How a U.S.-China War Could Begin

Week
President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping sat down for their first superpower summit in Florida earlier this month, and by all accounts, things went well. Still, it is time to consider the sheer magnitude of problems dividing America and China.

Conversation

04.14.17

Ivanka: A ChinaFile Conversation

Rebecca E. Karl, Yishu Mao & more
At a time of strained and erratic relations between the U.S. and China, Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter and, more recently, a member of his administration, has emerged as an unlikely but singularly potent emissary, not to just to China’s...

Trump and China: Master Diplomat or Paper Tiger?

Katie Hunt
CNN
When it comes to China, has U.S. President Donald Trump played a diplomatic master stroke? Not so fast, say analysts who are quick to puncture hopes of budding bromance between the leaders of the two countries.

The Classic Chinese Text That Ivanka Trump’s Kids Recited for Xi Jinping Was Long Banned in China

Zheping Huang
Quartz
For decades, Sanzijing had been banned from all public kindergartens and schools in China as the Communist regime cracked down on non-socialist ideas.

China’s Xi Tells Trump He Wants Peaceful Solution to North Korea

Ryan Gaydos
Fox News
Xi told Trump that China insists on peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula in the wake of the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson to the area and the conducting of the biggest-ever U.S.-South Korea military drills.

Why Does China Pretend to Be a Democracy?

Washington Post
Why does China still call itself a democracy? Making this claim allows Beijing to legitimize its own actions—and, in the case of its views on the U.S. missile attacks, the Syrian government’s— as representing the will of the people.

Is Trump Backing Down on China?

Eric Geller and Doug Palmer
Politico
The president last year compared China’s economic behavior to “rape.” Now he says he and Xi are “in the process of getting along very well.”

Trump and Xi’s First Meeting

Paul Haenle & Ashley J. Tellis from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
All eyes are on Mar-a-Lago this week, where Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump will meet for the first time. The summit is expected to be heavy on symbolism rather than on concrete deliverables, but the ability to set a...

After Xi Leaves U.S., Chinese Media Assail Strike on Syria

Jane Perlez
New York Times
With President Xi Jinping safely out of the United States and no longer President Trump’s guest, China’s state-run media on Saturday was free to denounce the missile strike on Syria.

Tang Poems and Folk Tales: History’s Role in the Trump-Xi Reset

Katsuji Nakazawa
Nikkei Asian Review
The Syria airstrike and other moments that made for a rocky summit start

The Kushner Kids on Show, North Korea on Notice and Other Takeaways from the Xi-Trump Summit

Emily Rauhala and Simon Denyer
Washington Post
President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were basically repackaging the existing process of negotiation between their countries.

China Urges ‘Restraint’ after U.S. Airstrike on Syrian Airfield

Los Angeles Times
China on Friday warned against “the escalation of tension” in Syria after President Trump launched an airstrike on a Syrian government air base, adding a surprise twist to his two-day summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

How Trump Can Solve His Chinese Puzzle

Gideon Rachman
New York Times
Getting tough with China is a central part of Donald Trump’s plan to “make America great again.” During the election campaign, he claimed that China was “raping” American industry.

Trump’s Team Has No Idea What It’s Doing On China

Foreign Policy
Donald Trump is, by his own admission, not terribly analytical or deliberative.

All Mapped Out: How China’s Charting Its Course as a Superpower

Daily Beast
In February, the French daily Le Monde published a map reportedly circulated by the Chinese military. It showed the People’s Republic in the center of the globe with all else shrinking away toward the edges: “The world turned upside down for anyone...

Environment

04.06.17

As the U.S. Steps Back, China Must Step up on Climate Leadership

Joanna Lewis & Li Shuo from chinadialogue
Presidents Trump and Xi are scheduled to meet today at Mar-a Lago, Florida, and given the tense state of U.S.-China relations and the political leanings of the Trump administration there is much at stake for cooperation between the countries on the...

How Trump Can Help Save Coal—with China’s Help

Paul Bledsoe
Politico
Last week, President Donald Trump declared that he would bring back coal jobs, directing the EPA to roll back the Clean Power Plan and other regulations on coal producers.

Jared Kushner Is One of Trump's Top Advisers on China

Eric Levitz
New York Magazine
When President Trump meets with his Chinese counterpart at Mar-a-Lago this weekend, he will not have the assistant secretaries of State and Defense for East Asia at his side — because his administration has failed to hire anyone for either of those...

Viewpoint

04.05.17

Xi Is Ready for the Summit. Trump Can’t Possibly Be. So What Should He Do?

Robert Daly
At the summit in Mar-a-Lago, U.S. President Donald Trump hopes to alter deeply-rooted Chinese policies despite having no China strategy. China’s Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping hopes that by making deals on secondary matters important to Trump...

Trump Team Takes Steps to Keep Chinese Away from Westinghouse

Bloomberg
The Trump administration is so alarmed that Chinese investors may try to purchase Westinghouse Electric Co.’s nuclear business that U.S. officials are trying to find an American or allied buyer for the company instead, two people familiar with the...

North Korea Is Increasingly a Focus of U.S.-China Meeting

ABC
The White House is talking in more urgent terms about North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, as President Donald Trump’s talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping approach.

Is Trump Wise to Take on China over Trade?

BBC
Trade will be one of two key issues on the agenda, along with North Korea. But what’s the problem—and what can Trump do about it?

Viewpoint

04.05.17

No Winners or Losers, Please

Paul Gewirtz
Who will be the winner of the upcoming Trump-Xi summit? My answer: That’s a dangerous—and wrongheaded—question to focus on. Yes, we want the U.S. to win, but the U.S.-China relationship must be played and judged as a long game.The present situation...

Can Trump Match Xi Jinping’s Game?

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
Donald Trump has struggled with his position on China. President Xi Jinping has several reasons for confidence when he arrives at Mar-a-Lago for negotiations.

Books

04.05.17

China’s Crony Capitalism

Minxin Pei
When Deng Xiaoping launched China on the path to economic reform in the late 1970s, he vowed to build “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” More than three decades later, China’s efforts to modernize have yielded something very different from the working people’s paradise Deng envisioned: an incipient kleptocracy, characterized by endemic corruption, soaring income inequality, and growing social tensions. China’s Crony Capitalism traces the origins of China’s present-day troubles to the series of incomplete reforms from the post-Tiananmen era that decentralized the control of public property without clarifying its ownership.Beginning in the 1990s, changes in the control and ownership rights of state-owned assets allowed well-connected government officials and businessmen to amass huge fortunes through the systematic looting of state-owned property—in particular land, natural resources, and assets in state-run enterprises. Mustering compelling evidence from over two hundred corruption cases involving government and law enforcement officials, private businessmen, and organized crime members, Minxin Pei shows how collusion among elites has spawned an illicit market for power inside the party-state, in which bribes and official appointments are surreptitiously but routinely traded. This system of crony capitalism has created a legacy of criminality and entrenched privilege that will make any movement toward democracy difficult and disorderly.Rejecting conventional platitudes about the resilience of Chinese Communist Party rule, Pei gathers unambiguous evidence that beneath China’s facade of ever-expanding prosperity and power lies a Leninist state in an advanced stage of decay. —Harvard University Press{chop}

A Veteran and China Hand Advises Trump for Xi’s Visit

Mark Landler and Jane Perlez
New York Times
This week, Matthew Pottinger will be on hand for President Trump’s meeting with President Xi Jinping of China, as the top Asia policy maker in an administration desperately short of his kind of on-the-ground experience.

Trump’s Gifts to China

Roger Cohen
New York Times
The United States meets China this week in a position of weakness.

As He Gets Ready to Meet Trump in Florida, China’s Xi Jinping Has a Lot to Worry about

Jonathan Kaiman
Los Angeles Times
The meeting could set the tone for the next several years of U.S.-China relations, and allow the two leaders to square each other up on issues including North Korea and global trade.

Trump’s Bad Deal with China

Charles Edel and Mira Rapp-Hooper
Politico
The early signs suggest Xi Jinping will run the table at Mar-a-Lago.

Conversation

04.04.17

What Should We Expect When Trump and Xi Meet in Florida?

David Dollar, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
On April 6-7, U.S. President Donald Trump will host Xi Jinping in their first face-to-face meeting when China’s President arrives at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. The meeting comes early in Trump’s presidency, after a campaign in which he frequently...

The Big Unanswered Question ahead of Trump’s First China Meeting

Max Ehrenfreund
Washington Post
After a campaign defined in large part by a pledge to turn the nation’s trade agenda on its head, President Trump has opened his presidency with a series of modest, more cautious steps

China Learns How to Get Trump’s Ear: Through Jared Kushner

Mark Landler
New York Times
The Chinese ambassador, Cui Tiankai, has established a busy back channel to Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to several officials briefed on the relationship.

China’s Once and Future Democracy

Orville Schell
Wall Street Journal
Despite Xi Jinping’s crackdown and Donald Trump’s silence on human rights, China has a vibrant democratic legacy that may yet reassert itself.

Trump Will Host China’s President in Florida on April 6

Bill Chappell
NPR
Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit President Trump in Palm Beach, Fla., next week, for talks that will likely range from economic to security issues. The first meeting between the two leaders will stretch from April 6-7.

Trump’s First Test in Asia, Part II

Paul Haenle & Michael Green from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
While President Trump appoints new officials to his administration and reviews policy frameworks, Asia-Pacific leaders are moving ahead. Since taking office, Trump has grappled with consequential developments in the region, ranging from North Korea’...

In Rare Move, Chinese Think Tank Criticizes Tepid Pace of Reform

Chris Buckley
New York Times
These withering findings on China’s reforms come from a startling place: from within the government itself.

Conversation

03.24.17

Does Tillerson’s Asia Visit Signal a New Era in U.S.-China Relations?

Scott Kennedy & Shen Dingli
On March 19, during his first trip to Asia as U.S. Secretary of State, and amidst rising tensions with North Korea, Rex Tillerson met with China’s Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping. The day before, Tillerson released a statement describing the...

Xi Jinping Is Only Halfway through His Rule yet China’s Already Trumpeting His Legacy

Zheping Huang
Quartz
Xi is set to start his second five-year term with the party congress meeting this fall. In the past few months, China’s propaganda machines have been busy churning out videos crafting his personal image.

China’s Xi Tells Israel That Peaceful Middle East Good for All

Reuters
Chinese President Xi Jinping told visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday that peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians would be good for both sides.

Tillerson’s Beijing Visit Was a Home Run for China: State Media

Janis Mackey Frayer
NBC News
China’s state-run media cheered Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s weekend visit to Beijing as a diplomatic win for the home team.

Tillerson Ends China Trip with Warm Words from President Xi

Yeganeh Torbati and Michael Martina
Reuters
With warm words from Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended his first trip to Asia since taking office with an agreement to work together with China on North Korea and putting aside trickier issues.

Rex Tillerson and Xi Jinping Meet in China and Emphasize Cooperation

Jane Perlez
New York Times
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson and President Xi Jinping of China cast aside their differences on Sunday with a public display of cooperation, sidestepping areas of disagreement even as North Korea made another defiant statement by showing off a...

In China Debut, Tillerson Appears to Hand Beijing a Diplomatic Victory

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
While his boss was goading China over Twitter, new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been trying to build a constructive and “results-oriented” relationship with the leadership in Beijing.

China Raising Pressure on Taiwan, Gently

Ralph Jennings
Voice of America
China is slowly tightening its grip on self-ruled Taiwan to make it break a nearly year-old political deadlock, but it’s avoiding any tough measures that it can’t reverse if relations improve, analysts say.

Xi Jinping: The Illusion of Greatness

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Politics is always about pomp and pageantry, but as pure, stultifying ritual few occasions can compare to the convening of the Chinese parliament, the National People’s Congress, which ended this week. No matter what is happening in China or the...

Sinica Podcast

03.10.17

Jane Perlez: Chinese Foreign Relations in a New Age of Uncertainty

Jeremy Goldkorn & Jane Perlez from Sinica Podcast
Jane Perlez has been a reporter at The New York Times since 1981. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for coverage of the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has reported on wars, diplomacy, and foreign policy from...

China’s New Civil Code Light on Individual Rights Reforms

Christian Shepherd
Reuters
China’s Communist leaders will this week introduce sweeping new laws that codify social responsibilities for the country’s 1.4 billion citizens while also providing some modest new protections.

Jostling Contenders for Party Elite Play It Safe at China Parliament

Philip Wen and Christian Shepherd
Reuters
Avoiding controversial questions and sticking closely to the script, three leading candidates jostling for a spot on the Communist Party’s apex of power made rare public appearances on the sidelines of China’s annual meeting of parliament on Monday.

China’s Congress Meeting Brings Crackdown on Critics

Louise Watt and Isolda Morillo
Washington Post
Chinese authorities have shut down activist Ye Haiyan’s blogs and forced her to move from one city to another. Left with few options, she now produces socially conscious paintings to make a living and advocate for the rights of sex workers and...

Caixin Media

03.03.17

China’s Legislators Take on Zombie Companies, Real Estate

Curbing wasteful socialist-era business practices and taming unruly real estate and lending sectors will take center stage at the annual meeting of China’s legislature, which starts next week, with some also looking for signs of a pickup in economic...

Conversation

02.28.17

Is The Trump Era Really The Xi Era?

Paul Haenle, Shen Dingli & more
On February 17, China’s Communist Party Chairman Xi Jinping announced what he called the “two guidances.” Beijing should now “guide the international community to jointly build a more just and reasonably new world order,” Xi said in an important...

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...

Viewpoint

02.27.17

Back to the Jungle?

Zhang Boshu
The recent election of Donald J. Trump as the president of the United States is likely to have a profound effect on world history. The issue is not the controversies raised by Trump’s character, personality, abilities, and preferences, but rather...

China Shakes up Top Economic Team ahead of Major Power Shuffle

Lingling Wei and Chun Han Wong
Wall Street Journal
President Xi Jinping is shaking up his economic team ahead of a major power shuffle as China battles rising financial risks at home and friction with its trading partners.

Chinese President Xi Jinping Has Vowed to Lead the “New World Order”

Zheping Huang
Quartz
Chinese president Xi Jinping has vowed for the first time that China should take the lead in shaping the “new world order” and safeguarding international security, one of the latest moves putting him in stark contrast to Donald Trump and the U.S...

How the Communist Party Guided China to Success

New York Times
One of Sebastian Heilmann’s major works is a comprehensive guide to how China is governed, now updated and translated into English as China’s Political System. This is a wide-ranging examination of how the system works—how it guides the economy,...

He Called China’s President ‘Xitler’ on Twitter. Now He Faces Prison.

Chris Buckley
New York Times
From his hometown in northeast China, Kwon Pyong used the internet to mock and criticize the nation’s rulers, including posting a selfie in which he wore a T-shirt that likened President Xi Jinping to Hitler.

EU Preparing Early China Summit in Message to Trump: Sources

Robin Emmott and Gabriela Baczynska
Reuters
The European Union is preparing an early summit with China in April or May in Brussels to promote free trade and international cooperation in the face of a more protectionist and inward-looking Washington, three EU officials said.

Trump Will Honor ‘One China’ Policy

Paul Haenle & Evan Medeiros from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
President Trump agreed to honor the U.S. “one China” policy in his first phone call with President Xi Jinping since taking office, providing the basis for bilateral relations to move forward. Shortly after the February 9 call, Paul Haenle spoke with...

U.S., China Coordinated Policy Reversal

Carol E. Lee and Te-ping Chen
Wall Street Journal
Trump pledges to honor longstanding policy not to recognize Taiwan diplomatically