State Secretary Antony Blinken had planned to have a speech on foreign policy toward China last Thursday, May 5. However, the plan was postponed because he tested positive for COVID.

According to the Wall Street Journal, citing foreign-policy experts who consult with the administration, the U.S. is preparing to refresh the message that China is continuing to be its main rival. The U.S.’s “China strategy” is likely to emphasize China’s political alignment with Russia amid the war in Ukraine.

However, some European officials disagree with Washington on how significant a threat China poses compared to Russia. Some EU countries view Moscos as more of a threat than Beijing.

As such, Matthew Goodman, Senior Vice President at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said, quote “It’s likely that Blinken will use the speech to link the two sets of challenges posed by Russia and China and highlight the risks from them working together to the existing global order.” end-quote

U.S. National Security Council’s top Asia adviser, Kurt Campbell, once echoed this point of view. In the beginning of the war in Ukraine, he said that the U.S. can deal with the challenges faced by Beijing and Moscow by operating a “two-theaters” war just like in World War 2 and Cold War.

However, by last month, Campbell changed the rhetoric, and redefined the Beijing-Moscow threat as “one theater.”

About Blinken’s speech, Qin Peng, a current affairs commentator, said that this “China strategy” has been criticized for 2 reasons.

One was that the new China strategy would emphasize the “guardrail” in dealing with China, not pushing the competition to become outright hostile. Qin Peng said this was not suitable with China’s long-standing view of the U.S. as an enemy. It seems a little weak and also shows a lack of concrete action. He said that the current administration is still not clear enough about the threat from the Chinese Communist Party.

Still, the China expert said there’s no need to be pessimistic. Because the new U.S. government has listed the CCP as the U.S.’s biggest opponent. And this is major progress. Besides, the U.S. has already been preparing for any potential military conflict with China.

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