Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shake hands with U.S Vice President Joe Biden (L) inside the Great Hall of the People on December 4, 2013 in Beijing, China.
Taking office during the worsening coronavirus pandemic, a global economic downturn and a deeply divided America, soon-to-be President Joe Biden has his work cut out for him in 2021.
But the biggest wildcard on the world stage will be the U.S.'s relationship with China, says Dan Yergin, veteran energy industry expert and vice chairman of analytics firm IHS Markit.
"The number one geopolitical issue is the relationship between the U.S. and China," Yergin told CNBC's Hadley Gamble during the Atlantic Council's virtual Global Energy Forum on Tuesday.
It's not like the Soviet-American cold war, because these economies are so interdependent," Yergin, who has written several books on geopolitics, said.
Xi Jinping, Joe Biden, Dan Yergin, Yergin, CNBC's Hadley Gamble
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