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Who are Biden’s potential China policy advisers and how will their past experiences shape China

作者:admin 2020-11-24

Who are Biden’s potential China policy advisers and how will their past experiences shape China

Photo taken on April 28, 2020 shows the US Capitol building in Washington DC, the United States. Photo: Xinhua

Editor's Note:

Media analysts are anticipating how US President-elect Joe Biden's potential China advisers will contribute to the incoming administration's future handling of China-US relations. Some outlets have reported a shortlist of cabinet nominees, which generally include many former Obama administration officials. The Global Times reporters Hu Yuwei, Li Qiao and Lin Xiaoyi have looked into the latest China-related positions of some potential advisers to gain more comprehensive insight into the likely perspectives of Biden's China team.

Antony Blinken

Biden is expected to announce Antony Blinken as his secretary of state, according to CBS News. Biden is expected to make the announcement on Tuesday.

During the Obama administration, Blinken served as Biden's national security adviser and the president's deputy national security adviser. 

Blinken visited China in 2015 and 2016 while serving as deputy secretary of state. He also co-hosted the interim Strategic Security Dialogue with then Chinese Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui in 2016.

Blinken also co-founded WestExec Advisors, a geopolitical and policy consultancy company whose businesses include "managing China-related risks in an era of strategic competition" and advising US companies on how to do business in the Chinese market.

Blinken noted that it was unrealistic to "fully decouple" from China, and Biden would focus on expanding US strategic influence by rebuilding ties with allies to pursue a more effective approach, including by setting international technology standards, according to Reuters.

"Trying to fully decouple, as some have suggested, from China .... is unrealistic and ultimately counter-productive," Blinken said. "It would be a mistake."

However, Blinken supports hawkish intervention, as he told Bloomberg News that the US has to contain China by fixing alliances.

He expressed concern US President Donald Trump's rough treatment of historic US allies has made it harder to confront China at a moment when Washington and Beijing are at odds over human rights, technology and Hong Kong. 

Blinken said Biden would step up intervention in the island of Taiwan by exposing Beijing's efforts to interfere, Bloomberg reported.

Susan RiceSusan Rice was a key colleague of Biden during the Obama administration. She was appointed by former US President Barack Obama as ambassador to the United Nations in 2009 and became Obama's national security adviser in 2013.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Rice repeatedly blasted President Trump over foreign policy issues and voiced support for Biden. Rice was considered by Biden as his potential running mate.

While she was national security adviser, Rice lauded deepening cooperation with China and spoke of the US desire for a productive relationship with Beijing as Newsweek reported. She said the US wanted "a new model of major power relations" and the two countries' cooperation benefits the world. 

But in recent years, Rice appears to share the rising anti-China sentiment of many of US foreign policy experts and lawmakers.

In 2019, Rice took a hard line on Huawei, urging Canada to keep the telecom giant out of its 5G networks, according to the Economist.

In 2019, she clashed with Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, who was then a Chinese diplomat in Pakistan, on Xinjiang issues, calling him a "racist disgrace" on Twitter.

Michèle Flournoy

Michèle Flournoy, a figure widely considered to be the top choice for the US secretary of defense in Biden's administration, has long touted a hawkish tone and powerful defense against China, especially in the South China Sea and the Asia-Pacific region.

Flournoy said the US should maintain the capability to sink all Chinese ships in the South China Sea - civilian as well as military - within 72 hours.

"We have to have enough of an edge that first and foremost we can deter China from attacking or endangering our vital interests and our allies. That means resolve," wrote Flourney in a recent piece for political magazine Defense News. 

She also suggested teaming up with other US allies in the region to contain China in a more effective way than Trump's bilateral path. But at the same time, she favors cooperation with China on issues surrounding global warming and nuclear control in Iran and North Korea.

Flournoy is viewed as a dangerous figure by some Chinese experts due to her hawkish tone, especially in military affairs.

Ely Ratner

Ely Ratner, executive director of studies at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), has been regarded as one of the policy gatekeepers who provided informal advice to the Biden campaign.

Ratner served as Biden's deputy national security adviser from 2015 to 2017, and from 2011 to 2012 in the office of Chinese and Mongolian affairs at the US State Department

Ratner has firmly stressed China and the US are not heading toward a cold war, but rather a rivalry involving "a much more differentiated competition." In a previous podcast, Ratner mentioned Washington should not be obsessed with pressuring Beijing to make changes, but needs to focus more on being "a more confident United States." 

But Ratner still sees China as the US's top geopolitical and economic competitor. "Should the US fail to rise to the China challenge, the world will see the emergence of a China-led order that is deeply antithetical to US values and interests," Ratner recently said, according to the Asia Times.

In a testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Ratner said the US and China are now locked in a geopolitical rivalry that will last for at least a decade, and currently the US is already on the losing side. He testified the US needs to seek breakthroughs in vital regions and key functional domains to prevent China from consolidating the fruits of its victory.

Jake Sullivan

Jake Sullivan, senior policy adviser to Biden's 2020 presidential campaign, took the same view with Ratner who stressed the US should itself run faster rather than trying to slow China down. Sullivan has denounced Trump's prescriptions for US foreign policy and said the US needs to deal with China with a cooler head and a tougher approach on a range of issues.

According to Reuters, Sullivan said the Trump administration had ceded ground to China in quantum computing, artificial intelligence and biotechnology. In the field of economy and trade, Sullivan expressed hope the US will cooperate with other countries to exert pressure on China. The alleged "human rights" question might also become one of Sullivan's tools for containing China, as he said Biden will further restrict technology transfers to China as a sign of concern for the Uygurs in Xinjiang. 

Thomas Donilon

Thomas Donilon was Biden's chief strategist during the 2020 campaign and former national security advisor to President Obama.

As a veteran diplomat, Donilon was a prominent advocate of the Obama administration's "pivot" or rebalance to Asia, and repeatedly called for building a stable, productive, and constructive relationship with China. 

In 2019, Donilon published an article in Foreign Affairs magazine, arguing that Trump's trade war is "the wrong way to compete with China," and the US should focus on renewal, rather than protectionism.
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