China’s ‘new source of tension’ with Biden as Washington threatens ‘fresh arms race’ | World | News


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Top diplomat Yang Jiechi called for Beijing and Washington to reset relationships on Tuesday, stipulating the US should stop meddling in China’s internal affairs. Under former US President Donald Trump, bonds between the nations plunged to their lowest point since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1979, as they clashed over issues including Hong Kong, Taiwan, the South China Sea and the handling of the pandemic. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price described the US’ current relationship with Beijing as one viewed “through the lens of competition and positioning ourselves to compete and ultimately to out-compete with the Chinese”.

He added that it was “no coincidence” that President Joe Biden’s initial interactions were with partners in Europe and the Indo-Pacific region, noting that “we see our alliances, our partnerships globally as again this force multiplier across a wide range of challenges, and that includes in our relationship with Beijing”.

And, although the pair have tussled for supremacy in the past, political risk consultancy Eurasia Group revealed in their “Top Risks 2021” that tackling climate change could add to the animosity this year.

Their report reads: “China, the EU, the UK, Japan, South Korea, and Canada all committed to meeting economy-wide net-zero emissions targets by mid-century, while global firms and financial institutions set their own similarly ambitious goals.

“Most importantly, the US is now in the game. Biden has said he’s ready to rejoin the Paris Agreement on day one and to commit the world’s largest economy to net-zero emissions by mid-century or sooner.

Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping

Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping (Image: GETTY)

Top diplomat Yang Jiechi called for Beijing and Washington to reset relationships

Top diplomat Yang Jiechi called for Beijing and Washington to reset relationships (Image: GETTY)

“That’s not just a reversal of Trump’s climate neglect, but a step toward a new era of global cooperation, the triumph of net-zero over G-Zero.

“In reality, there will be costs for companies and investors from greater climate ambition and risks from overestimating how coordinated new climate plans will be.

“The Biden administration’s approach will lead to a new wave of long-term climate commitments and targets, many of which will be aimed at achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century.“

The experts went on to explain how the US is currently behind, thanks to the efforts of Mr Biden’s predecessor.

It added: “The UN climate conference at the end of the year in Glasgow will provide a focal point for these announcements and overtures.

READ MORE: Joe Biden warned of China vaccine war as EU tipped for bailout from Xi Jinping

Former US President Donald Trump

Former US President Donald Trump (Image: GETTY)

“In short, climate commitments will matter in 2021 like never before.

“India, Australia, and Brazil will fiercely protect their carbon-intensive assets from international pressure and competition.

“Europeans will remain the biggest climate investors at home and abroad, and they will also prepare to start taxing imports from high(er) carbon countries such as China, Russia, and the US.

“China will launch a massive domestic decarbonisation programme as part of its 14th five-year plan while using its state capitalist model to dominate global supply chains for new technologies.

“And as the US scrambles to catch up to China in what will quickly become a global clean energy arms race, it will make climate and the energy transition a matter of industrial and national security policy.”

Tackling climate change is said to be high in the agenda for the US and China

Tackling climate change is said to be high in the agenda for the US and China (Image: GETTY)

The report details the technology that could pose a threat.

It continued: “In 2021, climate will go from a playground of global cooperation to an arena of global competition.

“Across a range of clean technologies — but especially batteries, power control systems, and other commanding heights of the 21st-century energy economy — China’s longstanding industrial policy approach will be met by its new US counterpart across the Pacific.

“Some parts of the clean energy supply chain will come under bifurcation pressures, not unlike those seen in 5G, particularly where the security of ever-more complex grids is involved, such as with transformer equipment.

“Make no mistake, the push for net-zero will create enormous opportunities for private capital, especially the growing pool of environmental, social, and governance dollars and euros.

“But politics will be decisive, and winners and losers will be determined by factors other than market forces.

Biden has promised to be tough on China

Biden has promised to be tough on China (Image: GETTY)

“The result will be an already fractured world drifting further apart.”

Later in their analysis, the experts explained why this source of tension could boil over.

It continued: “The new source of tension will be a rivalry in green technologies.

“US efforts to enlist allies, vaccine diplomacy, and climate tech competition will interact with longstanding tensions to further complicate

“Disagreements over bilateral trade and technology, the treatment of the Uighurs, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the South China Sea will fully carry over into this year, all of which will sustain a significant chance of miscalculation and escalation during a crisis.

“The two countries will seek some breathing room after the inauguration, Biden to focus on domestic affairs and Chinese President Xi Jinping to further consolidate his power in advance of the 2022 Party Congress.

“But a detente is not to be. Overall, this year will experience an expansion of a high level of US-China tensions.“

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