The China Challenge

The China Challenge

The China challenge starts with the rising economic clout in Beijing. Although wealthy China is not in and of itself a problem, Beijing has increasingly used its economic clout to engage in unfair trade practices, dominate emerging technologies, and make infrastructure investments that do not meet international standards. These are all indicators of economic coercion, a problem the U.S. government must address. This article will explore the elements of the China challenge, as well as possible solutions.

Elements of the China Challenge

Recent policy pronouncements from the Trump administration read like a litany of misdeeds. But what exactly is the China challenge? A new paper published by the State Department Policy Planning Staff provides a deeper understanding of the problem. The report argues that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is reshaping world order to serve its authoritarian interests. It also argues that China’s claims on Taiwan are driven by military considerations.

Strategic competition with China

Although US-China strategic competition has the potential to provoke conflict and war, it is unlikely to do so. President Donald Trump’s National Security Strategy signals a major change in U.S.-China policy from engagement to competition. Engagement failed to integrate China into the international order and allowed it to develop quickly and challenge it. By contrast, President Trump labels China a revisionist power and commits to competing with it on all dimensions of national power. As the United States embarks on a new era of strategic competition with China, it must consider the stakes and objectives of this new era of competition. In other words, a new, more sophisticated U.S. strategy is necessary to counter China’s growing influence.

Control of supply chains

The U.S. cannot afford to remain dependent on China in its global supply chains unless it changes its strategy. Some chains that pass through China pose sharp risks to the United States, including the supply of communication equipment. While China has been importing communication equipment from the U.S. for over a decade, that amount rose by a factor of 17 between 2002 and 2018. The U.S. can help ensure that it doesn’t lose its technological edge by leveraging its influence over supply chains.

Intellectual property theft

Although the People’s Republic of China has enacted a comprehensive intellectual property system and has maintained global operations, its enforcement of IP laws lags far behind international expectations. China has emerged as a hub for counterfeit goods and technology and faces numerous accusations of stealing U.S. technology and patents. Understanding the problem through an actor-based analysis can provide valuable insight into effective enforcement. To that end, this report examines the state of IP enforcement in China.

Mistreatment of Turkoman Muslims

In late November of last year, Kucar’s plane landed in the city of Urumqi, China. He immediately started calling his family and relatives, but they didn’t respond. Eventually, he hung up and closed his phone. Afterward, he began walking through the neighborhood, avoiding people. His wife, Kucar’s mother, and two children were not in sight.

U.S. response

The United States’ response to China’s challenge has been cautious and uneven, based largely on economic considerations and the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region. However, it also reflects a default position, given the countless demands on foreign policy since September 11, 2001. The response to China’s challenge must be reframed and based on the realities of the current situation. The following are three key issues to consider.