Editorial: The US and Europe must deal with China

It is 50 years next month since Henry Kissinger embarked on the secret mission to Beijing that led to a rapprochement: “It is the conviction of President Nixon that a strong and developing People’s Republic of China poses no threat to any essential US interest,” the national security adviser assured leaders there. Half a century on, the thaw is over. The thread running through Joe Biden’s first foreign trip as president is the need for democratic alliances against growing authoritarian might, and though attention now turns to his meeting with Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, the administration’s real focus has been on China. While Beijing’s record on the pandemic, trade, human rights and other specific areas has rightly raised deep concern internationally, the underlying issue is its rise, and the decline of US power.