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The new US Secretary of State – reactions from China and Taiwan

WARSAW, (BM) – Antony Blinken, elected by the US President-elect Joe Biden as the future secretary of state, is considered a moderate politician in China and a person with whom Beijing “can work,” the South China Morning Post reported, citing Chinese experts, Defence24 reported. In turn, Taiwan remains cautiously optimistic.

China

According to analysts, the choice of Blinken may entail some changes in the US policy towards China. Relations between these countries are now the worst in decades and are increasingly referred to as the “new cold war,” the Hong Kong daily reported. “Whoever becomes the next secretary of state will be better than the present one,” said Beijing University international relations expert Jia Qingguo, referring to Mike Pompeo, who currently holds this position, known for his sharp rhetoric towards the Chinese Communist Party.

“China is not expecting a pro-China secretary of state. They are counting on someone who will handle US-Chinese relations in a rational manner that serves the interests of the US, ”added the Beijing expert. In his opinion, “there are many ways in which the US can work together with China” in the interests of both countries.

American affairs specialist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Lu Xiang, assessed Blinken’s choice as a good sign for Beijing. “Blinken is not a charismatic or provocative type, but a pragmatic (…) If he is appointed, I will personally take it as good news,” he said. Blinken had previously announced that Biden would engage in contacts with China “from a position of strength” and focus on restoring American democracy and the US’s relations with allies. He also emphasized that both sides of the American political scene saw China as a serious challenge – reminds “SCMP”.

Under the reign of President Donald Trump, the US launched a trade and technology war on China, imposed punitive tariffs on Chinese exports, and sanctioned Chinese companies and officials. They also intensified contacts with Taiwan, considered by the PRC authorities to be part of Chinese territory.

Before the US elections, experts assessed that Biden’s possible victory would not end the US-Chinese conflict, although Washington’s methods of putting pressure on Beijing may change. According to some commentators, Biden may be more effective than Trump in seeking international support for actions against China.

Taiwan

Taiwanese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said on Tuesday that Taiwan maintains good relations with the team of US President-elect Joe Biden. She also noted that under Donald Trump’s administration, her country’s relationship with the US was “the best ever”.

“The Foreign Ministry and our representation in the United States continue to maintain fluent communication and good interaction with Biden’s team through various appropriate ways,” said Ou, quoted by Reuters. At the same time, she expressed her “deep gratitude” to the outgoing administration that US-Taiwan relations are now “the best ever”.

According to Reuters, in Taiwan, with which the US does not formally maintain diplomatic relations, Biden’s victory was received with some concerns, as Trump was very popular there due to his administration’s support for the Taiwanese authorities. The process of handing over power formally began in the US on Monday, and the president-elect’s team will present the composition of the future cabinet on Tuesday. Biden’s future secretary of state and longtime adviser, Anthony Blinken, spoke on the phone last week with Taiwan’s representative Hsiao Bi-khim.

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