Relations between the US and China are deteriorating and have not “reset” under President Joe Biden as many previously expected, said Max Baucus, a former US ambassador to China.
“Unfortunately, in general, the situation is still deteriorating,” Baucus told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Friday.
“I think a lot of people thought that with the election of Joe Biden, the free fall could end, this could be the bottom and things would slowly go back to normal, but that hasn’t really happened,” he added. ready.
Tensions between the US and China quickly mounted under former US President Donald Trump, who slammed even harder tariffs on Chinese goods and blacklisted a number of Chinese companies that restrict their business transactions in the US
US-China clash over Taiwan
One area where tensions between the US and China are at play is Taiwan, a democratic and self-ruled island in northern Asia.
The Chinese Communist Party government in Beijing views Taiwan as a runaway province that must one day be reunited with the mainland — by force if necessary. The CCP has never ruled Taiwan.
Trump broke with decades of US foreign policy by bringing the US closer to Taiwan during his tenure. The Biden administration has continued along that path, with the State Department issuing new guidelines in April to allow US officials to meet more freely with their Taiwanese counterparts.
Such moves infuriate Beijing as the CCP believes Taiwan has no right to conduct diplomacy itself.
Baucus said the risk of US-China military conflict over Taiwan is increasing, but he doesn’t think the two sides will go to war.
“I don’t think Xi Jinping wants war, he knows that if he tries to invade Taiwan militarily, there is a high risk that the United States will retaliate,” the former ambassador said, referring to China’s president.
“I honestly think that the risk, the chance is greater that the US will retaliate now than it was a few or three years ago, because the tensions between the two countries, the US and China, are just so great,” Baucus said. added.