At the end of a week that saw China eradicate one of the last strongholds of political dissent in Hong Kong, a power play that – without being unexpected – could have been encouraged or accelerated by Joe’s “victory” Biden last week, some say, the CCP finally reached out to congratulate Biden, becoming one of the last big countries to do so, according to the AP.
Notably, the congratulatory message comes less than a day after the Trump administration imposed new restrictions on U.S. investments in a few dozen Chinese PLA-linked companies, a sign that Trump’s White House has indeed l ‘intention to maintain the pressure until after the opening day. (i.e. assuming all election results reported by the media are validated by the final tally).
Biden’s choice for COVID Czar kicked off Operation Dark Winter in 2001 to put in place the lockdown we are seeing now. But Lockdown 2.0 will look more like Dark Winter “Hell” than we’ve seen so far.
The timing makes China’s ‘respect’ message even more interesting, as many expect Biden to soften Trump’s hardline stance and bring the China-U.S. Relationship back to ‘the way it used to be.’ under the Obama administration (when Biden’s son Hunter was busy making lucrative deals with businessmen who were also said to have been linked to Chinese military and intelligence services.
“We respect the choice of the American people,” Foreign Department spokesperson Wang Wenbin said. “We congratulate Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris.”
Wang gave no reason for the delay, but said, “The result will be confirmed according to US laws and procedures.”
As the world waits to see whether Biden will maintain Trump’s aggressive stance on China, the PA stresses that “a tough stance on China enjoys broad support across the political spectrum.” However, Biden has already helped implement a very different set of foreign policy priorities during his tenure as vice president.
Political analysts expect Biden to attempt to resume cooperation with Beijing on climate change, North Korea, Iran and the coronavirus. And they say Biden could pursue a more traditional and predictable policy towards China. However, economists and political analysts expect little big change amid widespread frustration with Beijing’s trade and human rights record and accusations of spying and stealing technology. “A firm stance on China enjoys broad support across the US political spectrum,” Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics said in a report this week. “Biden’s statements and political agenda suggest he will continue to try to maintain the US technological lead and attract manufacturing activity.” Some forecasters suggest that Trump’s move, who has rejected multilateral alliances, to Biden could increase the pressure on China if Washington forms a coalition with other developed countries to push for policy changes. China tried to recruit Germany, France, South Korea and other governments as allies against Washington, but all refused. They have criticized Trump’s trade tactics of raising tariffs by surprise, which have also been used against allies, but echo US complaints that China is violating its free trade commitments. Some Chinese trade experts have suggested that Beijing may try to renegotiate the “phase 1” deal signed in January as a first step towards ending the trade war. He calls on China to increase its purchases of American products in exchange for postponing further tariff increases. But it happened before the coronavirus derailed global trade, leaving China behind its commitments. The renegotiation might correspond to a “more strategic and longer-term direction” expected from a Biden administration, but it “cannot be seen as being” soft “on China” after the “harsh rhetoric” of the campaign, Kuijs said.
With a tenure on the clock and the US economy heading for another 4-6 week lockdown, one of Biden’s own advisers says will ‘president-elect’ show same recklessness to stand up to Beijing that its predecessor showed? It is doubtful. And the events of this week suggest that Beijing and Washington expect a much “gentler, gentler” approach to America’s greatest geopolitical enemy.
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