Biden Administration Seeks to Renew Engagement Policy With Blinken’s Trip to China: Expert

By Hannah Ng
Hannah Ng
Hannah Ng
Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news. She holds a master's degree in international and development economics from the University of Applied Science Berlin.
and Tiffany Meier
Tiffany Meier
Tiffany Meier
Tiffany Meier is a New York-based reporter and host of NTD's "China in Focus."
June 15, 2023Updated: June 15, 2023

With the visit to China this week of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Biden administration seeks to renew its engagement policy, according to Bradley Thayer, the director of China policy at the Center for Security Policy.

Blinken is traveling to China this week to meet with Chinese communist leadership, the State Department has acknowledged.

Blinken will meet with senior Chinese officials during a series of meetings in Beijing on June 18 and 19. He will seek to reestablish regular communications between the two powers, a State Department announcement said.

The visit is part of a larger effort by the administration to erect guardrails around the two powers’ increasingly bitter competition, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

“Intense competition requires intense and tough diplomacy to ensure that competition does not veer into confrontation or conflict, and that’s what we intend for this visit,” Miller said during a June 14 press briefing.

Miller said Blinken would seek to achieve three broad objectives in Beijing: reestablishing normal communications, championing U.S. values, and interests, and identifying potential avenues for mutual cooperation.

“We’re seeing with the Biden administration where there’s a desperate effort to return to the engagement policy, the flawed engagement policy—which we pursued for a generation with China once the Cold War ended—that made China rich,” Thayer told “China in Focus” on NTD.

“It’s political warfare, and the Chinese are making Blinken a supplicant,” he said, adding that the Biden administration is trying to turn back the clock “where China was accommodated, and the United States didn’t stand in its way.”

He deemed the situation a victory for China.

The Epoch Times reached out to the White House for comment.

Weaker Side in New Cold War

According to Thayer, the difference between this so-called Cold War and the previous one are fundamental in “that we may be weaker than China.”

In his opinion, the Soviet Union was defeated in the Cold War because of its smaller economy.

“The Soviets had an economy about half of ours, or maybe two-thirds the size of ours. And they lost a marathon with us. … A large chunk of that went to defense,” said Thayer, who is also a founding member of the “Committee on Present Danger: China” and co-author of “Understanding the China Threat.”

“And we had great allies like the Japanese, the South Koreans, and our NATO allies,” he added.

Now, Thayer believes the communist regime has many more advantages.

“They may be more innovative. They may militarily have superiority or parity in some weapons platforms or things that matter like nuclear capabilities, size of navies,” he said.

“So we may be the weaker side in this Cold War. That’s very hard for those who are interested in sustaining freedom and liberty in the United States. … That’s what’s at stake. And we may be weaker this time. It’s not a good situation,” he added.

Failure of the Intelligence Community

Thayer pointed to his recent article titled, “We need a new 9/11 Commission to probe the rising China threat,” saying that the U.S. intelligence community has failed to keep American people updated on the rise of China all these years.

Thayer said that China’s rise happened in the open. It grew from about 1.6 percent of the world’s gross domestic product in 1990 to roughly 19 percent today, he said, adding that every year, its economy grew without warning from the intelligence community of what the consequences would be.

“China’s economic power has made it a military powerhouse. China’s nuclear capabilities have grown from a modest force to one that will exceed that of the United States by 2030, if not sooner,” the article reads.

“Where was the U.S. intelligence community? Here, your peer is rising, becoming your equal, and yet, you’re not telling your decision makers, political decision-makers, military decision makers that, ‘Hey, you’ve got a rival now. And well, it’s weaker, maybe you should take steps to deal with it.’ And now that it’s reached parity, in some respects, with the United States, we have this threat,” he said.

“And in fact, you funded it, you helped to accelerate its rise, again, is a second key intelligence failure,” he added.

He suggested that the intelligence community explain to Congress and Americans how China has “the strength to evict America’s interest from the Indo Pacific and elsewhere, to have the strength to back up Russia, and to make possible support for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and a whole host of other matters.”

“So how that happened needs to be explored so that we can correct this. It’s a mistake in the intelligence community with respect to their assumptions, and it needs to be addressed and corrected,” Bradley said.

Andrew Thornebrooke contributed to this report.