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  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Isolated from the international community, Myanmar is deepening its dependence on China. But closer ties, Beijing-backed megaprojects and private Chinese investment carry both risks and opportunities. Both states should proceed carefully to ensure local communities benefit and avoid inflaming deadly armed conflicts. What’s new? The Rohingya crisis has strained Myanmar’s relations with the West and much of the Global South, pushing it to rely more on diplomatic and economic support from China. With a China-Myanmar Economic Corridor proceeding, and smaller private-sector projects proliferating, China’s investments in Myanmar are poised to shift into higher gear. Why does it matter? Many of these projects are located in or near areas of active armed conflict, and are often implemented without sufficient transparency, consultation with local communities or awareness of the local context. They risk empowering armed actors, heightening local grievances and amplifying anti-Chinese sentiment, which could lead to a popular backlash. What should be done? China needs to take more responsibility for ensuring that its projects benefit local communities and Myanmar’s economy, and do not exacerbate conflict. The Myanmar government should enhance its China expertise to negotiate and regulate projects more effectively. Both sides need to practice greater transparency and meaningful community consultation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Bilateral Relations, Conflict, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Denny Roy
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic threatened to damage China’s international reputation just as the Chinese government under Xi Jinping was peaking in its promotion of China as a model political system and superior international citizen. Beijing launched a massive diplomatic effort aimed at both foreign governments and foreign societies. The goal was to overcome initial negative publicity and to recast China as an efficient and heroic country in the eyes of international public opinion. The crisis created an opening for China to make gains in its international leadership credentials as the world saw the superpower United States falter. Ultimately, however, Chinese pandemic diplomacy contributed to a net decrease in China’s global prestige, largely because domestic political imperatives motivated behavior that generated international disapproval and distrust for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government. This paper summarizes the content of Chinese pandemic diplomacy through the key period of January through May 20201, identifies specific strengths and weaknesses of China’s effort, and briefly assesses its global impact.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Arik Burakovsky, Dina Smeltz, Brendan Helm
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: With both Russia and China facing increasingly confrontational relations with the United States, the two countries have increased ties with each other and have pursued similar approaches in opposition to the US government concerning Iran, Syria, and Venezuela. Steve Biegun, US Deputy Secretary of State, recently characterized the developing relationship between Russia and China as one built on “mutual determination to challenge the United States.” To better understand how experts think about Russia’s relations with the other great powers, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs recently conducted a survey of 201 American experts on Russia. The survey finds that a majority describe the relationship between Russia and China today as one of mostly partnership. They also describe India as primarily a partner to Russia, both today and in the future. By contrast, they say that Russian relations with the United States and the European Union are mostly competitive. But they anticipate that in 20 years, rivalry between Russia and China will grow, perhaps creating space for reducing tensions with the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Power Politics, Partnerships
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Arik Burakovsky, Dina Smeltz, Brendan Helm
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: US Experts Anticipate Future Decline for Russia Among the Great Powers OCTOBER 6, 2020 By: Arik Burakovsky, Assistant Director, Russia and Eurasia Program, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University; Dina Smeltz, Senior Fellow, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy; Brendan Helm, Research Assistant Although President Trump initially hoped for improved relations between the United States and Russia, during his tenure the US government has overtly declared Russia a top threat to US national security. Congress and the administration widened Obama-era sanctions against Russia after alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Data from a recent survey of American experts on Russia, conducted by The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs paints Russia as a declining power. The results show that while experts anticipate changes in the global balance of power in the next 20 years, with China overtaking the United States, they do not expect Russia to come out stronger over that time frame. Experts draw attention to Russia’s cracked economic and political foundation in the present and its likely decline over the next two decades due to economic mismanagement and faltering soft power. Now there are the lingering economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to add to this list.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Power Politics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: China plays a significant role in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, where the current Director-General of the WHO was Minister of Health and then Minister of Foreign Affairs. This opaque influence and the support given by Beijing to Dr. Tedros seems to have weighed on the positions taken by the WHO in the face of the Covid 19 crisis. The consequences of these decisions are now being felt worldwide and contribute to undermining the credibility of a fragile multilateral system.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, United Nations, World Health Organization, Multilateralism, Soft Power, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Sruthi V.S.
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: The ambitious $400 billion deal between China and Iran has garnered worldwide attention. The 18-page draft proposal says that China will facilitate the infusion of about $280 billion to Iran. This major economic and security partnership between China and Iran has raised India’s concerns against the backdrop of its ongoing border conflict with China. According to the New York Times report, the proposed China-Iran deal talks about expanding China’s presence in Iran’s “banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects”, and in return China will receive a steady supply of oil from Iran for the next 25 years at a discounted price. There are more than 100 projects listed in the draft that will see Chinese investments; these include building Free Trade Zones and several very significant ports. The Chinese will also help Iran build infrastructure for 5G networks and come up with an internet filter like the Great Firewall in China. The stronghold of China in Iran could also result in undermining US policy in the Middle East.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, India, Asia
  • Author: Niranjan Jose
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: This year’s border stand-off in the Galwan Valley between China and India following China’s encroachment into Indian territory, is a reminder of India’s perennial problems with Beijing. The latest violation is an example of the staunch stance China has adopted against India. Neither nation is interested in a full-fledged confrontation. In this scenario, New Delhi has no option but to engage with Beijing to resolve the dispute through dialogue; however discussion and confidence-building initiatives by itself will not lead India towards problem-solving. China’s confrontational approach towards India and the border disagreement set the right background as to why it could not be a better opportunity for India to meaningfully engage with Taiwan. India and Taiwan both are Asian democracies pursuing an effective resolution of dynamic social and ethnic problems, and both face aggressive Chinese security policies aimed at establishing regional hegemony. From a strategic security perspective, both India and Taiwan are deeply concerned about the rising assertiveness of Beijing in the region. The China element can become a tool for moving closer to the strategic communities in New Delhi and Taipei. India and Taiwan have a variety of mutual concerns, ranging from controlling China’s growth to a political and economic partnership. For Taiwan, China’s current trade war with the US has made several Taiwanese firms keen to reduce their vulnerability on China. Indian government initiatives such as Smart Cities, Make in India, Digital India, and Start-up India were launched to increase India’s viability for foreign investors, making it an attractive destination for Taiwanese corporations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, India, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Janka Oertel
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Since the onset of the covid-19 crisis, there has been a new convergence of EU member states’ assessment of the challenges China poses to Europe. The Sino-European economic relationship lacks reciprocity, and there are mounting concerns within the EU about China’s assertive approach abroad, as well as its breaches of international legal commitments and massive violations of human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Overall, there is growing scepticism about the future trajectory of the relationship, which provides an opportunity for a more robust and coherent EU policy on China. In its remaining months, the German Council presidency could use this momentum to create institutional structures to improve the EU’s capacity to act. In doing so, it will be crucial to ease concerns about Franco-German dominance of the China agenda – especially those of eastern and southern European countries – while enabling all member states to become more engaged in shaping the EU’s future approach to China.
  • Topic: International Relations, Human Rights, European Union, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Israel resides at the cusp of the widening US-Chinese divide, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to Israel attests. Pompeo’s visit was for the express purpose of reminding Jerusalem that its dealings with Beijing jeopardize its relationship with Washington.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Arms Trade, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Israel, Asia, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mordechai Chaziza
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The Middle East was already plagued by war, famine, and wholesale death in the form of multiple civil wars when the outbreak of Covid-19, a novel coronavirus, added pestilence to the mix. The pandemic offers a unique prism through which to assess the way China interacts with Middle Eastern states in time of crisis. While many countries in the Middle East suspended bilateral air travel, repatriated their citizens from China, and prevented Chinese workers from returning to the region, the same governments also sought to maintain close relations, expressed support for Beijing, and delivered aid to China. The findings show that at least for now, the relationship between China and the Middle Eastern states remains close. However, it may take months to see the full ramifications of the pandemic in the Middle East, so it is too soon to tell how China’s interactions with the countries of the region will develop.
  • Topic: International Relations, Health, Bilateral Relations, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Asia