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Haley Campaign Press Release - Opinion: As Blinken Visits China, What Would a 'Thaw' Look Like? Experts Weigh In

June 16, 2023

The Washington Post by Bates Gill, Nikki Haley, Zongyuan Zoe Liu, Michael Mazza, Andrew Browne, Christopher Wood, Emily de La Bruyère and Zongyuan Zoe Liu

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is heading to China this weekend to discuss the dire state of the relationship between Washington and Beijing. President Biden has said he wants to usher in a "thaw" in the two countries' relations, but the obstacles to détente remain huge. Competing security agendas are leading to confrontations at sea and in the air — including concerns about each side's intelligence-gathering efforts. China's brutal treatment of Uyghurs and Hong Kong democracy activists, as well as recent crackdowns on foreign investors, have left many members of the American political class deeply skeptical about the prospects for engagement. U.S. efforts to block Chinese access to sensitive technologies are angering Beijing. Indeed, relations have hit such a low that many informed observers doubt a thaw is even in the cards. We asked several experts to offer thoughts on how the two countries might defuse the tensions.

Last year, trade between the United States and China reached nearly $700 billion, a record high — a fact that undermines talk of a complete freeze in relations between the two countries. Moreover, both sides understand the downsides of fully pulling apart from one another.

The United States and the European Union have wisely discarded talk of "decoupling" from Beijing in favor of the term "de-risking." Even so, China and the West will continue efforts to limit each other's access to technologies, commodities and data deemed threatening to their national security interests.

Given those constraints, it makes sense for both sides to seek opportunities for cooperation in other realms. That could involve the promotion of joint research in tackling public health challenges such as cancer, finding common cause in mitigating climate change, jointly addressing development challenges in the Global South and reinvigorating people-to-people ties between the two countries.

Signaling a potential opening, the Biden administration says it would "welcome" China's role in contributing to a "just and sustainable peace" in Ukraine. And with Xi Jinping expected to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco in November, the possibility of a Biden-Xi summit will drive the two sides to seek constructive outcomes.

But as positive as these warming trends might be, the prospects for a thaw face a cold, hard fact: Geopolitically, the United States and China deeply distrust one another. That is unlikely to change soon. U.S.-China relations will remain solidly in the deep freeze for the foreseeable future. Anyone who wants to alter that would be well-advised to begin by focusing on chances for modest progress.

Nikki Haley: Five questions Blinken should ask when he's in China

Nikki Haley, a Republican candidate for president, was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2019 and governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017.

The story of the Biden administration's approach to China has been weakness. The president has utterly failed in his dealings with China — militarily, economically and diplomatically. President Biden's treasury secretary, Janet L. Yellen, recently called for deepening our economic ties with China. That's insane.

China thinks the Blinken visit will be more of the same. It would be far better to show American strength and resolve. These are the questions that Antony Blinken should ask — and that Biden should've asked from the start.

  1. Why is China preparing for war?

China's military buildup is breathtaking. It's building hypersonic weapons, nuclear missiles, cutting-edge warships and a host of other advanced technologies. Xi Jinping is dead-serious about winning a war. America should be just as serious and modernize our military. It's the only way to keep the peace.

  1. Why is China abusing our economy?

The Chinese Communist Party exploits American companies to strengthen its own military — in ways that range from harvesting data to stealing sensitive technologies. This has to stop. Protecting our economy is a matter of ensuring our national security.

  1. Why is China infiltrating America?

China has propaganda centers at our universities, police stations in our cities and farms near our military bases. Chinese companies are making the chemicals that wind up in fentanyl pills, killing Americans. It's time to protect our people from such dangerous intrusion.

  1. Why is China infiltrating the Western Hemisphere?

It's not just the spy base in Cuba. Beijing is trying to turn almost every country in the Western Hemisphere against us, often using economic bribery. We need to get Chinese influence out of our backyard.

  1. Why shouldn't the United States double down on supporting Taiwan?

Xi wants to destroy the island democracy. That would damage our economy and jeopardize our security. China should know that we'll help Taiwan protect itself because it's in our interest. For that matter, we need to tell China that we'll continue to help Ukraine beat Russia, in a preview of what will happen with Taiwan.

China doesn't want us to ask these questions. But it's time to hold our enemy accountable. Every day we don't puts America in greater danger.

Nikki Haley, Haley Campaign Press Release - Opinion: As Blinken Visits China, What Would a 'Thaw' Look Like? Experts Weigh In Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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