China hopes to bring bilateral ties to right track, says FM amid intense US partisan strife in midterms
Published: Nov 09, 2022 11:42 PM
US division Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US division Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

While refusing to comment on the US midterm elections which are the country's internal affairs and up to the American voters, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday expressed hopes that the US will work with China to find the right way for the two countries to get along with each other in the new era on the basis of the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, and bring bilateral relations back to the right track of sound and steady development.

The midterms come at a time when a significant segment of the American population seems confused and disillusioned on their political and social environment, and in return the political event has intensified the people's anxiety with a majority of Americans believing political violence in their country will increase and that the country will be less of a democracy for future generations than it is now, a new CBS News poll found. 

Democrats are trying to cling to their majorities in Congress for the final two years of President Joe Biden's first term. Republicans are favored to win control of the House, while the race for Senate control appears tight, US media outlet CNBC reported.

The US midterm elections are its internal affairs, and the election results are to be decided by the US voters, Zhao said at the Wednesday press conference. We believe that a sound and steady China-US relationship serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples; it is also the common aspiration of the international community, Zhao said.

Though Biden is not on the ballot, the midterms will shape the fate of his agenda.

Lü Xiang, an expert on international relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the Democrats' loss of control of the House was expected. "Biden had a lot of opportunities and resources to be a president who 'saved America', but his 'double failure' both inside and outside the US has caused his own approval rating and that of the Democratic Party to plummet," Lü said.

The expert explained that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the US economy is continuing, but the Biden administration has not handled it well, not only by "handing out money" which caused alarming inflation, but also by making the domestic economy worse under the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

But the expert believes that Republicans also gave Democrats "a gift," as while the Republicans are deeply influenced and kidnapped by former president Donald Trump, candidates running for the seats in several key states were all "selected" by Trump. However, many of Trump's endorsed candidates failed to win, and even led to the Democrats flipping a Senate seat in Pennsylvania, meaning the Democratic Party is looking more likely to retain the Senate.

Even if Republicans do not control the Senate after gaining more seats in the House, given the bipartisan emphasis on getting tough with China, the US Congress is likely to push through more China-bashing bills in the next two years including those on Taiwan policy and supply-chain decoupling, said Yuan Zheng, deputy director and senior fellow of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy, who could be the next House speaker, has said in July that he would visit the island of Taiwan if he becomes House speaker after the midterm elections, media reported previously.

The Biden administration may seek to "make a deal" with the Republicans on foreign policy in exchange for more room in domestic policy, as Republicans will look to stymie domestic policy, and China policy will likely become a "victim" in this kind of domestic trade, said Sun Chenghao, adjunct fellow at the Center for International Security and Strategy, Tsinghua University.

The US' China policy after the midterm elections could also be more hysterical, according to Yuan.

Biden's China policy in the future may be a bit more Republican, with more obvious ideological bias and Cold War mentality… for example, by engaging with allies in areas where there is bipartisan consensus and further antagonizing China on so-called values, experts predicted. 

The US is bracing for further chaos and division, as Republicans are highly likely to trigger an impeachment process against US President Joe Biden if they wrest control of the House back, Chinese experts predicted, as Americans will finish voting in the midterm elections on Tuesday amid an atmosphere of intense partisan rivalry. 

The election, which is regarded as a warm-up for the 2024 presidential election, will not only reshape the balance of power of the two parties, but also impact the world due to its spillover effects. Chinese experts warned that the Biden administration is likely to make more of a presence on the international stage and continue to confront and pressure China after a frustration in Congress.