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China and the U.S. have barely spoken, despite looming crisis

Manto donald trump In his four years in the White House, storms have rocked U.S.-China relations. A trade war has ensued, backed by the president’s tweet “hereby” ordering American businesses to leave China. There has also been mutual accusation of the origin of covid-19, including conspiracy theories promoted by Chinese diplomats that the virus originated in a US military laboratory. In 2020, Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, urged his country to see the difference between it and the Communist Party’s “bankrupt, totalitarian” ideology and to empower the Chinese people to “induced change in China.” Beijing has not forgotten that speech, and party leaders heard calls to overthrow them.

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A cold, unsettling calm hangs over everything today. These great powers are akin to hostile warships, navigating seas filled with icebergs and other unknown dangers. Fresh ice was seen during the closing of the Communist Party Congress on October 22. A day later, Xi Jinping was crowned party secretary for a third, and possibly life, term. Xi Jinping’s report to the congress lists threats to national security, including attempts by unnamed forces, starting with the United States, to disrupt, subvert and contain China’s rise. He emphasized that China should show its fighting spirit and achieve a greater degree of self-reliance, especially in core technologies.

Xi’s dismal investigation comes months after it was drafted. But it sounds like an echo of a speech he gave in Washington a few days ago. President Biden’s administration has released a national security strategy that accuses China of seeking to reshape the international order. Before the announcement of the strategy, it was announced that it would strictly control the export of advanced semiconductor and chip manufacturing technology in the United States. These rules are designed to prevent China from using American products and know-how to build supercomputers and artificial intelligence (artificial intelligence) systems could help the People’s Liberation Army build world-class weapons, or help China’s police state improve its surveillance systems. Simply staying ahead of strategic competitors is no longer enough, Biden administration officials explained. From now on, the United States must remain as technologically advanced as possible.

China has so far released no countermeasures against those export controls, but domestic chipmakers have been called to Beijing for an emergency meeting. The new controls are caught in a sea of ​​bilateral troubles. Since August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own, has angered leaders in Beijing, and Chinese officials have suspended talks with the United States over conflicts ranging from drug smuggling to avoiding involvement. Everything negotiating warplanes and naval ships.

When U.S. diplomats in China were called to a meeting, rote learning dominated and Chinese officials demanded that the U.S. atone for its mistakes.although policeDays before a major climate change meeting on Dec. 27, China has prevented its climate envoy Xie Zhenhua from talking to his US foreign secretary, John Kerry.China has blocked United Nations A resolution condemning North Korea’s missile tests.Once Chinese envoy joins U.S. ratification United Nations Sanctions on North Korea. Now they are blaming sanctions for stoking tensions and suggesting that cooperation on North Korean security is conditional on improving U.S.-China relations.

An attempt to prevent a precipitous decline in the relationship can be glimpsed.Officials from both sides are looking at the possibility of Mr. Biden and Mr. Xi Jinping G20th World Leaders Summit in Bali in mid-November. In Washington, there is talk of avoiding misunderstandings and ensuring that competition with China does not turn into conflict. Efforts are being made to ensure that as Xi welcomes foreign visitors, including German Chancellor Olaf Schulz, to Beijing for post-Parliament victory celebrations, he hears a consistent message from Western leaders, especially about Vladimir Putin The war in Ukraine, and the Russian threat to escalate there.

In Beijing, academics think things could be worse, noting that despite the grim reports on the international situation at the party congress, there have been no major changes in foreign and security policy, such as on Taiwan. Da Wei, director of the Center for International Security and Strategic Studies at Tsinghua University, saw the moment as a “pause for reflection” as China absorbed a “blunt and hostile” national security strategy.

In Professor Da’s narration, China’s mainstream view is that the US’s high-tech control is a selfish plan to control a profiteering industry. “From China’s perspective, the US is trying to kill the Chinese economy, or at least certain industries,” he charged. The U.S. goal is not to defend human rights or national security, but to “strengthen its position in global supply chains.”

Seeking to contain Chinese high-tech

For their part, U.S. officials deny that export controls are designed to contain China. Their denials refer to a specific, Cold War-era definition of containment reminiscent of George Kennan’s strategy to counter all forms of Soviet influence around the world. In fact, the United States has come to view dominance in high-end semiconductor manufacturing as critical to national security, said Gregory Allen, a former Pentagon official. artificial intelligence, now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. The U.S. goal, he said, is to slow China’s technological progress, not destroy its economy. But an unspoken goal is to “maintain our ability to destroy their economies going forward if we ever need that tool.”

The current glacial calm cannot last if China takes the same view of America’s plans. Biden’s team is more disciplined than Trump’s team of hawks and ideologues, reeling from a bitter conflict with China. But, like an iceberg, America’s ambitions are larger and more destructive than they first appear. Nor will U.S. allies escape being drawn into a race to weaponize supply chains. An ice storm is imminent.

Read more from our China columnist Chaguan:
Xi Jinping Never Turns Back (October 17)
The Dark Side of Chinese Pop Culture (October 13)
US-China relations in trouble long before Donald Trump (October 6)

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