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China Should Follow Its Scholars’ Advice to Biden

20 1 17

Among the wave of unpetitioned advice offered to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on crafting his policy toward Asia, some has come from China. In a November 17 piece in The Diplomat, Chinese think-tankers Junyang Hu and Dingding Chen offer Biden “suggestions” for improving U.S.-China relations.

Alas, their ideas would have little relevance to Biden’s advisors beyond providing insight into Chinese thinking. But what is really interesting is the mirror-imaging effect; to an American observer, Hu and Chen’s implicit critique of U.S. policy seems strikingly applicable to China.

Although they hold positions at an institution that describes itself as an “independent” think tank, Hu and Chen continue the fine Chinese government tradition of placing blame for the deterioration of U.S.-China relations, and therefore the onus for fixing the problem, on the U.S. government.

They attribute the recent “drastic fall since 2018” in U.S.-China relations to “the prevalent zero-sum perception within Washington.” Specifically, they say the Biden government must “soften the rhetoric with regard to China” so as to “prevent a continued downward spiral in the relationship.” They add that in pursuit of its objectives in the Asia-Pacific region, the United States should rely on diplomacy more and military activities less.

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This outlook, of course, omits the actions and policies of the Chinese government that pushed U.S. thinking from “If we treated China as an enemy, we were guaranteeing an enemy in the future” to the conclusion that China “wants to shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests … [and] seeks to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific region.” An accounting of relevant developments on the Chinese side would include the resurgence of Communist Party and state power relative to Chinese society, Xi Jinping’s personality cult and domestic........

© The Diplomat

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