Comprehensive it might need been, but in response to Chinese state media, what robustness there was didn’t end in any pressure or dangerous feeling — fairly the other.
That account went into significantly extra element in regards to the call than the White House readout, and but the problems of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, such pivotal factors in response to Washington’s account, are relegated to a single sentence within the fourteenth paragraph. Xi is quoted as dismissing Biden’s issues out of hand, saying all three areas are “China’s internal affairs and concern China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“The US side should respect China’s core interests and act prudently,” Xi is quoted as saying.
Without a recording of the call itself, there isn’t a strategy to inform which account is essentially the most correct; of their summaries, each side are speaking to a home viewers, Biden in claiming to be powerful on problems with human rights, Xi in saying he was equally powerful in pushing again.
Though Biden might want to seem powerful on China — and should pursue insurance policies that take this stance past the rhetorical — he’s dealing with a rustic that’s extra highly effective than it has ever been, one which weathered an intensely hostile Trump administration, and has come largely out of the coronavirus pandemic stronger and safer, whereas the US stays mired in various levels of political and social strife.
He can be dealing with a rustic that’s greater than adept at enjoying this sport. The response to the Biden call in China is that it represents an opportunity for a brand new starting, suggesting Xi and his administration are unconcerned by Biden’s seemingly powerful stance.
Biden just isn’t the primary US chief lately to deal with uncomfortable points when speaking with senior Chinese officers and diplomats. And as earlier US administrations have proven, denouncing Beijing publicly doesn’t essentially preclude the 2 sides from working collectively.
Bill Clinton, who as soon as condemned the “butchers of Beijing” following the 1989 Tiananmen Square bloodbath, additionally lobbied for China to affix the World Trade Organization (WHO), massively boosting the Chinese economic system and the nation’s standing on the worldwide stage.
His successors, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, whereas often experiencing moments of pressure with Beijing, additionally sought to accomplice with China on points resembling North Korea, Iran, and cybersecurity, in addition to boosting financial engagement.
However, the Biden administration has additionally made clear there are points resembling local weather change during which the 2 sides share a nationwide curiosity, and which it can search cooperation with Beijing. Of extra potential concern to China, Biden has additionally prompt he might rally European leaders and different allies — extra prepared to hearken to him than Trump — in opposing Beijing on numerous points, although how this gels with additionally wanting Chinese engagement in different areas stays to be seen.
Since Clinton, Washington has been criticized by China hawks for being too comfortable on Beijing, for not utilizing the leverage it had whereas the 2 powers had been unequal. Biden is probably the primary US chief for whom this isn’t essentially an choice, and he will likely be dealing with a superpower that’s on an equal footing.