The Biden administration is in power, and it seems that the US and China are already on the path of defusing tensions. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mouthpiece Global Times has published a story that goes as far as claiming that the US and Chinese militaries held a meeting “over the search for the remains of US prisoners of war and missing-in-action personnel.”
As per the Chinese state-owned media, the Chinese Defence Ministry said that China-US military relations are “at a new starting point with the Biden administration.” The Chinese state media, in fact, looks very happy with how the Biden administration has started off. It has even described the meeting as a “signal of communication and cooperation to manage risks.” China has always pushed for opening Sino-American communication and the Global Times report suggests that it is finally succeeding.
Well, let us break down the entire situation. Global Times is slated because the Biden administration has purportedly done something which the Trump administration would have never done. Under Trump’s watch, China was the biggest enemy of the United States and therefore the US military forces were constantly encircling and weighing down the Chinese military. In fact, a US-China military meeting would have been impossible when Trump was at the helm of affairs in the White House.
Biden, on the other hand, had famously called China just a “serious competitor.” This means Beijing isn’t an enemy for China and the consequences are for everyone to see. Beijing is clearly trying to cash in on Biden’s soft China policy.
It is fair to expect that the Global Times report may be slightly exaggerated. Yet, it is noteworthy that as per the Chinese state media, “deep exchanges were made over cases the US is concerned about and the cooperation between the two militaries” during the video conference meeting between US and Chinese militaries earlier this week.
Also, Beijing seems to be getting emboldened by Biden’s shaky stance against China. The Chinese Defence Ministry has, in fact, proclaimed that the US cannot contain the Chinese military. On the issue of Taiwan, the Chinese Defence Ministry said that “Taiwan independence” will lead to war.
In fact, Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesperson of China’s Ministry of National Defense, went as far as explicitly asking the Biden administration to avoid following the Trump administration’s steps on the China front. And it seems that the Biden administration might simply oblige.
As for Biden, cooperation with the Chinese military doesn’t seem like a big issue. Recent events show that giving up the fight against Chinese expansionism might actually be a topmost priority for the new American administration.
Shortly after coming to power, the Biden administration updated China’s country profile page on the US State Department website. With the Trump administration, the profile read, “the Chinese Communist Party: threats to global peace and security,” but now it states, “US relations with China”. Two of the issues flagged by the Trump administration- 5G security and China challenge, have also been removed by the Biden administration.
It was well known that Biden is going to go soft on China. But the Global Times report of a meeting between the US and Chinese militaries simply goes far beyond what we were expecting. With this report, Biden may have as well killed the great American campaign to check Chinese expansionism.