This position Biden will create after taking office, which is known as the “Asia Czar” by the outside world. ).
In addition to Campbell, U.S. media pointed out that Biden will appoint three other officials in the White House National Security Council to deal with Asia-Pacific affairs involving China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and other countries.
What kind of “diplomatic card” will Biden play with this brand-new team, how will China respond, and where will Sino-US relations go in the end?
In response, Harry Harding, a senior professor-level researcher at the Miller Center, said that there is no doubt that the Biden administration will want to resume dialogue with China, but it is unknown whether the relationship between the two countries will improve.
Harry Harding is an expert in Asian and American-Asian relations and a well-known “China expert”.
In April 2018, in an interview in Shanghai, He Hanli called Sino-US relations a group of “froaught” relationships “full of challenges and fluctuations”.
The “challenge” Sino-US relations have almost become the consensus of Chinese and American experts and scholars.
Wu Xinbo, dean of the Institute of International Studies of Fudan University, director of the American Research Center and director of the Shanghai Institute of American Studies, pointed out in an interview with The Paper (www.thepaper.cn) that in the next decade, Sino-US relations will certainly have a sharp shock and finally reach a balance. Relationship, and how to control this shock well, is a challenge for both China and the United States.
Campbell put forward the idea of “stopping the plummeting of US-China relations” at an event organized by the Asian Association on January 14.
He said that China and the United States should suspend tit-for-tat, take a step back, and take a step forward, sending a signal of the desire to establish a viable U.S.-China relationship.
He served as Robert B., Under Secretary of State of the United States. Zoellick) Evan A., Senior Researcher of Practice at the Miller Center of the University of Virginia, Consultant on China.
Feigenbaum believes that the possibility of Sino-US cooperation in certain fields cannot be ruled out in the future.
Can the Biden administration make the increasingly tense Sino-US relations move in a new and more positive direction? Recently, the American Research Center of Fudan University jointly held a videoconference with the Miller Center of the University of Virginia to discuss this.
Eight experts from Fudan University and the University of Virginia shared their views. The following is an excerpt of the speech compiled by The Paper for readers.
Expert profile (in no order)
Peining Lu: Theresa Sullivan Senior Fellow in Practice at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia
Xin Qiang: Deputy Director of the American Research Center of Fudan University
Hanli Ho: Professor-level Senior Fellow at the Miller Center, University of Virginia
Evan Fang: Senior Researcher in Practice at the Miller Center, University of Virginia
Wu Xinbo: Dean of the Institute of International Studies and Director of the American Research Center of Fudan University
Song Guoyou: Deputy Director of the American Research Center of Fudan University
Where will Sino-US relations go when Biden comes to power?
Xinqiang: I think Sino-US relations are very important for every generation of Chinese leaders. Sino-US relations have been a key factor affecting China’s diplomatic decisions in the past decades.
It is possible that in the past few years, this relationship has hurt both countries. We can see that the policy leverage used by the Trump administration undermines all cooperation between the two countries. We hope that after Biden takes office, Sino-US relations will return to normal.
P. Lu: Although the US is restarting after Biden was sworn in, the president needs to deal with a series of issues. Biden must intervene in these things and issue orders.
He inherited the results of President Trump’s four years of rule. Now he must work hard for it and set his priorities, which will require For a period of time. In the short term, Sino-US relations will not change much.
Fang Aiwen: I am deeply pessimistic about the future relationship between China and the United States.
Trade conflicts are the most pessimistic core of many conflicts, that is, restricting goods, capital and data in the name of national security.
During Nixon’s visit to China in 1972, the United States and China clashed around Vietnam. Therefore, from the beginning of the establishment of this relationship, the United States and China have clashed.
Because of the obvious differences between political systems and ideologies, security competition has always been the characteristic of Sino-US relations.
However, once the two sides establish economic relations, especially after China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, China and the United States develop rapidly expanding economic relations in parallel in a very tense security battle.
Although market practitioners and American companies always take into account the Taiwan issue, the South China Sea issue and military competition, most of them are hidden behind them and do not constitute a commercial impact.
However, in the past five years, the actions of former President Trump have caused the economic and security relations between China and the United States to collapse together.
In addition, the United States also tries to let third countries do the same thing as the United States does to China. In my opinion, this is the whole legacy Trump left to Biden.
Now, not only are security issues worsening in Sino-US relations, but also security issues are re-infiltrating into the economy.
For example, the U.S. government now blacklists some Chinese artificial intelligence companies from a security perspective, which will greatly restrict the issuance of sales licenses and trade activities.
The Trump administration has a changeable attitude and a simple and crude strategy.
While Biden may maintain continuity in Trump’s policies, it will be more cautious.
Therefore, I expect the following five things to happen in the future between China and the United States:
First, I think the Biden team wants to set a lower limit for the deteriorating Sino-US relationship.
Second, no matter how much competition around technology and data is intensified, the Biden team will do the same thing Trump did later, but Biden will do it more strategically.
Third, the Biden administration hopes to cooperate with China in three areas that the Trump team had not previously wanted to do: control the epidemic, restart the economy, and avoid ecological disasters.
Fourth, the Biden administration will try to build joint ventures with partners, especially Europe and Japan, although the process will be more difficult than before.
Fifth, the Biden administration will not want Republicans to feel that they are weak to China.
So, from human rights and security to economic issues, the Biden administration will take political incentives.
For people like new Secretary of State Tony Brolincoln, or national security adviser Jack Sullivan, they will naturally want to engage in foreign relations with China, but they will also hope to compete strategically with China.
This will be an interesting political challenge, because the Biden administration will consider restarting Sino-US relations in this situation.
Song Guoyou: For China and the United States, global economic coordination is very important, followed by global climate change.
I believe Biden is serious about dealing with climate change.
If he is right, then China and the United States can do a lot on this issue and coordinate in fields such as new energy and green finance.
I think China and the United States should do something to restore their relations to the pre-Trump state.
I know that although some things cannot be changed, some policies need to be restored to the previous state, such as those related to competition.
At present, China and Europe have completed the negotiation of the investment agreement.
Although I don’t know what Biden will do about it, it seems to me that there will be more competition between China and the United States in the future, including the technical level.
Wu Xinbo: In China, we believe that the relationship with the United States is cooperation and competition – we are both partners and competitors.
However, when the United States describes this relationship as strategic competition, and in recent years we have heard how Americans talk about China, coordination and cooperation are no longer part of this relationship.
China and the United States should cooperate to reset the relationship.
HANG: It’s too early to talk about the change and continuity of Sino-US relations, as the Biden administration is still being formed, and it will take some time.
I think the most important change is that on January 20, we have a new president, Biden studied China policy as a senator and vice president. Biden is an important part of Sino-US relations in the future.
There is no reason to believe that this will lead to more active Sino-US relations, and there is no reason to believe that Biden’s attitude towards China will soften.
When everyone in the Biden administration is in place, there will be changes in the entire administration.
They will provide important clues about the future policy direction. Although the new Secretary of State Blinkin is not a Chinese expert, he is respected and I feel positive about him.
When I knew him, he was in the national security department. I was asked by Lincoln to brief the White House. At that time, I was not told what to say or told what not to say. I just tried my best to provide the best analysis.
This proves his reputation as a professional, and Blinkin hopes everyone will get the best information and advice. Therefore, he will rebuild the weakened U.S. State Department. Although China is very important, this may not be the focus of his work.
Others in U.S. politics are known for taking a tough stance on China, especially the U.S. Trade Representative, with whom Biden nominated national security advisers have worked with for many years.
They have drawn a blueprint for a stronger United States to compete and cooperate with China more effectively.
Kurt Campbell, who will return to the Biden administration as head of Asian affairs, is skeptical of China and the main driver of the “Asian rebalancing” strategy. We also learned that the Biden administration will also appoint some officials who advocate a hard line towards China and no longer adopt what was previously called the “contact” policy.
The Biden administration is about to face a more confident China, and health, new technologies, human rights and climate change are all important to the U.S.-China relationship.
Overall, there may be few new faces on Biden’s team, but its overall position on China will be harder, and policies will be more thoughtful and coordinated.
Biden will see China as a major challenger and competitor when asked to maintain the same policy continuity as the Trump administration, and will try to work closely with allies. It remains to be seen which policies against China will be retained and which policies will be abandoned.
Finally, we expect Biden to want to have a dialogue with Beijing, but it is unclear if that will improve the relationship between the two sides.
If Biden does so, it will have a bipartisan support, especially after the Democrats regain control of the Senate.
Even so, however, Biden’s main priorities are to contain the coronavirus pandemic, combat climate change, and stimulate the U.S. economy. The Biden team will still focus on domestic policy in the United States, and China will not be Biden’s focus.
At the same time, if the two countries agree, the United States can also cooperate with China in some key areas, especially in the response to the epidemic.
Wu Xinbo: On the issue of Sino-US relations, China’s concept has changed. Anti-China sentiment during the Trump administration is so high that we have never seen before.
Therefore, we should ensure that China’s approach to the United States will be equally tough, if not tough. The premise of the resumption of Sino-US cooperation is first of all to stabilize economic relations, and at the same time, the two countries can resume technological exchanges.
The focus here is not on expanding economic ties, but on the United States to provide China with priority cooperation opportunities.
My point of view is that what China and the United States can do is to rebuild trust.
We can try to cooperate in certain areas such as global public health, counter-terrorism, climate change, the Iran nuclear agreement, etc.
One of the important point is that China and the United States should cooperate to remove obstacles to economic ties.
At present, both sides want to solve this problem. Even Biden admits that the tariff war has hurt the United States. Only in this way can China-US relations make more progress.
So, on the whole, I may not be as pessimistic as Evan Fang, but I will be very cautious when predicting the future of Sino-US relations.
He Hanli: Can we consider resetting Sino-US relations? If we go back to zero and start over, if we press the restart button, if we don’t do the wrong thing and don’t make things worse, then doing so will be a great contribution at this time.
While everyone says it can be difficult to build a partnership (between China and the US), at least we can reset it.