Joe Biden warned he has ‘little leeway’ in tense China relations – ‘Rock and a hard place’

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The US President promised he will take a “tough stance” on China in the lead up to last year’s election, and has since maintained his predecessors approach to Beijing. Tensions between the US and China surged last year over a variety of issues, including the coronavirus pandemic and trade issues.

Dennis Etler, political analyst and professor of anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, claimed Mr Biden is “stuck between a rock and a hard place” in regards to the US’ relations with China.

Referencing the Trump administration’s foreign policy, he said: “Trump’s hardline policy towards Beijing was counterproductive and didn’t produce the promised results.

“The trade war backfired and the inept response of the Trump administration to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with its effective containment by Beijing, has put China in a much stronger position than its rival.

“While the US economy continues to flounder, China’s has returned to normal and the country is back on an upward trajectory.”

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Prof Etler then added to PressTV that Mr Biden will have to keep up pressure on China after Mr Trump’s policies enjoyed bipartisan support.

He added: “In many respects, Biden has inherited Trump’s hardline China policy, particularly when it comes to military confrontations.

“Now that the Democrats have control of all the levers of power in Washington they have to show that they are tough on China in order to defuse any criticism from their right flank.”

Prof Etler then said: “At present, Biden has little leeway in his dealings with China.

“In the long-term, however, it’s in the economic interests of the US to seek an accommodation with China and expend its energy in getting its own house in order before it goes off on some ill-fated and doomed foreign adventures.”

Mr Biden told CBS he will be confronting China in a more diplomatic way than Mr Trump.

He said “we’re going to focus on international rules of the road”, and anticipates issues with China will be closer to “extreme competition” than all out conflict.

The President also shared he had not been in contact with Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping since taking office.

He added: “He’s very bright and he’s very tough and – I don’t mean it as a criticism it’s just a reality – he doesn’t have a democratic…bone in his body.”

Despite Mr Biden’s claims the US will be avoiding conflict, Washington sent the guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain through the Taiwan Strait in the South China Sea.

The vessel was taking part in a freedom of navigation operation to “assert navigational rights and freedoms,” according to a statement from 7th Fleet spokesman Lt. Joe Keiley.

Beijing was outraged by the move, and claimed the Biden administration was using “mixed manipulation” to create tensions in the South China Sea.

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It comes after Mr Xi issued an order to Chinese troops to be prepared for war “at all times” at the start of the year.

In a statement published to the Chinese military commission website, the President issued an order to troops to be ready for a “real war scenario”.

The order said: “Training under real combat conditions must be deepened and all military training should be war-centred and conducive to improving combat effectiveness, and the research on warfare and combat-related issues should be enhanced”.

It also asked forces to “strengthen confrontational training under real war scenario, hone the troops in the frontline of military struggle, and promote the in-depth combination and integration of military training and operations, ensuring combat readiness all the time and operational capability at any time”.

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