President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. met virtually on November 15 with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The two heads of state discussed the complicated nature of relations between the USA and China.
The Approach of the USA
First of all, the USA economic sanctions against China do not achieve the main strategic goal and they remind us a clear example of the unsuccessful policy of the previous Trump administration of the USA. These sanctions prove that the toughening approach towards China does not bring the result or the positive expectation. This means that the policy of new measures and tough reactions against China stayed in the past and we live in the new global reality.
The purpose behind the USA economic sanctions was to get Beijing to do what Washington wishes from the Chinese government. The USA have a desire that China makes give up its plans of developing and testing Long Range Hypersonic Weapon capable of delivering hypersonic warheads to USA mainland territory. The USA considers that China and also Russia are the most important military competitors and they have enough potential to stop the distribution of the American military power around our planet. The USA used the factor cutting off economic links and hardships in the trade as the capable tool to press China. However, this category does not work and the current Biden administration fully understands it and for that the reason they begin to develop the course.
From the beginning of his presidency, Joe Biden tried to persuade Chinese Leader Xi Jinping to take a much harsher stance on North Korea and a much softer stance on Taiwan. Initially “encouraged” by his Chinese counterpart’s attitude, he is now “disappointed” with Beijing’s failure to “deliver” Taiwan to Washington. Displeasure always leads to pressure in global politics.
The sanctions now being imposed on various Chinese entities become useless instruments in the American toolbox. The expected deployments of USA Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Aegis Ashore missile defence systems near Taiwan are aimed at protecting against Chinese attack, but China also has a serious capability against American nuclear arsenal.
Nevertheless, these deployments would probably be there as the psychological demonstration, but we should consider the Chinese military training as the signal and indicator of attention from Xi Jinping. Nonetheless, Washington may proceed with developing and deploying nuclear USA systems, creating a situation in East Asia similar to that in West Europe during the cold war, when Soviet Russia faced the prospect of a USA strike against its command and control centres from a close distance.
The Reaction of the US Allies
Moreover, heightened tensions around China could lead to the US’ alliances such as Japan and South Korea becoming dependent more on Washington and it will reduce their own independence in the foreign policy. On the other side, Beijing is a major economic partner of Japan and the Republic of Korea. As a result, the USA may be put at a strategic disadvantage for the allies, but this will hardly make the USA abandon its goal. The economy is a very essential factor for China but the Chinese government will not accept any pressure on issues that it considers top national security priority. The security policy is the foundation of the independent Chinese policy and guaranty of their sovereignty. On the other hand, The USA Korean leadership understands that that only the risk of nuclear war can safely deter China from military actions with Taiwan. The USA will no doubt deny such an option but it can use various methods in order to destabilize China.
Beijing needs to be realistic about the possible outcomes of their new relationship with Washington. The USA will not want to display the weakness of China. In these circumstances, China should continue to seek diplomatic means of reducing the risk of confrontation so close to their borders. China also is prepared to work through scenarios involving a major crisis, military incidents, even a big regional war in the next couple of years, and coordinate all actions if military scenarios become a reality.