China uses climate change to threaten Joe Biden administration

  • Date: 03/02/21
  • Newsweek

China is using climate change as a bargaining chip to gain President Joe Biden’s acceptance of its “irreconcilable” policies in Xinjiang and elsewhere, according to a leading think tank researcher.

During his campaign, Biden reiterated his intention to work with Beijing on matters of common interest, such as addressing global warming and the proliferation of nuclear arms, while at the same time confronting its “abusive behavior” in other realms.

The pledge was emphasized as recently as Monday by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who told MSNBC‘s Andrea Mitchell that there were still “cooperative” aspects of the U.S.-China relationship.READ MORE

A few days earlier, however, the Chinese government had already indicated that it would not cooperate on climate without Washington’s willingness to first accept Beijing’s own conditions.

“China is ready to cooperate with the United States and the international community on climate change,” China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said last Thursday.

He added: “That said, I would like to stress that China-U.S. cooperation in specific areas… is closely linked with bilateral relations as a whole. China has emphasized time and again that no one should imagine they can ask China to understand and support them in bilateral and global matters when they blatantly interfere in China’s domestic affairs and undermine China’s interests.”

He urged the Biden administration to create “favorable conditions” for cooperation. The phrase is perceived by observers to mean an acceptance or tolerance of Beijing’s controversial domestic policies, including its widely reported human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, as well as its quashing of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

Global health was another area of potential cooperation between Washington and Beijing, but Blinken has stated that China’s lack of transparency, especially during the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, was and continues to be a “profound problem.”…

Ian Easton, senior director at the Virginia-based Project 2049 Institute, told Newsweek there was “a near-zero possibility” that cooperation between Washington and Beijing in areas such as climate and global health would bear any fruit.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s policies in these domains were “antithetical to the goals of President Biden,” he added. “When two governments have such divergent interests, how can they cooperate?”

“Any cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party on environmental protection and global health would be difficult to sustain at a time when Beijing is denying its complicity in the COVID-19 pandemic, exporting unsafe medical supplies, and devastating the environment by exporting dirty coal-fired electric plants to the developing world,” said Easton, who is the author of The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia.

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