Running for the presidency has cost Joe Biden to have at least one friend. Back in the Obama era, Biden spent dozens of hours with China’s President Xi Jinping. On one occasion, they ate noodles at a Beijing restaurant with Biden’s granddaughter, and Xi used to call Biden a “old friend.” In May 2019, Biden confirmed that China’s Communist Party leader was “not a bad guy”.
But years can change In an effort to demonstrate his strength against China, Biden began to describe Xi as “a gangster who, in fact, has millions of Uighurs .. meditation camps.” He will unite as a “alliance of friends and allies to challenge China̵7;s inappropriate behavior”.
But in fact, the president-elect is still too weak for Beijing to face Xi? Could he prove the critics wrong?
There is no possible shortage of “friends and partners.” Chinese neighbors such as Taiwan, Japan and India have been alarmed by Beijing’s military assertiveness. And in countries such as Myanmar, where China is building roads, water pipelines and power stations, there is opposition to what locals think violates national sovereignty.
China’s diplomacy also adds a loophole. It takes Australia, where Beijing has poured money to influence the country’s elite through everything from trade deals to thinking buckets. Over the past few years, the mood has changed dramatically: Australia has tightened safety rules on foreign investment and increased defense spending in the Indo-Pacific.
When the Aussie government called for an international investigation into the origin of the novel coronavirus, China’s foreign ministry said it was “shocking” because Australia. “Should be a good friend”
The UK has seen similar rapid changes. Five years ago, London was Europe’s biggest supporter of engagement with Beijing. But last year Boris Johnson’s administration set new barriers to Chinese investment, citing security concerns.
Meanwhile, at the United Nations Xi has tried to stifle criticism – until October 39, 39 countries have joined Beijing’s anti-violations declaration. China’s record has always been shocking. But in the past year it has not been popular: You can’t forget the footage millions of Hong Kongers protested – followed by the mass arrests of opposers. There are no unspeakable footage of Uighurs being loaded blindfolded and handcuffed onto a train.
And that’s before COVID-19 concealment, even in relatively Chinese-friendly regions like Latin America, there was public anger over the party of color that played a role in the epidemic. According to Pew, China’s “unfavorable opinion” has “soared over the past year” from Canada, the Netherlands to South Korea.
In theory, Biden should be able to build his “alliance” in practice more difficult. Last month, the EU ignored warnings from US officials, including senior adviser Biden, and signed a trade deal with China (Xi happily described as an agreement between the “two world powers”). See China as a dangerous competitor But ultimately, they wanted a business opportunity, even if it meant alienating Washington and making her mother ignore the brutal color.
When it comes to Chinese trade practices, Biden may find that his “friends and partners” evaporate. He could have been more successful just by enforcing Trump’s “Phase One” trade deal. Outbound Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said America was in a strong position to “hold on”. [China’s] Feet to fire ”on the promise of fair treatment and purchase obligation.
Biden’s “alliance” will achieve greater security, he is expected to coordinate quietly existing alliances such as “The Quad”, an informal partnership with India, Japan and Australia, and an intelligence sharing network. “Five Eyes”.
But on the matter of human rights, it is clear that international cooperation has been opened. China pledges to respect Hong Kong’s independence. Biden could lead to pressure to keep that promise – possibly due to coordinated international sanctions on Chinese officials.
He was also able to push Congress to enact a law against the supply chain linked to Uighur concentration camps. And because Beijing will veto any international court effort to review camps, Biden is able to empower the U.S. court to review the case.
That would be a serious move. But if the elected president really believes what he says, that is, his only friend is caring for “genocide”, it’s hard to see how he can do less.
Dan Hitchens, writing from London, Twitter: @DDHitchens