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Biden’s China Policy Is Emerging—and It Looks a Lot Like Trump’s

The U.S. president’s policy toward China is coming into sharper focus, with initiatives that suggest he plans to retain his predecessor’s tough stance toward Beijing, though by different means.

6/10/2021 6:15:00 PM

President Biden’s policy toward China came into sharper focus over the past week, with initiatives that suggest the president plans to retain his predecessor’s tough stance toward Beijing, despite differences in execution

The U.S. president’s policy toward China is coming into sharper focus, with initiatives that suggest he plans to retain his predecessor’s tough stance toward Beijing, though by different means.

The administration also said this week that it islaunching trade and investment talks with Taiwan—an irritation for Beijing, which considers Taiwan a breakaway province.Administration officials acknowledge that, overall, the recent steps build on actions taken by Mr. Trump. In the case of the investment blacklist and the orders affecting TikTok and other apps, they say, the Biden White House is aiming to make the measures more enforceable.

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“The Biden administration is saying, ‘We think some of the work the Trump administration was doing was essential,’” said a senior administration official. “But they were done in a way that wasn’t necessarily sound and wasn’t built on a framework that could be broadened to include allies and partners.”

The recent moves come after months of internal White House deliberation about how to deal with China, which was the focus of Mr. Trump’s foreign policy.The administration has many issues to tackle. One is how to deal withbillions of dollars in tariffs

Mr. Trump imposed on Chinese goods, which are paid by U.S. businesses that import them.Derek Scissors, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said Mr. Biden’s moves amount to putting a more professional touch on Mr. Trump’s actions, such as making the China investment blacklist stronger against legal challenges.

“Editing someone else’s work is easier than doing your own,” he said. “That’s what they are doing. Their own work is aimless still.”Others fear the emerging approach could backfire.“Trying to isolate China, it’s not going to go over well with most of the world,” said Brookings Institution China expert David Dollar, referring to intertwined economies with Beijing. “I think it’s a self-defeating strategy. They should be leaning more on the cooperation side.”

The White House sees its China policy as resting on three pillars: strengthening the U.S. economy and democracy, rebuilding ties with allies that frayed under Mr. Trump, and defining areas of confrontation and cooperation with China.The third is a work in progress, the senior official said, adding that it has “taken the most time to develop.”

Share your thoughtsHow do you envision U.S. policy toward China changing under the Biden administration? Join the conversation below.Still, the administration has started to define those areas—and one is Taiwan.The Trump administration sidestepped trade negotiations with Taiwan to focus on China. Mr. Biden, along with resuming trade talks with the democratically self-ruled island,

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issued statementsafter summits with Japanese and South Korean leaders that discussed ensuring stability in the Taiwan Strait.“There’s a continued effort by the U.S. to make clear that if Beijing had any doubts about this administration’s commitment [to Taiwan], it should think again,” the senior official said.

Some of Taiwan’s supporters in Congress want the U.S. to go further and sign a bilateral trade agreement with Taipei. The senior administration official said the administration hadn’t made a decision on that.The administration has looked for a few areas in which to cooperate with China, most prominently on climate change. And in recent weeks, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have

spoken withChinese Vice Premier Liu He, but they waited months before holding the first call.Trade “doesn’t fall neatly into one category or the other,” said the senior official. “We have concerns about coercive trade practices. The space for cooperation might be smaller than we would otherwise like.”

In a statement, Chinese embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu said the U.S. should seek to “view China in an objective and rational light, and do more to promote China-U.S. mutual trust and cooperation and improve bilateral ties, instead of the opposite.”Related

Rising tensions between the U.S. and an increasingly powerful China have led to some concerns they could potentially escalate into armed conflict. But as WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains, there are more forces working against conflict rather than toward it. Photo illustration: Todd Johnson

Read more: The Wall Street Journal »

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China is just out competing the US fairly. So the western way to do things is to bash, blame, and change the rules. We need to recognize this, reduce politics, stop with the whining and promote hard work. If you work hard, you need to be praised. I will believe that when I see it the trump and biden years will be known as the lost decades.

When he follow Trump things are fine. When he doesn't it leads to disasters. Trump did some positives in office, and the best positive thing he did was to wake up Americans about the threat China's authoritarian regime poses to the free world. A nation in decline with inadequate leaders. Soon will be like a neo South Africa (most common age of white Americans was 59 in 2019-which neither Trump or Biden seem to understand implications of); and this is what it is doing?

The real difference is Biden speaks out of both sides of his mouth Hopefully it won't fail as miserably for Biden as it did for Trump.

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