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Since before Joe Biden was elected as the United States’ new president, the air has been thick with speculation concerning US-China relations. While some may argue that Trump’s departure from the administration may insinuate a crossroads and potentially less strain on the relationship, it is unlikely.

China has remained relatively silent on these developments since the election. The country’s leader seems adamant that a change in the presidency will not mean much – if anything – for his country.

According to several think-tankers, China’s rise poses specific implications that the US government can’t sugarcoat even under a Democrat.

In the past few years, the now ex-president Donald Trump has solidified the state’s position in direct opposition to China. From an outright racist approach to imposing large-scale tariffs on Chinese products, the situation has been pushed beyond the point of return.

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 9, 2017

Trump accused China of manipulating its currency on the world market and blamed the country for COVID-19 altogether. He also claimed that China would pay a high price for what it has done to the US and the rest of the world. This cold war between the world’s two biggest economies has translated into aftershocks for several other nations.

Biden’s Term – What it Implies?

On the other hand, Biden has been vocal about his disdain for Trump’s drastic – often self-destructive – behavior in terms of global interdependence.

During Barack Obama‘s term, then-vice president Biden made clear which side he was on. In that regard, he plans on building profitable alliances with other nations, but does that mean he will easily overturn the damage done? The short answer is no.

As a presidential candidate, Biden stated that he intends to make China play by the rules. This, although not as ruthless as something you would expect from Trump, does imply that China is seen as a competitor if not an enemy.

Biden on visit to China

So, as far as forming a strategic alliance goes, any potential negotiations with China will hardly be traditional. Most importantly, however, Biden alone does not determine how the future pans out. Both Republicans and Democrats are suspicious of China, making it harder to predict anything with complete accuracy.

Even though Biden has announced he doesn’t plan on increasing existing tariffs, he won’t be reducing those that his predecessor Donald Trump set in motion. In any case, communication is expected to ease between the two countries considering Biden doesn’t take much from Trump’s overwhelming hostility. This will open several doors for international investors as tariff risk becomes somewhat subdued.

Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that the Democrats aren’t too fond of China’s policies. Xinjiang indulges in egregious human rights violations alleged by the United States and other countries, which completely contradicts what Biden’s campaign revolves around.

As the detention camps overflow with illegal prisoners, a human rights violation confrontation planned by the Democrats last year might just come into play. Meanwhile, China calls these camps’ vocational and educational training centers necessary to counter-terrorism and alleviate poverty.

Biden has called President Xi Jinping a thug, which only substantiates bitter sentiments between the two. Moreover, technology bans under the Trump administration will not be relaxed either.

The Chinese president has also announced that the government will accelerate dialog around the China-EU investment treaty. Since Trump declared that the EU often favored Germany at the expense of The United States and several other compromising statements, US-EU relations have also experienced considerable strain in recent times.

Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris
Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris

The constant differences in opinion and intermittent trade war threats have had potent implications overall. Concurrently, the EU-China treaty is directly influenced by the phase two China-US treaty on account of similar terms contained within each.

For now, EU leaders are patiently waiting to see how Biden will introduce changes to the wholly unilateral approach followed by Donald Trump.

Expectations: High or Low? 

Under Biden, prominent changes can be expected to recover trade health and limit trade wars. It is no secret that both The United States and China benefit from several interdependencies pertinent to their respective economic models.

While Trump sought complete dissociation, Biden’s strategy could reform the rigidity while ensuring that the fundamental principles remain intact. Biden has said in his address that his policy will focus on unifying states, resolving unfair tax systems, delivering justice, and more.

Experts claim that the new president’s focus will be on undoing the damage done by his predecessor within the United States itself. Also, with the second coronavirus wave hitting record-breaking highs, it is obvious that Biden has a lot on his plate before he can divert his energies elsewhere.

Simply put, it is a matter of priorities and stability. With Trump out of office, the volatility that came with his hard-line methods will gradually diminish.

Needless to say, the new government is being scrutinized, and analysts assert that Biden should not be looking to reverse every policy enforced before him, including immediate undoing of US-China tensions. Such an impractical resolution will only be met with disappointment, claims political vet.

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