Can Xi and Biden’s ‘Dictator’ Comment Last? A Marked Shift in China-US Relations?
The diplomatic tone coming from China towards the United States in the first few weeks of Joe Biden's presidency is a marked shift from the rumors of seemingly inevitable conflict that swirled around the former US president for the majority of his tenure. Chinese President Xi Jinping's opening remarks of a "win-win" situation between the two superpowers paints a more constructive picture of the relationship between them, with Biden expressing optimism that theirs can become a constructive partnership rather than aggressive rivalry. However, Biden's off-the-cuff remark calling Xi a "dictator" yesterday in an interview, following hearings of two members of his cabinet being grilled, raised a few eyebrows and could potentially break the fragile understanding that has formed between the two nations. This raises the question of whether or not this renewed attitude of diplomacy from China will be sustainable in the long term, or if older tensions will, in time, bring tensions back up to the boiling point. The fact remains that there are major differences between China and the US on topics such as trade, sustainability, human rights, and cybersecurity, as well as other issues. The Biden Administration will have a complex task of navigating these differences without inciting conflict. The Chinese Government has called for a "mutually beneficial" relationship, but Biden's remarks seem to have dampened the positive outlook. It is hard to say for sure how the relationship between the two countries will develop from here on out. However, the diplomatic shift of the first few weeks of the Biden administration is a refreshing change in attitude that hopefully can be sustained before any destruction takes place and can lead to a better cooperative relationship between the two countries.