Mr Biden, the US Democrat Party president-elect, is due to take over the presidency from Donald Trump in January next year. It has given rise to speculation about how the new president will approach the US’ relationship with China, which has faced hurdles in recent times.
Under Donald Trump, Washington and Beijing engaged in a trade war involving tariffs of hundreds of billions of dollars.
In addition, this year has seen the current president issue sharp words to Beijing over the Covid-19 pandemic – the first cases of which were reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Further, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has taken a firm stance against China’s activity in the contested South China Sea region.
Joe Biden was dubbed ‘weak’ by one China-based analyst
The diplomat has accused China of a “campaign of bullying” to control offshore resources in the region, and said: “The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire.”
Now, Zheng Yongnian, a Chinese government adviser, has said Joe Biden faces “cold war hawks in the US” which will “not disappear overnight”.
Mr Zheng, Dean of the Advanced Institute of Global and Contemporary China Studies in Shenzhen, has advised Chinese president Xi Jinping on foreign policy in the past.
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Chinese president Xi Jinping, speaking in 2018
He made his comments in an interview at the Understanding China Conference in Guangzhou, according to the South China Morning Post which quoted him as saying: “American society is torn apart. I don’t think Biden can do anything about it.
“He is certainly a very weak president. If he can’t sort out domestic issues, then we will do something on the diplomatic front, do something against China.”
The China studies expert added Mr Biden is “rationally tough” on Beijing and claimed he “could start wars”.
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Meanwhile, analysts have also speculated on Mr Xi’s recent comments regarding the CPTPP free trade agreement, which he said China would “actively consider” joining.
According to the SCMP, former officials have suggested Mr Biden’s upcoming presidency may be attracting Beijing’s interest in the free trade agreement, officially called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
There are already 11 other countries in the deal, including Australia, Canada, Japan and Vietnam.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has issued sharp rhetoric over China’s presence in the South China Sea this year
China military power graph
John Gong, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, has said it is a “now or never issue” for China to join the deal before the US does.
Meanwhile, China is also facing pressure internationally over claims of widespread human rights abuses against ethnic Uighur Muslims who live there.
At a UN meeting in New York last month, German ambassador Christoph Heusgen spoke on behalf of nearly 40 countries in a UN committee on human rights issues.
Reportedly an Uighur Muslim detention facility in Artux, Xinjiang, China
He said: “There are severe restrictions on freedom of religion or belief and the freedoms of movement, association, and expression as well as on Uighur culture.
“Widespread surveillance disproportionately continues to target Uighurs and other minorities, and more reports are emerging of forced labour and forced birth control, including sterilization.”
UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab has said the UK could boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 because of the “egregious human rights abuses”.