The Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, looks set to win November’s U.S. presidential election. In the U.S. domestic and foreign policy, a win for Biden would push sharp changes.
The U.S.-China rivalry is one of the few elements that will continue to grow regardless of two forces that have been on collision for a decade. The Economist Intelligence Unit predicts that there is little hope of improving bilateral relations.
Max Baucus, former U.S. Ambassador to China, said that Biden would deal with Beijing more traditionally, unlike Trump, who uses twitter to make massive announcements such as increased tariffs on Chinese goods.
The former ambassador also said that Biden would also work on domestic issues in the U.S. first. He would most likely take his time in re-establishing a relationship with China and focus on the economy, getting jobs, and defeating the virus.
Under Biden, the US-China rivalry’s overall essence will remain the same as under Trump; the belief that the two countries are adversaries, rather than allies, is now firmly held in Beijing and Washington.
However, under Biden, the U.S.’s policy tone and tactics are likely to shift noticeably. Under Biden’s administration, we will expect the U.S. to retain its current emphasis on tackling trade and economic imbalances to protect U.S. firms and raise awareness of security and human rights problems.
We would also expect two key differences to be seen as the Biden administration works towards these objectives. Second, the tone will be different as the U.S. steps away from the Trump administration’s hostile foreign policy toward one of negotiation.
Expect that the U.S. will try to collaborate with allies to engage China on these issues jointly. A Biden administration could also leave room to improve the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and China.
Environmental conservation issues have traditionally been a field of US-China cooperation. We would expect more vital collaboration in this region under Biden’s planned progressive policy stance, preventing US-China relations from worsening further.
The implicit presumption that a Biden White House will be less erratic than Trump’s and more capable of strengthening alliances with other forces in Asia. The issues facing China are hardly limited to whoever the White House occupant is.
In several countries, recent polling by the Pew Research Center found China’s unfavorable views at historic highs partly because of China’s position in the coronavirus outbreak and more generally because of Beijing’s increasingly bullying actions in different parts of the world.