Strategy. Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, a summit to frame the rivalry

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B much longer than expected “ (according to a senior American official) but as unproductive as expected. At the end of three hours of discussions, the videoconference meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping led to a shared observation: they do not agree on almost anything, except on the need to set up “security guards”. crazy ”. “The competition between the two countries (must) not turn into a conflict, whether intentional or not”, launched, in his opening statement, the American president. “China and the United States must improve their communication and cooperation”, had said, a little less catastrophist, the Chinese leader. It was undoubtedly the main objective of this meeting: not to feed a rhetoric, even political escalation. Last March, the first contact between the new American administration and Chinese representatives turned sour, with a verbal contest, in front of the cameras, between Antony Blinken and Yang Jiechi. The first expressing the “Deep concerns” of Washington on a number of subjects (Taiwan, Hong Kong, the situation of the Uighurs, trade relations). The second line of argument: “We believe it is important that the United States change its own image and stop promoting its own democracy to the world. “

“Anyone who plays with fire will be burned”

Nothing so acrimonious between Biden and Xi, although the disagreements remain unchanged. The first of these concerns Taiwan. In recent months, Joe Biden had raised the diplomatic temperature with aggressive statements suggesting that the United States could intervene militarily. Tuesday evening (in Washington), on this subject, he called ” status quo “. The interpretation of the wording can be twofold: the “status quo” implies that the leaders of Taiwan are careful not to declare official independence and that those of Beijing give up wanting to reintegrate the island into its fold. However, this is a “casus belli” for the Chinese leaders who consider that Taiwan is an integral part of China. “If the separatists in Taiwan provoke us, force our hand, even cross the red line, we will have to take decisive action,” said Xi, who made a “One China” a central objective of the country by 2049, the year in which the centenary of the seizure of power by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will be celebrated. “The Taiwanese authorities have repeatedly tried to rely on the United States for independence and some in the United States are trying to use Taiwan to control China,” he added, conclusively, in case Joe Biden did not get it: “Anyone who plays with fire will be burned. “ Chinese military maneuvers near the island have increased in recent weeks, while Washington insisted on its willingness to help Taipei strengthen its defense and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen confirmed the presence of several soldiers like “Trainers”.

A “strategic rival” for global leadership

Joe Biden enjoys a domestic political consensus in his policy of open confrontation with China. Only the left wing deviates from this rule, even if it does not make it a stumbling block. After extolling the benefits of “Workshop of the world”, symbol of a capitalist globalization beneficial to all, the American elites took a turn on the wing under the mandates of Barack Obama, considering China as a “Strategic rival” for global leadership. In 2010, it is the Asian “pivot”: the center of gravity of American foreign policy will shift from the Near and Middle East to Asia, from the Persian Gulf to the China Sea. Donald Trump has followed this same logic, with the particularity of his crazy style and the emphasis on the trade war. Joe Biden took the organization of this confrontation a step further, by dressing it in “values”, as if the shock were to be civilizational. Xi Jinping, for his part, uses this conflict to fuel a rhetoric of national pride and further consolidate his power, as the last CCP plenum demonstrated.

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