Joe Biden rallies allies to take firmer stance on China

Joe Biden to use this week’s G7 summit to encourage allies to join Washington in making a decision harsher stance on Beijing, while the US president capped a series of new actions with an executive order aimed at strengthening the control of Chinese software and applications.

The increased pressure sets the stage for the UK-hosted summit, when Biden hopes to persuade his counterparts to reprimand China for its persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, its coercion economy of countries like Australia, and its aggressive military activity in the South and East China Seas.

As he boarded Air Force One on Wednesday for his first overseas trip as US president, Biden said he would use his week in Europe to strengthen alliances and “make it clear to [Russia’s Vladimir] Putin and China that Europe and the United States are tight ”.

The executive order, which aims to protect Americans’ personal data, including health and genetic information, was the culmination of weeks in which the administration has turned the screws on China.

The Senate this week adopted a bipartisan bill that would provide $ 250 billion to help the United States maintain a competitive advantage over China in critical technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

The Pentagon on Wednesday concluded a three-month review of China’s attempts to challenge US defense strategy, after concluding that Beijing had become one of its most serious “stimulus threats”.

Biden has also taken steps to reduce the dependence of U.S. supply chains on China and revamped Donald Trump’s agenda last week. order banning Americans from investing in 59 Chinese companies, including Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co-operation, China’s largest chipmaker.

“We have seen a real commitment from the Biden administration to pushing back China,” said Bonnie Glaser, Chinese expert at the German Marshall Fund. “For a lot of people, the administration surprised on the upside.”

After attending the G7 rally in Cornwall, Biden will attend the EU-US and NATO summits in Brussels, before meeting with Putin in Geneva. The focus on China comes as he talks less about the summit with the Russian president amid criticism that Biden is meeting with a leader he recently called a “killer.”

A senior EU official presented these meetings as a vital opportunity to bridge potential divisions and achieve a “balanced approach”.

“[We] Expect the G7 leaders to commit to better cooperation and to align their strategies with China, ”the official said.

The EU shares many of the US’s concerns about China, but has been less inclined to be part of an openly anti-Beijing alliance. He is also grappling with his own tensions with Washington in important areas, such as commerce and electronic privacy.

The 27-member European bloc and the United States intend to “consult and cooperate closely” on “similar multifaceted approaches with China, which include elements of cooperation, competition and cooperation. systemic rivalry ”, according to the draft conclusions for the EU-US Summit next week.

Concerns shared between the United States and the EU include Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and security in the East and South China Seas, according to the draft declaration, which is still subject to review.

However, Biden will face challenges with some countries fearful of being caught in a growing struggle between Washington and Beijing.

“There is a lingering concern. . . including in Europe that the United States is too confrontational and the United States is really asking countries to choose between the United States and China, even if we say we are not, “Glaser said.

By issuing an order to protect US data from China, Biden also revoked a Trump-era ban on Americans using Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat, which had become sterilized after being challenged in US courts.

The new decree aims to provide a mechanism to perform a “rigorous and evidence-based analysis” to assess the risks posed by Software foreign adversaries, including China, in a way that will survive legal scrutiny contrary to Trump’s ban.

“When you consider this new decree and the investment action of the past week, the administration is clearly moving from months of reviews to a period of more sustained action and implementation,” said Eric Sayers, expert safe at the American Enterprise Institute.

“It could be a busy summer. “

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