[环球时报记者 邢晓婧 陈欣 林日]The transfer of power to the US president is imminent, and discussions on “How Biden will handle the current tense US-China relations” have been hot in the international media. The Foreign Relations Committee of the US think tank issued a risk forecast report on the 14th, reminding Biden that “we must pay special attention to many potential international conflicts.” The outbreak of conflict between the United States and China over the Taiwan issue was listed as the highest level of risk in the report. An expert interviewed by a reporter from the Global Times on the 15th said that the Trump administration has done a lot of tricks in the relationship between the United States and Taiwan, which has caused tension in the Taiwan Strait. The Biden team should be aware of the dangers and may be more active in controlling China and the United States after taking office. Between the risks. Now, the eyes of the whole world have turned to the Biden team’s China policy, but some current US officials who are “short of time” still do not give up any opportunities for ugly political performances. On the 14th, US Secretary of State Pompeo announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Chinese officials on the South China Sea issue. “The US’s actions violated international law and the basic norms of international relations and grossly interfered in China‘s internal affairs. This is completely hegemonic.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian responded to this on the 15th.
The highest level of risk in Taiwan Strait
In the 2021 “Prevention Priority Survey” report released by the US Council on Foreign Relations, foreign policy experts listed 30 potential crisis or conflict factors around the world, assessing their probability of occurrence this year and the degree of impact on US interests. The evaluation form is divided into three levels, the first level is the highest level of risk. “The Biden administration that is about to take office must pay special attention to many potential international conflicts, especially when its team intends to concentrate on controlling the new crown pneumonia epidemic.” said Paul Stals, director of the Preventive Action Center of the Foreign Relations Committee.
This report has been released since 2008. In this year’s assessment, there were 9 incidents of first-level risk, which was a decrease from 11 incidents last year. “North Korea’s continued development of nuclear weapons or test-fired ballistic missiles has led to increased military tensions on the peninsula” was rated as a potential crisis with “high” probability and “significant” impact on US interests this year, ranking first among the first-level risks. The next is the situation in Afghanistan, Syria, Venezuela and other countries, which are considered to have a “high” probability of occurrence and a “medium” impact on the United States.
What is of particular concern to the Taiwan media is that this report lists “the mainland has increased its political and economic pressure on Taiwan, causing the United States and China to fall into a serious crisis” as a primary risk with a “medium” probability of occurrence and a “significant” impact on US interests. event. “First to the highest level”, Taiwan’s “Central News Agency” reported on the 15th that the US and China were included in the report for the first time in 2019 for the outbreak of conflict in Taiwan. After being classified as a secondary risk for two consecutive years, it rose to the highest level this year. Taiwan’s “Xin Toutiao” website thus worries that Taiwan may become a “victim of Sino-US confrontation.” Other first-level risks with a “medium” possibility and “significant” impact include armed conflict between Iran and the United States or its allies, and cyber attacks on critical US infrastructure.
The report shows that the border conflict between China and India, which was not included last year, was rated as a secondary risk this year, becoming one of the eight new potential crises in 2021. However, “the United States and China claim that an armed conflict broke out in the South China Sea due to freedom of navigation and disputed territories” has been reduced from last year’s primary risk to a secondary risk with a “low” incidence and a “medium” impact on US interests. This is the only event considered by experts to be “low” among the 30 potential crises this year.
“The report is more based on the assessment of the Trump administration.” Yuan Zheng, a researcher at the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times reporter on the 15th. Generally speaking, if China and the United States are in the South China Sea. In the event of a conflict, the occasional factor is relatively high; and on the Taiwan issue, the Trump administration has done a lot of tricks to make the situation more tense, so the degree of danger is relatively higher. Xin Qiang, deputy director of the American Studies Center of Fudan University, also mentioned in an interview with the Global Times that the US’s promotion of relations with Taiwan and many direct challenges to the one-China principle are important reasons for the current tension. He believes that Biden may be more proactive in controlling differences than Trump after he takes office, but the risk of confrontation between China and the United States on the Taiwan issue “cannot be eliminated” in the short term.
Pompeo “has been salting US-China relations”
When analyzing the above report, Xin Qiang said that the South China Sea issue has been used by the United States to contain China. Pompeo hyped up the issue again on the 14th. In his so-called “protect and maintain a free and open South China Sea” statement, he said that he was suspected of participating in “large-scale reclamation, construction or militarization activities in disputed areas in the South China Sea.” Or coerce Chinese citizens who prevent other Southeast Asian claiming countries from exploiting the resources in the South China Sea to impose visa restrictions. These people include executives of state-owned enterprises and Chinese Communist Party officials. Their immediate family members may also be affected by the restrictions. The statement specifically mentioned that CNOOC and other state-owned enterprises were used as “weapons” to implement Beijing’s territorial claims. On the same day, the US Department of Commerce included CNOOC on the list of export control entities.
Zhao Lijian said at a regular press conference on the 15th that Pompeo is the biggest disseminator of false information. “Today is Friday, so I won’t waste time criticizing the US Secretary of State.”
Recently, Pompeo has been “buying mine” for the Biden government. The U.S. Business Insider website said on the 14th that Pompeo announced a series of major changes in U.S. foreign policy on issues such as Taiwan, Cuba, and Iran, but it quickly caused a backlash. Many analysts believe that this is because he is improving politics for himself. capital. The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Meeks described on the 14th that the series of policies Pompeo announced recently are “catastrophic and hasty mistakes,” which is also a characteristic of this administration. He criticized Pompeo for continuing to make reckless, politicized diplomatic decisions instead of focusing on “promoting a smooth and efficient transition.” Former Australian Prime Minister Rudd has told the US CNBC website this week that Pompeo “has been salting the US-China relationship.”
Other departments in the United States have acted against China out of domestic political motives. On the 14th, the Pentagon included nine Chinese companies on the blacklist of “related to the military.” On the same day, the US Congress-Executive China Committee also issued a report listing the so-called “violation of human rights and suppression of freedom” actions taken by Beijing in the past year, and dictating China‘s internal affairs such as Hong Kong and Xinjiang. According to the “Voice of America”, this 373-page annual report discusses “how the long arm of Chinese speech and Internet censorship can reach all over the world” with a new and complete chapter for the first time.
Biden nominates the White House director of China
Since Biden won the presidential election, the media has been keeping an eye on the candidates for his China issue team. According to a Reuters report on the 15th, Laura Rosenberg, the former chief of staff of Secretary of State-designate Blincoln, was nominated as the Senior Director of China Affairs of the National Security Council (NSC). She was Clinton’s foreign policy adviser when she ran for president in 2016 and served as the NSC director of China and South Korea during the Obama administration. Taiwan’s “United Daily News” stated that in the past, the director of Chinese affairs in the NSC was the director. The Biden administration promoted him to senior director. In addition to paying attention to it, it shows that relations with China will be handled more carefully in the future.
This week, Kurt Campbell, a former State Department official in charge of East Asia and Pacific affairs in the Obama administration, was nominated as the “Indo-Pacific Coordinator” of the NSC. Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post stated that he would become the Biden administration’s China and Asia policy. Key person. At an event organized by the American Think Tank Asia Society on the 14th, Campbell said that the guiding principles of the US China policy will be predictability, stability and clarity. He believes that many people are talking about rebuilding trust with Beijing, but it is important not to exaggerate the trust factor. A better approach may be to focus on small steps that will not fail, avoid surprises, and communicate clearly about the improper handling of issues in recent years. Campbell said that the early steps to build trust may include abolishing the expulsion of journalists, relaxing visa restrictions, and restoring closed consulates. Some analysts also claim that Campbell, 64, is widely regarded as the key designer of the “return to Asia” strategy under Obama. Therefore, he may be able to confront China in Asia in a posture of paying more attention to US allies.
The British “Financial Times” believed on the 14th that the Biden team will treat US-China relations in a pragmatic manner, with “China challenge” or replacing “China threat” as the key word in its China policy, and the concept of “decoupling” may fade out. The article expects that Biden’s economic team has “active thinking power” and will not lack policy coherence and tend to be dominated by ideology like the Trump team.