A Joe Biden victory over US President Donald Trump in November’s election will lead to America working with Australia and other Asia-Pacific allies rather than encouraging tension, according to a draft copy of the 2020 Democratic Party platform.
Democratic officials are finalising the document ahead of the party’s August 17-20 national convention in Milwaukee.
Biden is the party’s presumptive presidential nominee.
The 80-page draft attacks Trump’s “reckless, politically motivated tariff wars that have punished American workers, antagonised our allies, and benefited our adversaries”.
“Rather than denigrate our partners and encourage tensions between our allies, the United States will work to strengthen ties with and between our key allies in the region, including Japan, South Korea, and Australia, and we will work to ensure that our alliances with Thailand and the Philippines live up to the values that our peoples share,” the draft platform states.
The draft’s Asia-Pacific and trade chapters detail how the Democrats plan to “stand up” to China by working with allies.
During Barack Obama’s time in the White House, with Biden as vice-president, the US championed the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and seven other Pacific rim nations.
Trump pulled the US out of the massive free trade agreement on his third day in the White House.
Australia and Japan, refusing to let it die, ensured the TPP survived with 11 members.
The draft platform does not mention the TPP and states new trade deals will not be negotiated “before first investing in American competitiveness at home”.
The Trump administration, via Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, last week proposed “a new grouping of like-minded nations, a new alliance of democracies” to challenge China.
The Democrats are offering a similar strategy.
“Democrats believe that if the United States does not work with its allies and partners to shape the terms of global trade, China will shape them for us – and American working families and the middle class will pay the price,” the draft continues.
“That’s why we will work with our allies to mobilise more than half the world’s economy to stand up to China and negotiate from the strongest possible position.”
Democrats will also “underscore our global commitment to freedom of navigation and resist the Chinese military’s intimidation in the South China Sea”.