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Biden, as President, Will Shift U.S. Toolkit on China

Biden, as President, Will Shift U.S. Toolkit on China

President-elect Joe Biden will advance Washington’s tough, new attitude toward China, but with an approach that relies more on pressure from U.S. alli

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President-elect Joe Biden will advance Washington’s tough, new attitude toward China, but with an approach that relies more on pressure from U.S. allies, sanctions and other tools to shape Beijing’s behavior, according to Biden advisers and China experts.

Mr. Biden has signaled he would ratchet up pressure over China’s human- rights record, sideline President Trump’s “phase one” trade agreement and use leverage from other U.S. partners—possibly including Taiwan—to seek to rein in Beijing’s actions in the region and limit state-led support for high-tech industries, they said.

“These are two things that Biden and the Biden people are talking about—the first is the outreach to allies and partners and like-minded states—democracies,” said Daniel Russel, former Asia diplomat in the Obama-Biden administration, now at the Asia Society Policy Institute think tank. “Secondly is ensuring our policy and strategy are rooted in shared values,” including human rights, democratic principles and market economies.

Mr. Trump worked unilaterally and directly with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and top Chinese officials in pursuit of a grand trade bargain that has eluded them so far. Mr. Biden’s approach will be similarly firm but, with others involved, will probably be more predictable, analysts say.

“The relationship—or lack thereof—is going to continue to deteriorate,” said Chris Krueger, Washington analyst at Cowen & Co. “With Biden, it will be more linear, though.”

This post first appeared on wsj.com

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