Voice of America: David Firestein speaks on U.S.-China relations and the Biden Administration

April 30, 2021

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In an interview with Voice of America, Mr. Firestein first offered his assessment of the Biden Administration’s foreign policy agenda thus far, including President Biden’s focus on multilateralism, changing rhetoric, and strategic planning.

Mr. Firestein then spoke to President Biden’s approach to both China and Russia, noting that they are the two countries that present the biggest present challenges to the United States. Particularly China, he says, is our most formidable competitor because of its strong economy, technological advancements, and because it has differing views from the United States on important global issues.

On the topic of high-level U.S.-China engagement, Mr. Firestein notes that recent bilateral meetings with the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and other senior officials set the foundation for future engagement that is substantive and results-oriented.

In response to questions on cross-strait relations, Mr. Firestein says that tensions between Taiwan and the Mainland are serious and could theoretically lead to open conflict, but that conflagration is unlikely because the costs are too high.

Finally, Mr. Firestein speaks to changes he would like to see the U.S. Administration make including the termination of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, the restoration of the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas, and the restoration of key people-to-people programs like the Peace Corps and Fulbright programs in China.