The official China Daily said in an editorial Thursday that the Biden administration’s approach so far “affords little optimism.” Many of the new US leader’s policies seem similar to those of former President Donald Trump, according to the English-language newspaper, whose opinion pages are often used to send messages to foreign audiences.
The piece cited Biden’s comments last week at the Munich Security Conference, where he said: “We have to push back against the Chinese government’s economic abuses and coercion that undercut the foundations of the international economic system.”
Also singled out were remarks Wednesday by Biden’s nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. William Burns said at a confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee that China’s “adversarial, predatory leadership” is the biggest threat to the U.S.
“Such incendiary remarks harp on the same tune as that heard from the previous administration, and are centered on a zero-sum mentality which sees China’s gain as the US’ loss,” the China Daily said. “Such messages from Washington are unhelpful for the rebuilding of a sound and healthy bilateral relationship.”
The Trump administration’s four years were marked by tough rhetoric and tensions with China on issues from trade and tech to human rights and political freedoms in Hong Kong. The two nations engaged in sometimes testy tit-for-tat exchanges, such as when they both ordered consulate closures.
While Chinese diplomats have expressed hope that ties would improve after Biden’s election win in November, they also argue that Washington is solely responsible for the deterioration in relations. China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said Monday in Beijing that the U.S. should “build up goodwill,” by ending tariffs, sanctions, visa restrictions and the “irrational suppression” of China’s technological progress.
“Biden has claimed that China will ‘eat our lunch,’ but that is not the case, it wants to eat lunch together,” the editorial said Thursday. “Nor does China seek to challenge or replace the U.S. in terms of economic and geopolitical dominance.”