Category: US-China Relations Newsletter

CvT: What ‘China Standards 2035’ Means for the US and Its Allies

Chinese standards contributions have been increasing in recent years, and the quality of those proposals has been increasing as well. To maintain US dominance, Washington will need to rely on its tech titans and consider ways of subsidizing or promoting R&D in 5G and other important future standards.

CvT: Unproductive Alaska Talks Take US-China Tensions to New Heights

While Beijing’s directness may open doors for unmasked dialogue and progress in the bilateral relationship, it has also led to obstinance on issues ranging from human rights to territorial claims, which has in turn led to increased conflict amid global condemnation and economic and diplomatic pressures. All in all, the Alaska talks only mainly served to recognize the cascading peaks impeding the path forward for US-China relations.

CvT: How Will Biden Confront the Xinjiang Crisis?

On the day before Joe Biden’s inauguration, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared ongoing “genocide” in the home of the predominantly Muslim Uyghur minority in China’s far western Xinjiang region. Pompeo set precedent as the first state official in the world to make a formal denunciation against the humanitarian crisis in Xinjiang, declaring that the Chinese state is attempting to “destroy” the ethnic minority group. The ball is now squarely in the court of the Biden administration to decide the US’ prevailing stance on the matter.

CvT: What Is ‘The Longer Telegram’ and Why Should We Care?

From its familiarly hawkish contents to its title, The Longer Telegram offers little in the way of originality. However, it does provide a comprehensive US approach to Xi’s China, and does a thorough job of examining the strengths and weaknesses of the CCP, Xi’s priorities, US priorities, and areas of both strategic competition and cooperation. While there will likely be further disagreement about the true ambitions of Xi and the CCP, as well as the wisdom of taking such a hawkish approach to the bilateral relationship, The Longer Telegram is valuable for its careful analysis and clear stance.

CvT: A Shrinking Toolbox on US-China Human Rights Issues

With the arrival of a new presidential administration, many pundits have been predicting a return to traditional American values in US diplomacy. However, the reality is that there will be little room for change in US policy regarding human rights or democracy, even with Biden in the White House. Institutionally, there has been a general tendency for Congress to be the focal point of human rights as opposed to the executive branch, which inherently limits Biden’s ability to single-handedly address meaningful policy change.

CvT: US-China Manufacturing Takes a Lesson from the Pandemic

The politics surrounding manufacturing continue to strain relations between the two countries, demonstrated through events from the US-China trade war to the COVID-19 pandemic; highlighting the inequities in manufacturing and the devastating economic and social consequences of having an ill-equipped supply chain system. Although the pandemic acted as a wake-up call for US manufacturing, the focus on recovery post-pandemic and a new presidential administration provides hope for the US to level the playing field currently dominated by China.

CvT: Historical Narratives Setting the Future of the US-China Relationship

The bilateral relationship has been full of ups and downs, at times experiencing highs of friendship and growth while at others dragged down by disappointment and mistrust. Why has it been so difficult for the US and China to exit the competition cycle and maintain healthy, cooperative relations? One complicating factor is the pervasive presence of historical narratives. Both China and the US maintain narratives about the relationship that appear throughout the years and the state of the relationship.

CvT: As Defaults Blossom, SOE Reform Wilts

After nurturing Tsinghua Unigroup into a major player in the global chip industry, the government appears ready to cut the company, and others like it, loose in an effort to let market forces rather than political considerations allocate resources in China’s economy. However, unless Beijing tackles the root causes of the implicit guarantees that SOEs receive—their overwhelming size and continued access to subsidized resources—rising SOE defaults will not lead to better run economic entities. Instead, they will simply bring to light the inefficiencies that have long plagued China’s state sector.

CvT: Astronomical Opportunities in Space – The New Frontier in US-China Relations

China’s successful return mission from the moon has fueled discussions about the role of space in US-China relations. While many see potential for great collaboration between the two countries in the next great frontier, others view China’s advances as a serious security concern and an impetus for the US to ramp up its own space program to meet China’s latest challenge.

CvT: China Ups the Ante with New Export Control Regime

This month, China’s first comprehensive export control regime, the Export Control Law (ECL) came into force. Despite the geopolitical context, the ECL will likely have a limited impact on foreign companies compared to EAR, and do little in the future to prevent the US from acquiring or domestically developing any technological capabilities of Chinese origin. However, it offers useful insight into the strategic use of export controls in an age when national security encompasses broad economic interests and coalition-building has become increasingly difficult for the reigning hegemon.

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