05 Nov 2020 A Biden Win Benefits China
As the votes are counted in the United States, the Chinese government is undoubtedly hoping for a Biden victory to assist in the rehabilitation of its international reputation. Damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic which originated there, the Chinese are now focusing on the prospect of partnering with a Biden Administration on risky environmental policies.
In a news analysis published by The Epoch Times, National Center Senior Fellow Bonner Cohen, Ph.D., writes that China appears to be “hoping to capitalize” on an American leadership change that would be willing to accommodate China’s expansionist agenda. And, in “targeting” a potential Biden Administration as a partner in climate change policy, China can also cater to desirous “global elites.”
In particular, Bonner notes, a Biden Administration “could provide an opportunity for Beijing… to pick up where [President Barack] Obama and [Chinese leader Xi Jinping] left off.” This refers to a 2014 mutual cooperation agreement that did not actually hold China to any specific commitments.
And China is pledging to move toward a carbon neutral energy policy over the next few decades. This is similar to campaign promises made by Joe Biden during his candidacy. Following through would ensure that China is not unilaterally tying itself to a risky, unreliable alternative to the fossil fuels that made the United States energy independent during the Trump Administration.
This reversal of fortune regarding American energy could help tip the power balance. Bonner points out:
[A]dding more intermittent, land-intensive wind and solar power to the already shaky American power grid will pose significant challenges in the United States.
This, Bonner suggests, would benefit China as well as Iran and Russia.
It would also bring wealth to China because that country has a “near global monopoly on rare earth [minerals] used in wind turbines, solar panels and back-up batteries.”
In the days preceding the American presidential election, China ramped up its criticism of the Trump Administration with regard to environmental issues. It condemned the White House for the formal withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Accord and for being in arrears on Global Climate Fund contributions. And the Trump Administration itself earlier issued a report that found that China “threatens the global economy and global health by unsustainably exploiting natural resources and exporting its willful disregard for the environment through its One Belt One Road Initiative.”
Complaints about Chinese environmental policies range from poor air quality to mercury emissions to unsustainable and illegal logging.
Bonner explains that China’s newfound reverence for the environment is merely posturing:
At first glance, China’s sudden embrace of environmental stewardship would seem little more than a tit-for-tat response to Washington’s harsh criticism of Beijing’s environmental record. But that may be only part of the story.
Beijing has good reason to divert attention from the way it handled COVID-19 in the initial phase of the coronavirus’s outbreak earlier in the year by presenting itself now as a responsible guardian of the climate.
With a view toward a possible Biden administration come January, China has an interest in encouraging the United States to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, which put strict limits on U.S. fossil-fuel emissions.
Another benefit to Beijing of having Biden as president would be the potential rolling back of Trump Administration get-tough attitudes regarding China:
One manifestation of that loss of prestige is the growing number of countries that, under prodding from the Trump Administration, are shunning technology giant Huawei’s 5G gear, out of fear that it can be used by Beijing for espionage purposes. This is a trend Beijing must reverse.
While many Americans are transfixed by the vote count, those with the most anxiety may actually be watching from China.
To read all of Bonner’s article – “Beijing Presents Itself as Climate Steward as China-Borne Pandemic Continues to Rage” – click here.