The United States won't seek to decouple its economy from China, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who unveiled the Biden administration's China strategy on May 26.
"The United States does not want to sever China's economy from ours or from the global economy, though Beijing, through its rhetoric, is pursuing asymmetric decoupling, seeking to make China less dependent on the world and the world more dependent on China," Blinken said.
"Competition need not lead to conflict. We do not seek it. We will work to avoid it. But we will defend our interests against any threat."
Blinken, who outlined the administration's strategy to the Asia Society at George Washington University, said that the United States wouldn't interfere with China's rise to great power status, but would seek to ensure that China's ruling communist regime adheres to international rules and norms that helped it achieve superpower status.
The strategy is likely to be considered insufficient by China hawks in Congress, who believe that severing the two economies, or at least the flow of vital technologies between them, is vital for the United States to adequately combat the communist regime's strategy of unrestricted hybrid warfare.
Blinken acknowledged that China has become increasingly aggressive since the rise of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping in 2012, but said the United States would work to ensure that the strategic environment around China was favorable to the United States, rather than confronting the nation directly.
"Under President Xi, the ruling Chinese Communist Party has become more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad," Blinken said.
"We cannot rely on Beijing to change its trajectory. So we will shape the strategic environment around Beijing to advance our vision for an open, inclusive international system."
Blinken said the United States would vigorously pursue a strategy that he termed "The American Model," which he defined simply as "Invest. Align. Compete."
Under this model, the United States will invest in its allies, align with democratically minded partners, and seek to outcompete Beijing within the greater context of the rules-based international order.
To that end, Blinken said that the United States would have to counter China's repressive one-party state apparatus by demonstrating the validity of international liberalism, which he said isn't based on "Western values," but "global aspirations."
"We do not seek to transform China's political system," Biden said. "Our task is to prove once again that democracy can meet emerging challenges, create opportunity, and advance human dignity. The future belongs to those who believe in freedom.
"This is not about forcing countries to choose, but about giving them a choice."
Blinken specifically called out Beijing's decision to engage in a "no limits" partnership with Russia in the leadup to the invasion of Ukraine, as well as the CCP's unilateral attempts to leverage economic warfare against Taiwan and Australia in order to isolate them from the world order.
He said that the purpose of the international order isn't to compel any nation to act in one way, but to allow them to "write their own futures as sovereign equals."
Blinken further said that the CCP is exploiting the United States' "open society" by using its traditional and social media platforms to "spread propaganda and disinformation," while simultaneously barring U.S. platforms such as Twitter from operating in China.
"This lack of reciprocity is unacceptable and it's unsustainable," he said.
In all, he said that it's the United States' mission to defend the international rules and norms that made international peace and coexistence possible, but that it's within the CCP's power to challenge that order.
"China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it," Blinken said.
"Put simply, the United States and China have to deal with each other for the foreseeable future."