Sat. May 18th, 2024

Prof. ST Hsieh

Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum

626-376-7460

[email protected]

August 12, 2023

Biden is running for reelection in 2024 and he faces a tough challenge from Trump, the former US President. Biden needs to rally his voter base, understood. It is also a smart strategy, if the US domestic challenges are mounting then attack a foreign power, because it could be a distraction.

But, in Biden’s case, he was immediately challenged by domestic media:

  • US leader misstated Asian giant’s growth rate, demographics,
  • Remarks threaten to disrupt renewed engagement with China.

The first challenge for Biden is that “does he know what he is talking about?” Biden is known for his gaffes, if its his gaffe again, why voters will trust him and award him with a second term? It is even worse, if Biden speaks of his minds: he believes in what he talked about: China is a ticking time bomb. What is Biden’s China policy? Work with China to defuse the time bomb or defeat China when she is in big trouble.

The second challenge for Biden is that “is the US really doing much better than China under his watch?”

May be China is facing an “economic time bomb,” but the US is facing a national crisis of governance. The 2024 general election is expected to be very volatile as Democratic alerts the public that “our democracy is under attack!” The bipartisan struggle will heat up again, the US fiscal year starts on October 1st, but as of now the Congress has no draft budget on the table. The risk of a federal government shutdown 40 days later is real.

The third challenge for Biden is “how to move forward with his desire of renewing engagement with China?” China’s bitter reaction to Biden’s bad mouth of China’s economy and President Xi is expected: “Unscrupulous attacks on China make US nastier and nastier!” China’s conclusion is that China: has to be responsible for the mental disorder of the US.

It will be very interesting to watch the next summit between Xi and Biden whenever it happens!

Bloomberg: By Justin Sink

August 11, 2023 at 6:39 AM PDT

President Joe Biden blasted China’s economic problems as a “ticking time bomb” and referred to Communist Party leaders as “bad folks,” his latest barb against President Xi Jinping’s government even as his administration seeks to improve overall ties with Beijing.

In comments that included several major inaccuracies about the world’s second-largest economy, Biden said at a political fundraiser Thursday that China was in “trouble” because its growth has slowed and it had the “highest unemployment rate going.” He also blasted Xi’s signature Belt and Road Initiative as the “debt and noose,” because of the high levels of lending to developing economies associated with the global investment program.

Biden rips China’s leadership as ‘bad folks’ and labels its economy a ‘ticking time bomb’ in error-riddled campaign appearance

BYJUSTIN SINK AND BLOOMBERG

August 11, 2023 at 5:03 AM PDT

President Joe Biden blasted China’s economic problems as a “ticking time bomb” and referred to Communist Party leaders as “bad folks,” his latest barb against President Xi Jinping’s government even as his administration seeks to improve overall ties with Beijing.

In comments that included several major inaccuracies about the world’s second-largest economy, Biden said at a political fundraiser Thursday that China was in “trouble” because its growth has slowed and it had the “highest unemployment rate going.” He also blasted Xi’s signature Belt and Road Initiative as the “debt and noose,” because of the high levels of lending to developing economies associated with the global investment program. 

“China was growing at 8% a year to maintain growth, now close to 2% a year,” he told donors in Park City, Utah, misstating China’s rate of expansion. “It’s in a position where the number of people who are of retirement age is larger than the number of people of working age,” he added, a statement that was not only incorrect but also off by hundreds of millions of people. 

“So they got some problems,” he added. “That’s not good because when bad folks have problems, they do bad things.”

Josef Gregory Mahoney, a politics and international relations professor at Shanghai’s East China Normal University, said Beijing was unlikely to be “baited” into responding to Biden’s latest barbs. 

“Beijing knows Biden will resort increasingly to anti-China dog whistle tactics to rally popular support at home,” Mahoney said“But it’s also important to remember that Beijing heard a lot worse from Trump.”

Biden’s comments are some of his most direct criticisms yet about the US’s top geopolitical and economic rival. The president has sought to walk a fine line between using trade curbs to deter China’s high-tech military advancement, while achieving a diplomatic rapprochement with Chinese leaders that could pave the way for a potential meeting this year with Xi, who is expected to visit the US in November to attend the APEC summit.

It’s unclear yet whether that will materialize, particularly after reports the White House will bar sanctioned Hong Kong leader John Lee from the meeting of 21 Asia-Pacific economies. While Biden said on Thursday that Washington isn’t looking for a fight with Beijing, a range of issues threaten to derail the relationship yet again, from new investment curbs approved by the US this week to military tensions over Taiwan, which will send Vice President Lai Ching-te — the leading presidential candidate in a January election — to stop in New York and San Francisco in the coming days.  

It’s not the first time Biden has made off-the-cuff remarks that threaten to undercut the work of his administration to stabilize ties.

“Biden is right that China has serious problems, but he’s wrong – and inflammatory – on the magnitude of those problems. Ahead of the 2024 election, brace for more incendiary language, as US politicians buy voter support at home at the price of additional risk in relations with Beijing,” said Tom Orlik, chief economist for Bloomberg Economics.

Still, Biden’s swipes at China’s $18 trillion economy come at a particularly sensitive time for Xi. 

Although Biden misrepresented key statistics about China, the overall outlook remains grim. China’s gross domestic product grew at a slower-than-expected pace of 5.5% in the first half of the year, compared with a year earlier, leading to worries about ripple effects for the global economy.

At the same time, Biden’s remarks contained factual inaccuracies and overstated some of China’s problems. While China’s population shrunk for the first time in six decades last year, the Asian giant still had 876 million people of working age versus 280 million people 60 years or older, according to official statistics. 

China’s economy is on track to grow by 5.2% this year, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists in July, even after weak consumption and a property market slump. By comparison, the US economy is forecast to grow 1.6% this year, according to economists.

China’s official urban jobless rate has hovered around 5.2% in recent months, compared with the 6.4% jobless rate recorded in the Euro zone in June. Youth unemployment in China, though, is at a record high of more than 20%.

Unscrupulous attacks on China make US nastier and nastier: Global Times editorial

By Global Times Published: Aug 12, 2023 12:01 AM
As the atmosphere in American society toward China has been severely poisoned by Washington, speaking harshly about China has become one of the cheapest ways for politicians to quickly attract attention, and Biden is no exception. We need to view Biden’s shocking remarks in this context, which are of the same nature as the more intense remarks on China by Republican candidates such as Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley. Based on past experience, as the election campaign progresses, Washington’s bottom line will sink lower and lower, and more sensational claims are likely to come out. The unscrupulous smearing and attacking of China has made the US nastier and nastier.

But it must be said that Biden is not only a candidate, but also the incumbent president of the US and the head of state of a superpower. It is highly inappropriate for him to make inflammatory statements that go against basic facts and do not match his identity. It is not difficult for us to understand that Biden’s purpose in saying these words is nothing more than to score points for his campaign, to show his tough stance toward China, and to boast about his ability to deal with “threats and challenges” from China.

As a result, the sum of Biden’s remarks on China contain obvious contradictions. Washington just issued an “unprecedented” administrative order to curb and suppress the development momentum of China’s high-tech, then it turned around and insisted that “China is in trouble.” A stronger China is a threat in the eyes of the Americans, while a “weaker” China has become a “ticking time bomb.” What then should China do so the US can have a healthy mentality toward China? The reality is that China not only has to be blamed for the frustration of US’ development, but also bear the belittling when Washington boasts of its achievements, and finally has to be responsible for the mental disorder of the US.

If there are “ticking time bombs,” they are planted by the US around the world. The inner world of Washington’s politicians may be dirty, but they should not think that everyone else is like them.

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