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CvT: Vaccine Diplomacy Marks New Turn in US-China Competition

Although the World Health Organization-led COVAX initiative aimed to see equitable distribution of vaccines among participating countries, the reality is that richer countries have been pushed to the front of the line. Recognizing the opportunity this presents, China has been garnering attention for its "vaccine diplomacy," or commitments to providing its COVID-19 vaccines to countries across the world.

CvT: America is Back, but China Never Left – How the Biden Administration Intends to Rebuild US Leadership in the UN

Over the past four years, the US withdrew significantly from its traditional leadership role at the United Nations. The former administration's overall disdain for the multilateral system, which translated to numerous UN-related budgetary cuts and muted cooperation with traditional allies, has bruised perception of US leadership at the UN and created a power vacuum that China has been all too eager to fill. With US-China competition primed for increased friction, this begs the question of precisely how the US will counter Chinese influence in multilateral organizations.

CvT: The WHO’s COVID Response – A Deep Well Fueling Sinking US-China Relations

As the WHO has yet to release its formal investigative report, it remains to be seen how a US independent review of the findings will influence US-China relations. Given the current state of the bilateral relationship, a betting man would place his chips on a highly politicized release with a low likelihood for near-term cooperation between the two powers on pandemic-related issues.

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.

CvT: Using Semiconductors to Prevent Semi-Conductive US-China Relations

The Trump Administration views the Made in China 2025 plan as a key piece in China’s long-term plan to replace the US on the global stage, representing a distinct threat to American national security. In response, the administration has drafted countermeasures that focus on starving the plan by cutting off supplies to the main Chinese telecommunication companies, Huawei and ZTE, through the Chinese technology supply company, SMIC.

CvT: US-China Competition and the Battle for Africa

A relatively new, and increasingly important, area of competition between the US and China is their respective engagement with African states. While the US has a long history of involvement with the African continent, China's engagement in the region has grown rapidly and used the COVID-19 pandemic to make greater strides. As the US and China compete for global influence and power, the dynamics at play with African states cannot be ignored.

CvT: Turning Tables Over Global Technology Leadership

As the race for global technology leadership becomes increasingly heated, it remains to be seen which international players will emerge as the primary drivers of the industry’s future. While the US has historically a key leader in the technology space, China has been steadily making gains. What remains to be seen is whether China’s increasingly savvy user base and technology giants will be able to shake the connotations of the country’s “copycat” past and dethrone the current leader over the future of technology.
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