For many months, experts have anticipated that President Biden’s China strategy would like a lot like that of former President Trump (WSJ: What’s Biden’s New China Policy? It Looks a Lot Like Trump’s).
Yesterday, during her daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed Biden’s expected attitude saying that “our approach to China remains what it has been since — for the last months, if not longer.”
Earlier in the day, Chinese President Xi Jinping had spoken to the World Economic Forum about cooperation so Ms. Psaki was asked nine questions about US-Chinese relations, with a heavy emphasis on technology.
Ms. Psaki’s response was blunt: “Strategic competition with China is a defining feature of the 21st century. China is engaged in conduct that it hurts American workers, blunts our technological edge, and threatens our alliances and our influence in international organizations. What we’ve seen over the last few years is that China is growing more authoritarian at home and more assertive abroad. And Beijing is now challenging our security, prosperity, and values in significant ways that require a new U.S. approach.”
More specifically Ms. Psaki confirmed that the Biden-Harris Administration is reviewing recent suggested and implemented policies. “There are a number of reviews, complex reviews, interagency reviews of regulatory actions and a range of relationships with companies as it relates to Chinese investment and other issues as well.”
She further explained, “Those complex reviews are just starting… they will need to go through the interagency, so the State Department, the Treasury Department, a number of others, who will review how we move forward… So that means we’re going to have consultations with our allies, we’re going to have consultations with Democrats and Republicans, and we’re going to allow the interagency process to work its way through to review and assess how we should move forward with our relationship.”
Moreover, at a CSIS event last week, John Holden, Senior Associate (Non-resident), Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics at CSIS said he believed that the Biden Administration would not move towards a softer position on China, but would take up a more effective strategy compared to Trump.
Ms. Psaki’s remarks sent a strong message that the new Administration is on track to support effective measures to blunt the growing power of Chinese state owned enterprises. This may include implementing controls to stop the flow of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to YMTC and CXMT.