Washington- US President Joe Biden on Friday told his European partners and allies to “prepare together” for long-term strategic competition with China, as he underscored the need of working with democratic partners to outpace every challenger.
“You know, we must prepare together for long-term strategic competition with China. How the United States, Europe and Asia work together to secure the peace and defend our shared values and advance our prosperity across the Pacific will be among the most consequential efforts we undertake,” Biden said in his address to the Munich Security Conference.
“Competition with China is going to be stiff. That’s what I expect and that’s what I welcome because I believe in the global system, Europe and the United States together with our allies in the Indo-Pacific worked so hard to build over the last 70 years,” he said.
Biden said that they have to push back against the Chinese government’s economic abuses and coercion that undercut the foundations of the international economic system.
“Everyone, everyone must play by the same rules. US and European companies are required to publicly disclose corporate governance structure… to corporate governance structures and abide by rules to deter corruption in monopolistic practices,” he said.
Chinese companies should be held to the same standard.
“We must shape the rules that will govern the advance of technology and the norms of behaviour in cyberspace, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, so that they are used to lift people up, not used to pin them down. We must stand up for the democratic values that make it possible for us to accomplish any of this, pushing back against those who would monopolise and normalise repression,” he said.
Biden as a senator was a regular participant to the Munich Security Conference. He had addressed the premier European event as the vice-president thrice and once as a private citizen during the previous Donald Trump Administration.
“The Transatlantic alliance is a strong foundation, the strong foundation on which their collective security and shared prosperity are built. The partnership between Europe and the United States is and must remain the cornerstone of all that they hope to accomplish in the 21st century, just as they did in the 20th century,” he said.
But the challenges being faced today are different, he noted. “We’re at an inflection point. When I spoke to you as a senator and even as vice president, the global dynamics have shifted. New crises demand our attention. We cannot focus only on the competition among countries that threaten to divide the world or only on global challenges that threaten to sink us all together if we fail to cooperate. We must do both working in lockstep with our allies and partners,” Biden said.
In his address, Biden assured his European allies that the US will work closely with them to meet the range of shared challenges they all face.
“We continue to support the goal of a Europe whole and free and at peace. The US is fully committed to our NATO alliance, and I welcome your—Europe’s—growing investment in the military capabilities that enable our shared defence,” he said.
“You know, to me and to the United States and to us… we’ll keep faith with Article 5; it’s a guarantee. An attack on one is an attack on all. That is our unshakeable vow,” he said.
Biden said his administration strongly supports the diplomatic processes under way to bring an end to the Afghanistan conflict that is closing out 20 years.
“We remain committed to ensuring that Afghanistan never again provides a base for terrorist attacks against the United States and our partners and our interest. Our European partners have also stood with us to counter ISIS,” he said.
The United States, he said, must renew America’s enduring advantages, so that it can meet today’s challenges from a position of strength. That means building back better economic foundations, reclaiming its place in international institutions, lifting up values at home and speaking out to defend them around the world.
“Modernising our military capabilities while leading with diplomacy… revitalising America’s network of alliances and partnerships that have made the world safer for all people. You know, I hope our fellow democracies are going to join us in this vital work. Our partnerships have endured and grown through the years because they are rooted in the richness of our shared democratic values,” he said.
“We’re at an inflection point between those who argue that, given all the challenges we face from the fourth industrial revolution to a global pandemic, that autocracy is the best way forward… and those who understand that democracy is essential, essential to meeting these challenges. Historians are going to examine and write about this moment as an inflection point, as I said. And I believe that every ounce of my being that democracy will and must prevail,” he said.
Biden told his European allies that they must collectively demonstrate that democracy can still deliver for people in this changed world. “That, in my view, is our galvanising mission. Democracy doesn’t happen by accident. We have to defend it, fight for it, strengthen it, renew it. We have to prove that our model isn’t a relic of history. It’s the single best way to revitalise the promise of our future,” he said.
“And if we work together with our democratic partners with strength and confidence, I know we’ll meet every challenge and outpace every challenger,” Biden said.
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