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U.S.-China News Brief
July 22, 2022

Biden-Xi Talks

On July 20, President Biden told reporters, “I think I’ll be talking to President Xi within the next 10 days.” Further details of the talk were not provided. After Biden tested positive for Covid, Xi Jinping sent him a get well message. But it remains unclear how this development might affect the planned talks.

Taiwan

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi reportedly plans to lead a delegation to Taiwan in August. Her trip would mark the highest-ranking visit by U.S. officials to Taipei since Speaker Newt Gingrich’s 1997 trip. When asked about the prospective visit in a press conference, Pelosi said that for security reasons she does not publicly discuss any future travel.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin gave a strong response to a possible visit, saying, “It will have a severe negative impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and send a gravely wrong signal to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces. Should the U.S. side insist on making the visit, China will act strongly to resolutely respond to it and take countermeasures. We mean what we say.”

The Biden administration has expressed concerns. These include the further strain in relations the trip would cause, the likelihood of retaliation by China, and safety concerns for the delegation itself. Adding to the complexity of the situation is that, although Congress acts separately from the White House, it is standard practice for congressional delegations to use military aircraft for international travel.

President Biden publicly confirmed their concerns, telling reporters, “I think that the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now. But I don’t know what the status of [the trip] is.”

Covid

This past week, China has experienced additional Covid surges. There were 1,011 new cases reported on July 21 and 943 on July 20 and around. Over 2,000 tourists were stranded in an island resort in Guangxi, Hong Kong is working to double the number of hospital beds for Covid patients as caseloads rise, and around 264 million people are under some form of lockdown.

Recent reports have cited ongoing concerns and difficulties faced by U.S. diplomats in China due to the strict lockdowns as well as the negative affects continued lockdowns will have on the U.S. and global economies. The Asian Development Bank has also cut its China growth forecast by 1 percent, lowering it to an expected 4 percent growth for 2022.

Additional News

Dr. Henry Kissinger advised that current global tensions need “Nixonian flexibility.” He said, “Biden and previous administrations have been too much influenced by the domestic aspects of the view of China. It is, of course, important to prevent Chinese or any other country’s hegemony… [but] that is not something that can be achieved by endless confrontations.”

On July 20, Ambassador Qin Gang discussed U.S.-China relations, the dangers of a Cold War mindset, Sino-Russian relations, Taiwan, economic relations, and more. [Read Full Transcript]

The Consumer Technology Association released a report on the impact of China tariffs. The report concludes that the tariffs have harmed U.S. business, particularly affecting the consumer technology industry, and have instead benefited Vietnam, Taiwan, and Malaysia. [Full Report]

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley has ordered a review of U.S.-China military interactions over the past five years. He said, “Maintaining open lines of communication and managing competition will reduce strategic risk. The US military’s focus is on modernization and readiness. Our network of partners and allies is a source of strength.”

While in Seoul, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she is pursuing stronger trade ties with South Korea and Asian allies in an effort to reduce its “undue dependence” on China for important goods like solar panels and rare earths.

On July 19, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He met with European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis for a trade and economic dialogue.

According to reports, a new Type 039 submarine has been added to China’s Eastern Theatre Command fleet.

China continues to experience extreme heat and rainfall, causing scorched crops, floods, landslides, and more.