Joe Biden has set up a Pentagon task force to help develop a comprehensive China policy that will examine everything from the deployment of U.S. forces around the world to the relationship with the Chinese military.
The US president announced the formation of the working group during a visit to the Pentagon on Wednesday. The working group, which will include uniformed officers and civilians, will make recommendations within four months. It will be led by Ely Ratner, a Chinese expert and Pentagon official.
Biden said the task force would “work fast. . . so we can map a strong way forward in China ”.
“It will require a whole government effort, a bipartisan partnership with Congress and strong alliances and partnerships,” Biden added. “This is how we meet China’s challenge and ensure that the American people win the competition in the future.”
The Pentagon said the task force would be a “sprint effort” that would investigate issues including technology, intelligence and U.S. relations with allies.
The movement comes as the new administration formulates its policies after a turbulent period under former President Donald Trump, when US-China relations fell to their lowest point since diplomatic ties were established four decades ago.
Trump took an aggressive stance toward China over issues ranging from its trade practices to concerns about cyber espionage and its activity in the South China Sea.
The Biden team has shown signs that it will maintain a tough stance against Beijing. The Foreign Ministry recently warned China to stop trying to intimidate Taiwan after Chinese warplanes entered the country’s air defense zone and simulated an attack at a nearby U.S. aircraft carrier group.
USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt conducted rare double aircraft carrier training exercises in the South China Sea, only the second time that the US Navy has conducted such training in the area since 2012.
Biden said Sunday that China would face “extreme competition” from the United States. While praising his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as “very bright”, the US president said that Xi “does not have a democratic. . . bone in his body ”.
“I’ve been telling him all along that we do not need to have a conflict,” Biden told CBS. “But there will be extreme competition . . . I do not want to do what Trump did. We will focus on international road rules. ”
Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, told last week, his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, that the United States would stand up for democracy and human rights and hold China accountable for its “abuse” of the international system.
Senior officials in the Biden administration have criticized China over its violence against the democratic movement in Hong Kong and the detention of an estimated 1 million Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang. Blinken said he agreed with the Trump administration that the repression of the Uighurs was “genocide.”
Jake Sullivan, US National Security Adviser, has said the administration was prepared to “impose costs on what China does in Xinjiang, what it does in Hong Kong, on the madness and threats it faces” Taiwan”.
In a speech to a US audience last week, the Yang Trump administration blamed the gloomy state of the relationship and expressed hope that Beijing and Washington could improve ties.
But Yang also warned the Biden team not to cross any “red lines”, including by interfering in Chinese policy regarding Hong Kong, Tibet or Xinjiang.
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