News analysis

Contrasting views spark confusion on direction of America's China strategy

Top official paints China in racist terms while presidential hopeful says country is no threat

The contrast could not have been starker - a top State Department official speaking of a race-tinged civilisational battle with China, and former vice-president Joe Biden, a front runner for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2020, dismissing the China threat as overblown.

Both extreme views at once drew flak in Washington, where - as in certain Asian capitals - there has thus far, notwithstanding fears of damage from the US-China trade war, been fairly bipartisan credit for President Donald Trump's reversal of decades of accommodation to finally push back against an increasingly assertive China.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2019, with the headline 'Contrasting views spark confusion on direction of America's China strategy'. Print Edition | Subscribe