In a Feb. 10 op-ed piece for the American Thinker, The Heartland Institute Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett pointed out the contradiction with Biden's approach toward China.
First, Burnett said the Biden administration's move to re-join the Paris climate agreement "puts the U.S. at a disadvantage." The agreement calls for the U.S. to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions – which is only achievable by slashing overall energy use. But it does not impose any restrictions on China, which the communist country has taken advantage of by building hundreds of coal-fueled power plants for reliable and inexpensive energy.
Second, Biden's revocation of oil and gas projects approved by former President Donald Trump weakened America's energy independence. The current president withdrew permission for a number of gas and oil projects upon his tenure – including the Keystone XL pipeline. Aside from this, Biden also banned new oil and gas leases for public lands and revoked 70 existing permits for oil and gas production.
Third, Biden also revoked an executive order by Trump that prohibited electric utilities from buying key energy distribution equipment made in China. Burnett said the revocation violates the president's own "Made in America" policy and exposes the U.S. power grid to a Chinese attack.
Lastly, the Biden administration approved a deal by Chinese firm Shandong Xinchao Energy Corp. to buy U.S. oil and gas assets currently producing an equivalent of 9,000 barrels of oil and gas daily. These assets also have proven reserves of 65 million barrels. Had the deal occurred under the Trump administration, it would surely be blocked given that Shandong Xinchao's operations are subject to the whims of the Chinese government.
According to the senior fellow, Biden believes that greenhouse gas emissions – China being the largest producer – are causing climate change. As such, he has made fighting climate change the cornerstone of the government's domestic and foreign policies. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change John Kerry are of the belief that global warming can be addressed through collaboration with China.
The Biden administration issued a formal invitation to the representative of Taiwan to attend the presidential inauguration in January. It also said that arms sales to and previously planned naval exercises in the South China Sea with the island nation will push through. Furthermore, Blinken seconded his predecessor, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in condemning China's human rights abuses. Pompeo branded the Chinese regime's oppression of Muslim Uighurs as "genocide."
However, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Zhao Lijian said the country's cooperation on climate matters would depend on the U.S. ceasing to intrude on what the regime deemed as internal matters. He said Jan. 28: "I would like to stress that China-U.S. cooperation in specific areas … is closely linked with bilateral relations as a whole. China has emphasized time and again that no one should imagine they can ask [the country] to understand and support them in bilateral and global matters, when they blatantly interfere in … domestic affairs and undermine … [Chinese] interests."
Zhao continued that the Biden administration should create "favorable conditions" for climate cooperation.
Ultimately, Burnett warned that millions will suffer if the Biden administration rescinds its predecessors' positions on various human rights issues in China. The people of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang will suffer the repercussions if the U.S. walks back on its position to secure Chinese cooperation on climate change. Furthermore, the senior fellow remarked that Biden's potential moves will diminish the U.S.'s standing as "the world's leader in defending individual liberty and fundamental human rights from political oppression." (Related: New report by Republican lawmakers warn of Chinese Communist Party as a "generational threat.")
The Biden administration now has to balance its next move. Will it rescind its stance on human rights just to ensure Chinese cooperation against climate change?