Biden China Tracker

by Malcolm Riddell

Biden’s First 100 Days
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'Biden’s First 100 Days: Setting the Table for U.S.-China Strategic Competition'

Carnegie-Tsinghua

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Paul Haenle | Carnegie–Tsinghua Center
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April 29, 2021
'Biden’s First 100 Days: Setting the Table for U.S.-China Strategic Competition'
'Biden’s First 100 Days: Setting the Table for U.S.-China Strategic Competition'
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Paul Haenle | Carnegie–Tsinghua Center

Biden’s First 100 Days

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BIG IDEA | ‘Biden is focused on accumulating as much leverage as possible to deal with China from a position of strength and to dispel the growing Chinese perception that the United States is a power in decline.’

‘The Biden administration is using its first one hundred days to focus on accumulating as much leverage as possible to:’

  • ‘deal with China from a position of strength,’
  • ‘dispel the growing Chinese perception that the United States is a power in decline, and’
  • ‘try to establish the terms of prolonged strategic competition with China.’

‘To these ends, the main contours of the Biden administration’s China policy thus far include investing in U.S. competitiveness, strengthening U.S. alliances, and recommitting to multilateralism.’

  • ‘Abroad, he has made early overtures to U.S. allies and partners—such as the first executive-level Quad summit along with renewed multilateral commitments like the Paris Agreement—are the first of many that will be needed for the United States to reclaim international credibility and leadership.’
  • ‘At home, the administration has focused on containing the pandemic and stimulating the economy with the American Rescue Plan. Biden has also proposed an infrastructure initiative that aims to “position the United States to out-compete China.” ’
  • ‘With China, administration officials have toned down the provocative Cold War–style rhetoric that dominated the Trump administration’s lexicon, as well as the antagonistic and adversarial rhetoric while maintaining a competitive tone, indicating that the administration wants to avoid continuing further down the road of tit-for-tat escalations while still appearing tough on China.’

‘Early actions and statements indicate little desire to revert to a policy of engagement with China.’

  • ‘The administration, much like the one before it, views China as a “strategic competitor” and is intent on implementing policies to better compete with Beijing.’

‘And rather than roll out ad-hoc, one-off policies directed at Beijing, the administration is devising a long-term strategy to compete “without catastrophe.” ’

  • ‘In furtherance of this, the President is conducting thorough strategic reviews within several federal departments and agencies, including the Department of Defense and the U.S. Trade Representative.’

‘Despite his stated desire to change the U.S. approach toward Beijing, Biden has been hesitant to quickly undo several of his predecessor’s China policies, especially on tariffs and export controls and Taiwan.’

  • ‘The delayed reversal of Trump-era policies again signals an attempt to maintain as much leverage as possible while trying to achieve reciprocal concessions.’

‘In these ways, the president is setting the table for a series of negotiations that allow for competition, confrontation, and cooperation while minimizing the risk of conflict.’

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Malcolm Riddell
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Biden Doctrine
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The Biden Doctrine and Its Discontents

President Biden has framed China as a threat both to the U.S. and the liberal world order.
7/15/2021

The Economist

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Biden Doctrine
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'What's Wrong with Biden’s new China doctrine'

‘Mr Biden’s aides invariably start any discussion of China strategy with the need to restore American greatness after decades of decline.’
7/15/2021

The Economist

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Biden Doctrine
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Part 2 | Joe Biden is determined that China should not displace America

‘Mr Biden’s aides invariably start any discussion of China strategy with the need to restore American greatness after decades of decline.’
7/15/2021

The Economist

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Biden Doctrine
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Part 1 | 'Joe Biden is determined that China should not displace America'

‘Biden’s emerging China strategy, while still protean, sounds of a kind with Mr Doshi’s prescription for “blunting and building”.’
7/15/2021

Center for Strategic and International Studies

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Pierre Morcos | Center for Strategic and International Studies
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G7 to D10
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'NATO & China's Challenges to Europe'

‘Even though China does not pose a direct military threat to NATO, contrary to Russia or terrorist groups, Beijing’s growing economic influence and diplomatic assertiveness in Europe coupled with its growing military relationship with Russia do have major implications for the transatlantic economy as well as its security.’
6/9/2021

CHINADebate

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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G7 to D10
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Biden Worries China Might Win

‘Biden has taken the vital first step of correctly diagnosing the strategic challenge facing the country.’ ‘Like Harry Truman at the start of the Cold War and George H. W. Bush at its end, the president now has an opportunity to create a framework for a new era.’
6/9/2021

The Washington Post

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Joe Biden | President of the United States
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G7 to D10
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Joe Biden: 'My trip to Europe is about America rallying the world’s democracies'

‘This is a defining question of our time: Can democracies come together to deliver real results for our people in a rapidly changing world?’
6/9/2021

The Atlantic

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Thomas Wright | Brookings
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G7 to D10
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'Joe Biden Worries That China Might Win'

‘Biden worries that China is in competition for America, and not only that—they might win. This belief underpins the Biden doctrine.’
6/9/2021

The Atlantic Council

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G7 to D10
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'From the G7 to a D-10: Strengthening democratic cooperation for today's challenges'

‘A “Democratic-10” or “D-10” is aimed at rallying the world’s most powerful democracies around a common cause— advancing a rules-based democratic order based on shared values and common interests.’
6/9/2021

Brookings

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Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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Postscript: China Doubts U.S. Allies Support

'Chinese leadership is also cynical about the effectiveness of a U.S.-led Cold War-style bloc.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

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Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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China's ‘Anti-Hegemonist Bloc’

‘To counter U.S. coalition building, China has enhanced its diplomatic, economic, and military relationship with both Russia and Iran in recent months, resulting in the closest ties these countries have had in the post-Cold War era.’
5/30/2021

CHINADebate

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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Biden’s China strategy
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What China Thinks About Biden's China Policy

And that is what makes Cheng Li’s ‘Biden’s China strategy: Coalition-driven competition or Cold War-style confrontation?' so valuable. Cheng has decades of close relationships with China’s leaders and high officials. They trust him not to attribute their comments and so speak freely and honestly to him. Cheng is the person I rely on most to convey China’s positions.
5/30/2021

Brookings

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Cheng Li
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Biden’s China strategy
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'Final Thoughts'

'Just as Brzezinski foresaw the two new contending blocs –– requiring greater “geostrategic skill” –– that are forming today, Kissinger has emphasized the unprecedented dangers that AI could introduce into a divided world.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

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Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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Worse for China than Trump

‘Many Chinese now believe that the Biden administration could be more detrimental to U.S.-China relations than the Trump administration.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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The Trump Legacy

‘From Beijing’s perspective, the hawkish approach to China in the final year of the Trump administration revealed that the Trump team sought to defeat and destroy China in much the same way that the United States defeated the Soviet Union in the Cold War.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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'Biden’s China strategy: Coalition-driven competition or Cold War-style confrontation?'

‘Senior officials on the foreign policy team have frequently emphasized three “C” words: competition, cooperation, and confrontation.’
5/30/2021

Brookings

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
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Biden’s ‘Anti-China Bloc’

‘Throughout President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office, his administration has largely continued the Trump administration’s hawkish approach toward China.’ ‘President Biden has also made international coalition building to confront the growing power and influence of China his primary foreign policy initiative.’ ‘Chinese leaders and the public are not convinced by the statements recently made by President Biden that these U.S.-led alliances are “not anti-Chinese” and that the United States is “not looking for confrontation” with China.’
5/30/2021

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PRC

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Wang Wenbin | Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
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Biden’s First 100 Days
3

'China's Response to Biden's Speech'

‘It is natural for the two sides to have competition in some fields, but we should advocate fair competition, like competing with each other for excellence in a racing field, not beating each other on a wrestling arena.’
4/29/2021