Joe Biden held his first press conference this week. China featured. "I will save the world from an over mighty China" vowed the President of the United States.
Working with other democracies, Biden committed to ensure China does not achieve global domination during his presidency. He may even run for a second term, to hold things up, if necessary.
China is set to overtake the US, as the largest economy in the world by 2028 and double in size by 2035. It may take over 50 years to achieve parity in terms of GDP per capita. Even Joe Biden can't expect to hold onto office, until then.
"China has an overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world and the most powerful country in the world. That's not going to happen on my watch, because the US is going to continue to grow and expand" said Biden. The President ducked questions on whether he would ease trade restrictions and lift tariffs as many businesses in the US request.
The United States is urging allies around the world to counter maritime aggression in the South China Seas. Anthony Blinken, Secretary of State pushed for action in meetings with the "Quad". The "Quad" is the security alliance including Australia, Japan and South Korea.
In the Philippines, concerns are rising about the large Chinese fishing fleet, floating around the Spratly Islands. Trawler men, trained to fish and fight, are on board. Manila is to step up "sovereignty patrols". China announced further exercises in the South China Seas in response. Chinese warplanes carried out the biggest incursion yet into Taiwan air space. North Korea launched a few short range ballistic missiles tests to assist with raising tensions in the area.
Sanctions flow thick and fast from the US and the EU to China. The Middle Kingdom is always swift to respond. The UK follows the Western line. The President spoke with the Prime Minister. Ways to rival China's international Belt and Road initiative discussed.
The response from Number 10 must have been pretty lukewarm. No money for international infrastructure on offer. "We are in the process of slashing foreign aid, wrestling with our leveling up agenda and struggling to get a high speed rail link to Birmingham at the moment. In any case I have my mind set on a bridge to Northern Ireland. We are using the old blue print for a flower bridge, across the Thames to save money."
The President is walking the line to suit a domestic political agenda. No cold war in prospect. The first meetings in Alaska were frigid enough. The tensions are rising. Time soon to dial down the rhetoric. Beijing is making it clear, two circulations are available for growth. Applying a tourniquet to the Western limb would not be a severe impairment to China's growth ambitions ...
The Saturday Economist
John Ashcroft publishes the Saturday Economist. Join the mailing list for updates on the UK and World Economy.
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