Dueling Restrictions on Technology
Politico is reporting (April 18) that the Biden Administration is nearing completion of a new Executive Order (EO) intended to further restrict China’s access to US technology.
Specifically, the EO will center on requiring US companies to notify the Federal Government of new investments in Chinese technology firms, and also prohibit certain business deals in critical sectors such as semiconductors. Such measures have apparently been discussed within the Administration for some time, and would represent a ramp up of trade-related actions to counter China following new technology export restrictions imposed last October.
Reporting from Nikkei Asia (April 6) indicates China is considering a ban of exports of rare earth critical mineral technology, with at least the targeting of high performance magnets. Such magnets are used in cell phones, electric motors, robots and defense systems, among many other uses.
The reporting indicates that China will either ban or restrict exports of technology to process and refine rare-earth elements. There are also proposed provisions that would prohibit or limit exports of alloy tech for making high-performance magnets derived from rare earths.
China reportedly still has a 70% world-wide market share worldwide in the production of rare earth minerals, including an 84% share of neodymium magnets and an over 90% share in samarium cobalt magnets, according to the Asia News Network.
Chinese US Suveillance Investigation
The New York Times reported (March 17) that ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok that is said to be partially owned by China (indirectly through the stakes of Chinese nationals), is being investigated by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) for surveilling US citizens via TikTok data. The reporting indicates that the investigation began last year.
Specifically, DOJ has been looking into surveillance allegations after ByteDance itself admitted (December 2022) that employees of the company, who the company claims were later fired, obtained data of Americans that included two US reporters.
Bytedance claims that the employees were attempting to find the sources of suspected leaks of internal conversations and company documents. Two of the employees were based in China. ByteDance also claims that has made changes to its processes to prevent future data access. DOJ has not commented on the specifics of the investigation.
DOJ’s investigation could potentially add to the supporting basis for a US ban of TikTok given its connection to ByteDance. Reporting indicates that a current national security review of ByteDance ownership of TikTok through the US Treasury Department-run Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is nearing conclusion, and that the Committee has suggested to ByteDance that it divest its stake in TikTok before a final CFIUS decision is issued.
If ByteDance does not agree to a divestiture, CFIUS could potentially issue a decision to ban TikTok’s US operations on national security grounds. Any such decision, however, could be challenged in Federal courts.
Congress could also weigh in on this matter legislatively, though such an action could take time and the extent of support in the Congress for an outright ban has not been tested outside of a 2022 ban of the TikTok app on government devices.
China May Counter Starlink
Analysts speculate that China is increasingly concerned about Starlink given its success in preserving communications in Ukraine during the conflict with Russia. And, of course, China believes it should have full control over communications activities and services within its borders and other sensitive areas, which it does not have with Starlink.
The constellation would be made up of nearly 13K satellites, deployed by 2027. Some or all of the satellites could be outfitted with anti-Starlink payloads that have the ability to perform close-range, long-term monitoring of the satellites.
There is speculation that Starlink satellites would be cataloged, monitored, and could eventually be destroyed with future laser or microwave weaponry should the satellites travel over China and other areas where the Chinese government objects to Starlink service.
China Support for Russia
The US, through the Vice President and Secretary of State, has been warning China of, and speaking publicly about, the country providing lethal assistance to Russia in its aggression against Ukraine.
Reporting suggests that there has been indication that China has, or has intentions, of providing support secretly.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is saying this would be a “serious problem,” while the US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that China doing so would be crossing “a red line," though there is no indication yet what crossing this line might actually mean. There is some speculation that this could result in more US support for Taiwan, for example.
US Expansion in the Philippines
The United States has secured an agreement with the Philippines granting the US access to four additional Philippine military bases, which will permit the US to station equipment and build facilities among a total of nine locations.
The new locations represent additional positioning points for the US military, not US bases with the permanent stationing of US personnel. The new locations will be located at current Philippine military facilities: Naval Base Camilo Osias in Santa Ana, Cagayan; Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela; Balabac Island in Palawan; and Lal-lo Airport in Cagayan. The US already has similar access at five existing locations around the country.
Three of the newest access locations are in Northern Luzon, the closest point of the Philippines to China and Taiwan. This particular location is considered vital to the latest US efforts of countering China’s efforts to expand its influence in the South Pacific, as well as to deter aggression in Taiwan.
US Controls on Exported Technology
Bloomberg reported (January 28) that both Japan and the Netherlands have agreed to restrict China’s access to advanced chipmaking machinery, including some of the same export controls put in place by the US, to prevent the export of semiconductor lithography systems made by ASML and Nikon.
This agreement comes after the US Commerce Department announced (October 7) the implementation of new US export control rules intended to restrict China’s ability to acquire advanced computing chips, develop and maintain supercomputers, and manufacture advanced semiconductors.
The Department claimed the restrictions are needed because China is using the technology to “produce advanced military systems including weapons of mass destruction; improve the speed and accuracy of its military decision making, planning, and logistics, as well as of its autonomous military systems; and commit human rights abuses. U.S. technology can also help China “monitor, track, and surveil their own citizens.” The announcement also specifically called out China’s efforts to use the technology to develop supercomputing technology and to become a world leader in artificial intelligence.
The rules do two key things: impose restrictive export controls on certain advanced computing semiconductor chips, transactions for supercomputer end-uses, and transactions involving certain entities on the Entity List (which was also updated); and, the rules put new controls on certain semiconductor manufacturing items and on transactions for certain integrated circuit end uses. This should restrict the ability of U.S. persons/businesses to support development or production of integrated circuits at semiconductor fabrication facilities in China without a license.
Both Samsung and the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC) reportedly sought, and received, temporary exemptions of associated with production inputs for current company manufacturing in China. Taiwan, through TSMC, produces some of the highest technology computer chips, has said that it will comply with the provisions of the new rules. The company's temporary exemption is said to be associated with less sensitive chip technology.
Seperately, the FY 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Act added new measures in law to address China’s access to US technology. One measure requres that before corporate acquisitions that include foreign entities, the US entity must notify the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of subsidies by the foreign government (for example, the Chinese government) that could pose a strategic or economic threat to the US. The FTC would have authority to potentially stop merger/acquisition transactions.
The Act also limits the ability of NASA to collaborate with Chinese organizations, or host Chinese officials at its facilities. The Defense Department is specifically prohibited (short of an approved waiver) from working with the EcoHealth Alliance, a group known to have worked with Chinese labs including the Wuhan Institute of Virology, linked to the COVID-19 outbreak. The State Department is prohibited from using resources to process license applications for the export to China of satellites and components.
Outside of the Act, the Biden Administration is reportedly working on an China export controls executive order (EO). Axios reported (January 12) that the future EO will focus on quantum computing, artificial intelligence and semiconductors, and generally exclude biotechnology or battery technology. Presumably, the EO will guide binding policy and regulation in Federal agecies.
COVID-19 Testing of Chinese Visitors
Numerous nations have begun putting in a COVID-19 testing requirement for visitors from China; for example: the United States, France, Italy, India, Japan, Israel, Canada, South Korea, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
The United States imposed (December 28) its restriction, which starts January 5, via a notice by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). Its rationale for the decision is to “slow the spread of COVID-19 in the United States during the surge in COVID-19 cases in the PRC given the lack of adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data being reported from the PRC.”
All air passengers from China, two years and older, will be required to get a test (such as a PCR test or an antigen self-test) no more than 2 days before a departure from China, including Hong Kong or Macau, and show a negative test result to the airline upon departure.
US Export Controls & Entity List
The Department of Commerce (DOC) added (December 15) 36 Chinese entities to the Entity List, applying stringent license requirements that will severely restrict access to commodities, software, and technologies. All but one of the entities are located in China.
The additions to the Entity List are consistent with the agency’s updated export control rules implemented in October (2022) that relate to restrictions on advanced computing and semiconductor technologies. The Department believes that this action will help prevent access to technologies that can advance China’s military modernization and human rights abuses.
Of the additions, 21 are artificial intelligence (AI) and semiconductor chip manufacturers and/or sales entities with close ties to the Chinese military and defense industry; 2 entities are being added for acquiring or attempting to acquire items for the Chinese military; 7 entities are engage in supporting military modernization and have direct ties to areas of concern such as hypersonic weapons and ballistic missile systems; 4 entities are being added for being at significant riks of becoming involved in areas of concern; 1 entity is being added for engagement in or enabling activities contrary to U.S. foreign policy interests including implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-tech surveillance against Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups; and, 1 entity is being added for facilitating the illegal export of U.S.-origin electronics to Iran for use in the production of military unmanned aerial vehicles and missile systems.
Separately, Commerce took action to remove a net total of 25 Chinese entities from the Unverified List (UVL) due to satisfactory completion of End-Use Checks (EUCs) and verification of those entities’ bona fides, including in cooperation with the Chinese government. The Unverified List requires companies doing business with such entities to undertake greater due diligence and risk assessment when working with such companies. Transactions are not necessarily prohibited, but they do require greater documentation. Commerce added 33 Chinese entities to the UVL in February (2022), and presumably some of these have now been removed.
Defense Report on China’s Military Power
The Department of Defense (DOD) released (November 29) its congressionally-mandated, annual report on China’s military power.
Among the key takeaways from this report:
China views the United States as utilizing a whole-of-government approach to contain China’s rise, and this is an obstacle to the country’s national strategy.
China is increasingly using its military to advance the country’s national strategy and ambitions, including “dangerous, coercive, and aggressive actions in the Indo-Pacific Region.” Problematic activities included lasing, aerobatics, discharging objects, and other activities putting nearby aircraft at risk.
China intends to accelerate improvements to its nuclear forces, as well as develop space and counterspace capabilities.
Military pressures will continue in an attempt to “compel Taiwan towards unification,” and modernization by 2027 is viewed as a way to develop a more credible capability to wield in pursuing unification.
China’s stockpile of nuclear warheads now exceeds 400, which exceeds previous projections. At this pace, by 2035 the stockpile could exceed 1,500 warheads.
Xi meeting with President Biden
President Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (November 14) in Bali, Indonesia. Meeting points were publicly-released providing the perspectives of both the United States and China via its foreign ministry. Among the key points:
President Biden stated the United States will continue to compete vigorously with China, but that competition should not veer into conflict. President Xi stated that our countries need to “explore the right way to get along with each other in the new era, put the relationship on the right course, and bring it back to the track of healthy and stable growth” of both countries.
President Biden said that U.S. policy on One China has not changed; the United States opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo by either side, and the world has an interest in the maintenance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. The President objected to China’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan, which undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the broader region, and jeopardize global prosperity.” President Xi stressed that the Taiwan question “is at the very core of China's core interests, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations;” resolving the Taiwan question is a matter only for the Chinese and that reunification is a “common aspiration of the Chinese people;” that China “absolutely” will not let anyone seek to split Taiwan from China;” and that “cross-Strait peace and stability and Taiwan independence are as irreconcilable as water and fire.”
Intelligence-Gathering & Transnational Repression
The US Justice Department took multiple actions (October 24) against persons in the United States (US) allegedly working for the Chinese government to gather intelligence and conduct transnational represession schemes.
The Department charged two Chinese intelligence officers with attempting to obstruct, influence, and impede a criminal prosecution of an investigation of Huawei, a Chinese-based telecommunications company. The individuals are alleged to have attempted to steal confidential information about US criminal prosecution of the company.
Another four persons, several who were also identified as Chinese intelligence officers, were charged with conspiring to act as illegal foreign agents. These persons apparently used the cover of a purported Chinese academic institute to “target, co-opt, and direct” US individuals to further China’s intelligence mission. Efforts included attempts to procure US technology and equipment, as well as to stop protected US protests as they would have been embarrassing to the Chinese government.
Another seven individuals were charged “with engaging in a multi-year campaign of threats and harassment” to force a US resident to return to China. This effort was part of China’s global “Operation Fox Hunt,” which has a purpose of locating and bringing back to China alleged fugitives who have fled to foreign countries. As part of this case, the US alleges that these persons also allegedly threatened and harassed the victim’s family members, both in the U.S. and in China.
In a separate action in July, Justice indicted five persons in a similar transnational repression scheme that Justice says was conducted on behalf of China. Those persons are alleged to have conspired to commit interstate harassment and criminal use of a means of identification; conspiring to bribe a federal official in connection with a scheme to obtain the tax returns of a pro-democracy activist residing in the United States; and, obstruction of justice and false statements to the FBI.
UN Rejects Discussion of Uyghur Situation
The United Nations Human Rights Council rejected (October 6) a motion by western nations (e.g., Canada, the United States, Britain) to hold a debate on Uyghur human rights in the wake of an August report.
Among other things, the report found that Uyghurs placed in so-called “Vocational Education and Training Centers (VETCs)” were not, as China claims, free to join or quit VETC programs at any time; that, “it is impossible for an individual detained in such a heavily guarded center to leave of their own free will; and that a stay in a VETC facility is, from the concerned individual’s perspective, of indefinite nature, the end of which is only determined by meeting undefined criteria as evaluated by the authorities.” Ultimately, placement in VETC facilities are not voluntary and persons appear to have no choice in being there, which amounts to a form of “deprivation of liberty.”
More broadly, human rights organizations believe China is undertaking mass forced labor, and potentially genocide, in the Xinjiang region of China against Uyghurs.
The vote tally on the Council’s motion to debate the issue– 19 against, 17 for, and 11 abstentions– apparently was just the second time in the 16-year history of the Council that a motion was rejected. Qatar, Indonesia and Pakistan, were among the countries rejecting the motion. China had warned that the motion would create a “dangerous shortcut” for reviewing the human rights records of other countries. Speculation on the primary reason for votes against the motion was fear of losing Chinese investment.
Biden Statement on Defending Taiwan
On a 60 Minutes broadcast on September 18, President Biden stated “yes” and “if it were an unprecedented attack” to a question from Scott Pelly asking “So, unlike Ukraine, to be clear, sir, U.S. forces, U.S. men and women, would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?” 60 Minutes stated that after the interview a White House representative stated that U.S. policy toward Taiwan “has not changed.”
A China foreign ministry spokesman responded that the President’s remarks had violated a commitment of the U.S. not to support Taiwan independence, and that it sends “a seriously erroneous signal to Taiwanese separatist independence forces.” While China, the spokesman says, is “willing to make the biggest sincere efforts” for a peaceful reunification, it will not “tolerate any activities aimed at splitting the country, and reserve the choice to take all necessary measures."
The President made a similar statement at a press conference during his May trip to Asia. A U.S. reporter asked the President: “Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that? The President answered: “ Yes, it is a commitment we made.” Similar to the 60 Minutes interview, the Administration soon after clarified that U.S. policy has not changed with respect to military support of Taiwan by the United States; that, U.S. commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act remain the same – i.e., providing Taiwan with the means to defend itself.
After that statement, China released a statement by a Foreign Ministry spokesman: “No one should underestimate the strong determination, firm will, and strong ability of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
China’s Moon Aspirations
China has reportedly approved a “Phase-4 lunar probe mission,” that would explore the Moon’s South Pole region and “build a basic structure of the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS).” Missions tied to Phase 4 will occur over the next ten years. In 2019, China became the first country to land a mission on the far side of the moon. And, in 2020 China conducted sampling of lunar material, the first sampling by any country in more than 40 years.
In this sampling, China has reported that the samples contained Helium-3, a stable and non-radioactive isotope that could be used as a fuel in any future nuclear fusion reactors (which have not yet developed) since it would not produce dangerous waste products.
Using moon-based material could prevent the need to move materials for nuclear power from the earth to the moon for lunar and other space missions. While scientists have known that Helium-3 existed on the moon, according to the China state-run Xinhua news agency Chinese researchers have determined important information not released regarding the concentration of Helium-3 and its extraction parameters.
China’s Response to House Speaker Pelosi's Visit
In response to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s August visit to Taiwan , China released a list of actions (August 5th) it is taking against the United States.
The list includes suspending:
Repatriation of illegal chinese immigrants
Regular calls between U.S. and Chinese defense leaders
Legal assistance on criminal matters
Collaboration on transnational crime
Collaboration on counternarcotics efforts
Call with China
President Biden had a call with China’s President Xi Jinping (July 28th). His last call with China’s leader was on March 18th. According to a read-out of the call, the White House says that a range of issues were discussed, and that both Presidential teams were “tasked” to follow up on issues; in particular, certain unspecified matters pertaining to “climate change and health security.”
The call came on the eve of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan (August 2nd), the first visit by a high ranking U.S. official since House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997. China made threatening comments regarding "consequences" for any visit.
The published call read-out does not mention this matter, though it does say that on the subject of Taiwan, that President Biden “underscored that the United States policy has not changed and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
Countering China in the Pacific
The Biden Administration announced (July 12th) new actions in the South Pacific that it says are intended to “deepen U.S. partnership with the region and to deliver concrete results for Pacific people” in partnership with Pacific Islands Forum countries. These actions follow other measures announced during the President’s trip to East Asia (South Korea and Japan) in May.
With both the recent Presidential trip and these new measures, the United States is trying to catch up with the growing influence of China in the region, especially the perceived Chinese military threat. China’s efforts to establish economic and military links to small Pacific Island nations, such as the Solomon Islands, is of particular concern to western nations.
New planned actions include:
Establishing new embassies in Kiribati and Tonga, and completing the reopening of an embassy in the Solomon Islands that closed in 1993. The reopening was announced in February. Discussions with Kiribati and Tonga on new embassies will begin after the necessary Congressional notifications.
Request from Congress in the annual President’s budget $60 million per year for the next ten years ($600 million commitment) for Economic Development and Ocean Resilience program activities under a new agreement with the Forum Fisheries Agency.
Appoint a U.S. Envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum.
Develop a first-ever U.S. National Strategy on the Pacific Islands.
Bring the Peace Corps “back to the Pacific.” While the Peace Corps lists Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and Vanuatu as locations for Peace Corps volunteers, the only current volunteer listings on its website are just two opportunities in Fiji.
Re-establish a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Regional Mission for the Pacific in Suva, Fiji.
Implement and advance efforts of the Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP), announced on June 24th, which includes the United States, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. These partner countries committed to provide a combined $2.1 billion in development assistance for the region.
China TIkTok Data Threat
Senators Warner and Rubio, the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, sent a letter (July 5th) to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), asking for a Section 5 investigation on TikTok’s data management practices with respect to its Chinese parent company ByteDance, and to coordinate such an investigation “with any national security or counterintelligence investigation that may be initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice.”
The Senators are concerned that the Chinese government has access to TikTok user data despite representations from TikTok that such data is walled off from ByteDance. ByteDance has another subsidiary - ByteDance Technology - which is partly owned by the Chinese Government. The letter argues that under national security laws, the Chinese Government can compel data access, regardless of where data is ultimately stored.
The letter summarized that according to a Buzzfeed News article, TikTok’s Trust and Safety department was aware of these improper access practices and governance irregularities which enabled China-based “employees unfettered access to user information, including birthdates, phone numbers, and device identification information.”
Uyghur Forced Labor Law Implementation
The United States began implementing (June 21st) Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFPLA). Goods produced by/imported into the United States from entities on the UFPLA Entity List will be subject to more stringent clearance procedures. In general, goods produced by/imported into the United States will be presumed to be produced by forced Chinese Uyghur labor unless proven otherwise by the required documentation.
Chinese Naval Base in Cambodia
The Washington Post reported (June 7th) that China is “secretly building” a naval military base at a facility in Cambodia and that “extraordinary measures” are being taken to conceal the operation. China currently has just one military base - a naval facility - in the country of Djibouti in east Africa.
The Defense Department expressed concerns in March in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee about China’s efforts to secure a base on the Atlantic side of Africa, and “has made the most progress” with Equatorial Guinea.
Actions by China to expand its military influence in Southeast Asia is very concerning from both a national security standpoint in the region, but also from the standpoint of the flow of commerce, fisheries enforcement, and other strategic concerns. President Biden recently completed a trip to the region in an attempt to strengthen alliances in the face of growing Chinese influence. Get some of the details on key outcomes from the trip here.
Blinken Speech on China Policy
Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered (May 26, 2022) a significant speech at The George Washington University on the Administration’s policy approach towards China. Here are some of the key excerpts:
The Biden Administration’s [China] strategy can be summed up in three words – “invest, align, compete.” Invest. We’ll reverse these trends and make historic investments in research and innovation, including in fields like artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum computing. These are areas that Beijing is determined to lead – but given America’s advantages, the competition is ours to lose, not only in terms of developing new technologies but also in shaping how they’re used around the world, so that they’re rooted in democratic values, not authoritarian ones. Align. The Biden administration has worked to re-energize America’s unmatched network of alliances and partnerships and to re-engage in international institutions. We’re encouraging partners to work with each other, and through regional and global organizations. Nowhere is this more true than in the Indo-Pacific region…[where the President led the development of] the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, a first-of-its-kind initiative for the region. It will, in the President’s words, “help all our countries’ economies grow faster and fairer. The President also took part in the leaders’ summit of the Quad countries – Australia, Japan, India, the United States. The Quad never met at the leader level before President Biden took office. Since he convened the first leaders’ meeting last year, the Quad has held four summits. [The Quad] launched a new Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness, so our partners across the region can better monitor the waters near their shores to address illegal fishing and protect their maritime rights and their sovereignty. We’re enhancing peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific; for example, with the new security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, known as AUKUS. Compete. New and stronger export controls to make sure our critical innovations don’t end up in the wrong hands; greater protections for academic research, to create an open, secure, and supportive environment for science; better cyber defenses; stronger security for sensitive data; and sharper investment screening measures to defend companies and countries against Beijing’s efforts to gain access to sensitive technologies, data, or critical infrastructure; compromise our supply chains; or dominate key strategic sectors.
Reciprocity. American companies operating in China have been subject to systematic forced technology transfer, while Chinese companies in America have been protected by our rule of law. Chinese filmmakers can freely market their movies to American theater owners without any censorship by the U.S. Government, but Beijing strictly limits the number of foreign movies allowed in the Chinese market, and those that are allowed are subjected to heavy-handed political censorship. China’s businesses in the United States don’t fear using our impartial legal system to defend their rights – in fact, they’re frequently in court asserting claims against the United States Government. The same isn’t true for foreign firms in China. This lack of reciprocity is unacceptable and it’s unsustainable.
Unfair Competition. Beijing directed massive over-investment by Chinese [steel] companies, which then flooded the global market with cheap steel. Unlike U.S. companies and other market-oriented firms, Chinese companies don’t need to make a profit – they just get another injection of state-owned bank credit when funds are running low. Plus, they do little to control pollution or protect the rights of their workers, which also keeps costs down. As a consequence, China now accounts for more than half of global steel production, driving U.S. companies – as well as factories in India, Mexico, Indonesia, Europe, and elsewhere – out of the market. We’ve seen this same model when it comes to solar panels, electric car batteries – key sectors of the 21st century economy that we cannot allow to become completely dependent on China. Economic manipulations like these have cost American workers millions of jobs. And they’ve harmed the workers and firms of countries around the world. We will push back on market-distorting policies and practices, like subsidies and market access barriers, which China’s government has used for years to gain competitive advantage. We’ll boost supply chain security and resilience by reshoring production or sourcing materials from other countries in sensitive sectors like pharmaceuticals and critical minerals, so that we’re not dependent on any one supplier.
Human Rights. The United States stands with countries and people around the world against the genocide and crimes against humanity happening in the Xinjiang region, where more than a million people have been placed in detention camps because of their ethnic and religious identity. We stand together on Tibet, where the authorities continue to wage a brutal campaign against Tibetans and their culture, language, and religious traditions, and in Hong Kong, where the Chinese Communist Party has imposed harsh anti-democratic measures under the guise of national security.
Defense. The President has instructed the Department of Defense to hold China as its pacing challenge, to ensure that our military stays ahead. We’ll seek to preserve peace through a new approach that we call “integrated deterrence” – bringing in allies and partners; working across the conventional, the nuclear, space, and informational domains; drawing on our reinforcing strengths in economics, in technology, and in diplomacy. The administration is shifting our military investments away from platforms that were designed for the conflicts of the 20th century toward asymmetric systems that are longer-range, harder to find, easier to move. We’re developing new concepts to guide how we conduct military operations. We’ll continue to oppose Beijing’s aggressive and unlawful activities in the South and East China Seas. Nearly six years ago, an international tribunal found that Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea have no basis in international law. We’ll support the region’s coastal states in upholding their maritime rights. We’ll work with allies and partners to uphold freedom of navigation and overflight, which has enabled the region’s prosperity for decades. And we’ll continue to fly and sail wherever international law allows. China and the United States must keep working together, and with other countries, to address Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs. And we remain ready to discuss directly with Beijing our respective responsibilities as nuclear powers.
Taiwan. Our policy has not changed. The United States remains committed to our “one China” policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques, [and] the Six Assurances. We oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side; we do not support Taiwan independence; and we expect cross-strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means. We continue to have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We’ll continue to uphold our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability – and, as indicated in the TRA, to “maintain our capacity to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security or the social or economic system, of Taiwan.” While our policy has not changed, what has changed is Beijing’s growing coercion – like trying to cut off Taiwan’s relations with countries around the world and blocking it from participating in international organizations. And Beijing has engaged in increasingly provocative rhetoric and activity, like flying PLA aircraft near Taiwan on an almost daily basis. These words and actions are deeply destabilizing; they risk miscalculation and threaten the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.
Climate change. Today about 20 nations are responsible for 80 percent of emissions. China is number one. The United States is number two. Unless we all do much more, much faster, the financial and human cost will be catastrophic. Plus, competing on clean energy and climate policy can produce results that benefit everyone. The progress that the United States and China make together – including through the working group established by the Glasgow Declaration – is vital to our success in avoiding the worst consequences of this crisis.
COVID-19 Response. All countries need to work together to vaccinate the world – not in exchange for favors or political concessions, but for the simple reason that no country will be safe until all are safe. And all nations must transparently share data and samples – and provide access to experts – for new variants and emerging and re-emerging pathogens, to prevent the next pandemic even as we fight the current one
Narcotics. To counter illegal and illicit narcotics, especially synthetic opioids like fentanyl that killed more than 100,000 Americans last year, we want to work with China to stop international drug trafficking organizations from getting precursor chemicals, many of which originate in China.
Increased Maritime Surveillance in Asia
The President’s Asia trip in May yielded a new maritime surveillance effort called the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) led by Asia Quad countries – the United States, Australia, India and Japan. The Quad says they “will offer a near-real-time, integrated, and cost-effective maritime domain awareness picture” to country partners for three regions —the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean region.
IPMDA will use commercial Automatic Identification System (AIS) and radio-frequency technologies to provide domain awareness information to information fusion centers including the Information Fusion Center-Indian Ocean Region, based in India; the Information Fusion Center, based in Singapore; the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, based in the Solomon Islands, and the Pacific Fusion Center, based in Vanuatu.
While the central purpose of the Quad is to counter the rising security threat of China in the Pacific, the U.S. fact sheet on this matter does not mention China, and highlights that the IPMDA will help address dark shipping (where ships turn off AIS), illegal fishing, and responding to climate and humanitarian events. It is likely, however, that this effort has a direct connection towards helping countries in the Pacific monitor the movement of Chinese vessels of any nature.
China & the Solomon Islands
China and the Solomon Islands agreed to a security pact at some point in April 2022, which has potential significant implication for western security interests in the Pacific region. While the text has not been released, press reports say that a “leaked draft” suggests that Chinese warships will be able to stop in the islands and that Chinese police could be deployed at the request of the Solomons to maintain “social order.”
In a statement (April 19, 2022), the White House is saying that the United States, Australia, and New Zealand “shared concerns about a proposed security framework between the Solomon Islands and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and its serious risks to a free and open Indo-Pacific.” The United States also said that it will “intensify its engagement in the region to meet 21st-century challenges…[in]...partnership with Pacific Island nations, including through a united Pacific Islands Forum; and together with like-minded countries, within and beyond the region.”
Tariffs Reduced on Some Chinese Goods
The United States Trade Representative announced (March 24, 2022) that it has removed 352 Chinese products from a tougher tariff regime established under the Section 301 program. A total of 549 products were under consideration for removal. Goods excluded include industrial pumps and electric motors, certain car parts and chemicals, backpacks, bicycles, vacuum cleaners and other consumer goods.
Section 301 provides a means by which the United States can impose trade sanctions on foreign countries that violate U.S. trade agreements or engage in acts that are “unjustifiable” or “unreasonable” and burden U.S. commerce. The Trump Administration imposed additional tariffs, ranging from 7.5% to 25%, on approximately $370 billion worth of U.S. imports from China using Section 301 processes. As reported by Yahoo!Finance, China says this decision was beneficial to normalizing the trade flow of those products, and hoped bilateral trade relations would get back on a normal track.
China Military Base Aspirations in Northern Africa
In testimony before the House Armed Service Committee (March 17, 2022) U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, Commander of the U.S. Africa Command, expressed concern about China’s efforts to secure a military base in Western Africa. He says that China has “made the most progress” with Equatorial Guinea. He testified that in response, the U.S. recently sent an interagency delegation to the country to discuss U.S. security concerns, and that as a “first priority” we need to prevent or deter Chinese military capacity on the Atlantic coast of Africa.
Replacement of the Department of Justice “China Initiative”
The Department of Justice announced (February 23, 2022) that it is ending the Trump Administration’s “China Initiative,” replacing it with a “Strategy for Countering Nation-State Threats,” covering China and other nations such as Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
In explaining the change, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen suggested that the Initiative may have unintentionally impugned people of Chinese descent, did not contribute positively to an environment with growing anti-Asian hate crime, and unfairly contributed to a “chilling atmosphere” for persons in the academic and scientific community. Moreover, by grouping cases under a China Initiative rubric, the Department contributed to the “harmful perception” that it does not give equal weight to non-China cases, and that the Department views “people with racial, ethnic or familial ties to China differently.”
At the same time, Mr. Olsen stated that the Department believes China “stands apart” from other nations based on its practices, and Justice will continue to focus on China. He pointed out the Department’s actions on Operation Fox Hunt, an illegal multi-year campaign to coerce the return of certain Chinese nationals to China where PRC officials traveled to the United States and directed PRC operatives to violate U.S. law.
DOJ recently charged five people (March 16, 2022) with stalking, harassing and spying on U.S. residents on behalf of China.
Among other issues, Mr. Olsen summarized that China continues to:
Target U.S. citizens with connections to the intelligence community to obtain valuable government and military secrets with four recent espionage cases involving the PRC being prosecuted.
Use espionage tools and tactics against U.S. companies and American workers to steal critical and emerging technologies.
Utilize malicious and unlawful cyber campaigns to pursue technological advancement and profit.
Work aggressively to try to silence China dissent within the United States, intimidating journalists and attempting to censor and punish U.S. citizens, residents, and companies for exercising rights of free expression.
US - Japan Statement on Security
The United States and Japan issued a joint statement on security (January 6, 2022). The statement expresses concern with China's role in the proliferation of nuclear weapons, missiles, and other advanced weapons, as well as other "coercive or predatory means short of armed conflict". Among other things, Japan reiterated its commitment to "fundamentally reinforce" its defense capabilities in support of regional stability, and the United States restated its commitment to the defense of Japan.
USCC Annual Report Recommendations to Address the Threats to Taiwan
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) issued its annual report (November 2021) providing a review of the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the U.S. and China. Among its 32 recommendations are those addressing China's military build up near Taiwan. The report calls for, among other things, growing military capability in the region including "large numbers of cruise and ballistic missiles;" expanding intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in the region; and, hardening theater operations with missile defense, munitions stockpiling, and stronger continuity of operations.
Joint Statement on Climate Cooperation
The United States and China issued a joint statement (November 2021) during COP26 climate discussions stating that they will "to work individually, jointly, and with other countries during this decisive decade" to strengthen implementation of the Paris climate agreement and to "as soon as possible" close the gap between current plans and global warming targets. The statement lists a number of specific actions to be taken by one or both of the U.S. and China such as emissions reductions, renewable energy deployment, electricity transmission, coal consumption, and deforestation.
Hypersonic Missile Test
According to press reports, US intelligence sources believe China conducted one or more tests of a hypersonic missile system in the summer of 2021 using its Long March rocket system. According to the reports, the missiles flew around the world and landed back in China.
The U.S. has not, as of this date, issued any specific and official statement on this matter, though both U.S. Generals Mark Milley and John Hyten commented publicly on the tests and what they believe were generally successful results. The Chinese have so far denied testing hypersonic missile systems.
No Results Found
This strategy reflects the Indo-Pacific policy of the United States, articulated via overarching policy goals in areas such as openness and democracy, security, and economic cooperation.
Status: this strategy was announced on February 11, 2022.
This is the People's Republic of China (PRC) articulation of the so-called "one-China" principle that governs its relationship with the rest of the world regarding Taiwan.
Status: as this is the PRC's position on this matter, no change in this position is currently anticipated.