Joe Biden says that America’s greatest long-term challenge overseas comes from China. Confronting Beijing is the work of generations, he argues. It’s the battle that your grandchildren will study in college: Will democracy or autocracy prevail across the globe?
The fight for economic superiority in Asia is a critical component of this contest. But 13 months into the Biden presidency, the administration’s plan for competing in the region consists of a single 51-word paragraph. In an October statement, Biden announced he would create what he calls an “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.” When asked now about Biden’s plans to take on China’s economy, administration officials still refer to the October description of the framework. They say they are only at the start of a months-long process to develop an Asian economic plan — but as yet, that paragraph is the closest thing to a public strategy that the White House has announced.
What is the framework exactly?
The paragraph lists a half-dozen topics where the U.S. will seek agreements with Asian nations, including on infrastructure, climate and digital technology. But so far, the White House has not released any supporting documents or held any press briefings to explain its plans, and Biden officials acknowledge they haven’t come up with specific proposals yet.
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