The Exchange provided by the China-United States Exchange Foundation
KEY FOCUS
  • Taiwan Tensions and Possible Conflict Ahead | Questions linger around Taiwan as international experts discuss the political value of recent Chinese military flights near the island. Some question if Taiwan remains strategically significant to the U.S. as the Biden administration seeks to repair relations with China following the past four years of increased tensions.  
  • The Digital Divide Threatens Post-COVID Recovery | While the world works to economically recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, many commentators assert that this is an opportunity for China and the U.S. to cooperate and support other developing countries. However, strict competition alongside standing U.S. restrictions on Chinese technology concern advocates of collaboration in both countries. 
  • Tensions in Asia-Pacific Call For Precise Chinese Diplomacy | Observers cite the combined weight of current border tensions with India, an enhanced focus on Taiwan, and the recent phone call between President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, pressing for the development of strategic diplomatic efforts by China to maintain stability in the region. 
RECENT COMMENTARIES - U.S. 
Foreign PolicyIs Defending Taiwan Worth the Risk?, by Emma Ashford and Matthew Kroenig

October 8, 2021: Atlantic Council senior fellows Emma Ashford and Matthew Kroenig discuss the geopolitical situation regarding Taiwan. On one hand, Kroenig makes the case that China's actions around the island are a sign of aggression and a strategic move to make Taiwan appear defenseless. He also believes that the U.S. should play a more active role in defending Taiwan by making a clear military commitment. On the other hand, Ashford argues that China's dispatch of warplanes are simply for show and more likely a reaction to the U.S. deployment of troops in the area rather than a proactive policy move. Moreover, she does not consider Taiwan to be as strategically significant to the U.S. and argues against a strong U.S. stance towards Taiwan.
Brookings InstitutionWorsening global digital divide as the US and China continue zero-sum competitions, by Cheng Li

October 11, 2021: Director of the John L. Thornton China Center and Senior Fellow Cheng Li calls on the U.S. and China to cooperate on narrowing the digital divide and combatting COVID-19 challenges in least developed countries (LDCs). Cheng draws a comparison between digital divides and socioeconomic disparities, asserting that LDCs experience greater inequalities relative to developing countries. The pandemic, Cheng argues, exacerbates these existing divides. Differences in cyber and other policy disagreements between the U.S. and China should not prevent joint efforts to tackle these technological and socioeconomic issues, Cheng maintains and adds that both countries should share data and information to achieve this goal. "The U.S. and China can complement each other in this effort," he writes. Through cooperation, China and the U.S. can create a more interconnected world and foster global wellbeing.
The Wall Street JournalBeijing's Time for Evergrande Choosing, by the Editorial Board

October 11, 2021: "If Beijing has a grand plan for dealing with the slow-rolling collapse of property giant Evergrande Group, it’s one of the best kept secrets in Asia," the Editorial Board of The Wall Street Journal writes. The Board assesses how the Chinese government will proceed with the firm's assets and creditors. They argue that a direct bailout is unlikely, since the downfall of the property giant contributes to the government's broader campaign to lower property prices and real estate debt. They agree that any plan will inevitably hurt foreign investors but are unsure how badly. What happens to the firm's suppliers, they conclude, "might be the thorniest matter." In closing, the Board suggests President Xi Jinping provide a clearer policy plan, because any further delay creates more repercussions.
RECENT COMMENTARIES - CHINA
CGTNU.S. should abandon its militancy and focus on tech investments, by Andrew Korybko

October 12, 2021: American political analyst Andrew Korybko responds to the recent comments made by Nicolas Chaillan, the first Air Force and Space Force Chief Software Officer, before his resignation. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Chaillan claimed that the U.S. had "no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years." Korybko agrees with Chaillan on several points, including that the U.S. military should redirect its resources. However, he differs with Chaillan by recommending that the U.S. focus on developing its technological infrastructure to keep up with the "Fourth Industrial Revolution" instead of using the advanced technology to wage a cyber war with China. Doing the latter would be fruitless given China's technological advances, Korkybo contends. He concludes that if American rhetoric on a tech race with China were to change, U.S. policy would be more peaceful.
Global Times, Tensions with US, Japan won’t distract China from border issue with India, by Long Xingchun

October 13, 2021: Long Xingchun, a senior research fellow and president of the Chengdu Institute of World Affairs, discusses the  geopolitical tensions between India and China, as well as its impact on China-U.S. relations. He begins by responding to a statement made by Manoj Joshi, a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, who claimed that China's policy towards India is part of a broader policy that includes a confrontation with the U.S. and Japan. Long maintains that Joshi's statement inaccurately captures China's stance on three levels: 1) the extent to which China is willing to compromise over its territorial sovereignty; 2) the strong partnership between the U.S. and China; and 3) assessing China's position using a third-party factor. He concludes by acknowledging that while China has stayed cordial with India, the country is determined to defend its territorial sovereignty.
South China Morning PostSelf-defeating US tech war represents China’s Sputnik moment, by Winston Mok

October 13, 2021: “America’s technological suppression represents China’s Sputnik moment,” writes Winston Mok, a private investor and former private equity investor. Mok argues that the U.S. and China share a codependency on trade, and thus, U.S. sanctions hurt not only the Chinese economy but the U.S. market as well. The caveat, Mok advances, lies in the contradictions of the U.S. political-economic system, in which American companies still maintain commercial interests in China. In the long term, these policies are all "self-inflicted costs," Mok insists. The result is a deceleration in technological innovation for both China and the U.S. Ultimately, China will be able to withstand U.S. sanctions, leaving the U.S. to decline on its own.
LATEST POLLS AND FIGURES
AP-NORC Poll Shows U.S. Majority Concerned about Cyberattacks from the Chinese Government 
 
A new poll from The Pearson Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released October 11 finds that 91 percent of American adults are concerned about cyberattacks on U.S. financial institutions and private data, and 73 percent consider China one of the biggest threats to U.S. cybersecurity. The poll found that among those surveyed, older adults age 60+ were more concerned about the Chinese government as a threat than their younger counterparts. These findings follow a string of noteworthy ransomware attacks and espionage campaigns in 2021 that caused serious damage to several U.S. institutions. “The amount of Chinese cyber actors dwarfs the rest of the globe, combined,” Rob Joyce, the director of cybersecurity at the National Security Agency, said at the Aspen Cyber Summit in late September.
HEARD FROM THE PEDESTRIAN
Most Talked-About Topics
Selected based on the occurrence of keywords in Twitter posts concerning the China-U.S. relationship in the past week
Taiwan 
For the second week in a row, Taiwan remained the main topic of conversation among users who are concerned about the alleged "aggression" of the Chinese military. Though some argue this is simply a show of military strength, others are growing more concerned that these displays will lead to direct conflict.
Trade
After U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai held talks with China's Vice Premier Liu He, the majority of users asked the U.S. to rethink its Phase One implementation of tariffs on the country. These users believe the Biden administration must develop a new trade policy with China in order to lessen the consequences of these tariffs on U.S. citizens while reinforcing bilateral trade in the globalized world.   
Top Tweet
BOOK CORNER
In his new book, The Wires of War: Technology and the Global Struggle for Power, Center for Strategic and International Studies adjunct fellow Jacob Helberg argues that China, along with other nations, is threatening global democratic security and national sovereignty. The "two-front" technological battle, Helberg writes, has the potential of altering the global balance of power, in addition to impacting "every meaningful aspect of ours lives." Among the set of policy recommendations Helberg provides, he urges the government to work more closely with Silicon Valley to prevent this cyber war from escalating any further. U.S. Congressman Ro Khanna describes the book as “a prescient analysis of China’s technological ambitions to export its political influence and erode democracy around the world. If you’re interested in how technology is reshaping international politics, this book is a must read.”
EVENTS TO WATCH
  • October 8, 2021: President Xi Jinping held a phone call with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, where the two discussed China-Japan relations and ways to usher in prosperity to Asia
  • October 11-24, 2021: UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) to be held in Kunming, Yunnan
  • October 13, 2021: President Xi Jinping met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel virtually to discuss the future of China-German and Sino-Europe relations
  • October 30-31, 2021: G20 Summit in Rome
  • October 31- November 12, 2021: UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow 
  • November 2021: The Politburo will gather in Beijing for the sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee
  • Fall 2021: The China-U.S. Financial Roundtable (CUFR), consisting of Wall Street figures and Chinese officials, will hold a virtual meeting to discuss ways to reinforce the financial sector and fortify bilateral relations
  • December 9-10, 2021: U.S. President Biden will host a virtual Summit for Democracy to set forth an agenda against authoritarianism, corruption, and human rights abuses. Whether Taiwan will be invited concerns stakeholders
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