China, 'biggest geopolitical test': US

04-03-2021

New Delhi, Mar 4 (UNI) The administration of President Joe Biden has said that dealing with China will be "the biggest geopolitical test" of this century, and will seek to build partnerships beyond its core alliances, with countries such as India, Singapore and Vietnam. 
The administration sees a rising China as having the power to pose serious challenges to the open international system the US is defending.
"China, in particular, has rapidly become more assertive. It is the only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system," President Biden said in interim guidance on his national security policies released on Wednesday. 
The interim guidance reaffirmed the Biden administration's position that it will only pursue new trade deals after making investments in American workers and communities.
The US, says the guidance, has to take a leadership role “in promoting shared norms and forge new agreements on emerging technologies, space, cyberspace, health and biological threats, climate and the environment, and human rights.” 
The 24-page guidance is aimed at giving initial direction to government agencies while the over one-month-old administration is "developing a more in-depth national security strategy over the next several months." 
The interim guidance reaffirmed the Biden administration's position that it will only pursue new trade deals after making investments in American workers and communities. 
The document said the United States will "reaffirm, invest in, and modernize" its alliances with Australia, Japan and South Korea as well as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, calling them part of "America's greatest strategic asset." 
"Our democratic alliances enable us to present a common front, produce a unified vision, and pool our strength to promote high standards, establish effective international rules, and hold countries like China to account," it said.
On its military posture, the guidance said the US presence will be "most robust" in the Indo-Pacific and Europe as the country seeks to deter its adversaries and defend its interests.
With regard to North Korea, the Biden administration said it will "empower" diplomats to work to reduce the threat posed by the country's growing nuclear and missile programmes, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Japan and South Korea.
As the administration also seeks to restore the US position as a defender of democracy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his speech said that Washington has no intention of engaging in costly military interventions or attempts to overthrow authoritarian regimes by force toward that end.
"We have tried these tactics in the past. However well-intentioned, they haven't worked," he said. "They've given 'democracy promotion' a bad name, and they've lost the confidence of the American people. We will do things differently."
Echoing the Biden administration's pursuit of "a foreign policy for the middle class," Blinken said trade policies need to take into consideration how they will benefit the American middle class and create new and better jobs.
The Democratic administration will build on "hard lessons" learned from the past regarding free trade deals, in which the government did not do enough to enforce agreements or to ease trade-related pain for workers, he said.
Trump was a vocal critic of previous free trade agreements. He pulled the US out of a vast Pacific free trade deal.