Biden China Tracker

by Malcolm Riddell

Biden’s China strategy
5

Worse for China than Trump

Brookings

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
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Director, Brookings Institution, John L. Thornton China Center

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May 30, 2021
Worse for China than Trump
Worse for China than Trump
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Biden’s China strategy

5

BIG IDEA | ‘Many Chinese now believe that the Biden administration could be more detrimental to U.S.-China relations than the Trump administration.’
‘In their view, the Biden administration’s strategic approach to create an anti- China alliance and its ideological appeal to countries around the world to characterize the Chinese government as a genocidal regime, have backed China into a corner.’

‘President Biden has indeed reversed some of the above policies; for example, he used executive orders to ban the use of phrases like “Chinese virus” or “Kung Flu” and to condemn the racial profiling of Chinese Americans and Asian Americans.’

  • ‘But most of the aforementioned policies of the Trump team have remained.’
  • ‘The now well-known comment by China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, to his American counterparts–– “we thought too well of you”–– has reaffirmed the widespread sentiment in China prior to the Anchorage dialogue that “there is no essential difference between the Biden team and the Trump team.” ’

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

  • ‘In their view, the Biden administration’s strategic approach to create an anti- China alliance and its ideological appeal to countries around the world to characterize the Chinese government as a genocidal regime, have backed China into a corner.’

‘Beijing’s greatest concern is the Biden administration’s position regarding Taiwan.’

  • ‘The fact that the representative of Taiwan to the United States was invited to attend the inauguration ceremony of President Biden, an act unprecedented since the establishment of U.S.-China diplomatic relations in 1979, was a bad omen for the Chinese government.’

‘Chinese commentators have recently observed that four moves by the Biden administration have greatly escalated tensions across the Taiwan Strait:’

  • ‘the U.S. forcibly engaging Japan and Australia in preparations for military intervention in the region;
  • ‘the U.S. and Taiwan signing a maritime patrol agreement to encourage Taiwan’s military to participate in Indo-Pacific security affairs through maritime patrols;’
  • ‘the issuing of guidelines encouraging “official exchanges” between the U.S. and Taiwan; and
  • ‘the U.S. ambassador to Palau joining the Palau president for an official visit to Taiwan.’

‘Unsurprisingly, in PRC media, aggressive anti-American rhetoric has reached a new high, resulting from what the Chinese have called “U.S. provocative conduct to challenge Beijing’s redline.” ’

  • ‘In terms of tensions over the Taiwan Strait, many observers believe that the risk of military conflict has increased during the Biden administration, as previously described.’

CHINADebate

CHINADebate

Malcolm Riddell
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CHINADebate

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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

CHINADebate

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Biden Doctrine
3

'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

CHINADebate

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Biden Doctrine
2

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
1

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

CHINADebate

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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

CHINADebate

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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

CHINADebate

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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

CHINADebate

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G7 to D10
3

'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

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
7

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
3

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
0

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

CHINADebate

Cheng Li
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Brookings

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Biden’s China strategy
6

'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
5

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
4

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
1

'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
2

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
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