President BidenJoe BidenTikTok users are spreading a conspiracy that Texas snow was made by the government The problem with a single federal minimum wage hike. Throwing money in Central America does not stop illegal migration MORE gave a two hour phone preview conversation last week with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. At a CNN town hall, Anderson Cooper asked Biden about the human rights record of Uyghurs and China.
We must stand up for human rights. This is who we are, Biden said. My comment to him was, and I know him well, and he knows me well. Xi Jinping’s central tenet is that there must be a united and tightly controlled China. And he uses his justification for the things he does on that basis. I pointed out to him that no American president can be supported as president if he does not reflect the values of the United States. And so the idea that I’m not going to denounce what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uyghurs in the western mountains of China, and Taiwan, the one-China policy, by making it energetic.
Apparently, the connection made when the two were second in line for national leadership outlived Bidens calling Xi who gave during the campaign. Biden explained Xis’ position: he understands. Culturally, there are different standards in each country and their leaders are expected to follow them. Translation: Brutality is expected from a Chinese Communist leader.
Cooper insisted on Biden: When you spoke to him, however, about the human rights abuses, is it in relation to the United States, or are there real repercussions for China?
Biden replied: Well, there will be repercussions for China and he knows it. What I am doing is making it clear that in fact we will continue to reaffirm our role as spokespersons for human rights at the UN and in other agencies that impact their attitude. China is striving very hard to become the world leader and in order to achieve this, it must gain the trust of other countries. And as long as they are engaged in activities that are contrary to basic human rights, it will be difficult for them to do so. But it is much more complicated. I shouldn’t try to talk about Chinese politics in 10 minutes on TV. (President TrumpDonald TrumpFauci: US political divide over masks led to half a million COVID-19 deaths Bishop of Georgia says GOP’s state election bill is an “ attempt to suppress the black vote ” Trump closer to legal threat after court ruling on MORE tax returns expressed a similar reservation.)
The Biden administration appeared to be faced with a monumental political dilemma: bring criminal charges against Chinese leaders, potentially including Xi, or ignore a massive moral challenge from China and be accused, even by pro-Biden media, of extreme human rights hypocrisy.
But suddenly, Biden was thrown a lifeline with the disclosure of a State Department legal dissent that began under Trump. Although Biden and secretary Antony BlinkAntony BlinkenKhamenei: “Iran will not give in to the pressure” could increase uranium enrichment to 60%. Did Biden just endorse “human rights with Chinese characteristics”? Erdoan: Turkey wants to strengthen ties with US after relationship ‘seriously tested’ READ MORE called the genocide a persecution of China’s Uyghurs, state lawyers objected. They argue that mass rape, forced abortions and sterilizations, and abominable conditions in concentration camps in China are more aptly described as crimes against humanity, a slightly less pejorative label that engages no formal obligation. to act under international or US humanitarian law.
This escape hatch makes it even less likely that Bidens’ repercussions for China will be more than a ritual condemnation. It is much better that Trumps reported the endorsement of Xinjiang camps as acceptable price to pay for a trade agreement. But it’s not quite up to the former secretary of state Mike PompeoMike PompeoCanada calls China’s treatment of Uyghur genocide “ genocide ” over Trudeau’s objections that Trump speaks to CPAC in his first public appearance since leaving the White House US Agency for Global Media reinstates employees fired under Trump PLUSs history finding of genocide.
On other Chinese matters, neither Cooper nor members of the public have asked Biden to reveal more about his lengthy conversation with Xi how, for example, the two engaged on the potentially explosive Taiwan issue. Biden earlier tweeted that he had warned Xi about China’s coercion into Taiwan. Beijing’s reading of their phone conversation said Xi called the Taiwan issue China’s internal affair.
Did Biden repudiate or strengthen Overcomes severe private warning of an appropriate American response to the Chinese aggression against Taiwan? If so, did Xi invoke a Chinese admiral’s appeal to sink one or two American aircraft carriers and kill 5,000 to 10,000 American sailors or an apocalyptic warning from Chinese generals of nuclear attacks against hundreds of American cities?
Did Biden ask Xi to reprimand and contain barbaric threats from his subordinates? Did he tell Xi that, rather than independence means war, as China’s defense spokesperson warned last month, is the Americas’ position that war means independence? In other words, not only will the United States come to the defense of the Taiwans, but it will officially recognize it as a separate sovereign state.
This would ultimately eliminate Beijing’s false one-China principle that Taiwan is or ever was part of Communist China. It would also abandon the flabby one-China Americas policy that recognizes Beijing’s position as long as unification goes on peacefully. Growing threats from China and increasing repetitions to attack Taiwan have destroyed the prerequisite for the transfer of diplomatic recognition of the Americas from Taipei to Beijing. Threats of force also violate Article I of the Charter of the United Nations.
Biden, like all of his predecessors, is reluctant to publicly utter four little words with enormous moral and geostrategic consequences that America will defend Taiwan, which Trump only hinted at in an interview with Fox News. On the other hand, since 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, bipartisan Congresses urged Democratic and Republican administrations to support Taiwanese democratic security more openly.
Congress is now considering the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act (TIPA), which establishes a limited authorization for the president to use military force for the specific purpose of securing and protecting Taiwan from armed attacks. TIPA would end the strategic ambiguity of the United States and help deter China from preparing for a real conflict. The House passed it in 2020, but Trump, concerned about the pandemic, the economy, and re-election, did nothing to move it forward.
Biden, with control from both houses and a bipartisan consensus in Congress, can reduce Beijing’s risk of calamitous miscalculation by supporting strategic clarity in Taiwan. It would strengthen his hand for the next conversation with Xi.
Jen psakiPath to confirmation from Jen PsakiTanden looks increasingly untenable America’s Asia-Pacific caucus urges senators to confirm Tanden Biden orders half staff flags to mark 500,000 virus deaths MORE“Bidens press secretary said on February 16: I can assure you that this president is not looking to the previous president for advice on his foreign policy. But the administration should avoid a total rejection of the policies of its predecessors just so as not to be Trump. Biden would benefit from relying on what the national security team wins, if not always Trump himself is right about China.
Political differences and mixed signals are not unique to the Trump administration. In addition to divisions over the Uyghur genocide, the State Department derailed Bidens’ opposition to the pipeline from Russia to Germany.
Joseph Bosco was Director of China for the Secretary of Defense from 2005 to 2006 and Asia-Pacific Director of Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief from 2009 to 2010. He is a non-resident researcher at the Institute of Korean-American Studies and member of the Advisory Board of the Global Taiwan Institute.
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