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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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.
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.
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.
Brussels has left little to the imagination for their expectations of heightened transatlantic cooperation under a Biden administration. For his part, Biden has promised to, unlike his predecessor, produce a coherent strategy for countering China that will include more robust engagement with traditional allies.
As China prepares to celebrate the 100th year of the Chinese Communist Party in 2021, it will be able to celebrate the achievement of becoming a “moderately prosperous society” by eradicating extreme poverty nationwide. The world will have to check back in a few more years to see if China has been able to accomplish the more difficult feat of becoming self-reliant in an increasingly globalized world.
While the Trump administration has embarked on a collision course with China over the One-China Policy, the incoming Biden administration will be tasked with either maintaining the political shift of the current administration or returning the US-Taiwan relationship to its historical precedent. As Biden continues to fill key cabinet positions, the world will look with watchful eyes as to how the president-elect approaches the next potential US-China hotspot and the implications that his selections may have on the next four years of US-China relations.
It is commonly accepted that the United Nations has not always proven to be the most efficient body through which to pass regulation or reform. However, rarely is a single country able to implement policies on an international level without the support and allyship of the HRC. Although the council includes member-states like China, Cuba, Russia, and others with complicated human rights records, US participation would add a powerful voice at the table in support of more stringent human rights practices.
While Taiwan has long been a contentious subject interwoven in international politics, the Trump administration seems to have opened the door to toeing Beijing’s “red-line” when it comes to relations with the Island. Though some speculate that Biden will continue in the past Administration’s footsteps and address the growing threat of China in the Taiwan Strait through arms sales, it remains to be seen if the incoming Biden administration will continue to openly transition away from the historical US stance to Taiwanese relations or if it will quietly return ambiguous equilibrium to the Strait.
America’s emerging strategy for countering China’s influence received its trial by fire last week. While certain aspects emerged unscathed, others withered on touch. The principal concerns for the countries that Secretary Pompeo visited were economic development and sovereign claims, and they were all outwardly wary of entanglement. As a result, security partnerships, which connote political alignment, will likely develop at a much slower rate than economic ties.
President Xi has made clear his intention to protect China’s environment from further degradation and make China an “ecological civilization” by 2049. His surprise pledge in September to achieve carbon neutrality, or net-zero carbon dioxide emissions, by 2060 and peak emissions by 2030 fits this narrative. In a speech before the UN, President Xi emphasized public health and global environmental stewardship as the driving forces behind China’s increasingly ambitious climate goals. However, the motivating factors for China’s carbon neutral pledge are actually much broader.
According to a two-year review conducted by the House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI), the US Intelligence Community (IC) has not sufficiently adapted to changing technological and geopolitical environments shaped by a rising China. The China Deep Dive Report, released by the HPSCI on September 29th, based its findings on hundreds of interviews and over a dozen visits to intelligence facilities.
As China’s technological influence continues to grow in the United States, it stresses the lengths that both the US and China are willing to go in order to protect national sovereignty and data security from prying actors. As tensions over the safeguarding of governmental, corporate, and citizen data grow between Washington and Beijing, the CNP and DSI initiatives may set the stage for the next cyber battleground between the two nations.
The 2020 presidential debates have undoubtedly departed from presidential norms. Through an emphatic display of mutual disrespect, the most recent debates involving President Trump and former Vice President Biden have gained traction both nationally and globally. While the American public tunes in to the United States’ presidential debates to evaluate the current and future health of Washington, the United States’ allies and rivals alike, including China, have used the recent debates to develop diplomatic strategies for a post-election America.
For the past 20 years, the Department of Defense (DoD) has released an annual report to Congress on military and security developments in the People’s Republic of China. By assessing the PRC’s national strategy and growth, the DoD aims to provide a framework by which lawmakers can steer foreign policy. 2020 has been far from an ordinary year for the two countries, as is highlighted in the 2020 report’s critical insights on developments in military, strategy, and economy.