Is the U.S. Driving China and Russia Together?

Paul Haenle, Dmitri Trenin & more from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
As U.S. relations with China and Russia deteriorate under the Trump administration, bilateral relations between Moscow and Beijing grow stronger. A “Cold War” between the U.S. and China has not yet begun, Trenin and Gabuev agree, but the two sides...

Viewpoint

10.23.18

With an Influx of Blue Helmets and Cash, China’s Role in African Security Grows More Pervasive

Michael Kovrig
China’s growing engagement with African countries got a publicity boost on September 3 and 4 with the latest Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit. The triennial event brought leaders and officials from 53 African countries and the...

The U.S. and China as Peer Competitors in the Indo-Pacific

Paul Haenle & Abigail Grace from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
The Trump administration has taken a more confrontational approach to bilateral relations with China, implementing tariffs on nearly half of all Chinese exports to the U.S. and treating Beijing as a strategic competitor across many aspects of the...

Excerpts

09.30.18

For Generations of P.R.C. Leaders, a World ‘Alive with Danger’

Sulmaan Khan
There can be few jobs more difficult than that of paramount leader of China: the surrounding world invariably alive with danger, the extent of the state, its integrity and stability forever uncertain. For an outsider, it is easy to observe that the...

Books

09.30.18

Haunted by Chaos

Sulmaan Wasif Khan
Harvard University Press: Before the Chinese Communist Party came to power, China lay broken and fragmented. Today, it is a force on the global stage, and yet its leaders have continued to be haunted by the past. Drawing on an array of sources, Sulmaan Wasif Khan chronicles the grand strategies that have sought not only to protect China from aggression but also to ensure it would never again experience the powerlessness of the late Qing and Republican eras.{node, 49171}The dramatic variations in China’s modern history have obscured the commonality of purpose that binds the country’s leaders. Analyzing the calculus behind their decision making, Khan explores how they wove diplomatic, military, and economic power together to keep a fragile country safe in a world they saw as hostile. Dangerous and shrewd, Mao Zedong made China whole and succeeded in keeping it so, while the caustic, impatient Deng Xiaoping dragged China into the modern world. Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao served as cautious custodians of the Deng legacy, but the powerful and deeply insecure Xi Jinping has shown an assertiveness that has raised both fear and hope across the globe.For all their considerable costs, China’s grand strategies have been largely successful. But the country faces great challenges today. Its population is aging, its government is undermined by corruption, its neighbors are arming out of concern over its growing power, and environmental degradation threatens catastrophe. A question Haunted by Chaos raises is whether China’s time-tested approach can respond to the looming threats of the 21st century.{chop}

Mission Impossible

Roderick MacFarquhar
The name of George C. Marshall, one of only six U.S. Generals of the Army in modern times, is indelibly linked with the Marshall Plan that was critical to the rebuilding of Western Europe after the devastation of World War II. When he spoke at...

Conversation

09.25.18

Should the Vatican Compromise with China?

Pamela Kyle Crossley, Francesco Sisci & more
Amidst a crackdown on Christianity in China, on September 22 the Vatican and Beijing provisionally reached a major agreement: Pope Francis will recognize seven excommunicated bishops Beijing appointed, in exchange for more influence on who Beijing...

North Korea Diplomacy and U.S.-China Relations

Paul Haenle & Kaiser Kuo from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
Paul Haenle joined Kaiser Kuo to discuss next steps for DPRK diplomacy and tensions between the United States and China over trade, Taiwan, and the Belt and Road Initiative. Haenle shared his experience working as White House representative to the...

China and the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review

Zhao Tong & David Santoro from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, released earlier this year, emphasized the growing threat of nuclear competition in the Asia-Pacific, specifically with reference to Russia, North Korea, and China. In this podcast, Tong Zhao, of...

Technology and Innovation in an Era of U.S.-China Strategic Competition

Paul Haenle & Elsa Kania from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
China has taken significant steps to implement national strategies and encourage investment in order to surpass the U.S. in high tech fields like artificial intelligence. In this podcast, Paul Haenle sat down with Elsa Kania, adjunct fellow at the...

Viewpoint

08.27.18

Beijing’s Bid for Global Power in the Age of Trump

Alfred W. McCoy from TomDispatch
As the second year of Donald Trump’s presidency and sixth of Xi Jinping’s draws to a close, the world seems to be witnessing one of those epochal clashes that can change the contours of global power. Just as conflicts between American President...

Infographics

08.15.18

Visualizing China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

“Catching Tigers and Flies” is ChinaFile’s interactive tool for tracking and, we hope, better understanding the massive campaign against corruption that Xi Jinping launched shortly after he came to power in late 2012. It is designed to give users a sense of the scope and character of the anti-corruption campaign by graphically rendering information about more than 2,000 of its targets whose cases have been publicly announced in official Chinese sources.

China’s Power in the Middle East Is Rising

Jonathan Fulton
Washington Post
Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a three-day visit to the United Arab Emirates, his second Middle East trip after visiting Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt in January 2016. The most significant outcome was the elevation of the bilateral...

A Demonstration of Power: China Derails Protests before They Even Begin

Nathan VanderKlippe
Globe and Mail
It was after midnight and the slow train from Chengdu was nearing the end of its 30-hour journey when Ms. Yang decided to make a run for it. She was headed to Beijing to join a protest, but it was becoming clear that the authorities were closing in...

China Ignores Trump Threat on Iran, Says Business There Will Continue

David Reid
CNBC
U.S. sanctions against Iran came into effect Tuesday and President Donald Trump has warned that countries who trade with Tehran will not be able to do business with the U.S. Trump also said he will expand the punitive measures in the coming weeks to...

China Claims to Have Successfully Tested Its First Hypersonic Aircraft

Jessie Yeung
CNN
The China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA), based in Beijing and part of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, conducted the first test of the "Starry Sky-2" aircraft last Friday...

Conversation

08.01.18

What Would a U.S. War—or Peace—with Iran mean for China?

Jarrett Blanc, Michael Kovrig & more
China is the largest buyer of Iranian oil, Iran’s largest trading partner, and arguably its most important positive political relationship. What do Trump’s threats to Iran mean for China’s relationship with the country? And how would a war between...

U.S. Defense Bill Seeks to Counter China

Katie O'Keefe and Siobhan Hughes...
Wall Street Journal
Congress is preparing to enact a defense-policy bill that some lawmakers say is tougher on China than any in history, as a bipartisan movement to confront Beijing gathers steam. The measure, an annual policy bill that will authorize $716 billion in...

From a Space Station in Argentina, China Expands Its Reach in Latin America

Ernesto Londoño
New York Times
The giant antenna rises from the desert floor like an apparition, a gleaming metal tower jutting 16 stories above an endless wind-whipped stretch of Patagonia. The 450-ton device, with its hulking dish embracing the open skies, is the centerpiece of...

Lone Suspect Wounded in Blast near U.S. Embassy in China

Se Young Lee, Tom Daly
Reuters
The explosion happened on the street outside the southeast corner of the embassy compound. Beijing police said the suspect, a 26-year-old man from China’s Inner Mongolia region, had injured his hand and been taken to the hospital. Police did not...

Books

07.26.18

Imperial Twilight

Stephen Platt
Alfred A. Knopf: As China reclaims its position as a world power, Imperial Twilight looks back to tell the story of the country’s last age of ascendance and how it came to an end in the 19th-century Opium War.When Britain launched its first war on China in 1839, pushed into hostilities by profiteering drug merchants and free-trade interests, it sealed the fate of what had long been seen as the most prosperous and powerful empire in Asia, if not the world. But internal problems of corruption, popular unrest, and dwindling finances had weakened China far more than was commonly understood, and the war would help set in motion the eventual fall of the Qing dynasty—which, in turn, would lead to the rise of nationalism and communism in the 20th century. As one of the most potent turning points in the country’s modern history, the Opium War has since come to stand for everything that today’s China seeks to put behind it.In this dramatic, epic story, award-winning historian Stephen Platt sheds new light on the early attempts by Western traders and missionaries to “open” China—traveling mostly in secret beyond Canton, the single port where they were allowed—even as China’s imperial rulers were struggling to manage their country’s decline and Confucian scholars grappled with how to use foreign trade to China’s advantage. The book paints an enduring portrait of an immensely profitable and mostly peaceful meeting of civilizations at Canton over the long term that was destined to be shattered by one of the most shockingly unjust wars in the annals of imperial history. Brimming with a fascinating cast of British, Chinese, and American individuals, this riveting narrative of relations between China and the West has important implications for today’s uncertain and ever-changing political climate.{chop}

One in Five Arrests Take Place in ‘Police State’ Xinjiang

Lily Kuo
Guardian
Analysing publicly available government data, the advocacy group Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), found 21% of all arrests in China in 2017 were in Xinjiang

Crisis in U.S. Nuclear Talks With Pyongyang Not China’s Doing, Experts Say

Keith Johnson
Foreign Policy
President Donald Trump has suggested that China might be to blame for an apparent crisis in nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea — arguing that Beijing could be undermining the agreement because of anger over the escalating trade...

China’s Rust-Belt Region Has a New Hope for Revival: North Korea

Frank Tang
South China Morning Post
China’s rust-belt region, which has been plagued by an inefficient state economy and exodus of talent, is now pinning its hopes on a new factor to help its revival: North Korea.

Books

06.20.18

The Third Revolution

Elizabeth C. Economy
Oxford University Press: In The Third Revolution, eminent China scholar Elizabeth C. Economy provides an incisive look at the transformative changes underway in China today. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has unleashed a powerful set of political and economic reforms: the centralization of power under Xi, himself; the expansion of the Communist Party’s role in Chinese political, social, and economic life; and the construction of a virtual wall of regulations to control more closely the exchange of ideas and capital between China and the outside world. Beyond its borders, Beijing has recast itself as a great power, seeking to reclaim its past glory and to create a system of international norms that better serves its more ambitious geostrategic objectives. In so doing, the Chinese leadership is reversing the trends toward greater political and economic opening, as well as the low-profile foreign policy, that had been put in motion by Deng Xiaoping’s “Second Revolution” 30 years earlier.Through a wide-ranging exploration of Xi Jinping’s top political, economic, and foreign policy priorities—fighting corruption, managing the Internet, reforming the state-owned enterprise sector, improving the country’s innovation capacity, enhancing air quality, and elevating China’s presence on the global stage—Economy identifies the tensions, shortcomings, and successes of Xi’s reform efforts over the course of his first five years in office. She also assesses their implications for the rest of the world, and provides recommendations for how the United States and others should navigate their relationship with this vast nation in the coming years.{chop}

Kim Jong-un Returns to China, This Time With Leverage

Jane Perlez
New York Times
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, arrived in Beijing on Tuesday amid an escalating trade conflict between China and the United States, one that gives him an opening to play the powers against each other as Washington presses him to dismantle his...

Conversation

06.14.18

One Year After They Almost Went to War, Can China and India Get Along?

Joel Wuthnow, Selina Ho & more
One year ago, the Chinese and Indian armies faced off at Doklam, a disputed Himalayan area on the border between China, India, and the tiny kingdom of Bhutan. While the two sides didn’t go to war over the border as they did in 1962, tensions were...

China’s Master Plan: How the West Can Fight Back

Hal Brands
Bloomberg
In the first three installments of this series, I've explored the changing nature of China's challenge to U.S. interests and the existing international order, with a particular focus on three issues: China’s progressively more global...

The Unexpected Winner From the Trump-Kim Summit: China

Jeremy Page
Wall Street Journal
China is setting its sights on a key role in North Korea’s future, seeking to be part of any peace treaty, weapons inspections and economic assistance, after emerging as a surprise beneficiary of the summit between the U.S. and North Korean leaders.

China Says U.S.-North Korea Summit Offers No Lesson for Taiwan Ties

Reuters Staff
Reuters
A warming of ties between the United States and North Korea does not mean China will reach out to Taiwan for a similar summit, the Chinese government said on Wednesday.

Ivanka Trump Quotes ‘Chinese Proverb,’ but China Is Baffled

Javier C. Hernández
New York Times
It was supposed to be a triumphant tweet.

How Did Kim Jong-un Get to Singapore? With Some Help From China.

Jane Perlez
New York Times
When Kim Jong-un arrived in Singapore on Sunday for his landmark summit meeting with President Trump, he stepped off a jumbo jet emblazoned with the logo of Air China and the Chinese national flag.

Ending Military Exercises? Trump’s Plan for North Korea Was China’s Plan First.

Emily Rauhala
Washington Post
President Trump cut a deal with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un — and China is going to like it.

Trump’s North Korea Summit Falls Short of Nixon-Goes-To-China Moment

Matt Spetalnick, David Brunnstrom
Reuters
Donald Trump’s dramatic meeting with North Korea’s leader may have been choreographed to look like a Nixon-goes-to-China moment, but the summit appears to have failed to secure any concrete commitments by Pyongyang for dismantling its nuclear...

Mattis Says China Is ‘Out of Step’ With International Law

Nancy A. Youssef
Wall Street Journal
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday that he rescinded China’s invitation to take part in a multinational Pacific Rim military exercise because Beijing is “out of step with international law” in how it has militarized the islands and reefs in...

Top Aide to Kim Jong-Un Is Bound for U.S., Trump Says

Jane Perlez and Choe Sang-Hun
New York Times
Kim Yong-chol, one of the most trusted aides to the North’s leader, is “heading now to New York."...

Trump Cedes Trade Leverage to China in His Quest for Kim Summit

Saleha Mohsin and Nick Wadhams
Bloomberg
North Korea may turn out to be Chinese President Xi Jinping’s greatest ally in negotiating a trade deal with President Donald Trump.

China Gave Trump a List of Crazy Demands, and He Caved to One of Them

Josh Rogin
Washington Post
China’s list of economic and trade demands that suggest its negotiating position.

Iranian Foreign Minister Visits Russia and China to Try to Save Nuclear Deal

Ben Westcott, Sara Mazloumsaki and...
CNN
Iranian diplomat visits Moscow and Beijing following US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

Recent Developments Surrounding the South China Sea

AP
Associated Press
Weekly look at the South China Sea, the location of several territorial conflicts that have raised tensions in the region.

China and Japan Draw Closer as Asia’s Diplomatic Order Shifts

Ben Westcott
CNN
Beijing and Tokyo marked a new high point in their diplomatic relations Wednesday as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang began a three-day state visit in Japan, the first by a top Chinese leader in eight years.

Leaders of China, Japan and South Korea Will Work Together on Denuclearizing North Korea

Mari Yamaguchi
Time
China, Japan and South Korea agreed Wednesday to cooperate on ending North Korea’s nuclear program and promoting free trade, two hot-button issues challenging their region.

What Comes Next after the Panmunjom Summit?

Paul Haenle & Zhao Tong from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
Kim Jong-un became the first North Korean leader to set foot in South Korea at the Panmunjom Summit in April 2018, setting the stage for President Trump’s meeting with Kim in June. Just days after the summit, Paul Haenle spoke with Tong Zhao, a...

Chinese Missiles Are Transforming the Balance of Power in the Skies

Marc Champion
Bloomberg
For a quarter century, the U.S. and its allies owned the skies, fighting wars secure in the knowledge that no opponent could compete in the air. As tensions with Russia and China surge, that’s no longer the case.

No Matter What Trump Says on Iran, China Will Probably Ignore Him

Huileng Tan
CNBC
In a matter of hours, President Donald Trump is set to announce his decision on the Iran nuclear deal.

Chinese Lasers Injure Us Military Pilots in Africa, Pentagon Says

Ryan Browne
CNN
Chinese personnel at the country's first overseas military base in Djibouti have been using lasers to interfere with US military aircraft at a nearby American base, activity that has resulted in injuries to US pilots...

Laser from Chinese Base Aimed at U.S. Military Pilots in Africa’s Skies, Pentagon Charges

Gordon Lubold and Jeremy Page
Wall Street Journal
Incidents in recent weeks increase tensions, threaten Flight safety, U.S. says

Leaders of South Korea, Japan, China to Discuss North Korea

AP
Associated Press
The annual trilateral summit since 2008 will focus on North Korea and its nuclear weapons.

White House Considers Restricting Chinese Researchers over Espionage Fears

Ana Swanson and Keith Bradsher
New York Times
U.S. may bar Chinese from sensitive research at universities and research institutes.

Conversation

04.25.18

Does China Want the Koreas to Reconcile?

Bo Zhiyue, Zhang Baohui & more
This Friday, April 27, the South Korean and North Korean leaders will meet in the demilitarized zone dividing their estranged countries to discuss improving relations and possibly even formally ending the Korean War, which has continued in the form...

China Fears Kim Is Moving out of Its Orbit as South Korea, US Talks Loom

Katie Hunt and Tim Schwarz
CNN
China and North Korea boast an alliance forged in blood -- more than 130,000 Chinese troops, including the son of Mao Zedong, died defending the North during the Korean War -- but the relationship has always been an uneasy one.

The Corrections Needed in the U.S.-China Relationship

Paul Haenle & Stephen Hadley from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
Stephen Hadley, former national security advisor to President George W. Bush, argues that the United States took false comfort in China’s hide-and-bide strategy and failed to recognize that China would increasingly assert itself as it became more...

China Challenged Australian Warships in South China Sea, Reports Say

Ben Westcott and Jamie Tarabay
CNN
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asserted the right of the Australian navy to travel the South China Sea, after local media reported three Australian warships were challenged by the Chinese navy earlier this month.

Viewpoint

04.19.18

Trump’s Incredibly Risky Taiwan Policy

J. Stapleton Roy
So-called friends of Taiwan in the United States are putting the island at risk as never before. The Taiwan Travel Act, passed unanimously by both houses of Congress, and signed by President Trump on March 16, 2018 without reservations, could...

Pakistan Shuns US for Chinese High-Tech Weapons

Kiran Stacey
Financial Times
In the last few months of the Obama administration, the US state department made an announcement which caused a new breach in Washington’s tumultuous relationship with Pakistan.

Taiwan Accuses China of ‘Sabre Rattling’ as Naval Drill Begins

BBC
BBC
China is conducting live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Strait amid growing tension in the region.

U.S. Considered Blacklisting Two Chinese Banks over North Korea Ties

Christian Berthelsen
Bloomberg
U.S. officials alarmed by public displays of Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile technology last summer considered taking the provocative step of blacklisting two of China’s biggest banks from the U.S. financial system for doing business with North...

Putin’s Fourth Term

Paul Haenle & Alexander Gabuev from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
Vladimir Putin was elected to his fourth term as president of Russia on March 18, 2018. His continued leadership has important implications for the international community, including China.

What China Gained From Hosting Kim Jong Un

Oriana Skylar Mastro
Foreign Affairs
In late March, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who had not stepped foot outside the hermit kingdom since taking power in 2011, traveled to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time.

China Installed Military Jamming Equipment on Spratly Islands, U.S. Says

Michael R. Gordon and Jeremy Page
Wall Street Journal
China has installed equipment on two of its fortified outposts in the Spratly Islands capable of jamming communications and radar systems, a significant step in its creeping militarization of the South China Sea, U.S. officials say.