Under pressure to confront China for covering up the outbreak of the coronavirus, Joe Biden is treading lightly.
Ever the globalist, President Biden is declining to make “threats or ultimatums” to break China’s stonewalling until America’s foreign allies can agree how to respond, national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN’s State of the Union Sunday. “We are not, at this point, going to issue threats or ultimatums,” Sullivan said, according to the Washington Examiner.
As Sullivan put it, there are “two tracks” in motion to uncovering the pandemic’s origins: a 90-day assessment by the intelligence community, and another probe by the World Health Organization (WHO).
CNN’s Dana Bash pushed back, saying it sounds like Biden is giving China “a lot of time,” but Sullivan responded that there is more diplomatic work to be done before the United States can make a move.
He pointed to Biden’s recent trip to Europe, where Biden lobbied European nations at the G-7 summit and NATO partners to condemn China for human rights abuses and the G-7 called for China to allow a transparent probe of the origins of the pandemic.
Taking a hit at Donald Trump, Sullivan also claimed that Biden, unlike his predecessor, “got the democratic world to speak in one voice” against China.
“In order to build the kind of international consensus around this issue that will be required to put additional pressure on China, that takes diplomatic spadework,” he said, according to the Examiner.
Does Biden mean business?
Sullivan warned later on Fox News Sunday that China risks “isolation” from the world if it persists on its current track, the Examiner noted.
But as Biden waits for “consensus,” Europe is striking a measured tone, with Germany’s Angela Merkel saying China should not be “overrated” as a threat, Reuters reports.
And many doubt that Biden is serious, given his family’s connections to Beijing, and he has not inspired confidence by standing by Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has come under fire for covering up speculation about a potential lab leak. The president also previously closed a probe into COVID’s origins before starting the current one.
According to the Examiner, when pressed on what he will do to confront Xi Jinping last week, Biden demurred, adding, “Is China really actually trying to get to the bottom of this?”
A better question might be: Is Biden?