World

Biden likely to stay tough on China

WASHINGTON: In his unsuccessful campaign for re-election, President Donald Trump repeatedly warned that a victory for Mr Joe Biden would be a win for China and that Beijing would "own America".

Despite that rhetoric, there is little to suggest Beijing will find Mr Biden a soft alternative to Mr Trump, who dramatically shifted the US narrative to confront the world's second-largest economy in his final year in power. After initial efforts to engage Beijing, Mr Trump's administration took this further, pushing back forcefully against China's efforts to spread its influence globally.

Mr Biden has not laid out a detailed China strategy, but all indications are he will continue the tough approach to Beijing.

Diplomats, analysts and former officials who advised the Biden campaign do though expect a more measured tone.

That said, Mr Biden has at times gone even further than Mr Trump in attacking China.

He has referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a "thug" and vowed to lead an international campaign to "pressure, isolate and punish China".

Mr Biden's campaign also labelled China's actions against Muslims in Xinjiang "genocide" - a step further than current policy, which will have significant implications if that designation is formalised.

"The United States does need to get tough with China," Mr Biden said in an article published in March.

"The most effective way to meet that challenge is to build a united front of US allies and partners to confront China's abusive behaviours and human rights violations."

In the same sentence, he also wrote of seeking "to cooperate with Beijing on issues where our interests converge, such as climate change, non-proliferation and global health security". - REUTERS

WORLD