WASHINGTON: Joe Biden will keep Donald Trump's trade-war tariffs on China for the time being when he moves into the Oval Office next month, the president-elect has told US media.
Rancor and recrimination have defined the relationship between the world's two biggest economies over the last four years, with Trump slapping import fees on billions of dollars' worth of Chinese goods with tariffs.
Biden meanwhile has been a strident critic of China's human rights record and analysts have predicted his administration will maintain a hawkish posture towards Beijing.
"I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden told the New York Times in an interview published Wednesday.
"I'm not going to prejudice my options."
Since winning last month's presidential election, Biden has hinted at a trade policy that would mend Washington's alliances with Europe and the Asia-Pacific.
He has said the United States must join forces with other world democracies to present a united front in global trade policy as a counterweight to China.
Biden has targeted Beijing on several fronts and singled out Chinese President Xi Jinping during a debate with other presidential candidates in February.
"This is a guy who doesn't have a democratic — with a small d — bone in his body," he said then. "This is a guy who is a thug."
His campaign also referred to the crackdown on the Muslim Uighur minority in China's Xinjiang province as a "genocide," provocative language to Beijing with potential ramifications under international law.