China’s relationship with the United States is the “biggest geopolitical test of the twenty-first century,” according to US Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who claims that the Asian superpower is the only country with the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological capability to seriously challenge the international system’s stability and openness.
“We will navigate the world’s most important geopolitical test of the twenty-first century: our relationship with China. Several countries, including Russia, Iran, and North Korea, pose serious challenges to us, and there are serious crises in Yemen, Ethiopia, and Burma that we must address. The challenges posed by China, on the other hand, are distinct,” Blinken said as he unveiled the Joe Biden Administration’s eight key foreign policy focus areas.
“China is the only country with the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological capabilities to pose a serious threat to the stability and openness of the international system. All the rules, values, and relationships that make the world work the way we want it to because it ultimately serves the American people’s interests and reflects their values. When it comes to China, our relationship will be competitive. When it’s possible, be collaborative; when it’s necessary, be adversarial,” said Blinken.
“The common denominator is the need to engage China from a powerful position.” For this to happen, it is necessary to work with allies and partners rather than demonize them. Because China will find it much more difficult to ignore our combined weight,” he said. This, he said, necessitates diplomacy and participation in international organizations, because China has stepped in where the US has stepped back.
“When human rights are violated in Xinjiang or democracy is trampled in Hong Kong, it is necessary to stand up for our values.” Because if we don’t, China will be able to act even more capriciously. It also entails putting money into American workers, businesses, and technology. And insisting on a level playing field because we can out-compete anyone when we do,” Blinken said.
According to the secretary of state, succeeding in the global economy requires making the right investments at home and fighting unfair trade practices by China and others. Dealing with climate change entails investing in resilience and green energy in the United States, as well as leading a global effort to reduce carbon pollution, he explained.
President Biden referred to China as the US’s “most serious competitor” in his foreign policy address, promising to confront Beijing on a number of fronts, including human rights, intellectual property, and economic policy.
Former Republican President Donald Trump pushed hard on all aspects of US-China relations during his time in office, including his never-ending trade war, challenging China’s military hold on the disputed South China Sea, constant threats to Taiwan, mass detention of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, branding coronavirus as “China virus” after it emerged from Wuhan in December 2019, and the Tiananmen Square protests. The last four years of Trump’s presidency are widely regarded as the worst in Sino-American relations.