As Biden becomes the 46th President of the United States, eyes turn to the new direction of the US’s foreign policy approach to China. The basic approach is that Biden will avoid a military confrontation with China despite the harsh speeches he made against China during his election campaign. However, although Biden’s methods and strategies as a democratic president differ from the Trump administration, China will remain a rising global rival. Unlike the Trump administration, Biden is expected to restore the US’s regional alliance. Because Trump’s threatening to reduce troops in Japan and South Korea and establishing direct ties with Kim Jong Un had created rifts between the US and its Asian allies.
In addition to restoring the regional alliance, there are many different problems in the region arising from China’s regional expansion. The latest situation of Taiwan, the continuous expansion of China in the East and South China Seas are among the deep problems that the Biden administration needs to find solutions to immediately, which directly has an impact on the U.S. national security. According to Reuters Biden has pledged to work more closely with U.S. allies in confronting China on trade and is seen as unlikely to roll back his predecessor’s tariffs on imported steel, aluminum, Chinese and European goods any time soon. Beyond the differences between Biden and Trump administration, there are also stable policies and strategies regularly maintained by the U.S. national security institutions. For example, the US continues to deploy missiles on the Pacific islands against possible attacks from China and North Korea.
ASEAN countries will play an extremely important role in the stance of the Biden administration against China. The contribution of southeast Asian countries in maintaining the status quo in the regional security architecture of the US alliance is extremely important. Especially the relations with Vietnam and Indonesia, which have come face to face with China in the South China Sea, can be carried forward. Meanwhile, the recent problems that arise between Japan and Korea, which are the key allies in the region, have caused the erosion of the U.S. alliance system, trying to eliminate these concerns as soon as possible will cause the regional alliance to recover very quickly.
Especially since Trump’s came to power, the US has been gradually shifted its power to the Asia-Pacific region while experiencing a gradual withdrawal from the Middle East. Such a situation had minimized possible friction with Russia. At the same time, there were also rumors of adopting a strategy of keeping Russia passive in a possible military intervention by Trump against China. But Biden knows the Middle East very well and will likely re-energize the US interest in the region. Such a situation will bring back friction with Russia in the wider area. The resurgence of competition with Russia in the Mediterranean, Europe, or elsewhere in the Middle East risks splitting the potential power of the US in the Asia-Pacific. Because apart from China, there is also a North Korea, which rapidly increases its nuclear capacity in the region and puts many states of the USA within its range. In this context, Biden made the following statements for the North Korean administration, which can be considered a strategic partner for China: “As president, I’ll stand with South Korea, strengthening our alliance to safeguard peace in East Asia and beyond, rather than extorting Seoul with reckless threats to remove our troops. I’ll engage in principled diplomacy and keep pressing toward a denuclearized North Korea and a unified Korean Peninsula while working to reunite Korean-Americans separated from loved ones in North Korea for decades.”
Given that China and North Korea have advanced their nuclear weapons arsenals Biden’s approach to these countries is likely to be professional. However, it should not mean that no deal will be made with China and North Korea.