US launches ‘China House’ within State Department as it competes with Beijing 

The US Department of State formally launched its “China House” unit on Friday (December 16). The unit represents an internal reorganisation to help and sharpen department’s policymaking with respect to China, United States’ top geopolitical rival. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had announced formation of such a unit in May this year. At the time, he had called it a department-wide, integrated team that would coordinate and implement US policy across issues and regions.

“The scale and the scope of the challenge posed by the People’s Republic of China will test American diplomacy like nothing we’ve seen before,” Blinken said in May.

On Friday, he presided over the official opening of the unit. It is formally called the Office of China Coordination. He noted that creation of the unit will ensure that the United States is able to “responsibly manage” competition with Beijing, according to a department statement.

China experts throughout the department will be brought together in the ‘China House’ in order to co-ordinate with “every regional bureau and experts in international security, economics, technology, multilateral diplomacy, and strategic communications,” the statement quoted Blinken as saying.

It will replace the department’s China Desk, but will continue to be overseen by Rick Waters, the deputy assistant secretary of state for China, Taiwan and Mongolia in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, according to an official.

President Joe Biden’s administration has laid out a strategy to compete with China focused on investing in US competitiveness and aligning with allies and partners.

Although the US and China have worked to steady the relations between the two countries, ther was a considerable strain between the two nations when US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August. An angry China had responded by holding last scale military drills.

(With inputs from agencies)

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