Biden wants to avoid a clash with China. Can his top diplomat succeed?

March 21, 2023

But Washington and Beijing have long disagreed on the proper way to establish a formal system for managing potential conflicts. … That you’re putting some guardrails on the relationship, that you’re putting a floor underneath it,” Blinken told reporters last month. China has remained steadfast over its interpretation of suitable guardrails, which would be difficult for the U.S. administration to meet. The U.S. administration has signaled to Beijing that it does not control the actions of individual lawmakers, but Chinese officials say those cautions are broadly disregarded. The stakes are higher today, with Xi vowing to retake Taiwan by “all necessary means” and recent warnings from U.S. military officials that a military conflict could erupt within the decade.