Inside Scoop: U.S. Intelligence Uncovers China's Stance On The 2024 Election

By Tommy Wilson | Saturday, 22 June 2024 04:10 PM
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Image Credit : NBC News

As the United States gears up for the impending electoral face-off between President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump, China's leaders are perceived to be indifferent to the outcome, according to U.S. intelligence agencies.

This information was shared by American officials who requested anonymity due to the confidential nature of the assessments, as reported by American Military News.

This conclusion implies that Beijing, mirroring Washington's sentiments, anticipates the continuation of the long-term downward spiral in relations between the world's two largest economies. This is despite recent attempts to manage differences through high-level meetings. Over the years, the two nations have been at loggerheads over a range of issues, from technology and human rights to territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Chinese officials, who also requested anonymity, echoed the U.S. assessment. They believe that both Biden and Trump are committed to containing China's rise. Gao Zhikai, a former Chinese diplomat and translator for the late leader Deng Xiaoping, stated, “Neither is a perfect candidate, to put it mildly. Biden is a Cold War warrior who doesn’t care if he pushes the world into conflict, while Trump will probably impose sanctions and tariffs on China in pursuit of his America-first agenda.”

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The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment on intelligence assessments of China's perspective on the 2024 vote. Liu Pengyu, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, maintained China's stance of not commenting on “U.S. domestic affairs.”

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A second Trump administration could pose significant challenges for Beijing. Trump's first term was marked by a trade war with China, increased ties with Taiwan, and a shift in U.S. military strategy to counter Beijing. By the end of his term, references to a new Cold War were commonplace among officials in both Beijing and Washington. Chinese officials anticipate a second Trump term to be characterized by provocative statements, unpredictable policy-making, and a renewed push for anti-China measures.

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However, Chinese officials also perceive potential opportunities in a Trump presidency, such as the weakening of Washington's ties with its allies. Trump's first term was marked by repeated disagreements with European allies over defense spending and occasional complaints about the cost of protecting Japan and South Korea. One Chinese official suggested that Trump might be more open to negotiations than Biden, implying that Chinese trade concessions could lead to U.S. concessions on sensitive issues like Taiwan.

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On the other hand, a second Biden term does not offer much solace to Beijing. Chinese policymakers are primarily concerned about Biden's potential efforts to strengthen regional partnerships to counter China's assertiveness. China has consistently criticized groups like the "Quad" and "Aukus" as attempts to contain its growth. Jia Qingguo, a prominent academic and member of Beijing's top political advisory body, suggested that Biden "needs to pay more attention to the views of its allies, which are likely to call for caution and moderation. This may be good for China."

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Despite these assessments, U.S. intelligence leaders and senators have warned that several actors, including China, could attempt to influence the election outcome. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in April that the U.S. had seen evidence of Chinese attempts to "influence and arguably" interfere in the 2024 vote. However, officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have indicated that Beijing has been cautious about such interference due to potential backlash.

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As the November election approaches, officials in both Washington and Beijing are preparing for more tense periods. Gao, the former diplomat, advised, “From the Chinese perspective, we just need to sit tight. Whoever wins, China needs to deal with them as they are, rather than hoping for the unrealistic.” This sentiment underscores the complex dynamics at play as the world's two largest economies navigate their future relationship.

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