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Vice President Joe Biden welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping in Washington, D.C., Sept. 24, 2015. Photo: Xinhua/Huang Jingwen via Getty Images.

China's leaders see President-elect Joe Biden as a more predictable, but not necessarily less formidable, U.S. leader.

Why it matters: Relations aren't likely to be chummy, but Beijing is hoping diplomacy between the two superpowers can be restored.

  • Leaders in Beijing know Biden may be easier to deal with in some respects and more difficult in others.
  • The Biden administration isn't likely to confront China quite as directly as Trump has, but it is also more likely to bring allies, making U.S. moves harder for China to counter in the long run.

Background: Judging by the relative restraint China's leaders have shown amid the Trump administration's full-court press against the country in recent months, Beijing seems hopeful the U.S.-China relationship can improve under Biden.

  • The Chinese Communist Party has met the Trump administration's boldest moves, such as the closure of the Houston consulate, with equal tit-for-tat responses.
  • But leaders in Beijing in other cases haven't responded in kind, seemingly hoping to prevent irreparable damage to the U.S.-China relationship should a new president take over in 2021.

What to watch: China still hasn't acknowledged Biden's win — though that doesn't necessarily mean they are unhappy with it.

  • "Beijing recognizes Trump will be president for two more months. Beijing has incentive to try to avoid being in Trump's political crosshairs," Ryan Hass, who worked on China at the National Security Council under Obama, tweeted.
  • "Beijing likely sees more risk than gain in getting ahead of Trump in acknowledging the outcome of the election," wrote Hass.

Go deeper: Trump leaves Biden tough choices for his own China playbook

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - World

Former Google CEO and others call for U.S.-China tech "bifurcation"

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new set of proposals by a group of influential D.C. insiders and tech industry practitioners calling for a degree of "bifurcation" in the U.S. and Chinese tech sectors is circulating in the Biden administration. Axios has obtained a copy.

Why it matters: The idea of "decoupling" certain sectors of the U.S. and Chinese economies felt radical three years ago, when Trump's trade war brought the term into common parlance. But now the strategy has growing bipartisan and even industry support.

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.