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  • Author: Christopher W. Bishop
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The idea for this paper began after several conversations with Canadian friends and colleagues about the cases of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. On December 10, 2018, Chinese officials detained the two Canadian citizens for “endangering state security”, 10 days after Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, on an extradition warrant from the United States, where she was wanted for bank fraud. Despite Chinese statements denying any connection between the two Michaels and Meng, some Canadians have argued the only way to gain their release is for Canada to release Meng – a classic “prisoner exchange”. Others, however, have argued just as forcefully that trading Meng for the two Canadians would only give legitimacy to China’s “hostage diplomacy”. One friend asked me if China had ever done anything like this before. How had those cases been resolved, and what would China do this time? Those were good questions. As a U.S. Foreign Service officer who has spent much of my career working on China – including at the U.S. embassy in Beijing from 2015-2018, where I analyzed the Communist Party leadership and China’s state security apparatus – I had some insight into Chinese foreign policy. I also had a personal connection to one of the cases. I knew Michael Kovrig – he had been one of my counterparts at the Canadian embassy in Beijing – and I had great respect for his work as a diplomat, and later as a senior advisor at the International Crisis Group. Moreover, because I was now on leave from the U.S. Department of State to serve as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow in Canada, I had time to look for some answers. And so I began trying to identify and analyze similar cases from the recent past. This paper is the result. It represents my own views, and although the Department of State has allowed me to publish it in my personal capacity, it does not necessarily reflect the views of the Department or the U.S. government.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Affairs, Prisons/Penal Systems, Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jai Chul Heo
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: China is actively building Network Power in economic and traditional security and non-traditional security areas, while in some cases maximizing its own interests by using the Network Power already formed. In particular, China is building Collective Power at a rapid pace in significant areas. China also actively participated in existing networks and established Positional Power by preoccupying important positions. However, China’s Network Power still seems to have a long way to go in terms of Programming Power to build new systems, unlike Collective or Positional Power. What is notable in the process of analyzing China’s Network Power is that competition between the U.S. and China is fierce over Network Power.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Economics, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Amanda Paul, Ivano di Carlo, Elem Eyrice Tepeciklioğlu
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Any new Africa policy from the EU and US should take into account the growing influence of China, Russia and Turkey in the continent and aim to even the scales. To succeed, they must develop a new narrative on Africa and finally recognise it as a genuinely equal partner on the global stage. Africa is a dynamic and diverse continent going through fundamental economic, political and security changes. While the EU and the US remain important partners for Africa, they are no longer the only players in town. New – and not so new – actors have recognised Africa's potential and are trying to use it to their advantage. China, Russia and Turkey in particular, whose presence has broadly been welcomed by African nations, have all been steadily expanding their political and economic clout in the continent over the past few years. The EU and US must, therefore, adapt their policies and approaches to the new reality that is unfolding in Africa. To better understand China’s, Russia’s and Turkey’s objectives, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung's (FES) EU Office in Brussels and the European Policy Centre (EPC) set out to conduct an in-depth analysis of the three countries' ties with Africa. The results of this research project, entitled “Eurasia goes to Africa”, are collected in this book. The authors take a closer look at China's, Russia's and Turkey's economic and political interests in the continent; their involvement in the security landscape; the effectiveness of their soft power tools, including in education, media, religion, and humanitarian and development aid; and how Africans judge their growing presence.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, European Union, Economy, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, Eurasia, Turkey, United States of America
  • Author: Richard Nephew
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: The last four years have borne witness to a range of new sanctions, policies, and approaches around the world. Some of these were predicted in November 2016, as Donald Trump took to sanctions far more than his predecessors, using them to tackle virtually every foreign policy problem he encountered. In fact, Trump’s use of sanctions transcended their typical usage in both form and content, as he employed tariffs and other more traditional “trade” tools to try to manage a bevy of nontrade problems. The long-term effects of this decision have yet to be felt or properly understood. It may be that Trump was ahead of the curve in seeing the fracturing of the global liberal economic order and employed the US economy for strategic advantage while it was still ahead. It may also be that Trump undermined the US position in the global economy through his policies, if not actually hastened the demise of this system of managing global economics. Time and the evolution of policy in other global power centers will eventually tell. The shifting approach to sanctions policy by a variety of other states is a manifestation of the potential effects of Trump’s policy choices in using US economic power. From the EU to Russia to China, other countries have changed long-standing policy approaches as they relate to sanctions, either to respond to or perhaps to take advantage of the new paths forged by the United States. The actions that they have taken are not “unprecedented” per se, as each of these countries or organizations has—at times—embraced policies that are consistent with some of these current actions. But, in aggregate, they describe an overall shift in how the world treats sanctions and trade policy, particularly that as practiced by the United States.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Aimee Barnes, Fan Dai, Angela Luh
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: Averting global climate catastrophe depends in large part on progress by the world’s two greatest powers and emitters: the United States and China. However, relations between these two countries—particularly on climate action—have deteriorated over the past four years. With a new presidential administration set to enter the White House in January 2021, there is an opportunity for the US and China to build trust and cooperation on climate change in a way that supports a cooperative and dynamic bilateral relationship more broadly. This commentary takes a close look at the Biden-Harris presidential platform with respect to climate action and China, and assesses China’s domestic and international climate efforts, particularly with respect to the status of its 14th Five-Year Plan. Importantly, what emerges from this examination is a starting point for China and the US to improve their relationship through climate action and collaboration. China’s announcement that it would seek to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 is an important step towards such cooperation.[1] The most promising potential areas for US-China cooperation fall into three broad categories: renewing a shared commitment to global climate governance under the Paris Agreement; building trust to enable renewed bilateral cooperation, such as on technology innovation and investments; and supporting subnational leaders' progress in both countries through platforms where they can productively convene. Recognizing that a climate-safe future is bound up in our mutuality, these two world powers can promote a new era of climate action and resiliency.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Environment, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kevin Rudd
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Throughout the recent 18 months of the U.S.-China trade war, which has landed in a “phase one” deal, and awaits the tackling of more difficult economic elements in phase two negotiations, there has been a slow and steady structural shift in the U.S.-China relationship as it continues to head in a more adversarial direction. Against the backdrop of this drift toward confrontation occurring in the absence of any common strategic understanding or high-level diplomatic mechanism to manage the mounting economic, security, and technological tensions into the future, Asia Society Policy Institute President the Hon. Kevin Rudd brings together a series of speeches delivered during 2019 in the collection, The Avoidable War: The Case for Managed Strategic Competition. This volume works to help make sense of where the U.S.-China relationship is heading in the current period of strategic competition, and follows on from Rudd’s 2018 collection, The Avoidable War: Reflections on U.S.-China Relations and the End of Strategic Engagement. In this new volume, Rudd focuses not only on the bilateral relationship, but also on China's domestic politics, economics, and its strategic vision. But on the bilateral relationship, Rudd writes that while there may be a truce of sorts on the trade front during 2020, that will not be the case across the rest of the economic, political, and security relationship. Challenges will continue in areas such as the future of 5G mobile telecommunications infrastructure, the Belt and Road Initiative, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, allegations of Chinese political influence and interference in foreign countries’ internal democratic processes, and China’s increasingly close strategic collaboration with Russia. Militarily, tensions will continue in the East China Sea, the South China Sea, and the wider Indo-Pacific, together with confrontations less visible to the public eye in espionage, cyber, and space. Against this backdrop, and the steady erosion of diplomatic and political capital in the overall relationship, Rudd asserts that the “2020s loom as a decade of living dangerously in the U.S.-China relationship.” The Avoidable War: The Case for Managed Strategic Competition includes six speeches from 2019 covering a range of critical challenges in the U.S.-China relationship, as well as a December 2019 conversation at the Harvard Kennedy School which begins to outline an approach to managing the growing tinderbox of tensions across the spectrum of the bilateral relationship.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Trade, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Thom Woodroofe, Brendan Guy
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The United States is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter. For that reason, the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in November will have an undeniable impact on the future of the global climate change regime. This is especially the case now that the United Nations’ COP26 Climate Change Conference has been postponed to 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, as Asia and the rest of the world consider whether and how to step up their levels of ambition as part of the five-year ratchet mechanism of the Paris Agreement, the United States has the potential to be either a catalytic force for that effort going into 2021 or an even stronger spoiler of the Agreement’s ongoing effectiveness at a crucial juncture. No country will be watching more closely than China. The 2014 U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change between President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping proved to be the watershed moment in the lead-up to the Paris Agreement, as the two countries signaled for the first time that they would act in a coordinated manner to combat climate change. Whether the United States and China can recapture that spirit of shared ambition in the future will have ripple effects on the positions of other major emitters as well — especially India, Japan, and Australia, which may not enhance their own levels of ambition without a stronger indication of further action by the United States and China. While President Donald Trump has begun the process of withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement and rolled back domestic and international measures to combat climate change, it is clear that if a Democrat is elected president in 2020, they would make combating climate change a defining priority of their administration. Therefore, a clearer understanding of the specific approach that would underpin the climate diplomacy of a potential new Democratic president can provide greater reassurance to the international community as countries consider their own levels of ambition in the lead-up to COP26 and beyond. This paper, therefore, assesses the international climate policies of both Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders across six areas, including their proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; engage with other major emitters, including China; use trade policy as a lever for climate action; increase climate finance and remove fossil fuel subsidies; take action across other sectors, and embed climate action as a core national security priority. The authors also lay out three cross-cutting considerations for a potential new Democratic administration to maximize their efforts in the global fight against climate change, including how they can best structure their administration; engage other major emitters most strategically; and use all tools in the toolkit to reduce emissions. This includes a number of specific recommendations for how the candidates’ existing policies can best be elaborated, including with regard to China; plans to host a world leader summit on climate early in a new administration; and the tabling of a new 2030 emissions reduction target. The likely constraints and choices that will confront a new U.S. administration as they determine their approach to climate action are also highlighted in the paper. This paper is the first in a series of policy products that the Asia Society Policy Institute will publish as part of a new project exploring the possibilities around U.S.-China climate cooperation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Government, Treaties and Agreements, Donald Trump, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Helena Legarda
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: China hits back after NATO calls it a security challenge, dormant Chinese hacking group resumes attacks, and more.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, North Atlantic, Beijing, Asia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Helena Legarda
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Much has been written about China’s “mask diplomacy” during the Covid-19 pandemic. As the epicenter of the pandemic shifted from China to the rest of the world, China’s government sent planeloads of masks and medical supplies to hard-hit countries around the world. Beijing’s “mask diplomacy” sought to bolster China’s image as a responsible global power and was widely perceived as part of Beijing’s attempt to control the narrative around the pandemic and distract from its initial cover-up. But while all the attention focused on the Chinese government’s actions, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was carrying out its own, much quieter version of mask diplomacy. According to MERICS data, in the three months between March 13 and June 19, the PLA sent military planes full of medical material to 46 countries. The material, which mostly consisted of masks and personal protective equipment (PPE), was invariably donated to the recipient countries’ armed forces or defense ministries. The PLA also set up video conferences with foreign militaries to share its experiences of fighting the Covid-19 outbreak and strengthen military-to-military relations. At first glance, the Chinese government’s mask diplomacy campaign and the PLA’s look remarkably similar. However, a number of differences suggest there were different goals and strategies at play.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Public Policy, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Meia Nouwens, Helena Legarda
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In December 2019, for the first time, NATO leaders recognised China as a new strategic point of focus for the Alliance. This reflects growing concern among NATO members surrounding China’s geopolitical rise and its growing power-projection capabilities, as well as the impact that these may have on the global balance of power. Today, China is not only taking a central role in Indo-Pacific security affairs but is also becoming an increasingly visible security actor in Europe’s periphery. As such, the question of how to deal with an increasingly global China has been an important part of Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s NATO 2030 reflection process. China poses a wide range of challenges to NATO. Beijing sees the Alliance as a United States-centric outfit that may be used by Washington to contain China, and has therefore tried to influence individual NATO members’ decisions in order to weaken the Alliance’s unity. Close ties between China and Russia, especially in the security and military spheres, have also been a source of concern for NATO allies. Besides the Chinese and Russian navies’ joint exercises in the Baltic and Mediterranean seas, there is also the potential for the two sides to further coordinate – or at least align their behaviour – on issues of relevance to the Alliance, including hybrid warfare and cyber espionage, arms-control issues, and their approach to Arctic governance, among others. China’s defence spending and military-modernisation process, along with the growing strength of its defence industry, have led to the proliferation of more advanced military platforms around the world. Beijing is also expanding its stockpile of missiles, some of which have the range to reach NATO countries. China’s military-power-projection capabilities have likewise edged towards Europe as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has expanded its international presence over the last few years. While NATO allies may have agreed that China presents a number of challenges to the Alliance’s security, they have yet to achieve consensus on how to address them. Some of these issues lie beyond NATO’s traditional areas of competence and will require expertise best provided by partners of the Alliance rather than the Alliance itself. NATO allies will need to prioritise how, when, where and with which partners to use their combined resources to deal with them. At the same time, the Alliance acknowledges that China is not its adversary. NATO thus must find areas of common interest where it can continue to cooperate with China, albeit with a more clear-eyed approach than it has done in the past. Addressing the opportunities and problems posed by China as a cohesive alliance will be more important than ever.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, North Atlantic, Asia, North America