Sunday, October 1, 2023

How Biden counterattacks China with India and Vietnam without saying it

This fall, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to lead a bipartisan group of U.S. senators traveling to China. The planned trip, like other recent visits to China by senior American officials, is aimed at improving relations between the United States and China.

These efforts to improve diplomatic relations between the United States and China come amid rising tensions between the two economic giants. They also go hand in hand with US efforts to strengthen ties with Indo-Pacific countries to limit Beijing’s influence.

Take, for example, President Joe Biden’s September 2023 trips to India for the G20 summit and to Vietnam, where US-China competition was at the center of Biden’s discussions. During his stay in Asia, Biden reached several agreements in the areas of science, technology and supply chain security, aimed at strengthening US relations with India and Vietnam.

“I don’t want to contain China,” the president told reporters in Hanoi on September 10, 2023, shortly afterward. after meeting with the leader of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

US Representatives Mike Gallagher and Raja Krishnamoorthi echoed similar sentiments at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations think tank in New York the following day.

But even if the United States’ stated goal is not to limit China’s global influence, its recent agreements with India, Vietnam and other countries could do just that.

What the US-led G20 agreements mean for China

The United States is actively looking for ways to weaken one of China’s best tools of influence: international loans.

At the G20 summit on September 9-10 in New Delhi, the United States pledged to help reform the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to make them more flexible in lending to developing countries to finance renewable energy projects. , climate change mitigation and critical projects. infrastructure. Biden pledged the first $25 billion to make these reforms possible and secured additional financial pledges from other countries, totaling $200 billion in new funds for developing countries over the next decade.

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The United States also signed an agreement with the European Union, Saudi Arabia and India, which will help connect the Middle East, Europe and Asia through railways and ports. Characterizing it as a “really important deal,” Biden said the rail and port deal would help stabilize and integrate the Middle East.

These plans aim to provide an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. This initiative, commonly known as BRI, is China’s international infrastructure lending program. Over the past decade, Chinese government agencies, banks and companies have lent more than $1 trillion abroad, and 60% of recipient countries are now indebted to these Chinese entities. The United States and other countries have long criticized the BRI as “debt trap diplomacy.” A study suggests that the billions of dollars in infrastructure loans extended to countries by China’s government and quasi-government bodies are generally creating debt problems that borrowing countries cannot handle.

As China faces a slowdown in its domestic economy, it could become more difficult for Chinese entities to continue financing large projects abroad. New US-led G20 agreements could fill this future gap.

These G20 plans complement existing Western economic initiatives to compete with the BRI, including the US trade deals for the Indo-Pacific region and the Americas, the EU Global Portal, and the G7 Global Infrastructure and Investment Partnership. .

What the US-India deal means for China

During their meeting on the sidelines of the G20, Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to deepen collaboration in the development of critical and emerging technologies, such as quantum computing and space exploration, as well as 5G and 6G telecommunications. This will help India compete with China in the technological field in the Indo-Pacific region.

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The telecom part of a joint statement by Biden and Modi specifically mentions the US role. Extract and replace program. It is about helping small telecommunications companies extract technology from Chinese companies like Huawei or ZTE and replace them with Western network equipment that will protect user data.

The United States has banned Huawei and ZTE equipment from its telecommunications networks, considering that these companies represent a risk to national security. The US and Indian commitment to support Remove and Replace runs directly counter to the expansion of China’s telecom technologies.

What the US-Vietnam deal means for China

In Vietnam, Biden elevated the bilateral relationship to a priority. Comprehensive strategic partnership that expands relations in all areas, from economics to education and technology in a country that has long considered China its home. first business partner.

As part of this enhanced partnership, the United States will provide $2 million to fund educational laboratories and training courses in semiconductor assembly, testing and packaging.

A company in Arizona and two in California are trapped in the belief of semi-conducting plants and design centers in Vietnam, and the American artificial intelligence society Nvidia helps Vietnam integrate AI into automobile systems and of health.

All of these investments will make Vietnam even more attractive to American and Western companies that do not want China to be the sole source of their supply chain. As Vietnam becomes a key player in the semiconductor market, China’s market share, as well as its regional technological advantage, will decline.

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The United States also agreed to provide nearly $9 million to help Vietnam patrol the waters around its borders and bolster security at port facilities, as well as step up efforts to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported, or IUF, fishing. . Although not explicitly mentioned, China is the target of this initiative; China and Vietnam remain at loggerheads over disputed claims over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, and Chinese industrial fishing vessels are the biggest culprits of IUUF in the world.

By signing these agreements at the G20 in India and Vietnam, the United States has expanded its circle of allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region who can help counter China.

Coupled with similar diplomatic achievements by Vice President Kamala Harris at the recent ASEAN Summit in Indonesia; security partnerships such as AUKUS, between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, and the Quad, between the United States, India, Australia and Japan; increased sales and military training for Taiwan; and the recent Camp-David meeting during Biden’s meeting with Japan and South Korea, the United States is building partnerships across Asia.

These actions are aimed at restricting China’s political, economic and military power, although American leaders do not explicitly say that is their intention. Regardless of the rhetoric, actions speak louder than words.

Leland Lazare is associate director of national security at Florida International University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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2023-09-18 22:51:00
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