Whilst President Biden’s stance on China is mixed, and the nature of complex relationship between the two nations with regards to the economy and human rights stands to be seen, many experts hope for increased collaboration between the two international powerhouses.
On Wednesday 14 April, Biden officially announced his plan for the United States to pull out from Afghanistan, withdrawing its presence which currently stands at roughly 2,000 US troops on top of NATO deciding to pull out its close to 7,000 troops by 1st May.
This historic announcement is one of the major signifiers of Biden’s move to fulfill former President Obama’s plans to induce a formal shift from the Middle East, and pivot towards Asia in view of China and its rise to power and prominence.
In light of this, tensions seem to have calmed down from the aggressive stance of Trump and his trade war against the newly emerging giant. Biden has demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with China, releasing a joint statement on 17th April on the issue of climate change, seeking to tackle the problem through expressing a commitment to working in tandem with one another, and supporting common efforts towards the goals detailed in the agreement.
Xi Xinping too has employed language that seems to voice a preference for collaboration, calling for a rejection of hegemonic forms of global governance and demonstrating China’s commitment to global free trade through strengthening ties with its partners and countries around the world.
Proponents of the liberal strand of international relations theory will no doubt view this as a move towards greater coordination throughout global politics and an interconnectedness that will draw great powers such as the US and China, away from conflict.
Many who regard themselves as realists or hold a slightly more pessimistic view of the situation tend to declare that tension could arise as competition between the two respective countries level up with each for a greater share of global power.
This, of course, sounds like a negative thing. Movement towards a world predicated on mutual benefit through working together is the ideal. And yet, how many would feel comfortable with operating on friendly terms with a nation that currently holds more than one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in internment camps, with regular abuses of human rights occurring?
Biden’s outlook on global politics shows him to be a man that prefers an ordered set of rules and values to operate by, and his sway over the international community provides a means of pressuring China on their abuse of minorities within their territory.
His words, moreover, will not be empty. With a massive chunk of the global economy behind him, and the competition rising, we may see either a turn to friendly global cooperation, as has already been seen in relation to combatting climate change or a concerted challenge on China and their aforementioned wrongdoings towards certain minority groups.