Why the U.S. tensions with Beijing are unlikely to improve?
The U.S.-China relations under the Biden Presidency and what are the workarounds
President Joe Biden’s friendship with China created the illusion that he would start healing the U.S.-China relations battered by President Trump. However, the cold reality of Washington politics has disappointed optimists on foreign relations.
The incoming Presidency will not reset the worsening bilateral relations because Biden’s China policy is subject to personal campaign premises, institutional constraints, and the strategic environment.
Not so China-friendly as you think
The loud voice of Trump’s anti-China rhetoric couldn’t cover Biden’s tough talks on Beijing. Throughout his campaign, Biden called China’s Xi a “thug,” criticized China’s human rights violations, and promised to assemble an international alliance to “pressure, isolate and punish China.”
Unlike Trump’s confrontation, Biden’s tough approach towards China will follow the Democratic tradition of engagement and multilateralism, which engages regional allies via international institutions. In their transition website, the Biden-Harris team singled out China as where the pandemic threats are coming from. They also planned to work with international organizations and deployed CDC’s disease detectives in Beijing.
To keep the consistency of statements before and after the election, the Biden administration is unlikely to break those campaign premises regarding China, and will continue the tough U.S. stance on China in different ways.
The Government will not standby
Presidential power is limited by congressional power, especially in a divided government. Even though Biden changes his mind and pursues positive changes in U.S.-China relations, he would face challenges from the Congress where bi-partisan aggression on China is in lockstep.