The Trump era saw a dramatic shift when it came to US-China relations. Promising to reinvigorate the American economy and cut unfair trade deals, the Trump administration took a hard line against what it saw as unfair trade practices and human rights abuses emanating from Beijing.
But the incoming Biden administration has many experts fearing China will become emboldened by a President they take as a pushover.
Gordon Chang, who has written and spoken extensively of the US-China relationship, told The Cats Roundtable that China “has to be very happy” with a Biden presidency, particularly after the newly sworn-in President signed a slew of executive orders that Chang claimed, “gave China a lot of free gifts.”
Biden’s orders reversed a number of Trump-era protections, such as one that banned grid operators from buying China-made equipment, which Chang called “indefensible,” as well as pulling back on proposed bans on Chinese apps such as WeChat and TikTok.
“This is not been very good for the American people, but I’m sure China has loved it a lot,” Chang said.
But it’s the Biden family’s ties with China, particularly those of his son, Hunter Biden, that have raised the most eyebrows. Chang told The Cats Roundtable that Hunter Biden had made a “sweetheart deal” most of the mainstream media had chosen to ignore. But the money trail is there, according to Chang, and he promised that there “would be a lot that’s going to come out in the next several months.”
Biden built his foreign-policy on the campaign trail around the idea of the “human rights president,” but Chang noted Biden’s failure to come out strongly against China. Particularly when it came to China’s responsibility in the spread of the Covid19 pandemic, or Beijing’s human rights abuses, both of which the Trump administration spoke strongly against.
In the pursuit of ideology, Chang told The Cats Roundtable the Biden administration was already beginning to push US allies into closer ties with China. He took particular aim at Biden’s executive order canceling of the Keystone pipeline.
“Biden famously campaigned that he was going to repair America’s alliances, which he said were wrecked by Trump, but remember on the first day of his presidency, he canceled the pipeline without consulting Ottawa,” Chang said. “So clearly Biden was not listening to his own rhetoric. But this was a loss for America across the board.”
Fundamentally, Chang said, China doesn’t respect Biden. He pointed to the recent provocations on January 23rd when Chinese aircraft entered Taiwanese airspace, calling Chinese military maneuvers in the South China Seas a clear “test of the Biden administration.”
For comparison, Chang noted Beijing’s restraint under Trump’s leadership, particularly due to Trump’s unpredictability.
“China can deal with hostile leaders, but they have particular problems with dealing with uncertainty,” Chang explained. “And Trump, for them, was uncertain. Which is a reason why there was a relatively calm period during the four years of Trump’s presidency.”
Chang warned China would attempt to “scare the world” and “terrify the Biden administration.” He feared that real conflicts could begin with Beijing’s bluffs. He said that while it was important to tackle Chinese aggression with the involvement of regional allies like India and Japan, the key to pushing back on Beijing’s policies lay in a strong President.
“We need a president who is willing in public and in private to tell the Chinese they cannot engage in that provocative conduct,” Chang said. “Biden has been very hesitant to do that.”
Listen to the interview below