In August 2001, on his first overseas trip as chairman of the US Senate Foreign Affairs Commission, Joe Biden went to Beihai Ha, China.
Biden’s goal in attending a series of meetings with the Chinese leadership at the time was to help usher in a pivotal era in bilateral relations, including forging a trade connection that allowed Beijing to join the Trade Organization. World Trade (WTO).
“The United States welcomes the rise of a prosperous and integrated China in the international arena, because we expect it to abide by the rules,” Biden told Jiang Zemin, then president of China, according to Frank Jannuzi, an assistant in the US Senate responsible for organizing the trip.
A few days later, Biden arrived at Yanzikou, a village near the Great Wall in Beijing, enthusiastically interacting with locals who were amazed at his arrival. Returning to Washington, the senator saw a lot of potential from Beijing and turned to the press a similar message with Chinese leaders.
“Washington welcomes Beijing’s rise as a great power, because great powers will respect international rules in areas like nonproliferation, human rights and trade,” Biden said.
Joe Biden shook hands with a boy during a visit to Yanzikou village, north of Beijing, China, in 2001. Photo: Pool photo.
Nearly two decades after Biden’s visit, China has emerged as a powerhouse. However, in the eyes of many Americans, they become dangerous opponents. American bipartisan members all say that China has taken advantage of the global integration that Biden and many other US officials once supported to rise and challenge the US position.
As relations between Washington and Beijing reached their lowest level in decades, and the “pro-China” accusations President Donald Trump had against Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate’s tone changed drastically. . He attacked President Xi Jinping, threatening to be elected “quickly impose economic sanctions” as long as China harms American businesses and people.
“America needs to be tough on China,” Biden wrote in an editorial in Foreign Affairs. Sources from Biden’s foreign policy advisers and aides also said that the former US vice president now sees China as a top strategic challenge.
Biden said he had a “long-standing interest” in China’s change process 40 years ago, after his first visit to the country in April 1979 when “was just entering the Senate”. At the time, Biden was a member of the first US congressional delegation to China since the 1949 revolution and met Deng Xiaoping, the leader of the transition to a market economy.
Welcoming Chinese officials as US vice president in May 2011, Biden reminisces about that trip with respect. Despite being aware of the controversy, Biden said he “used to believe what he now believes, that China’s rise is a positive development, not only for the country but for the United States and so on. gender “.
After his visit in 1979, Biden still regularly criticizes China, in the context of its growing rapidly. He also recognizes the limits on what the United States can actually demand, admitting that China has unfair trade practices.
By the late 1990s, however, Republicans and a growing number of moderate Democrats praised the benefits of a more free trade state with China. In September 2000, when the US Senate argued whether to permanently normalize trade relations, paving the way for Beijing to join the WTO, Biden strongly supported.
Like many other congressmen, Biden said that China’s global integration could “affect the structure of the internal economic, social and political system” of this country. “Permanent normalization of trade will help continue the process of careful engagement, to encourage China to develop as an active, responsible member of the world community,” Biden said at the competition. at that time in the Senate.
Biden also predicts that the chemical and livestock industry in Delaware, his hometown, will benefit, along with General Motors and Chrysler, two corporations that operate large factories in the state. As a result, on September 19, 2000, the US Senate passed the bill with overwhelming votes.
Trump now calls China’s accession to the WTO “one of the greatest geopolitical and economic catastrophes in world history”. However, it was the US corporations and the Republicans who enthusiastically supported this decision. Analysts also argue that excluding the world’s most populous country from the international trading system could have worse consequences.
After decades, the transformation across the economic, political and social aspects in China did not go as expected of Biden. State-owned companies increase control over strategic industries, pon