Biden expected to put transatlantic relations in order, revive talks
Published: Nov 08, 2020 09:38 PM

Headlines in German newspapers in Berlin show a tale of winners and losers as they report Joe Biden's victory in the US presidential race over outgoing US President Donald Trump on Sunday. German government leaders have reacted with relief and congratulations following the projected win of Biden. Photo: VCG

European leaders hope that president-elect Joe Biden will put transatlantic relations in order and revive negotiations, which will also leave more negotiation room for China with the two sides, Chinese experts said, while warning of more toughness from the US and Europe on some important issues like the South China Sea as they move closer again.    

"The Trump administration has destroyed the order of US-Europe relations. His failure to play by the rules has led to uncertainty being the main problem in US-European relations. Biden, on the other hand, will have more certainty in his strategy toward Europe, which means he will try to repair the transatlantic relationship by restoring order," Zhou Hong, deputy director of the Academic Division of International Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

However, this does not mean the transatlantic relationship will improve immediately, it only means they will follow a certain set of rules to deal with each other. Although the US and Europe still have the title of a "traditional alliance," as contradictions and conflicts will take time to resolve, Zhou warned. 

Biden is expected to revive dialogue with Europe, but the US and Europe are now are too far apart to return where they once were. The US is following liberal capitalism, while Europe relies on a social market economy. Besides, they have conflicts in their national interests, such as oil and energy resources, Zhou said.

Europeans, including their leaders, started congratulating Biden on being elected the 46th president of the US on Saturday within minutes of the race being called. Many expressed strong hope for a renewal of transatlantic relations that will step out of the disorder of the Trump era, European media reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated the president-elect and vice president-elect on Saturday on Twitter and said she looked forward to working with Biden.

"Our transatlantic friendship is indispensable if we are to deal with the major challenges of our time," Merkel said. 

German foreign minister Heiko Mass said Germany looked forward to the West playing "as a team again," Euronews reported.

French President Emmanuel Macron also tweeted congratulations to Biden and Harris, stating that there was "a lot to do to overcome today's challenges," calling on the US to work together.  

China can expect more negotiation room with the US and Europe after Biden takes office, but competition and toughness may come to China under close transatlantic relations, Zhou warned.  

China should prepare for a tough Europe and a tough US, but there is no need to be afraid. Germany once hoped to gain more influence over the South China Sea. Perhaps the US and Europe will talk tough on the South China Sea issue in the future, but it will go no further than that, and Europe will not participate in actual military exercises, Zhou noted. 

Other observers also doubted how much Europe would cooperate with the US to play the geopoliotics card to contain China, as the major mission for Europeans, facing the COVID-19 pandemic,  is to curb the virus and resume economy, for which they would need badly to cooperate with China.

Other issues such as the values and human rights are less likely to be used by the West to attack China following the pandemic and the terrorist attacks in some European countries including France. Chinese people have built strong confidence in the country's system given the Chinese government's performance in the epidemic and China's development in the past years, observers noted.

blog comments powered by Disqus