Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to make a long-awaited speech outlining the Biden administration’s China strategy at George Washington University on Thursday morning.
Sources told Politico that Blinken is not expected to say anything surprising and that the strategy will be mostly modeled on the China policy President Biden inherited from the Trump administration.
Biden has continued Trump’s hardline approach to China by maintaining tariffs, increasing the US military presence in the South China Sea, and stepping up support for Taiwan. Both administrations emphasized the importance of building alliances in the region to counter China, prompting Biden to sign the AUKUS defense pact with the UK and Australia.
Biden has also taken steps to boost cooperation between the Quad, an informal security grouping that consists of the US, India, Japan, and Australia. In September, Biden hosted the first-ever in-person summit of Quad leaders.
The US focus on alliance-building was made clear in the US Indo-Pacific Strategy that was released earlier this year. The Biden administration is also due to release another China strategy document, dubbed the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. The document Blinken’s speech will be based on won’t be made public. Instead, Blinken will give a broad overview of the strategy.
Despite the war in Ukraine and the US push to hurt Russia, China remains the Biden administration’s top foreign policy focus. The Pentagon recently briefed Congress on its new National Defense Strategy, which identifies Beijing as the top “threat” facing the US military.
Chinese officials have been strongly warning against the US push to encircle China, but there is little hope that Washington will change its hardline approach. Biden outlined his confrontational approach in a speech to Congress last year, where he said the US is “in competition with China and other countries to win the 21st Century.”