Mr. Xi Jinping (now vice president of China) talks with Joe Biden (then vice president of the US) during a governors conference in Los Angeles (USA) in 2012 – Documentary photo: AFP
The United States’ unsuccessful efforts to mobilize China to cooperate in combating terrorism in Afghanistan and combating climate change after the visit of special envoy John Kerry to China and the recent phone call between the two countries’ leaders have caused controversy. argument raises many questions. Can President Biden fulfill that dual goal? If he couldn’t do two things at once, he would Which priority to choose?
Strategic competitive focus
While continuing to affirm his determination to achieve dual goals, Mr. Biden has signaled that the goal of strategic competition with China is taking precedence.
Special Envoy Kerry affirmed that “climate issues are permanent, not used to trade off issues on which the US and China have important differences”.
The US affirmed that it will handle relations with China from strength, according to the 3C motto – “competition when necessary, cooperation when possible, and confrontation when necessary” – based on 3 pillars of strengthening power. The United States, cooperate with allies and partners and promote the role of international institutions.
Handling challenges from China has become a central issue of the US in bilateral exchanges, in multilateral and multi-party conferences with G7, NATO, EU, QUAD…
The recent withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has caused President Biden to receive much criticism. But it also shows Washington’s determination to end the legacy of the past in order to focus resources on a more practical priority, which is the long-term strategic competition with China.
Although the policy has been determined, the US policy implementation process is facing a number of difficulties that require Washington to recognize this goal in its overall concern and adjust to the changes of the situation. world.
Global challenges such as terrorism, epidemics, climate change… are increasingly complex, requiring joint efforts to solve. The need to promote cooperation on global issues will have a certain influence on the US policy of strengthening strategic competition with China.
After the withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan, the Biden administration urgently needs to work with China to jointly influence the Taliban to prevent the resurgence of terrorism.
As the world’s two leading greenhouse gas emitters, in preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Scotland in November 2021 (COP 26), the US is also actively push China to fulfill its commitments under the goals of the Paris Agreement.
In that context, although China welcomes cooperation, it shows a conditional attitude, saying that coordination on issues of common interest should not be separated from other issues.
From the Alaska meeting to the Tianjin meeting, the recent visit to China by climate change envoy John Kerry and the phone call between President Biden and President Xi Jinping, China has had its say. tough, showing assertiveness when defending interests in issues considered “red lines”.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that US-China tensions could undermine efforts to cooperate on climate change, saying Washington could not expect cooperation on Afghanistan if it tried to contain or damage the rights of the United States. and legitimate interests of China.
Meanwhile, any incident in the future, if it directly threatens the security and safety of the US and its allies, such as attacks from terrorist forces in Afghanistan, will could distract the US from prioritizing strategic competition with China.
In fact, it is unlikely that the Biden administration would trade its handling of global affairs for less competition with China. Because this will reduce the trust of allies and partners, causing doubts within the US and the world about America’s foreign commitments.
Instead, the United States will continue to focus on prioritizing strategic competition with China, maintaining an independent approach to different issues and global issues of common interest.
The results in handling global challenges are still mainly based on the cooperation between the US and its allies and partners.
Learning from lessons in Afghanistan, the US side will strengthen consultation and coordination with other countries when handling global issues and in concrete steps with China to maintain the level of trust in commitments. of America.
Enhancing efficiency and realizing global goals will depend on China’s cooperative attitude and implementation of commitments.
Washington will emphasize Beijing’s own interests as well as the responsibility of major countries in handling global challenges (like asking Moscow to cooperate on nuclear arms control).
However, adjustments (if any) in the direction of reducing tensions or conciliating with China may only be temporary, making it difficult to reverse the competitive trend. mainstream picture.
President Biden will have a lot of work to do for the rest of his term to make these goals a reality.