[Global Times Reporter Lin RI Ren Zhong Shao Yi Jia Li Xue] President Biden has been in the White House for a week, but the new US government’s China policy has not yet presented a clear outline. However, this does not hinder the enthusiasm of the outside world for speculation and suggestions on Sino US relations in the next four years. After all, after four years of Trump’s administration, which experienced a free fall in Sino US relations, what will happen to the relations between the world’s two largest economies may be the biggest suspense left to the outside world by the new US government’s foreign policy. In recent days, the new cabinet members of Biden administration, who have taken office one after another, have been forced by the Republican hawks to ask “are you tough on China today?” I’m afraid we should not underestimate the negative legacy of the trump era on Sino US relations. However, on the other hand, it seems that the world can hardly bear the risk that Sino US relations will continue to deteriorate. There are more and more voices calling on Biden government to “manage relations with China” instead of “challenge China” to its allies. “China is not a pure partner, competitor or challenger, but a combination of the three.” the report on “correctly handling China’s challenges” issued by the Brookings Institution of the United States on the 25th holds that China and the United States will “be forced to coexist in a strategic competitive environment dissatisfied by both sides.”.
Order of calls
The U.S. Senate approved former deputy secretary of state Abraham Lincoln as secretary of state on the 26th with 78 votes in favor and 22 votes against.
According to Kyodo News Agency on the 27th, Japanese Foreign Minister mauki minchong held the first telephone conversation with the new US Secretary of state Abraham Lincoln on the same day. The two reached a consensus on strengthening the Japan US alliance and achieving “a free and open Indian Ocean Pacific region,” the report said. The report also said that MaoMu minchong affirmed Biden’s attitude of regarding the Diaoyu Islands as the applicable object of Article 5 of the Japan US security treaty, and brinkin said that “the attitude of the United States has not changed.”. This is the third time that the Diaoyu Islands have been mentioned in the official interaction between the United States and Japan since Biden took office. Last week, the Japanese and US defense ministers and two other senior Japanese and US officials mentioned the Diaoyu Islands in their phone calls.
On the same day, South Korean foreign minister Kang Jinghe also had a telephone conversation with brinken to exchange in-depth views on South Korea US relations and the Korean Peninsula issue. Yonhap said on the 27th that this may imply that the new US government will strengthen trilateral cooperation between South Korea, the United States and Japan to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue and implement the India Pacific strategy.
Before Lincoln called his Japanese and South Korean colleagues, the media noticed that Biden first called the Prime Minister of Canada and the president of Mexico after assuming office, followed by Britain, France and Germany, the three major European allies of the United States, followed by NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, and Russian President Vladimir Putin was the seventh foreign and international organization leader formally contacted by the new president of the United States.
In an interview with the global times on the 27th, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the center for American Studies at Fudan University, said that Canada and Mexico are two neighboring countries of the United States and have very close interests. Moreover, in the later period of Trump’s term of office, the relations between Canada and Mexico were not very harmonious, so Biden called the two countries first. European allies are the core “circle of friends” of the United States, which is in line with Biden’s diplomatic goal of repairing and ally relations and helps to bridge the rift between transatlantic countries in the trump era. As for Russia, it is predicted that Biden may adopt a tougher policy than trump towards Russia. However, Russia is a big country. If you come up here and have a word, you may have such a consideration.
When it comes to Biden’s failure to call the leaders of Asian countries, Xinqiang believes that only after the United States has appeased its European allies can it better win them over and cooperate with the United States in strategic cooperation in the Asia Pacific region. The sequence of Biden’s phone calls to foreign leaders reflects the differences in the diplomatic agenda between the US Democratic Party builders and their close friends, but it does not mean that the Biden administration “will not attach importance to the Asia Pacific and Indo Pacific region.”.
US Defense Secretary Austin, who just took office, spoke with Australian Defense Secretary Reynolds on the 26th. A Pentagon statement said the two defense secretaries reiterated their support for a common approach to “security challenges in the Indo Pacific region.”.
Anti China atmosphere in Washington remains unchanged
On January 26, US Commerce Secretary elect Raymond attended the US Senate appointment hearing by video. In her testimony to Congress, she said that the United States needs to invest in manufacturing innovation and technology, and take active trade law enforcement actions to “crack down on unfair trade practices by China and other countries that weaken the U.S. manufacturing industry.”. She also mentioned that China “violates the principle of competition by dumping steel and aluminum into the US market.”.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian refuted Raymond at a regular press conference on the 27th, saying that the US side has vowed to pursue a fair competition environment and fair trade, but the fact is just the opposite. He criticized the last administration of the United States for its unilateral protectionism and bullying, maliciously provoking a trade war, generalizing the concept of national security, abusing all kinds of excuses and lists, suppressing Chinese enterprises by all means and without bottom line, and coercing other countries to give up cooperation with Chinese enterprises. Zhao Lijian said that he hoped that the US side would learn lessons and correct its mistakes, and that China would continue to take necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.
A Global Times reporter saw on the spot of the US Senate hearing on the 26th that a number of members asked about the US China Economic and trade relations, but they all asked about how to compete with China and how to protect the US economic security. No one mentioned whether to resume the US China Economic and trade negotiations. When the famous Anti China Senator Cruz asked the Commerce Department of Biden administration “how to fight against China”, ramondo said that China’s action “has always been anti competition, hurting American workers and enterprises”, “so whether it is entity list, tariff or countervailing tariff, I will try my best to use all these tools to create a fair competition environment for American workers. President Biden has said that we will take “all government measures” to deal with the threat from China, and I will play my role in this team. “.
Cruz also asked ramondo whether he promised to keep these Chinese companies on the entity list. Ramondo replied, “I will work with you.” Cruz asked more specifically: “can you promise that Huawei will remain on the list?” Raymond did not respond positively, but said: “I promise that I will review the policy, consult with you, industry and allies, and make an assessment of what is best for the national and economic security of the United States.”
On the 25th, Republican congressmen Romney, Rubio, cotton and sass, who have always held an anti China stance, jointly wrote to new Treasury Secretary Yellen, urging her to take a tough stance on China’s economic and trade issues. Yellen said a week ago that “China is our most important strategic competitor”, but unlike trump, she stressed that the United States should invest in infrastructure and R & D to strengthen its economy.
Analysts pointed out that Trump’s four years in power have exacerbated the overall negative sentiment of the United States toward China. According to the latest Pew poll, more than 70% of US respondents have a negative impression of China. Former trump administration officials have repeatedly urged Biden’s team to remain “tough with China” in public. The general environment restricts Biden’s government from making overtures to China.
Yuan Zheng, a researcher at the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the global times that in general, under the very negative atmosphere of China in China, US officials have been cautious in expressing their views on China in recent days, with no special new ideas. In the four years of Trump’s term of office, the two parties in the United States have basically formed a consensus on China’s strength. Even if Biden has come to power, it is very difficult to reverse this situation. “What’s more, he may not want to reverse it.”.
The United States “patience”, China also needs “patience”
Meanwhile, China’s president Xi Jinping’s speech at the Davos Forum on video on the evening of 25 may be strongly concerned by mainstream media including the United States. The wall street journal called it a “subtle warning to Biden” from Chinese leaders. Us CNBC website said 26 days after Biden took office less than a week ago, Xi Jinping urged the world leaders to strengthen cooperation with China in a confident tone. The Japanese times commented on the 27th that Biden’s new diplomatic and security team includes loyal supporters of Obama and Hillary Clinton, who can be called the Democratic Party’s “dream team”. They are familiar with the rules of the game, but the question is, what if the game changes? Do these former Washington foreign policy elites have the ability to cope with a booming China?
Australia’s East Asia Forum said on the 26th that the biggest challenge for the United States on the international stage will be to manage its relations with China. The Biden administration needs to find a way to engage with China in order to seek global interests, from climate change to global economic governance, without harming the rest of the world. The international community needs to promote China and the United States to solve problems in a multilateral environment. In terms of economic and political security, China is too important for many countries in the world. Biden hopes to work with other countries to meet the challenges from China. However, unless the United States finds a way to contact China without harming the interests of its allies, and finds space for its allies and partners to contact China with reasonable conditions, the United States may find that “America first” will become “America alone”.
Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao said that in the past few days, there seems to be no sign of easing Sino US relations because of Biden’s new administration. Xi Jinping did not give the US’s approval and the US policy to China on many occasions. The White House press secretary Psaki stressed on 25 th that the Chinese leaders’ appeals will not change the strategic approach of the Biden administration. Biden said he hoped to deal with China’s relationship with patience.
Yuan Zheng told the global times that the “patience” mentioned by the White House spokesman may have three meanings. The first meaning is that Biden’s primary concern at present is the domestic affairs of the United States, such as anti epidemic, economic recovery, etc., and the handling of relations with China has not yet been listed. The second implication implies that the Biden administration is not in a hurry to make a clear gesture on the issue of relations with China. He hopes to communicate with his allies and partners first, reach a tacit understanding, and then deal with it. The third meaning is that considering the many difficulties and problems between China and the United States, solving these problems requires slow communication, contact and patience.
Yuan Zheng said that in view of the above situation, China must first do its own thing, and do a good job in the domestic anti epidemic and economic development. In addition, considering the situation faced by the Biden administration, we should also be “patient” in dealing with relations with the United States.
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