Shaher Al Shaher
It was remarkable the statement issued by US President Joe Biden, accusing Chinese President Xi Jinping of being a dictator. This puts us before a number of questions that we will build upon to read the motives behind that statement, and its impact on the future of relations between the two countries.
Place and context of the statement:
The statement came in the state of California, and during President Biden’s meeting with his supporters and constituents to collect donations for his party, so he found it useful to increase his popularity by showing strictness towards Beijing.
Showing strictness towards China is very popular with the American voter and members of Congress in general.
The state of California is one of the states that has come to sanctify the idea of freedom, which in their view has come to mean “excessive pleasure”, without any religious, value or moral considerations.
This state seeks to impose new standards of values such as homosexuality, where homosexuals are allowed to adopt, and the government imposes the work of homosexuals even in religious institutions that reject this phenomenon, under the threat of depriving these institutions of financial aid provided by the government.
Parents are allowed to choose to register the gender of the newborn (meaning that they decide whether to register it as male or female, regardless of its actual gender).
President Biden is keen to take into account the orientations of voters in this state, so he has worked to promote homosexual values and seek to spread them in countries of the world, and has appointed a large number of LGBTQ community to the White House.
This audience hates conservative Chinese values that adhere to the concept of the family, respect for parents, and reverence for grandparents.
In terms of timing:
The statement came after the end of the two-day visit of US Secretary of State Blinken to Beijing.
This visit is the first by a high-ranking US official since 2018 (five years).
The visit was scheduled for last February, and it was postponed due to the Chinese balloon issue.
The visit came against the background of the great tension in the relations between the two countries, and more than (100) lines of communication were cut off between them.
Cutting off communications and security and military coordination between the armies of the two countries almost led to military clashes between them in the South China Sea region, where there was talk of two frictions, one of which was air (between a Chinese fighter jet and an American plane), and the other was sea.
The Chinese government was rejecting any American call for dialogue, given the US administration’s failure to abide by its pledges that were agreed upon at the Bali summit that brought together the Chinese presidents and his American counterpart in November 2022.
The US Secretary of Defense had requested a meeting with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Summit for Security Dialogue, but China refused that and stipulated the lifting of US sanctions imposed on its defense minister, which Washington refused and justified that by the fact that those sanctions had been imposed on him before he became defense minister.
Despite this, the US Secretary of Defense, during the opening of the Shangri-La Summit, went to the table of the Chinese Minister of Defense and shook his hand.
Evaluation of the US Secretary of State’s visit to China:
The visit did not receive much attention from the Chinese media, and it was dealt with as an ordinary event, like any foreign minister’s visit to China.
The reception ceremonies were less than normal, and the newspapers commented that not even red carpets were placed for him on the plane stairs or at his place of arrival.
The visit program has not been announced in advance, and will there be a meeting between Blinken and the Chinese president.
Blinken’s mission was difficult, and a seven-and-a-half-hour meeting was held with the Chinese Foreign Minister.
It seems that the success of the negotiations between the two ministers allowed Blinken to meet Wang Yi, the chief official of Chinese foreign affairs, and Yi was the foreign minister.
Blinken from Yi listened to speech with a high political tone, meaning, “If you want dialogue, we are open to dialogue, and if you choose confrontation, we are ready for it.”
The success of the meeting between Blinken and Wang Yi paved the way for Blinken’s meeting with the Chinese president, which lasted for 35 minutes, during which the Chinese president stressed the importance of dialogue and managing competition between the two countries.
It was agreed to lay new foundations for dialogue between the two countries, meaning that Beijing is calling on Washington to have guarantees for the implementation of what it undertakes.
Some minor differences were agreed upon, such as:
Giving visas to Chinese students to pursue their studies in the United States, and the American administration had stopped granting them these visas, accusing them of espionage for the interest of their country.
Increasing the number of direct flights between the two countries.
Discussing the situation of American prisoners in China, whom Washington describes as “political prisoners”.
Resumption of consultations on health and climate issues, and chemicals involved in the drug industry.
It was agreed that the Chinese foreign minister would visit Washington whenever he wanted to.
The outstanding issues between the two countries that seem impossible to solve:
American interference in China’s internal affairs by raising issues (democracy and human rights – the issue of the Uyghurs – Beijing’s dealings with the residents of Hong Kong and Macau…etc).
The issue of Taiwan, which is the “issue of the Chinese nation”, so Beijing calls on Washington to respect its commitments to the principle of “one China”, while Washington follows what it calls “strategic ambiguity” in dealing with Taiwan, to be a card through which it puts pressure on Beijing.
The Chinese position on the war in Ukraine, and the US demand that Beijing declare its rejection of that war and sever its relations with Moscow.
US sanctions on Chinese people and companies, as Washington imposed sanctions on more than 1,200 Chinese entities and personalities.
US accusations against China of intellectual property issues, which cause great losses to Washington.
The electronic chip war between the two countries, which seems to determine the future economic supremacy of whoever controls it.
The United States continues its hostile policies towards Beijing, and its endeavor to weave a cordon of alliances around it, especially in the South China Sea region.
The United States encouraged Japan and South Korea to increase their military budget and sign security agreements with them.
The security agreement between the United States and the Philippines, which allows Washington to establish military bases in the Philippines.
Activating the role of India by the United States to be a party to the conflict against China, especially since India has not completely resolved the land disputes between it and China, and these borders usually witness intermittent clashes between the two countries. India is also a rival Asian power to China and has overtaken Beijing demographically this year.
Reasons for US resentment of Beijing:
American anger at Beijing is due to several considerations, including:
The Chinese president’s visit to Moscow last March, a day after the International Criminal Court issued a decision against President Putin.
The significant development of relations between Beijing and Moscow, and China’s non-compliance with the US and Western sanctions imposed on Russia.
The Chinese position on the war in Ukraine, and the US accusations against Beijing of supporting and standing behind Moscow.
Chinese entry into the Middle East, which is historically an American sphere of influence.
The success of Chinese mediation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the significant development of Beijing’s relations with those two countries.
Beijing’s strengthening of its relations with the countries of Central Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Beijing imposed sanctions on American personalities and companies, the most important of which is Micron, the electronics industry.
Activating Chinese economic diplomacy, as Beijing received the CEO of Mercedes, Elon Musk, owner of the famous Tesla electric car company, and Bill Gates, owner of Microsoft, who was personally received by the Chinese president.
These meetings may herald the exit of these huge companies from the United States to China, because the interest of these companies lies in not losing the Chinese market, and benefiting from the facilities and privileges offered by the Chinese government to foreign investments.
Beijing’s endeavor to weaken the dollar and increase its trade exchanges with a number of countries in national currencies, which angers Washington, which is suffering the largest economic crisis in its history, to the point that it has become a country threatened with bankruptcy due to its inability to pay its foreign debts.
China has become the largest trading partner for more than 150 countries worldwide.
Soft loans offered by Beijing to many countries of the world, which are now competing with US loans, especially since Beijing does not link these loans to political agendas that it is trying to impose on borrowing countries, as Washington usually does.
Beijing’s success in including Afghanistan in the Belt and Road Initiative, and work to promote development in it.
C- Security and military:
Cutting off communication channels between the Chinese and American armies, which could cause an accident, especially in the South China Sea, which is crowded with warships.
US accusations against Beijing of signing a military agreement with Cuba aimed at spying on US forces, thus threatening US national security.
The ongoing Chinese maneuvers in the South China Sea, and the penetration of “Taiwan’s territorial waters”.
Washington and Western countries accused Beijing of recruiting former pilots and Western officers who had worked with NATO, to learn the military secrets of the NATO countries through them.
Beijing announced an increase in its military budget, and set a line to complete the construction of the Chinese army in the year 2027.
Chinese cooperation with North Korea, which is conducting nuclear tests disturbing Washington and its allies.
The rapid development of China’s space program and satellite launch.
D- Technically and technologically:
The great and rapid development in the electronic chip industry, after the imposition of US sanctions on Beijing’s import of these products.
Beijing’s possession of 5G technology, which forms the nerve that drives artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence is the economy of the future, meaning that whoever owns this technology will achieve huge profits estimated at $ 16 trillion, which is equivalent to the economies of China and India combined.
The number of artificial intelligence users is estimated at 100 billion, most of which are machines (the Internet of Machines).
Cases related to mutual accusations between the two countries of espionage through electronic applications such as TikTok and others.
Cyber wars between the two countries.
The future of relations between the two countries:
Despite the many complex, intertwined and conflicting files between the two sides, the two countries cannot do without each other, given the extent of the overlap and intertwining of interests between them.
Relations between the two countries will not witness a fundamental development during President Biden’s term, as the president will be preoccupied with electoral benefits in the coming period.
There will be no desire from the Chinese president to hold any meeting with Biden, unless absolutely necessary.
Direct US military escalation against China will not be possible, especially since the US is leading the war in Ukraine against Moscow, and it is unreasonable to fight two nuclear states.
Washington will work to try to distract Beijing with some external conflicts, after it has reached the conviction that it is impossible to destabilize security and stability inside China.
India will be the country that benefits from the US-Chinese rivalry, in the event that it is able not to be drawn into any border war with China at the request of Washington.
Japan is the country most enthusiastic about playing the role of the “functional country” to implement the American directions, followed by South Korea.
North Korea is the trump card for China, as the West can communicate with North Korea only through Beijing.
Therefore, it is expected that the two countries will seek to stop the decline in their relations on the basis of “managing competition and preventing it from turning into a conflict”, in an effort to ensure that the “future battle” between them, which will determine the “new world leaders”, is non-military.