With the woman who went to Taiwan gone, the House of Representatives will have a Republican speaker. Will U.S.-China relations thaw with the departure of the traditionally hard-line anti-China Pelosi? Or will the Republican speaker, who uses anti-China as a rallying cry, make the US-China relationship worse?
1.Most scholars believe McCarthy's visit to Taiwan after his election was more of a political gesture
（1）Following Pelosi's example, McCarthy will show his voters that he is tougher on China than his predecessor, and visiting Taiwan is the most direct and effective means.
On August 2, 2022, Pelosi became the highest-ranking U.S. government official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. President Biden discouraged but did not stop Ms. Pelosi from going to Taiwan. Pelosi said her visit demonstrates Congress 'commitment to Taiwan. During her visit, she called Taiwan one of the "freest societies in the world." McCarthy would continue congressional tradition and policy on Taiwan. "Congress must continue to act -- not only to deter communist China, but also to strengthen our relationship with Taiwan," he said at a July 2022 discussion on Taiwan. I think we should consider specific solutions, such as increasing arms sales to Taiwan, sending Taiwan appropriate weapons to deter the Communist Party of China, engaging Taiwan in exercises like Rim of the Pacific, allowing Taiwan to display symbols of national sovereignty in the United States, increasing commercial and trade relations, and modernizing our own defense industrial base to maintain our unparalleled military capabilities."
（2）Scholars believe that the new speaker's visit to Taiwan is more politically motivated to express his views to voters.
Whoever is elected speaker will visit Taiwan. Tony Saich, director of the Rajavalli Foundation's Asia Institute at Harvard Kennedy School, told me, "If McCarthy is elected speaker, he's almost certain to go. In fact, whoever is elected will feel the need to visit Taiwan.
Zack Cooper, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said the relationship could be strained again with McCarthy in charge. That the trip could trigger a new round of threats from the Chinese government. After Ms. Pelosi's visit, China at the time launched a series of military moves and countermeasures, including severing ties with the United States over issues such as climate change and military ties. President Biden has had some success in repairing those damaged ties. The meeting between Chinese and US leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit laid the foundation for bilateral relations.
Ian Johnson, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, thinks McCarthy has to do this to show sincerity to his constituents.In his view, the onus is also on China to understand the context in which US lawmakers are acting, rather than to react to what may be deliberate provocations.
David Rothkopf, author of The American Resistance, wrote on Twitter (January 2) that China would not invade Taiwan and would instead focus on domestic issues, especially the economy and the instability caused by the pandemic. But tensions will continue. If the newly elected speaker visits Taiwan, it will be a repeat of Pelosi's visit to Taiwan... It only gets more intense.
A spokesman for McCarthy said last week that there was no update on a possible trip to Taiwan.
- Scholars believe that the special committee was set up to challenge the White House, attract media attention, and consolidate the basic agenda.
McCarthy said in April 2022 that he would create a select committee on China if he became speaker. Bryan Marshall, a political science professor at the University of Miami who specializes in Congress, told me that he saw the committee as an attempt to antagonize the White House and solidify its basic agenda. He said all matters that create select committees in the House are controlled by the majority party, and the speaker can control the committee's membership. Mr McCarthy's choice of chairman will address the most popular issue of his base, China, and thus could undermine the "policy effectiveness" of the White House's discourse. Graham Allison, a professor of government at Harvard who served as an assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration, said that "no matter what the Biden administration does, the Republican opposition will take the right and say it's not enough."
- A Republican speaker would emphasize more that China is the cause of all America's problems. I think the Republican speaker will be more "security" oriented than the Democratic one.
McCarthy's main agenda for oversight of the White House includes homeland security and the border crisis, investigating the tech giants' control and threat to free speech, China, security, the source of the coronavirus, going after Hunt, investigating the disastrous retreat in Afghanistan, Washington's unregulated spending, the Justice Department, educational content regulation, energy conservation and the politicization and abuse of U.S. industry, the IRS, continue 13, including fighting bureaucratic corruption (draining swamps). The agenda on "China" specifically states: "We will establish a special commission on China to investigate and provide policy recommendations on how the United States can win economic and technological competition with China."
- General Trend
（1）Some scholars believe that China-Us relations will be unstable or suffer further in the future.
Michael O 'Hanlon, director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, says a Republican-controlled House of Representatives could further damage relations with China. First, depending on how they choose to run against him in 2024, they may decide that a better strategy would be to really "hit China hard" and try to paint Mr. Biden as weak in dealing with China.
Derek Scissors, a senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said House Republicans might try to take a tougher line on China than either the Biden or the Trump administration, neither of which has been particularly aggressive. If the select committee can be bipartisan, the House may be able to sponsor a bill that can be signed into law. Even if it does not become a law, the debate has at least raised voters' concerns, and even Washington's. But he also suggested that pro-business members of the Republican Party could play a moderating role in U.S.-China relations.
Greg Valliere, a policy and strategy analyst at AGF Investment Familiar, writes that China will be on both parties' agendas. McCarthy seized on an issue that could unite a fractious House. The bottom line is that the U.S.-China relationship will remain volatile and there will be no major breakthroughs on issues like trade. "Antipathy toward China is one of the rare issues in Washington that unites the progressive left and the Trump populists," he said. Both believe China spies on the United States, treats dissidents badly, isn't transparent about COVID-19 and competes unfairly on trade. Trump will certainly echo these themes in his campaign."
The "2023 US-China Relations Roadmap" commentary published by the Brookings Institution on January 4 said that 2023 will see US-China relations "go from order to chaos". The article said the Republican-controlled House of Representatives would publicly criticize China's activities, including investigating the origin of the coronavirus outbreak. Republican presidential candidates will vie to outdo each other in their tough stance on China. A Biden administration would use bipartisan efforts to strengthen deterrence in the Asia-Pacific region and limit China's technological advances in sensitive areas of national security.
Some scholars believe that the current relations with China are bad enough and will not get worse.
In Mr. Sage's view, the current bipartisan attitude toward China in Washington is pretty consistent, because there will be little noticeable change under Mr. McCarthy as speaker. Getting tough with China is now Washington's overall approach. "I don't think setting up another committee to look at China will make much of a difference," he stressed.
Biden's China policy officials are almost exclusively Atlanticist, rather than the so-called "Sinophile". It is clear that Mr Biden is not trying to reach out to and understand Beijing, but rather to build a wall with Allies against it. The Trump administration at least sent an old Chinese friend as ambassador, while Biden sent a French-speaking career diplomat who had been stationed in Europe. If the Trump administration has made more noises, such as defining China as an "adversary" and introducing the Chip and Science Act to curb China's technological development, Biden is actually deploying a strategy against China. So there are many "China scholars" who feel that Biden is overreacting to China's rising power. It remains to be seen whether the Republican speaker, who has always advocated "small government," will focus more on foreign policy issues such as China policy and adopt a harsher China policy than the current Democratic Party. But will it make China more nervous? Yes.