Biden will compete from a position of strength, as will China
Published: Feb 05, 2021 04:33 PM

China US Photo:GT

I have a few opinions about US President Joe Biden's foreign policy speech.

First, Biden expressed extreme vigilance toward the scenario of China catching up with and even surpassing the US. US' strategic anxiety toward the "challenges from China" has penetrated and permeated the entire country, which will be difficult to resolve. 

Second, Biden said: "We'll confront China's economic abuses; counter its aggressive, coercive action; to push back on China's attack on human rights, intellectual property, and global governance." This is an immeasurably vast difference in the perception of China from the Democrat's  last administration. It mirrors Donald Trump's populist governance style that has been imprinted on the establishment's mentality toward China. The ghost of "Trumpism" will linger on in the US.

Third, Biden emphasized that the US will engage its adversaries and competitors diplomatically, "where it's in our interest, and advance the security of the American people," and will "work with Beijing when it's in America's interest to do so." This is obviously different from antagonistic rhetoric from Trump's administration. 

Fourth, Biden specifically stressed the US will "repair" its alliances. The US "can't do it alone" in solving the world's challenges. "We must start with diplomacy rooted in America's most cherished democratic values," he said, adding "that's the grounding wire of our global policy — our global power. That's our inexhaustible source of strength. That's America's abiding advantage." 

In short, Biden's first foreign policy speech is in line with the expectations of public opinion and analysts. His stance toward China inherits some parts from his predecessor, yet he has also adjusted the approach and made room for interacting with China. Biden said "we will compete from a position of strength by building back better at home." This is the same for China. Before dealing with the US strategically, China must first do its own thing well. 

The author is editor-in-chief of the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn