Biden China Tracker

by Malcolm Riddell

U.S.-China Alaska Meeting
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2 | In Anchorage, Yang Spoke for the Party Leadership

Nikkei Asian Review

CHINADebate

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Richard McGregor
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March 25, 2021
2 | In Anchorage, Yang Spoke for the Party Leadership
2 | In Anchorage, Yang Spoke for the Party Leadership
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Richard McGregor

U.S.-China Alaska Meeting

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Acrimony in Anchorage

BIG IDEA | ‘Yang's temper tantrum has been interpreted by some commentators as being all about Chinese domestic politics. But it would be a mistake to see Yang's performance as mere bluster designed for home consumption. In Anchorage, he was speaking for the top leadership of the Communist Party.’

Many commentators say that Yang Jiechi harsh statements to the U.S. team was an angry and spontaneous reaction to Mr. Blinken's comments about China's misdeeds or that it was just an intentional display meant to play well at home in China.

Richard McGregor of the Lowy Institute, drawing on decades of watching the China Communist Party and author of The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers (which I cannot recommend more highly even though it was written in 2011)has a different take:

  • ‘In Anchorage, he was speaking for the top leadership of the Communist Party.’
  • Here are more of his thoughts from the Nikkei Asian Review:

‘No diplomat who ever dealt with Yang Jiechi, China's top foreign policy official, would have been surprised by his opening screed at his first face-to-face meeting with his U.S. counterparts in Anchorage.’

  • ‘With the cameras rolling, Yang lectured the U.S. side at length about their democracy's shortcomings and China's strength.’
  • ‘ "The U.S. does not represent the world," he said, waving his finger across the table.’

‘Yang's tirade seemed to be a calculated display of disrespect for his two U.S. counterparts.’

  • ‘Yang's point, of course, is that the U.S. has shown disrespect for the Communist Party and the political system it presides over. He was returning the favor in spades.’

‘In that respect, the meeting was immensely valuable, as it drove home the stark divide between the world's two superpowers, with all the profound implications that holds for the rest of the world.’

  • ‘The two countries don't just hold incompatible views on Asia and the Indo-Pacific.’
  • ‘As Yang made clear, they are far apart on what should be the rules of the road for the entire world.’

‘China is increasingly confident it is gaining America's measure across the spectrum of competition, be it economic, military, technology and regional supremacy, and Yang's speech and the country's diplomacy more broadly reflects that.’

  • ‘The intensity of Yang's ire, at the very least was clarifying in setting the terms of the bilateral relationship at the start of the Biden administration.’

‘Yang's temper tantrum has been interpreted by some commentators as being all about Chinese domestic politics.’

  • ‘Yang certainly judged his target audience, astutely, with his fury about a "condescending" U.S. instantly going viral on local social media.’

‘But it would be a mistake to see Yang's performance as mere bluster designed for home consumption.’

  • ‘Yang has been a member of the Politburo since 2017.’
  • ‘In Anchorage, he was speaking for the top leadership of the Communist Party.’

Couple this with the Chinese reaction to EU sanctions, covered in the posts below, and you see that China is in full 'Wolf Warrior' mode - and pretty satisfied with that.

CHINADebate

CHINADebate

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

CHINADebate

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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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CHINADebate

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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

CHINADebate

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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CHINADebate

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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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Brookings

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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

CHINADebate

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

CHINADebate

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