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World Joe Biden 'Cleansing Himself' of Soft-on-China Accusations: Beijing Analyst

16:45  05 may  2021
16:45  05 may  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

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President Joe Biden is "cleansing himself" of the suspicion that he is "soft on China" by increasing U.S. military presence around the country, a Beijing policy expert said this week.

a fighter jet sitting on top of a body of water: An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Golden Warriors” of Strike Fighter Squadron 87 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt while on deployment in the South China Sea on April 6, 2021. © Mass Communication 3rd Class Dartañon D. De La Garza/U.S. Navy An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Golden Warriors” of Strike Fighter Squadron 87 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt while on deployment in the South China Sea on April 6, 2021.

Su Xiaohui, from the China Institute of International Studies think tank in Beijing, said the president would consider his tougher stance on China as one of his foreign policy successes.

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Appearing on Monday on Defense Review, a program about military affairs that airs in prime-time on state broadcaster CCTV, Su said U.S. military reconnaissance around China had increased "in frequency and intensity."

"The Biden administration faces a number of challenges both in its domestic and foreign policies. Against this backdrop, he has had to produce the achievements of his administration so far," said Su, deputy director of the institute's department of international and strategic studies.

She added: "During his April 28 speech to Congress marking 100 days in office, he highlighted his standing up to China, which he considers among his most important foreign policy achievements."

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According to Su, Biden is, in effect, wielding the U.S. military to project hard power, the purpose of which is to "show the American public there is no suspicion of a so-called Chinagate."

During the 2020 election campaign, Biden's predecessor President Donald Trump "attacked" his rival, Su said. "He claimed Biden would be soft on Russia and China," she added.

The allegations have been fueled by an FBI investigation into the president's son, Hunter Biden, and his business dealings in China and elsewhere.

The increased reconnaissance activity around China is therefore "the most direct means of cleansing himself" of accusations of dovishness, according to Su.

As U.S.-China relations fell to a historic low during the final year of the Trump administration, there was media speculation that Beijing would be happier if Biden won the election.

These theories were largely based on state-affiliated media outlets appearing to warm to the idea of a U.S.-China reset under the Democrat.

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However, hopes of a rapprochement with Washington were dashed following a number of strongly worded statements on China from key cabinet nominees.

At the Pentagon, President Biden sanctioned the creation of a China Task Force to scrutinize U.S. defense policy and the challenges posed by the East Asian superpower.

On the foreign policy front, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is said to be building on the previous administration's approach to China, which appears to be one of the few bipartisan issues on Capitol Hill.

Blinken told the Financial Times on Tuesday: "The case that we made to [China] is as follows: we are not about trying to contain China, or to hold China down. What we are about is upholding the international rules-based order that we've invested so much in over many decades.

"And anyone who takes action that would disrupt that order, that would challenge that order, that would seek to undermine it, we're going to stand up and protect it."

Beijing, however, has not backed down and warned the U.S. of its "red lines" before American and Chinese diplomats were involved in a high-profile ideological clash in Alaska in March.

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Weeks before Biden took office, a senior official in the Chinese military had predicted that U.S.-China relations were unlikely to mend completely.

At a forum held in Beijing last December, Guan Youfei—director of the Office for International Military Cooperation—said America's strategic rivalry with China would be "long term and complex."

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China adds few babies, loses workers as its 1.4B people age .
BEIJING (AP) — The number of working-age people in China fell over the past decade as its aging population barely grew, a census showed Tuesday, adding to economic challenges for Chinese leaders who have ambitious strategic goals. The total population rose to 1.411 billion people last year, up 72 million from 2010, according to the once-a-decade census. Weak growth fell closer to zero as fewer couples had children. That adds to challenges forThe total population rose to 1.411 billion people last year, up 72 million from 2010, according to the once-a-decade census. Weak growth fell closer to zero as fewer couples had children.

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