The strained US-China relationship will face more tests in the run-up to next year’s presidential election in America, according to Chinese analysts, a media report said.
But they say if Joe Biden is re-elected, there is potential for some improvement in ties between the two powers, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
The 80-year-old on Tuesday announced he would run for re-election, setting up a rematch of the 2020 presidential race with former leader Donald Trump, now a Republican front-runner.
While the first primaries are still months away, the 2024 election is expected to unfold at a time of deepening political polarisation in the United States, and when there is bipartisan consensus on taking a tougher stand on China, SCMP reported.
But analysts say that as the race intensifies, the candidates may try to gain ground by claiming to be the strongest on China, which the Pentagon has called the top challenge to US national security interests, the report said.
With the American election season looming, “US-China relations will become more complicated and there is less optimism that interaction between the two sides will improve”, according to Pang Zhongying, a professor of international affairs with Sichuan University, SCMP reported.
“The Biden administration will continue its current policy towards China, and will possibly be tougher. But he may also consider [taking measures] to improve US-China relations so that he can claim to have managed relations with China well,” Pang said.
Some have questioned whether he will be a tough enough leader to make unpopular decisions, such as those on China policy.
“If Biden wins, it will be his last term as president and he will need to build some legacies. A breakthrough in the relationship with China could be one option,” Pang said, SCMP reported.
After a brief, false thaw following a friendly Biden-Xi meeting in November, neither Beijing nor Washington seems capable of taking meaningful and sustained steps to increase trust, let alone induce cooperation, James Crabtree, executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies-Asia wrote in a recent article for Foreign Policy.
“Both are also readying further measures to compete with one another in the economic, military, and technological domains, which raises the risk that competition could all too easily spill over inadvertently, or even deliberately, into conflict,” Crabtree said.
The furor over China’s surveillance balloon prompted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel a planned visit to China. Blinken then had a notably frosty meeting with Wang Yi, Director of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Central Foreign Affairs Office, at the Munich Security Conference, the article said.
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