"US President Joe Biden's China policy is different from his predecessor Trump's mainly because President Trump and the conservative advisers around him realised the rise of China has become a threat to the world. The Trump administration used the trade war to contain and prevent China from taking economic advantage of the US", states Cao Changqing, a former director at China's powerful economic planning agency.
The former Chinese official adds that the US under Trump expanded its "military cooperation" with Japan and India to restrict Beijing's strategic ambitions.
"However, after Biden took office, not only is the trade war with China over, he further emphasised his intention to maintain US economic cooperation with China; at the same time, he takes no action and doesn't even mention military restraint of China", adds Cao.
The Chinese official blames Biden's "leftist advisers" for what he describes as a subtle "policy shift" towards China under the new US administration. "On the surface, there might be a false appearance that Biden is taking a strong stand against China", he says.
Cao argues that the "resolve" to probe the origins of COVID had weakened a great deal since Biden took over the White House.
"When Trump was in office, he vowed to probe China's responsibility for leaking and spreading the virus to the world", he says.
In a statement in May, President Biden announced that the US intelligence community was divided on two scenarios regarding the origins of COVID— the lab leak theory and that it was transmitted from an infected animal. Biden said he had called upon his investigators to come out with their final findings within 90 days.
Indo-Pacific Alliance Weakened Under Biden
One of the biggest drawbacks of Biden's China policy is the change in tone between Washington and its "biggest Indo-Pacific" ally India, Cao says.
"India is not only a big country but the biggest democracy in terms of population. Therefore, India's alliance with the US would significantly impact world peace, especially the stabilisation of the Asia-Pacific region", points out Cao.
"President Trump had excellent personal relationships with both Premier [Prime Minister] Narendra Modi of India and Premier [Prime Minister] Abe Shinzo of Japan; thus, the three conservative leaders' alliance had a considerable effect of preventing China's military ambition", he notes.
Yet, Cao says that India-US ties have "turned lukewarm" since Biden took over. The former Chinese official further claims that Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga "lacks the political will" of his predecessor Abe to "confront Beijing's hegemonic ambitions".
"Biden is not so fond of Modi, thus the US-India relationship [has] now turned to lukewarm. One cannot expect a closer collaboration between the three democracies regarding [the] constraint [of] China", explains the Chinese official.
While the US and its three Indo-Pacific allies Australia, Japan, and India, collectively known as the Quad, held their first-ever leadership summit soon after Biden took office, the frictions between Washington and Delhi have become more apparent under the Democrats.
Acting Acting Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Dean Thompson told a congressional hearing last month that New Delhi's actions have been "inconsistent" with its democratic values, in a reference to the Modi government's handling of the Kashmir dispute as well as protests by farmers. Delhi's communication curbs in Kashmir and during protests by farmers have also drawn criticism from the US State Department since Biden assumed office.
Besides this, Washington's delayed response in helping Delhi with vaccine supplies during the South Asian nation's devastating second wave in April-May of this year triggered harsh criticism from many Indian observers, including former diplomats.
Biden's Russia Policy Benefits China
Another even "bigger difference" between the policies of the two US presidents lies in their outlook towards Russia, says Cao.
"Trump tried to relax the tension between the US and Russia and establish a better relationship with Putin in order to form another alliance to contain China. Russia already has a democratic election system, and far greater press freedom than that of China; Putin also shifted his attention to improving Russia's economy, not Cold War-era expansion. Therefore, a coalition with Russia would be another big step to contain China's sway in its surrounding countries", says the former Chinese bureaucrat.
Cao, however, claims that Biden's advisers are trying in every possible way to "thwart" the emerging understanding between Washington and Moscow that existed under Trump.
"India and Russia have traditionally had a friendly relationship, so it would be a viable plan to form another triangle alliance to constrain Communist China. But due to the Democratic Party's boycott, such a US-Russia-India alliance died before birth", states the ex-Chinese official.