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Home / Opinion / Chen Weihua

Biden needs to walk the talk US doesn't seek a 'new Cold War'

By Chen Weihua | China Daily | Updated: 2021-09-24 07:38
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In this file photo the US Capitol building is seen in Washington, DC, on May 11, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

In the speech he delivered at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden said the United States is "not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs".

It is a welcome message, but many of the administration's actions have not been in line with Biden's statement at the UN General Assembly.

The latest such action is the AUKUS trilateral security pact announced by Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sept 15. One of the clauses says the US and the United Kingdom will help Australia develop and deploy nuclear-powered submarines.

The sudden announcement of the pact and Australia's abrupt cancellation of a $66 billion diesel-powered submarine deal with France have taken the US' European allies, especially France, by surprise and dealt a blow to transatlantic relations. But the real intent of the trilateral pact seems to be to start a "new Cold War" against China.

Australia's neighbors such as Indonesia and Malaysia have already expressed deep concerns about Canberra acquiring nuclear-powered submarines, because it could trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad told the Australian Financial Review that "you (Australia) have escalated the threat", adding that "this agreement indicates you openly regard China as a possible enemy".

Talking the talk but not walking the walk has been a serious problem with the Biden administration. It has even disillusioned many European Union leaders, who have seen Biden eulogizing the transatlantic alliance and multilateralism but often acting like his predecessor Donald Trump and pushing forward Trump's "America first" policy. From the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan-without consulting with Europe-to the AUKUS pact, the Biden administration has taken one irresponsible action after another, which has eroded EU leaders' trust in the US president.

A survey in 12 EU member states released by the European Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday shows that the majority of Europeans believe the US is already engaged in a "new Cold War" with China (62 percent) and Russia (59 percent), but most of them think their own country is not involved.

People are clear-eyed. Betraying his campaign promise, Biden has not halted the trade war and tech war against China that Trump launched in order to contain China's rise. Instead, Biden has intensified them, by targeting more Chinese tech companies, and adding dozens of them to the Entity List which bars US companies from exporting or transferring products and technology to them without a license.

The Biden administration has also continued the US' provocative moves in the South China Sea, and approved the sale of $750 million worth of howitzers and high-tech equipment to Taiwan, further raising tensions in the region.

The Quad summit between the US, India, Japan and Australia to be held in the White House on Friday is also part of Biden's "new Cold War" strategy, not least because by doing so, his administration is abusing the US alliance system to gang up against China.

In fact, the US-EU Trade and Technology Council announcement in June was also an attempt by Washington to curtail China's development, although the first council meeting on Sept 29 in Pittsburgh now appears uncertain due to the current transatlantic crisis.

From the White House to Capitol Hill to US news media, the Biden administration has been fueling Cold War propaganda against China to push forward its agendas. Therefore, to make the people believe in what he said at the UN General Assembly, Biden has to take concrete actions to reverse his reckless "new Cold War" policy, which will be devastating for the whole world.

The author is chief of China Daily EU Bureau based in Brussels.


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