WASHINGTON: Acknowledging that the US is in “serious competition” with China, the Biden administration has asserted that it will counter Beijing’s “aggressive and coercive” actions, sustain its key military advantages and restore America’s vital security partnerships.
The relations between the US and China are at an all-time low. The two countries are currently engaged in a bitter confrontation over various issues, including trade, the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, aggressive military moves in the disputed South China Sea, human rights and Taiwan, the self-governing democracy that China claims as its own territory and threatens to bring under its control by military force.
China resents US support for Taiwan along with the US military presence in the South China Sea and what it sees as a broad-based US campaign to restrain its growth.
“When it comes to China more broadly, you have heard us talk about our strategic approach to Beijing. We are in serious competition with China. Strategic competition is the frame through which we see that relationship,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his maiden news conference on Tuesday.
Price said that China’s actions have hurt the American workers and threatened America’s alliances and influence in global institutions.
“We know that China is engaged in a range of conduct that hurts American workers, it blunts our technological edge, it threatens our alliances and influence in international organisations, and China is engaged in gross human rights violations that shock the conscience. So we will counter China’s aggressive and coercive actions, sustain our key military advantages, defend democratic values, invest in advanced technologies, and restore our vital security partnerships,” Price said.
“Even as we see it through the lens of competition and positioning ourselves to compete and ultimately to outcompete with the Chinese through our own sources of strength, being our alliances, our partnerships, but also our domestic sources of strength – our workforce, our technology, our supply chain security,” he said.
Responding to a question, Price urged Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in a meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected leadership.
China views Taiwan as a rebel province that must be reunified with the mainland, even by force.
At the White House, its Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden administration’s approach to China is strategic. “We are working to ensure that we are approaching that relationship from a position of strength, and that includes engagement with our allies and partners,” she told reporters at her daily news conference.
Price said that it is no coincidence that as the US president, Biden started by reaching out to America’s closest allies in Europe and the Indo-Pacific.
“We see our alliances, our partnerships globally as this force multiplier across any range of challenges, and that includes in our relationship with Beijing. So as a first step, we want to make sure that we are in lockstep with those allies, in lockstep with those partners, and then you can expect that there will be engagement in several areas with China,” he said.
The Biden administration is formulating its policies toward China, which many analysts see as America’s largest geopolitical challenge.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated on his first day in office that he believed genocide was being committed against Xinjiang’s ethnic minorities, signalling that President Joe Biden plans to continue some of former President Donald Trump’s tough stances against Beijing.