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  • Author: Alessia Amighini, Yukon Huang, Tyson Barker, Eduardo Missoni, Giulia Sciorati, Haihong Gao, Elisa Sales, Maximilian Kärnfelt, Paola Magri
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic that has rocked China since December 2019 has posed a gruelling test for the resilience of the country’s national economy. Now, as China emerges from its Covid-induced "recession", it feels like the worst is behind it. How did China manage to come out almost unscathed from the worst crisis in over a century? This Report examines how China designed and implemented its post-Covid recovery strategy, focussing on both the internal and external challenges the country had to face over the short- and medium-run. The book offers a comprehensive argument suggesting that, despite China having lost economic and political capital during the crisis, Beijing seems to have been strengthened by the “pandemic test”, thus becoming an even more challenging “partner, competitor and rival” for Western countries.
  • Topic: Politics, Science and Technology, Economy, Resilience, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Derek Scissors
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Chinese investment and construction around the world contracted in 2019, regardless of Beijing’s claims to the contrary. However, the decline is concentrated in large, headline-winning deals, and Chinese firms remain active on a smaller scale. A contraction in acquisitions in rich economies has boosted the relative importance of greenfield spending. The number of countries in the Belt and Road continues to expand, and power plant and transport construction continues to be preeminent. American policymakers were initially spurred to act by intense Chinese investment in 2016. This has dropped sharply, but there are challenges related to investment review that are more important, starting with strengthening export controls.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Priscilla Clapp
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Developing countries throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America are grappling with how to deal with China's rising economic influence—particularly the multibillion-dollar development projects financed through China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Myanmar, however, appears to be approaching foreign investment proposals with considerable caution. This report examines the framework the country is developing to promote transparency and accountability and to reserve for itself the authority to weigh the economic, social, and environmental impacts of major projects proposed by international investors, including China.
  • Topic: Development, Infrastructure, Economy, Conflict, Investment, Peace
  • Political Geography: China, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Gavin Helf
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report offers a road map for understanding the most likely sources of violent conflict in the post-Soviet nations of Central Asia—ethno-nationalism and nativism, Islam and secularism, water resources and climate change, and labor migration and economic conflict. The analysis draws from emerging trends in the region and identifies the ways in which Central Asia’s geography and cultural place in the world interact with those trends. It suggests that the policy goals of the United States, Russia, and China in the region may be more compatible than is often assumed.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Climate Change, Migration, Economy, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Central Asia, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: China’s fast-paced economic rise and defiance of globally accepted market rules—along with the growing and yet unknown economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19)—are driving the next phase of US-China trade negations to the top of the nation’s post-election agenda. While the Phase I US-China trade deal has eased tension, it also set the stage for discussions on other important economic disputes, including forced technology transfer, cyber theft of intellectual property (IP), industrial policies, state subsidies, and new technology, according to a new Solutions Brief, The China Trade Challenge: Phase II, by the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED).
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Global Markets, Economy, Global Political Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski, Marek Wasinski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic and efforts to suppress it (the Great Lockdown) will lead to the collapse of the global economy. In the short term, the reduction in production and consumption in the countries most affected by the pandemic will lead to a global recession. In the long run, the crisis may result in a partial retreat from globalisation, higher indebtedness, and narrowing the differences in economic potential between the EU and the U.S., and China. A positive side effect may be the acceleration of the development of the digital economy, including the services market.
  • Topic: European Union, Economy, Global Financial Crisis, Coronavirus, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Marcin Przychodniak
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Surveillance of society is one of the main tools of power in China. The COVID-19 pandemic gave the government an excuse to intensify oversight, including through the solutions previously used mainly against Uighurs in Xinjiang. The effectiveness of surveillance is important to the Chinese authorities because of possible unrest arising from economic problems connected with COVID-19. The importance of surveillance in managing the virus in China has also led to demand in democratic countries to introduce similar practices.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Economy, Surveillance, COVID-19, Uyghurs
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Thomas J. Duesterberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report will concentrate on select examples of the growing US vulnerability to global competitors due to shortages of key mineral resources in our domestic supply base. Dependence on China for raw materials and competition with its manufacturing firms is also a key focus. Shortages do not always indicate a problem because our close allies in mineral-rich countries like Australia and Canada can mitigate gaps in domestic supply. However, China’s growing control over many basic materials, and its history of using that control as leverage for its own economic and political goals, makes this a cause of concern for the continued strength of the US manufacturing economy.
  • Topic: Natural Resources, Economy, COVID-19, Minerals
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Australia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Elizabeth Rosenberg, Peter Harrell, Paula J. Dobriansky, Adam Szubin
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: U.S. policymakers will continue to intensively use a growing array of coercive economic tools, including tariffs, sanctions, trade controls, and investment restrictions. The growing use reflects a desire by policymakers to use coercive economic tools in support of a growing range of policy objectives. Diplomacy around these tools has long been challenging and can require hard choices. To use these tools effectively, policymakers should focus on articulating clear objectives and measuring effectiveness and costs. U.S.-China competition raises the stakes for getting the use of coercive economic statecraft right. Policymakers in the next presidential administration and Congress would be well-served to spend at least as much effort focusing on the positive tools of statecraft. These include domestic economic renewal, international finance and development incentives, and positive trade measures, among others.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Sanctions, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Elizabeth Rosenberg, Peter Harrell, Ashley Feng
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The United States and China have long used coercive economic measures to advance both economic and foreign policy objectives. In recent years, however, both countries have turned to coercive economic measures as mainstream instruments of foreign policy and national security policy, and increasingly have deployed coercive economic measures against each other. For the United States, China’s economic scale and global interconnections make it a fundamentally different type of target for coercive economic measures than the comparatively smaller and less sophisticated economies that have been primary targets of U.S. economic coercion in the past. The United States cannot simply isolate China from the global economy. Instead, it must adopt a more strategic focus on limiting Chinese actions in areas significant to U.S. national security and shoring up economic and technology arenas where the United States maintains lasting leverage. Over the past several years, the United States has deployed an array of coercive economic measures against China. The most prominent of these have been the tariffs on approximately two-thirds of U.S. imports from China. The tariffs remain largely in place despite implementation of the Phase One trade deal that the United States and China signed in January 2020. But the United States also has developed and deployed an increasingly sophisticated set of other coercive economic tools that will play a prominent role in U.S.-China relations over the years ahead, regardless of whether the United States and China fully implement the Phase One deal and reach a broader Phase Two trade agreement. Those other coercive economic tools include export controls, restrictions on U.S. imports to secure U.S. supply chains, heightened scrutiny of Chinese investment in the United States, sanctions, and stepped-up law enforcement measures against Chinese intellectual property (IP) theft and other Chinese activities in the United States. This expanding set of measures serves a broadening array of U.S. policy goals, including economic objectives, foreign policy goals, and the maintenance of America’s technological edge. The U.S. record of success in the use of these coercive economic measures has been mixed. While tariffs and other measures have succeeded in putting some macroeconomic pressure on China, they have not extracted fundamental concessions from Beijing. Targeted sanctions and law enforcement measures similarly have had economic impacts on some Chinese companies, but other Chinese companies have demonstrated an ability to weather U.S. economic coercion. To be effective in translating economic coercion into policy change by China, the United States needs to better integrate its coercive measures with each other and with other policies, better signal intentions and escalation, more rigorously assess impacts and costs, and galvanize allied support and coordinated action. For its part, China appears to recognize a balancing act between limiting economic ties with foreign partners in some domains and maintaining them in others. China has sought to distance certain Chinese economic sectors, particularly high-tech manufacturing, from the United States in some areas, investing heavily in domestic capacity development. In other areas where China must rely on foreign partners for technology, IP, or manufacturing, or where China does not appear to see a clear interest in severing trade, Beijing has sought to keep trade and investment flows moving in an unencumbered fashion. As for the United States, this is a dynamic policy environment.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Economy, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel Kliman, Ben Fitzgerald, Kristine Lee, Joshua Fitt
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: This report presents a blueprint for a community of technology innovation and protection anchored by America and its allies. Unless the United States builds this community—an “alliance innovation base”—it will steadily lose ground in the contest with China to ascend the commanding technological heights of the 21st century. Given that technology will increasingly determine future military advantage, underpin economic prosperity, and function as a tool for promoting liberal and illiberal visions of domestic governance, the stakes could not be higher. To compete, China is leveraging its formidable scale—whether measured in terms of research and development (R&D) expenditures, data sets, scientists and engineers, venture capital, or the reach of its leading technology companies. The only way for the United States to tip the scale back in its favor is to deepen cooperation with allies. The global diffusion of innovation also places a premium on aligning U.S. and ally efforts to protect technology. Unless coordinated with allies, tougher U.S. investment screening and export control policies, for example, will feature major seams that Beijing can exploit. America’s current approach to allies on technology innovation and protection remains a work in progress. In recent years, animated by concerns about China, the United States has made a concerted effort to step up engagement with allies in both areas. Existing mechanisms for deepening innovation with allies include technology scouting programs, multilateral cooperative frameworks, rapid innovation initiatives, and bilateral projects. However, these mechanisms at times lack sufficient resourcing, move too slowly, or feature rigid constraints on participation. U.S. instruments for working with allies on technology protection also contain major points of weakness. Multilateral export control regimes, though inclusive, are ponderous. The extraterritorial reach of U.S. export control laws can generate unintended obstacles to technology collaboration with allies. Bilateral and minilateral consultations on protection lack positive incentives to motivate allies to incur immediate costs such as forgoing technology sector investments from China.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, Economy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Patrick M. Cronin, Ryan Neuhard
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: China’s bid for ascendancy remains anchored in the South China Sea and surrounding Southeast Asian countries. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deems it economically and militarily vital to dominate the resources and sea lines of communication of a body of water twice the size of Alaska. Achieving this goal requires tethering neighboring countries into Beijing’s ambit while making the existing ruleset more favorable to China and displacing the dominant power behind the existing regional order. Some may find comfort in describing the scenario underway as a return to a “China-centered” rather than “Sino-centric” region.1 However, an authoritarian China’s coercive attempts to wield hegemonic control of the South China Sea threatens the sovereignty of Southeast Asian states and international freedom of the seas, both of which are of fundamental national interest to the United States. Yet the South China Sea and Southeast remain the least defended and most bountiful region susceptible to Chinese predations and inducements. The CCP leadership is obsessed with the idea that outside forces intend to contain China’s development, foment internal unrest, and prevent it from retaking what it considers to be its rightful place center stage in regional and global affairs. In partial response to deep-seated insecurities and renewed great-power ambitions, Xi Jinping and the CCP are in the process of attempting to exercise control over the entire nine-dash line claim covering the vast majority of the South China Sea and to turn Southeast Asia into a latter-day tributary system. CCP propaganda casts China’s quest for control over maritime Asia as an inexorable outcome of China’s rise and America’s decline. Curiously, the only government speaking seriously about “stopping” China is Beijing, suggesting that its policies are influenced more by subjective internal fears than by objective external realities. China wants nothing to stop it from consolidating its maximalist historic claims, from denying the United States the ability to intervene in regional conflicts, and from dismantling America’s postwar alliance system.
  • Topic: Leadership, Economy, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South China Sea
  • 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: Andrew A. Michta
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: Andrew A. Michta argues that the governments of Central and Eastern European countries will need to weigh the benefit to them of continued economic engagement with China, especially in the area of 5G.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Economy, Transatlantic Relations, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Medea Ivaniadze
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: The digest covers China’s political, diplomatic, economic and other activities in the South Caucasus region and relations between China and the South Caucasus countries. It relies on a wide variety of sources, including the Chinese media. It is worth noting that the Chinese media is controlled by the Communist Party of China (according to the World Press Freedom Index China is nearly at the bottom of the list and ranks 177th out of 180 countries).
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Politics, Media, Economy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Eurasia, Caucasus, Asia, South Caucasus