China's Message to America
Please consider China’s Message to America: We’re an Equal Now
As Biden administration officials expected in their first meeting with Chinese counterparts, Yang Jiechi, Mr. Xi’s top foreign-policy aide, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi asked them to roll back Trump-era policies targeting China. Beijing wanted to restore the kind of recurring “dialogue” Washington sees as a waste of time, say U.S. and Chinese officials briefed on the Alaska meeting.
Mr. Yang also delivered a surprise: a 16-minute lecture about America’s racial problems and democratic failings. The objective, say Chinese officials, was to make clear that Beijing sees itself as an equal of the U.S. He also warned Washington against challenging China over a mission Beijing views as sacred—the eventual reunification with Taiwan.
That is a big shift for Chinese leaders, who for decades took care not to challenge the U.S. as the world’s leader and followed the dictum Deng Xiaoping set decades ago: “Keep a low profile and bide your time.” Some senior Chinese officials privately—often sarcastically—called the U.S. Lao Da, or Big Boss.
Now Mr. Xi is reshaping the relationship. As far as he is concerned, China’s time has arrived.
“China can already look at the world on an equal level,” he told the annual legislative sessions in Beijing in early March, a remark widely interpreted in Chinese media as a declaration that China no longer looks up to the U.S.
Biden will have his hands full as did Trump who set out and failed to improve US balance of trade with China.
But now China is even more aggressive.
It will be interesting to see how Biden handles tariffs, sanctions, trade policy, human rights issues, and Taiwan.