In his first speech to Congress, President Biden says the US will stand up to state firms’ Chinese subsidies, technology theft.
In his first speech to Congress, U.S. President Joe Biden pledged to retain a strong U.S. military presence in the Indo-Pacific region and promised to boost technical growth and trade.
“China and other countries are fast-closing. We must build and conquer future goods and innovations, “Biden said Wednesday.
And in a line that drew some of the evening’s strongest applause, he said, “There’s absolutely no excuse why blades can’t be produced in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing.”
Biden repeatedly described rivalry with China as the country’s biggest foreign-policy obstacle. He and his fellow Democrats and opposition Republicans have all pushed towards a tougher stance on Beijing dealings.
“America will stand up to unfair trade practices that undermine American workers and American industries, such as state-owned subsidies and American technology and intellectual property theft,” Biden said.
Competition, not dispute
“We’re competing with China and others to win the 21st century,” Biden said. Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden added, is “deadly earnest” about China “becoming the world’s largest consequential country.”
Biden echoed earlier statements that he thinks the US and China can find areas of collaboration – he cited climate change as an example – and confrontation is not unavoidable. But he vowed the US would stand its ground when he feels the US or global interests are at stake.
He also said he told Xi that the US would maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific region “just as we do in Europe for NATO – not to start a war, but to avoid one.”
Although providing little details, Biden gave China more attention than any other foreign policy topic in a mostly domestic-focused address.
He urged lawmakers to pass a sweeping bipartisan package of legislation now working its way through the Senate that would press Beijing on human rights, fix trade imbalances, and increase support for US emerging technology creation to compete more effectively with China.
“America will not shy down from our civil rights, basic freedoms and alliances,” he said.
Biden also spoke with another geopolitical foe, Russia. He said he made it clear to President Vladimir Putin that Moscow’s involvement with U.S. elections and cyberattacks on government and industry will have implications, but Washington is not seeking to escalate.
And, leaving his Republican predecessor Donald Trump’s go-it-alone foreign policy, Biden said he would work closely with allies to fight threats raised by Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs.
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