Chinese Communist Party’s head of foreign affairs Yang Jeethi stood in the middle and Chinese State Commissioner Wang Yi, second from left, spoke at the opening session of the US-China talks at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska, Thursday, March 18, 2021.
Credit: Frederic J. Brown / Pool via AP
Joseph R. Biden has been president of the United States for more than two months. His policies seem to be aimed at domestic stability, including the recovery of the domestic economy. The government seems to take the view that achieving a domestic economic recovery with social stability will give them more options for foreign policy. This is reflected in the March 3 Interim National Security Strategy Guide. In foreign policy, a relatively high priority has been given to rebuilding relations with mainly Western Europe and NATO. its China policy is largely unknown. For global challenges, issues such as climate change are given priority, while the overall vision of the administration on other issues remains unclear.
Against this background, the Pentagon established a Chinese Special Forces to discuss Chinese policy. From now until summer, this Task Force will gather information and develop policy. Meanwhile, a delegation led by Foreign Minister Antony J. Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III visited Japan and Korea to gather information and exchange views. These developments were towards the formulation of China policy.
The Biden administration’s policy on China will most likely resolve each issue separately. For example, it will take a tough stance toward advanced dual-use technologies, but collaborate in space development. It will confront China on the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy, but cooperate with China on the Korean issue. However, this “segregation” approach raises some concerns.
First, these individual problems are interwoven and are not so easily separated. Advanced industries can be used for civilian purposes as well as military applications related to both the military and economic sectors, but they are also related to climate change and the space sector. While some argue that the US and China must cooperate on climate change, the close alignment between climate change issues and advanced industries means any cooperation will. quite limited in nature. In addition, it means that the US and China may not cooperate on climate change but may engage on climate change issues with the broader international community on an individual basis.
Second, while each individual issue is related, cooperation established on one issue may not be established on another. In this case, it is important to set principles and goals to clarify the priority areas of cooperation. Of course, whether the US and China can apply such principles is a question.
Third, the question is whether China is satisfied with this “segregated” approach. From the Chinese point of view, they would cooperate with the United States in areas where the United States requires cooperation from China, but in return that cooperation would require concessions from Washington on conflict points. . Can a merit-based policy be successful in dealing with China?
Fourth, how can a policy based on a problem-by-issue approach in general be communicated to China? The Obama administration has adopted a cost-imposing strategy. The question, however, is whether the cost perspective is fully communicated. What message will be conveyed to China if a performance-by-issue approach is applied?
Given these concerns, what can we expect if a single problem-solving strategy is actually applied? One possibility is that if a performance-based approach is applied when calling for cooperation, it would be extremely difficult to coordinate individual cases. This could make coordination with China difficult. It also raises the question of who will coordinate decisions on whether to prioritize high-tech issues for both the military and civilian sectors, or seek cooperation with China in the space and transformation sectors. climate, and how will they do it. Consequently, actual benefits in individual sectors may be limited unless principles and criteria that clarify priorities are established.
To effectively shape its China policy, even if a merit-by-issue approach is applied, it would not work well without a system of coordinated facilitation on a per-issue basis. Clear problems and rules allow for priorities to be set. .