Will Biden be tough on China?


  • Biden proclaims China as a ‘genocide’ due to its approach towards violating fundamental human rights.
  • Biden states that the United States does not need to get tough with China. Still, he ensures to build a strong relationship with the United States allies and partners to challenge China’s offensive behaviors.
  • American public policy experts suggest that Biden’s team shows premature signs of agreeing with Trump’s administration on China’s sensitive issues.
  • Biden’s nominee for Commerce Secretary and nominee for ambassador to the United Nations has taken harsh China lines.

During the democratic administration of President Obama, Biden, the Vice President then, was firm on being sturdy towards China. Though the Former President Trump tried to propagate during his presidential campaigns, Biden’s victory would lead to a win for China, and Beijing would now get to be America’s owners. In recent times, the rift between Biden and China is rugged. According to reports, Biden looks forward to engaging in international campaigns to pressurize, isolate and punish china. Due to china’s approach towards Muslims in Xinjiang, he labels China’s actions as a ‘genocide.’

The coronavirus pandemic has worsened the situation globally. Though Biden states that the United States does not need to get tough with China, he ensures building a strong relationship with the United States allies and partners to challenge China’s offensive behaviors and infringe fundamental human rights. He believes the United States to be more assertive when working with allies and when captivating leading international institutions. The aim is to approach China with strength and not weakness, mostly under the US’s control.

American public policy experts suggest that Biden’s team shows premature signs of agreeing with Trump’s administration on China’s sensitive issues. Though Biden favored Trump for getting tough with China, he contradicted how Trump’s administration dealt with Beijing.

At the center of tense United States-China relations stands Taiwan- a self-ruled and democratic island. The former administration has paid multiple visits to this island. The Chinese Communist Party in Beijing is against Taiwan’s relations with the United States as they have no governance in Taiwan.

Taiwan, with its model of democracy and a strong economy, is a technological powerhouse. Its approach towards dealing with Covid-19 was impressive, and with this praise, the US seeks to maintain a good relation with Taiwan.

The past: US-China relations in the ’90s

The United States and the United nation backed south Korea, whereas China supported the North in 1950. This lead to a conflict sacrificing over four million people. The war lasted for three long years until the United Nations, China, and North Korea signed an armistice agreement in 1953.

During the Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1955, United States threatened a nuclear attack on China. Though China agreed to negotiate after that, a crisis erupted again the following year.

During the Tibetan riot, the United States and the United Nations condemned Beijing for violating fundamental human rights in Tibet.

In 1971, China’s ping-pong committee invited members of the US team to China. It was the first public sign of warming the situation between the two nations.

President Nixon visited China in 1972 and signed the ‘Shanghai communique’ to improve its relations.

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter granted China diplomatic recognition, acknowledged China’s ‘One China’ principle, and proclaimed regular ties with Taiwan. The Taiwan Relation Act was formulated, which led to the continuation of cultural and commercial relations between the US and China.

The relation between the two countries became firm when President Reagan visited china in 1984 and allowed the Beijing government to make purchases of the US military equipment.

The situation began to intense during Beijing’s Tiananmen Massacre in 1989, which led to hundreds of protesters’ death. Due to this, the US government decided to suspend all its military sales and relation with Beijing.

With Taiwan’s first free presidential win in 1996, Washington and Beijing agree to exchange officials again.

However, in 1999 the Sino-US relations got bitter when NATO accidentally bombed the Chinese embassy.

The past: US-China relations in the ’20s

Trade bonds between China and the United States were normalized in 2001 by the US-China Relations Act signed by US President Bill Clinton. This act also made way for China in the World Trade Organization.

By 2004, China’s trade with the US raised from $5 billion to $231 billion. And by 2006, China surpassed Mexico to become United Nations’ second-biggest trade partner after Canada.

China overshadows Japan and becomes the largest holder of US debt in 2008. Being a US foreign creditor, the concern over US-China economic imbalances fuels up, leading to a financial crisis threatening the global economy.

By 2011, the United States pivots towards Asia. During the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation Summit, then-President Barack Obama announced the United States’ cooperation with eight nations to sign an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multinational free trade agreement.

US trade deficit rose to $ 295.5 billion in 2011 from $273.1 billion in 2010.

Trade tensions rise in 2012 as the United States and its allies assault China for violating international trade norms, which force the multinational firms that utilize metals to relocate to China.

In 2013 President Obama pledged to cooperate on submerging bilateral, regional, and global concerns with China. The United States and China vow to establish a new model of the relationship between the two nations.

Tensions arise once again in 2015, as the United States warns China over the South China Sea dispute. US authorities argued that the images provided by the US naval surveillance pointed out China placing its military equipment on artificial islands.

In 2017 President Trump assured China regarding the One China Policy. He states to maintain formal ties with the People’s Republic of China and maintain unofficial relations with Taiwan.

Trump’s administration announces tariffs on China; these include taxes on steel and aluminum imports, clothing, shoes, and electronics. Beijing retaliates, proclaiming Tariff bullying by Trump’s administration in 2018.

The US relation with China hardens in 2019 as it seeks to prioritize competition over the corporation by using tariffs and taxes to suppress economic aggression. With the trade war intensifying US names China as a currency manipulator.

Tensions were at their peak in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the United nation blaming China for being the ultimate cause of the pandemic and global concerns. Trump’s government prisoned all the non-US citizens and arrived from China to transmit the virus to the nation.oe

Present times

During the Senate confirmation hearing, Biden’s nominee for Commerce Secretary took a harsh line on China. She states that China’s actions are anti-competitive, hurtful to American workers and business. She also asserted them as culprits for the brutal abuses of human rights.

Biden’s appointee for ambassador to the United Nations has also stressed the importance of United States re-engagement with the United Nations to dare China’s efforts to drive an authoritarian agenda that opposes an American values institution.

Final note

With the rocky timeline of the relation between the US and China, if one has to believe the American public policy experts, it is evident that Biden will be tough on China. However, it is yet to deduce Biden’s ways to make the US-China relations firm and robust.