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US professor: US' China policy targeting wrong things | Updated: 2022-06-07 05:12
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US President Joe Biden. [Photo/Agencies]

Biden administration's approach to China is worrying because it sees Beijing as primarily a threat to the global supremacy of the US and thus defines its relations with China, a major power, in largely zero-sum terms, argues Professor Peter Beinart.

Peter Beinart is a professor of journalism and political science at the Newmark School of Journalism at the City University of New York.

In a May 26 speech at George Washington University that outlined the administration's China strategy, Blinken said it could be "summed up in three words": The United States will "invest" domestically, "align" its policies with those of its allies and "compete" with Beijing.

The word "cooperate" was notably absent, Beinart noted in his opinion piece on the New York Times website published June 2.

However, addressing challenges like climate change and the pandemic requires more cooperation with China, Beinart said.

Despite this, Blinken did not discuss working with China on climate change or on public health, that is until 38 minutes into his speech last month.

Biden's hawkish policies have also fed a cycle of hostility and escalation that makes cooperation harder, the author wrote.

Despite a joint declaration last November between Washington and Beijing on climate action, China's leaders have made it clear that the Biden administration cannot insulate environmental progress from an overall deteriorating relationship, according to the article.

"The US side wants the climate-change cooperation to be an 'oasis' of China-US relations. However, if (it) is all surrounded by deserts, then, sooner or later, the 'oasis' will become barren," said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sept 1 last year.

On the pandemic as well, the Biden administration's zero-sum view of its relationship with Beijing has undermined efforts to rebuild the public health partnerships that Donald Trump dismantled, Beinart wrote.

"US vaccine diplomacy has been aimed at competing with China over geopolitical influence," according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank that suggested last December the US should "not cooperate with China in the delivery of global public goods", Beinart said.

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