The U.S. State Department on Friday announced the creation of “China House” -- a new initiative at the agency that centralizes diplomatic efforts with China to one bureau.
The establishment of China House comes at a time when many China watchers note that the Biden administration is concerned that existing U.S. bureaucracy is inapt at tackling Beijing’s rising global influence.
China House will replace the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs’ China desk at the department, according to the State Department. The initiative requires no new funding.
The goal of China House is to circumvent bureaucratic hurdles and allow key government officials like those in tech and economics to assists in the policymaking process and more easily share data and analysis with one another.
“The Secretary and Department leadership are committed to ensuring we have the talent, tools, and resources to successfully execute U.S. policy and strategy towards the PRC as the most complex and consequential geopolitical challenge we face,” the State Department said.
Bonnie Glaser, the managing director of of the Indo-Pacific program at the German Marshall Fund, said Washington required more organization to deal with China.
“In the past few years the amount of work on China across the Department of State has ballooned, and there is a need for more effective coordination,” Glaser told Semafor.
Room for Disagreement
Some former State Department officials said China House will change little with regard to U.S.-China relations and is only adding more red tape.
“When anything like this gets sold as a new way of coordinating to make sure that we have a whole of government approach to policy issue X, it can also include incredible bureaucratic grind," Dan Baer, the former U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe told Politico. “The State Department clearance process was already onerous and not only slows down but also waters down good thinking.”