US China Relations: Biden Assembles United Front Against Beijing

No time-out for tensions in the US-China relationship. On his European diplomatic blitz, President Joe Biden made countering China a core part of discussions, and joint statements, with the G7, NATO and the EU. Beijing created new legal tools to retaliate against US sanctions, which put global firms in the crosshairs of their conflict. This article is a summary of important US China news in June 2021.

Major democracies rallied together “to issue extraordinary back-to-back rebukes of Beijing, marking a shift toward collective action and pushing back against Xi Jinping’s strategies to position China as a global leader,” wrote the Wall Street Journal. China’s Foreign Ministry rejected the two statements as the misguided work of “small circles” and primarily the US.

The G7’s Build Back Better World initiative (B3W) to counter Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative was welcomed by countries in China’s immediate orbit of influence, but must overcome doubts about Western commitment to emerging market projects, said Reuters. The plan is “nothing but another product of the exclusive group’s deeply-entrenched ideological prejudice and confrontational thinking,” commented Xinhua. Beijing condemned the US as the region’s greatest security “risk creator” after a US warship again sailed through the Taiwan Strait.

The US House of Representatives reviewed the EAGLE Act on the last day in June, a major bill to counter China’s global influence, that will be combined with the similar US Innovation and Competition Act, a $250 billion bill passed earlier in the month. The latter Act, one of the largest industrial bills in US history, describes China as America’s “greatest geopolitical and geo-economic challenge”.

China has created new legal tools to retaliate against sanctions imposed by the US and some allies over issues ranging from human rights to national security, reported Bloomberg. “This arsenal could put global firms in the crosshairs of a conflict between the world’s two largest economies.”

The US led calls at a G20 meeting in late June for greater global cooperation in light of the coronavirus crisis, as China insisted that multilateralism should not just be a slogan. As for when Biden and Xi will meet, planning is underway for the two leaders to “take stock of where we are in the relationship”, said Biden’s national security adviser. One possibility is the G20 summit in Rome in October.

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