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Tough On China Will Remain The Main Theme After The U.S. Midterm Elections

The U.S. mid-term elections ended on November 8, and the current majority battle in the Senate and House of Representatives continues.

The midterm elections will determine which party controls Congress during the last two years of President Biden’s four-year term. They will set the tone for the political debate in Washington, including U.S. policy toward China for the next two years.

However, experts believe that the current U.S. tough policy toward China will not change no matter who controls Congress.

According to Robert Ross, a fellow at Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for China Studies and professor of political science at Boston College, “there is a strong consensus among Republicans and Democrats in Congress on the need to pass legislation to protect America’s technological and defense advantages from the threat of China.” Regarding Voice of America.

Accordingly, the bills being considered, such as the National Defense Bill and the Taiwan Policy Act, won’t be impacted by the election, he continued. “I think the current consensus in US-China relations will continue.”

Dean Chen, an associate professor of political science at Lamaper College in New Jersey, also believes that the current hard-line policy toward China will continue.

But, he continued, “if Democrats maintain a razor-thin Senate advantage, it would offer President Biden some small latitude to advance his agenda and at least temper some of the more aggressive steps recommended by Republicans.”

Most likely outcome: Two parties in one chamber

The election outcome is still inconclusive, with some signs that Republicans will regain control of the House of Representatives. At the same time, Democrats may maintain a narrow majority in the Senate.

In Pennsylvania, Democrat John Fetterman beat Republican Mehmet Oz for a crucial Senate seat. Other races that could decide the Senate, including battles for Senate seats in Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona, have yet to determine the election’s outcome.

Experts believe a Democratic-controlled Senate could give Biden some leeway to advance areas he wants to work with China.

“We know that compared with the House of Representatives, the Senate has a greater right to speak in the field of foreign affairs,” Chen Ding said. “Biden hopes to have some space to promote cooperation with China, such as on the issue of climate change.”

It is widely believed that the Republican Party will regain control of the House of Representatives, but with fewer seats than expected. Republicans previously believed that as voters everywhere were dissatisfied with the high inflation and economic conditions under Biden’s leadership, they would achieve a comprehensive victory in the mid-term elections and usher in a “red wave.” In American political terminology, red represents the Republican Party, and blue represents the Democratic Party.

In terms of China policy, although both the Democratic and Republican parties support a tough stance on China, the Democratic Party has slightly restrained its language and tried to emphasize communication with China through diplomatic means. The Republicans’ argument is more radical and explicit on China’s red line — the Taiwan issue.

Anna Ashton, director of the China Corporate Affairs Program at the political risk firm Eurasia Group, said that if Republicans returned to the House of Representatives, they would put more emphasis on supporting Taiwan and take an iron fist to ensure that American technology would not flow into China. Cut off U.S. investment in Chinese companies with ties to the Chinese government.

“Overall, the current House Republicans’ proposals are more aggressive than the Democrats’ proposals. I think once the Republicans take control of Congress, these proposals will be pushed further and take a tougher stance on pressure on the White House,” she said.

Lu Bobin believes that the Taiwan issue is the most important issue in US-China relations.

“Republicans will put pressure on the White House. The Republicans are pushing this agenda very loudly at the moment, and the White House may have difficulty detouring through it,” he said.

Republicans plan, if they win a House majority, to create a special committee on China to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, allegations that China steals intellectual property from U.S. companies, and the military and economic threats posed by China.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), a Republican Congressman from Wisconsin, was interviewed by Li Yihua, a congressional correspondent for the Chinese Department of the Voice of America, who said he supported the plan.

“Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) wants to have a China ad hoc committee when he becomes speaker,” Gallagher said. “I think that would be a great plan. I think it would be An integrated approach that effectively spans the remit of the different committees. The China issue involves many committees, so we need an ad hoc committee like that to transcend the compartmentalization of the committees. That’s what we do in the House.”

Chen Ding of Lamaper College in New Jersey believes that the possibility of a China committee being established is very high, especially when investigating the origins of the new crown.

“I think Democrats will also support this because not just the United States, but the world wants more objective answers to questions about the origin of the coronavirus,” he said.

Message to China Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday (November 9), when asked about the U.S. mid-term elections and their impact on U.S.-China relations, that China does not comment on the results of the U.S. mid-term elections, which American voters decide. On the issue of relations, China “hopes that the United States will meet China halfway and, based on the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation, find the right way for China and the United States to get along in the new era, and push the relationship between the two countries back to the right track of healthy and stable development.”

Chinese academics were quoted by the Chinese state-run Global Times as saying that if Biden continues to suffer setbacks in a Republican-dominated Congress, he may seek to strengthen his voice on the international stage, including by continuing to confront China.

Lu Bobin believes that China may be relieved by the election results.

“I think the Chinese are relieved that the Republicans may not be able to control both houses of Congress, but they are also worried that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will have a bigger platform to push for more aggressive policies in the United States,” he said.

Some politicians who are hawkish towards China have been confirmed for re-election. In Florida, Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a strong critic of China’s Communist government, defeated a Democratic challenger and was re-elected. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who has long been concerned about human rights in China, was also re-elected.

Chen Ding believes that the mid-term elections also sent a strong message to the Chinese people in addition to Beijing.

However, he added, “I think the Chinese are also worried that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will have a bigger platform to push for more aggressive policies in the United States. I think the Chinese are relieved that the Republicans may not be able to control both houses of Congress.”

Chen Ding pointed out that the election results show voters are dissatisfied with many of Biden’s policies, especially the economy and inflation. So they use the ballots to tell Biden that your party can’t have a majority in Congress.

“Nevertheless, voters are also uncomfortable with irrational extremist messages from the Trump faction in the GOP, so they don’t want to bring a so-called ‘red wave’ to the GOP,” he said. “I think rationality and objectivity are key. ” This is in stark contrast to a country like China with no elections.”

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