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U.S.-China Relations: The Pan-Pacific Struggle Ahead

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The timing was important: First, it came on the eve of the Lunar New Year, allowing Biden to show his understanding of the importance of cultural gestures in the world’s most important relationship. But the call also followed Biden’s trip to the Pentagon to announce the creation of a task force on China, as military tensions escalate between the two powers.

State media in Beijing interpreted the call as a show of respect for Xi, stressing the domestic political dimension of US relations. The Global Times hoped for “more channels of communication” than under Donald Trump, a blow to Twitter’s erratic diplomacy that has hurt the US position in Asia. He also warned that “American elites” who support a tougher stance against China “will bring strategic risks that the United States cannot bear,” a comment that resonates with Beijing’s self-confidence and the belief that the United States is weakened.

For national and strategic reasons, Biden is making a blunt personality when it comes to China. The White House said he told Xi his priority was America’s welfare, and he addressed “fundamental concerns” about China’s “coercive and unfair economic practices, the crackdown on Hong Kong, human rights violations in Xinjiang and increasingly assertive actions, “especially against Taiwan. In particular, he did not promise to work for mutual benefit, but to defend the interests of the United States and its allies.
It sounds like a tough conversation. And yet, Biden said Thursday the call lasted two hours. Even taking into account the translation, it is a good part of the time and it reveals something else important about the call. As tough as it can be, the two have a relationship. With American and Chinese planes and aircraft carriers up close in the South China Sea, that’s important. Understanding them will not stop the flash points given the intense economic, military and diplomatic competition, but it could prevent another cold war from turning hot.

Brooklyn Postcard

How does it feel to finally be fully vaccinated against Covid-19? Meanwhile, spoke with a New Yorker who received his second injection of the Moderna vaccine on Sunday. He requested anonymity for this interview.

“I’m supposed to be very vulnerable and all, but I don’t feel any different. It would seem unfair to me to be really happy about it and to run without a mask and with a big t-shirt saying: I am vaccinated! It is always recommended that a vaccinated person wear a mask. And above all, out of politeness, I just want nobody to know so they don’t feel bad. I’ll just keep a low profile.

“To get the first photo I waited 20 minutes. This time I waited over two hours, clearly because more people are eligible now. Every once in a while a group of old people would appear with someone. one to help them out, and there was being sort of a confused kerfuffle where, because there was no sign, it was just a long line, and I heard several confused people say things like, ” He’s really old, does he really have to go to the bottom of the line?

“We were in a school gymnasium in Bushwick, and inside the tables were set up under all those basketball hoops. When I first went there there were like six tables. This time there were at least 50 tables. And vaccinators were holding numbers when they were free, like Trader Joe’s style. After the shot, you’re taken to that other room, which in this case was the auditorium, and they won’t let you go for 30 minutes after your first shot and for 15 minutes after your second shot.

“It all had the same vibe with the vote: it’s tangible proof that you belong to a diverse society. It’s one of the only times you’re pushed together with other people in a way that’s basically totally hit and miss, although obviously it’s still a bit separate in terms of jobs and age. I always have a surge of positivity when I see the company working like that, even if it’s flawed. You know, the (registration) system is cumbersome and difficult for people but the vaccination is going on. It works, and everyone was freezing, queuing for hours, but everyone was patient, no one was making a scene .

“I saw very old people leave and I wanted to go celebrate with them. However, most of them huddled at around half a mile an hour trying not to slip on the ice, and they weren’t really smiling. or whatever. I’m sure they were happy, but inside maybe. “

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