During President Donald Trump’s administration, the United States and the Chinese Communist Party were involved in an abrasive relationship. For the first time in many years the U.S. government implemented effective measures to counteract decades of abuse by the regime in political, commercial, and economic matters. This affected not only the United States but the entire free world.
During the presidential campaign, Democratic candidate Joe Biden presented himself as a strong opponent of practically all the measures implemented by Trump and harshly criticized Republicans with the support of the mainstream media, which completely played into Biden’s hands.
In addition, Biden pledged to reverse important measures implemented during the Trump administration that had allowed limiting the advance of progressive ideas associated, for example, with LGBT ideology, abortion, historical revisionism, and far-left groups such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa.
But as to what would happen with the relationship between the United States and the Chinese communist regime was a mystery because Biden’s team maintained throughout the campaign an ambiguous discourse on this issue, leading to his unclear comments on his position.
Thus, on January 20, 2021, Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, leaving open the question of what his approach to international affairs would be. What would the administration’s stance on the Chinese communist regime be?
What was the U.S. relationship with the Chinese regime like when Biden took office?
In 2011, before running for president, Trump had already made it clear what he thought of the CCP. Contrary to what most high-level businessmen and politicians at the time were stating, Trump declared on the campaign trail: “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country.” And later as president, he tweeted, “China is neither an ally or a friend — they want to beat us and own our country.”
During his four years as president, Trump lived up to his pledge and pursued a strong campaign to limit the power of the Chinese regime within the United States, implementing a host of legislation and sanctions against it.
After an attempted agreement between the two nations in early 2020, with the arrival of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, the pandemic, and the regime’s questionable reaction to this situation, the U.S. government ended up losing all confidence in the regime. The agreement, far from prospering, turned into an emboldened trade war between the two powers.
The Biden era and his relationship with the CCP
From his first day as president of the United States, Biden was not shy about reversing a large number of conservative measures implemented during the previous administration.
With an arsenal of more than 40 executive orders, in just a few days Biden managed to eliminate much of the progress in conservatism that President Trump had achieved. However, the issue of the relationship with China remained a mystery.
On February 10, 2021, President Biden and leader Xi Jinping took the first step and engaged in a protocol call of greetings and introduction. While Xi focused on stressing the importance of mutual respect, cooperation, and dialogue, it surprised everyone that Biden got straight to the point and emphasized the concerns raised about economic practices, human rights, and Taiwan.
During the Trump administration, an act was implemented where the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established a “blacklist” of companies that for various reasons posed a risk to national security. Chinese companies were added to the list.
On March 12, 2021, five Chinese companies, among them the controversial Huawei Technologies Co., were included in this black list, which implied the first sign that the Biden administration could continue with the heavy-handed policy against the regime, despite the fact that most of the opposition expected the opposite.
Including Chinese companies on the blacklist continued by the dozens in the following months, not only in the FCC’s list but also in the lists drawn up by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Department of Defense. The sanctioning of many Chinese officials, businessmen, and personalities accused of undermining national security was also implemented.
From March 18 to 20, 2021, officials from the Chinese regime and the Biden administration met face-to-face for the first time in Alaska.
During the first day’s public session, both sides sharply rebuked each other’s policies for more than an hour. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in his opening remarks that the United States intended to discuss its deep concerns with the Chinese Communist Party’s actions, including what is happening in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyberattacks against the United States, and economic coercion toward allies.
From that moment on it became clear that at least in the matter with the Chinese regime, Biden would continue the policy line left by former President Donald Trump.
The criticism against the CCP from that first meeting was followed by more sanctions and measures against China such as: the implementation of the Strategic Competition Act that seeks to counter the CCP’s growing global influence, the extension of Trump-era bans on U.S. investment in Chinese companies, the passage of the act banning all imports from the Xinjiang region, and the U.S. boycott of diplomats and officials against the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games.
Although many of these measures were promoted during the Trump era, or by Republican legislators during Biden’s presidency, the truth is that they were also supported by the Democratic administration or at least no attempt was made to go against them.
Some criticisms regarding the US-China relationship during the Biden era
Although in general terms the Biden administration continued with hard line against the communist regime, there were some issues that have aroused some criticism. The case of administration’s position regarding the controversial Chinese social network TikTok and attempts to lift tariffs on Chinese products to combat U.S. inflation.
Regarding TikTok, Biden dismissed Trump’s attempt to ban the application in the country by eliminating a series of executive orders signed by Trump for this purpose. The White House assured that the investigation carried out to analyze the security of the platform continues its normal course.
Another issue that aroused some criticism against the Biden administration was the announcement it issued at the beginning of July 2022. It mentioned that in view of the persistently high inflation, the administration was considering eliminating tariffs on Chinese products in order to allow their entry at real prices, in order to make them compete with locally manufactured products seeking to prevent U.S. companies from increasing their prices.
Tension with the CCP rises
During the last few weeks, the relationship between the United States and CCP has reached a historic limit of extreme tension, to the point that at times the real possibility of an armed confrontation between the two powers was feared.
On May 24, Biden announced his willingness to defend Taiwan militarily if necessary, which aroused the wrath of the Chinese regime. The CCP was quick to respond with more threats, both against Taiwan and the United States and its allies.
Faced with escalating threats and the possibility of a real confrontation, Biden and Xi held a telephone call on July 28 that lasted more than two hours. Government officials involved in security, defense and international relations also participated.
Less than a week later, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan in defiance of all the direct threats made by the CCP in an attempt to prevent Pelosi meeting with Taiwan officials, It argued that it was a provocative action on the part of the U.S. government.Consequently, the communist regime deployed six military drill zones in front of Taiwan’s main ports, the fly over of dozens of aircraft over Taiwanese territory, thus escalating the violence and threats of a real conflict that reached a maximum degree of tension, which remains to this day.
The conflict seems to be far from resolved and the tension that is experienced daily due to the possibility of a real confrontation between the United States and the CCP and their allies, brings back memories of the Cold War years between the United States and the former Soviet Union, when it seemed that a small spark could generate a catastrophic explosion.