Barney Frank Says Biden May Reverse China Tech Restrictions

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October 23, 2020

Former Democratic congressman Barney Frank told Asia Times Thursday he expects a Biden administration might work to roll back some U.S. technology restrictions toward China.

"I think what you will probably see is an approach that says, Biden would be willing to make some changes if there were something in return," Frank said when asked whether Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would continue President Donald Trump's restrictions on Huawei.

Frank's predictions are in line with the stance of Biden's foreign-policy advisers toward China. A Washington Free Beacon report revealed the longstanding moderate strategy top Biden staffers have endorsed regarding China, with some calling for pulling back U.S. support for Taiwan in the face of China's territorial ambitions for the island.

Frank served as a Democratic congressman from Massachusetts for 32 years, retiring in 2013. Frank encountered scandal early in his career for hiring a male prostitute to do personal errands for him in 1989.

While Biden’s team advocates for a gentler posture toward Beijing, Chinese president Xi Jinping toes an even harder line toward Washington. In a speech given at the same time as Thursday’s presidential debate between Trump and Biden, Xi honored Chinese involvement in the Korean War—hailed in China as the "War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea"—and used the opportunity to make thinly veiled threats against the United States.

"Any country or any army, no matter how powerful they used to be, standing against the trend of the international community and acting perversely ... will surely backfire," Xi said. "Acting in one's own way and serving one's own interests will not work. Seeking hegemony and bullying others will not work and will lead the world to nowhere but a dead end."

The Trump administration did not hesitate to respond to Xi’s escalation. In an implied retort to Xi’s fiery speech, deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger gave his own speech in Chinese applauding the values of democracy and freedom. Pottinger has previously given speeches in Chinese, which were popular on illegal Chinese streaming sites.

"The [Chinese Communist] Party’s goal, in short, is to co-opt or bully people—and even nations—into a particular frame of mind that’s conducive to Beijing’s grand ambitions," Pottinger said.