A focus on strengthening the economy will allow the incoming Biden administration to provide “a counter” to China’s debt policy with the Pacific, which is an area of concern, says a US political expert.
Neta Crawford, the chair of the political science department at Boston University, told Breakfast that while there will be a “much different tone” to China with Joe Biden as president, the US will still “try to be assertive in the South China Sea”.
“In terms of the military competition and the long-term feeling by the United States that there’s a threat from China in the Pacific, overall a rising economic trajectory from China, that feeling about China won’t dramatically change under a Biden administration," she said.
"In fact I think you’ll see some of the same kinds of policies.
“The US, since the Bush administration and the Obama administration said that it wants to build up its military forces and pivot toward China, I don’t think that will dramatically change.”
China’s economic behaviour in the Pacific was worrying the US, Crawford said.
“It’s very concerned about the getting countries in debt policy that China have been using in Africa, South Asia and in the Pacific, providing ways to have future leverage in the region.
“If the US economy is strong, it can provide a counter to that.”
Crawford expected US rhetoric around Hong Kong and the Uighurs to be stronger under Biden.
“The United States has kept talking up about the Uighurs, but it will be a much stronger statement about that I believe.”
The Uighurs are China’s Muslim minority and have been subjected to a mass surveillance and detention program.
Amnesty International estimates more than a million Uighur people are detained in so-called ‘re-education’ camps. Many are subjected to torture.