China’s state media have predicted more tensions between the U.S. and its European allies, even under the planned new government of President-elect Joe Biden, which the veteran politician said would put alliances and international cooperation at the center of its foreign policy.
So far, Biden has given little indication of how he will tackle the challenge to China, although on the campaign trail he tried to refute claims that he would be lenient towards Beijing by promising a tougher strategy.
In a Wednesday interview with the New York Times, Biden said that the “best China strategy” is to ensure that all American allies are “on the same side,” something he hopes to achieve “in the first few weeks” of his term in office.
Biden said his trade policy would focus on “China’s abusive practices” such as “intellectual property theft, dumping products, illegal subsidies to companies” and forced technology transfers. Biden said he would not take “immediate” steps to lift the tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump, which triggered a far-reaching trade war with Beijing.
The Chinese state media were hopeful that Biden would ease Trump’s China offensive, despite the Biden team’s indications that they would hold China accountable for its trade and human rights violations.
On Thursday, the state newspaper Global Times responded to Biden’s recent comments by predicting a continuation of the tensions between the US and Europe that have prevailed throughout Trump’s term in office.
“Europe and the Biden team have a strong desire to show their close ties after Biden’s inauguration,” the Global Times confirmed. “But the joint US-European response to the so-called China challenge remains a question mark.
“The US and Europe feel uneasy about the relative decline of the West,” the Global Times added. “But the US feels that its hegemony is being challenged by the rise of China, while Europe sees more economic competition.
This perceived difference in priority means “that it would be difficult for the US and Europe to coordinate to meet the so-called challenge of China,” the newspaper said. This challenge, the newspaper said, is “largely imaginary”.
“Europe may be reluctant to promote a new Western unity with the U.S. at its center and based on the Trump administration’s radical policy towards China. New frictions will be inevitable.
“But if, on the other hand, Europe is allowed to define Western unity and the US makes fewer decisions and provides more resources, Washington will never accept this.