In his State of the Union speech, President Joe Biden made fun of President Xi Jinping by claiming that autocracies were on the decline globally and that nobody would desire the Chinese president’s position.
In defiance of his planned remarks, Biden exclaimed Tuesday night, “Name me a world leader who’d switch places with Xi Jinping,” waving a finger. Name one for me, please.Days after the US allegedly shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina during the airship’s cross-country voyage, it was the speech’s most vehement mention of China. Biden mentioned the commotion very briefly.
The global and American interests can both be served by working with China, Biden declared. But make no mistake, as we stated last week, we will take action to defend our nation if China poses a danger to our sovereignty. We also did.
A diplomatic spat over the surveillance issue led Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel a trip to Beijing. Beijing said that the balloon was being used for meteorological studies and denied that it was a spy device, accusing the US of overreacting.
In his speech to Congress, Biden didn’t try to ease the tensions caused by a number of other initiatives, including as new US export restrictions on critical semiconductor technology. According to the US, China is adopting a more confrontational stance, notably against the independent island of Taiwan.
The relationship had deteriorated during the visit to Taiwan by the then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Biden had promised to try to restore it when he met Xi in Bali last November. However, the Pentagon said on Tuesday that China had rejected efforts to arrange a contact between the two nations’ senior defence officials following the balloon’s downing.
The balloon incident didn’t harm US-China ties, Biden assured reporters on Monday, and he dismissed the idea of Chinese espionage, saying it was “something that’s anticipated from China.” Although Biden avoided mentioning China throughout the speech, he said that the US had “lost our advantage” in semiconductor production and mentioned how automakers were unable to get chips created elsewhere during the epidemic. We must ensure it never occurs again, he added.
Analysts predict that the US’s agreement last month with the Netherlands and Japan to restrict the shipment of sophisticated semiconductor equipment to China will severely hamper Beijing’s technological aspirations. Another goal of the White House’s long-planned unilateral action is to limit foreign investment in China’s crucial industries.