The U.S. and China Are Finally Having It Out

Thomas L. Friedman
New York Times
With the arrival in Beijing this week of America’s top trade negotiators, you might think that the U.S. and China are about to enter high-level talks to avoid a trade war and that this is a story for the business pages. Think again.

China-Africa Relations in the Xi Jinping Era

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
For much of the past 20 years, China’s strategy in Africa could be summarized in two words: invest and extract. Today, that is no longer the case. China’s agenda in Africa, and throughout much of the global south, has broadened significantly in...

Australian Senator Loses Leadership Role over China Remarks

BBC
An Australian senator has been stripped of his senior duties after a recording revealed he had contradicted his party's policy on the South China Sea...

China Threatens U.S. Congress for Crossing Its ‘Red Line’ on Taiwan

Josh Rogin
Washington Post
In a rare pressure campaign, the Chinese government is demanding that the U.S. Congress back off passing new laws that would strengthen the U.S. relationship with Taiwan. Beijing’s efforts are the latest sign that it is stepping up its campaign to...

China Welcomes U.S. Seeking Dialogue with North Korea

Michael Martina
Reuters
China on Thursday welcomed comments by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the United States does not seek to topple the North Korean government and would like dialogue with Pyongyang at some point, saying China had always supported talks.

Is China a Partner or Predator in Africa (or Both)?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In this week’s episode of the China in Africa podcast, Matt Ferchen from the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing joins Eric and Cobus to discuss his new paper on the perception gaps that exist around the world regarding China’s...

Welcome to an Emerging Asia: India and China Stop Feigning Friendship while Russia Plays All Sides

Harsh V Pant
Quartz
After a few timid signs of warming, Sino-Indian relations seem to be headed for the freezer.

China Says Better US-Vietnam Ties Must Not Threaten Beijing

Matthew Lee
Associated Press
China has underlying concerns that closer relations between the two would undermine its claims in South China Sea. 

Books

12.10.15

Pacific

Simon Winchester
Following his acclaimed Atlantic and The Men Who United the States, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester offers an enthralling biography of the Pacific Ocean and its role in the modern world, exploring our relationship with this imposing force of nature.As the Mediterranean shaped the classical world, and the Atlantic connected Europe to the New World, the Pacific Ocean defines our tomorrow. With China on the rise, so, too, are the American cities of the West coast, including Seattle, San Francisco, and the long cluster of towns down the Silicon Valley.Today, the Pacific is ascendant. Its geological history has long transformed us—tremendous earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis—but its human history, from a Western perspective, is quite young, beginning with Magellan’s sixteenth-century circumnavigation. It is a natural wonder whose most fascinating history is currently being made.In telling the story of the Pacific, Simon Winchester takes us from the Bering Strait to Cape Horn, the Yangtze River to the Panama Canal, and to the many small islands and archipelagos that lie in between. He observes the fall of a dictator in Manila, visits aboriginals in northern Queensland, and is jailed in Tierra del Fuego, the land at the end of the world. His journey encompasses a trip down the Alaska Highway, a stop at the isolated Pitcairn Islands, and a trek across South Korea and a glimpse of its mysterious northern neighbor.Winchester’s personal experience is vast and his storytelling second to none. And his historical understanding of the region is formidable, making Pacific a paean to this magnificent sea of beauty, myth, and imagination that is transforming our lives. —HarperCollins{chop}

China and Russia: The World's New Superpower Axis?

Emma Graham-Harrison, Alec Luhn, Shaun...
Guardian
Russia and China are the ever-presents, a powerful pairing whose interests coincide more often than not.

A Partnership with China to Avoid World War

George Soros from New York Review of Books
International cooperation is in decline both in the political and financial spheres. The U.N. has failed to address any of the major conflicts since the end of the cold war; the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference left a sour aftertaste; the...

Sinica Podcast

06.01.15

Earthquake in Nepal!

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
[Note: This podcast was first recorded on May 13.—The Editors]On April 25, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the Katmandu Valley in Nepal, causing over 8,600 deaths, countless more injuries, and triggering mountain avalanches which sent snow...

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Can Help the U.S. Counter China’s Expansion

The Washington Post Editorial Board
Washington Post
We’ve faulted President Obama for his less-than-full-throated support of free-trade agreements that enjoy the nominal backing of his administration. There was no such cause for complaint about his State of the Union address Tuesday night, however,...

The South China Sea: Oil on Troubled Waters

The Economist
Economist
Two Chinese oil companies show contrasting approaches in their attempts to operate in the South China Sea where, to the discomfort of its smaller neighbours, China’s claims in disputed waters have grown increasingly assertive.

China’s Scramble for Africa

Richard Javad Heydarian
Al Jazeera
In a remarkable departure from its long history of low-profile foreign policy, especially since Deng Xiaoping took over China's leadership in the late 1970s, Beijing has recently committed up to 700 combat troops to South Sudan in the hopes of...

The Dragon and the Gringo

The Economist
Economist
Time was when cash-strapped Latin American governments would turn to the IMF for the bitter medicine of its bail-outs. No longer. Over the past dozen years the supercycle of rising commodity prices has swelled the region’s coffers, while even the...

One Among Many

The Economist
Economist
Across Africa, radio call-in programs are buzzing with tales of Africans, usually men, bemoaning the loss of their spouses and partners to rich Chinese men.

China Building Base Near Isles Disputed With Japan, Kyodo Says

Ting Shi
Bloomberg
The dispute over the East China Sea islets—known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese—clouds ties that remain fractious even after Chinese President Xi Jinping met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Beijing last month. Encounters between...

China Flexes Its High-speed Rail Muscles by Rolling out 32 New Routes in One Day

Lily Kuo
Quartz
China has lofty expectations of becoming a global leader in high-speed rail technology, with projects in over a dozen countries, as well as plans to more than double its own domestic network of high-speed rail, which is already the world’s largest.

What China Has to Do with the Mysterious Death of an Indigenous Leader in Ecuador

Lily Kuo
Quartz
Last week the leader of an Ecuadorian indigenous group, José Isidro Tendetza Antún was found by his son in an unmarked grave. The outspoken critic of a controversial Ecuadorian mining project had been due to speak at the United Nations climate talks...

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi Set to Visit China next Month, Her Party Says

Patrick Boehler
South China Morning Post
"We asked for some of her time … but she said she might be going to China and needed some free time in December," Han Thar Myint, of the National League for Democracy's Central Executive Committee, told the South China Morning Post...

India-China Border Standoff: High in the Mountains, Thousands of Troops Go Toe-to-Toe

Gordon Fairclough
Wall Street Journal
The mountain standoff lasted weeks and at times involved tense shoving-and-shouting matches, according to Indian border-patrol troopers who participated. Both armies called in helicopters. The scale and duration of the clash are signs of mounting...

Reports

10.01.14

‘Not an Idea We Have to Shun’

Christopher D. Yung and Ross Rustici with Scott Devary and Jenny Lin
Institute for National Strategic Studies
China’s expanding international economic interests are likely to generate increasing demands for its navy, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), to operate out of area to protect Chinese citizens, investments, and sea lines of communication. The...

Books

04.01.14

The Contest of the Century

Geoff Dyer
From the former Financial Times Beijing bureau chief, a balanced and far-seeing analysis of the emerging competition between China and the United States that will dominate twenty-first-century world affairs—an inside account of Beijing’s quest for influence and an explanation of how America can come out on top. The structure of global politics is shifting rapidly. After decades of rising, China has entered a new and critical phase where it seeks to turn its economic heft into global power. In this deeply informed book, Geoff Dyer makes a lucid and convincing argument that China and the United States are now embarking on a great power–style competition that will dominate the century. This contest will take place in every arena: from control of the seas, where China’s new navy is trying to ease the United States out of Asia and reassert its traditional leadership, to rewriting the rules of the global economy, with attempts to turn the renminbi into the predominant international currency, toppling the dominance of the U.S. dollar. And by investing billions to send its media groups overseas, Beijing hopes to shift the global debate about democracy and individual rights. Eyeing the high ground of international politics, China is taking the first steps in an ambitious global agenda. Yet Dyer explains how China will struggle to unseat the United States. China’s new ambitions are provoking intense anxiety, especially in Asia, while America’s global influence has deep roots. If Washington can adjust to a world in which it is no longer dominant but still immensely powerful, it can withstand China’s challenge. With keen insight based on a deep local knowledge—offering the reader visions of coastal Chinese beauty pageants and secret submarine bases, lockstep Beijing military parades and the neon media screens of Xinhua exported to New York City’s Times Square—The Contest of the Century is essential reading at a time of great uncertainty about America’s future, a road map for retaining a central role in the world.  —Knopf {chop}

Books

02.05.14

By All Means Necessary

Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi
In the past thirty years, China has transformed from an impoverished country where peasants comprised the largest portion of the populace to an economic power with an expanding middle class and more megacities than anywhere else on earth. This remarkable transformation has required, and will continue to demand, massive quantities of resources. Like every other major power in modern history, China is looking outward to find them.In By All Means Necessary, Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi explore the unrivaled expansion of the Chinese economy and the global effects of its meteoric growth. China is now engaged in a far-flung quest, hunting around the world for fuel, ores, water, and land for farming, and deploying whatever it needs in the economic, political, and military spheres to secure the resources it requires. Chinese traders and investors buy commodities, with consequences for economies, people, and the environment around the world. Meanwhile the Chinese military aspires to secure sea lanes, and Chinese diplomats struggle to protect the country’s interests abroad. And just as surely as China’s pursuit of natural resources is changing the world—restructuring markets, pushing up commodity prices, transforming resource-rich economies through investment and trade—it is also changing China itself. As Chinese corporations increasingly venture abroad, they must navigate various political regimes, participate in international markets, and adopt foreign standards and practices, which can lead to wide-reaching social and political ramifications at home.Clear, authoritative, and provocative, By All Means Necessary is a sweeping account of where China’s pursuit of raw materials may take the country in the coming years and what the consequences will be—not just for China, but for the whole world. —Oxford University Press{chop}