With the American mainstream media’s purported President-elect Joe Biden choosing a new team, China has become rather excited in pushing for a reset in US-China ties. Biden has elected a team that includes names like Jake Sullivan, who has had a record of advocating China’s “rise”. Xi Jinping feels that the hints of Biden’s pro-China inclinations are the opportunity that Beijing cannot afford to miss.
So, Xi Jinping’s administration is going out of its way to appease Biden. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently went as far as calling for a resumption of dialogue between Washington and Beijing to reset ties between the two powers. Now, in another apparent bid to extend an olive branch to Biden, China has reorganised its ministerial and provincial rankings.
As per SCMP, Xi Jinping’s administration has roped in a new generation of Chinese officials in their 50s. These officials have been awarded top ministerial and provincial positions. Key changes have been made in crucial areas such as the Agriculture and Commerce Ministries. The latest overhaul, which involves the replacement of officials who have reached the retirement age of 65 years, comes merely days after Biden announced his own team.
Beijing is apparently making these changes in line with its 2035 development vision. But the latest changes ought to be read in light of Wang Yi’s attempts to push for a reset between the US and China.
Wang had said, “The most urgent task currently is for the two sides to work together to remove all sorts of barriers to achieve a smooth transition in China-US relations.”
China is delighted at the thought of getting rid of Trump administration that largely comprised of punishing the aggressive China hawks. So, Beijing thinks that new faces in a Biden administration would help it start afresh. Moreover, Xi Jinping wants to return the favour by bringing in fresh faces within his own administration.
The thought process in Beijing’s strategic circles is that fresh faces would potentially bring about a new start in US-China relations. Presently, the bilateral ties between the two powers are irreparably marred owing to Trump administration’s intent to punish China and the unruly behaviour of Chinese wolf-warriors.
The tussle between Trump and Xi Jinping has given rise to numerous aggressive officials on both sides. And the heated exchanges between these officials are exposing the deep fault lines in US-China ties.
Xi Jinping thinks that new faces in Biden’s administration would not ipso facto pave way for better US-China ties. So, he wants to bring in new faces within China’s own administration, to bypass the possibility of any controversial Chinese officials playing spoilsport in Beijing’s desperate ‘reset’ attempts.