Biden’s Newly Unveiled China Policy a ‘Missed Opportunity’: Experts

Biden’s Newly Unveiled China Policy a ‘Missed Opportunity’: Experts
U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping during a virtual summit from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on Nov. 15, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
Andrew Thornebrooke

The Biden administration’s newly unveiled China policy was not well received by defense and security experts, who criticized the administration’s decision not to engage in any economic decoupling from China, as well as its move to announce the policies at an event hosted by a group that has ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Others, meanwhile, said that it marked an admission of the failure of the United States’ longstanding effort to pull China into the global marketplace.

“Blinken’s speech on China essentially says decades of diplomatic & economic engagement with China have failed to keep the Communist Party from a path of aggression,” said Edward Wong, a fellow at Harvard University, in a tweet.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken outlined the long-awaited China policy on May 26, during which he continually stressed that the United States would not decouple its economy from China. The choice of emphasis may have been an effort to soothe Beijing, following the Chinese foreign ministry’s efforts to initiate a propaganda campaign earlier in the week accusing the United States of trying to decouple from China.

Decoupling, the act of severing or severely limiting certain economic engagement, has been increasingly promoted by some in Congress in recent years, who consider such an effort vital to prevent the continued theft of critical technologies by China.

“We need to decouple our economy in strategic and vital sectors from the Chinese economy,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) during a recent interview on Fox. “We cannot be dependent on the goods that feed us and clothe us and provide us defense and literally save our lives from the communist Chinese regime that wants to replace us as the world’s dominant power.”
“If Biden were serious about China we'd decouple our supply lines, onshore & kick the CCP out of our markets,” said Congressional candidate for Washington state Joe Kent. “Instead we let them control us economically & saber rattle wars we can’t afford.”

Others criticized the Biden administration’s selection of the Asia Society as an inappropriate or otherwise questionable venue for the announcement of the policy, due to the fact that it has several ties to the CCP.

Why do top Dems like Blinken persist in choosing a Chinese Communist Party-friendly organization, sponsored by state-owned China Investment Corp ($1.2 trillion AUM) as a venue for a major policy speech?” said Anders Corr, principal of boutique risk management firm Corr Analytics, in a tweet. “There are hundreds of orgs more deserving of State Department support.
Others lambasted the Asia Society’s continued relationship with Ning Gaoning, a CCP member who is currently on its board of trustees and also serves as the chairman of Sinochem, a Chinese state-owned company that was blacklisted from U.S. investments in 2020, when the Trump administration determined that it was backed by the Chinese military.
“Tony Blinken is unveiling the admin’s China policy this morning at an event hosted by Asia Society, the soft-on-China organization that established dozens of Confucius Institutes and has a CCP member on its board of directors,” said journalist Chuck Ross in a tweet.

Still, others expressed less ire and more disappointment that the administration used the opportunity to merely repeat the same phrases it has previously said, and did not meaningfully engage in new initiatives or ideas, given that the policy has been in the works for 17 months.

“Today’s major Blinken speech on China didn’t cover any new ground,” said Derek Grossman, an Indo-Pacific analyst for the Rand Corporation, in a tweet. “Missed opportunity.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to the Asia Society and State Department for comment.

Andrew Thornebrooke is a national security correspondent for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.