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Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden is planning to confront China across the globe, embracing some of President Trump's goals but rejecting his means.

The big picture: By starting a trade war with China, Trump has fundamentally altered the U.S.- China relationship — and forced both Republicans and Democrats to accept a more confrontational approach towards Beijing.

  • Biden has mostly accepted the new consensus, but insists that he’ll be more effective in challenging China by coordinating with allies, instead of going it alone.
  • “People in Beijing may be nervous about Joe Biden because they recognize that he is going to work with allies,” said Jeffrey Prescott, a Biden adviser.

What we are watching: Biden has called President Xi Jinping a “thug” and his campaign has accused China of “genocide” of Uighurs in Xinjiang, a term that the Trump administration has not deployed.

  • Michèle Flournoy, a good bet to head Biden's Pentagon, suggested in June that the U.S. should have the capability to “to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines, and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours.”
  • Biden has also hit Trump for being “the first American president in three decades who has not met or spoken with His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” and has pledged to meet with Tibet’s spiritual leader as president.

Go deeper: If Trump sees China mainly through a trade and coronavirus lens, Biden views the relationship as multifaceted contest that will determine the international order for several generations.

  • “There’s a technology competition, a military competition, an economic competition, an ideological competition and a diplomatic competition,” said Ely Rattner, a Biden China adviser. “It’s a big task.”

The backstory: For the first three years of his presidency, Trump blamed China for many of America's woes, from hollowed-out industrial cities to strung-out rural towns. He unilaterally imposed a series of tariffs, which at one point included levies on more than $500 billion in Chinese goods.

  • This January, he signed a "phase one" trade deal, declared victory and prepared to campaign on a roaring economy.
  • Then the coronavirus hit, and after initially praising Xi's response, Trump began to blame China for sending the world "the plague."
  • This summer, Trump shuttered China’s consulate in Houston, threatened to ban TikTok, worked to delist Chinese companies from U.S. exchanges and sanctioned Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam.

The intrigue: Biden called Trump's trade pact “hollow,” but he hasn’t said whether he’ll cancel the tariffs that are currently in place on some $360 billion of Chinese goods.

The bottom line: If elected, Biden's immediate decisions on tariffs — and potentially Taiwan — will set the tone for his relationship with China.

  • But he'll make sure to always consult allies and avoid the kind of one-on-one showdowns that Trump relished.
  • And he won't score the relationship just by looking at trade deficits.

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Nov 24, 2020 - World

Remote work shakes up geopolitics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The global adoption of remote work may leave the rising powers in the East behind.

The big picture: Despite India's and China's economic might, these countries have far fewer remote jobs than the U.S. or Europe. That's affecting the emerging economies' resilience amid the pandemic.

Biden's Day 1 challenges: Systemic racism

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor (PA Images)/Getty Images

Advocates are pushing President-elect Biden to tackle systemic racism with a Day 1 agenda that includes ending the detention of migrant children and expanding DACA, announcing a Justice Department investigation of rogue police departments and returning some public lands to Indigenous tribes.

Why it matters: Biden has said the fight against systemic racism will be one of the top goals of his presidency — but the expectations may be so high that he won't be able to meet them.

53 mins ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.