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  • Author: Philippe Le Corre
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Kazakhstan is one of China’s direct neighbours, and a prominent one by size and border. As the Chinese proverb states, “a close neighbour is more valuable than a distant relative”,[1] hence the importance of Sino-Kazakh ties, especially at a time when Beijing tries to promote its “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) across Eurasia. The country has a 1782.75 km-long border with China, and shares much history and people with the former Middle Kingdom. Although data is sparse, it is known that many Uyghurs –the main tribe of Xinjiang, China’s troubled autonomous region – live in Kazakhstan. There are also ethnic Kazakhs living on the Chinese side, in Xinjiang (many of them facing great political difficulties, if not persecutions).
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: G. John Ikenberry, Adam P. Liff
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the post–Cold War period, scholars have considered the Asia Pacific to be ripe for military competition and conflict. Developments over the past decade have deepened these expectations. Across the region, rising military spending and efforts of various states to bolster their military capabilities appear to have created an increasingly volatile climate, along with potentially vicious cycles of mutual arming and rearming. In this context, claims that China's rapid economic growth and surging military spending are fomenting destabilizing arms races and security dilemmas are widespread. Such claims make for catchy headlines, yet they are rarely subject to rigorous empirical tests. Whether patterns of military competition in the Asia Pacific are in fact attributable to a security dilemma–based logic has important implications for international relations theory and foreign policy. The answer has direct consequences for how leaders can maximize the likelihood that peace and stability will prevail in this economically and strategically vital region. A systematic empirical test derived from influential theoretical scholarship on the security dilemma concept assesses the drivers of bilateral and multilateral frictions and military competition under way in the Asia Pacific. Security dilemma–driven competition appears to be an important contributor, yet the outcome is not structurally determined. Although this military competition could grow significantly in the near future, there are a number of available measures that could help to ameliorate or manage some of its worst aspects.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Sumit Ganguly
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide, Gary Bass convincingly argues that the Nixon administration did little to rein in its ally Pakistan from perpetuating genocide against its own population largely because of Islamabad's vital role in facilitating U.S. diplomatic contact with the People's Republic of China. He also shows how the low strategic significance of South Asia for much of the global community, combined with an inordinate regard for the norm of sovereignty, led to a lack of support for the principle of humanitarian intervention. The Blood Telegram partially affirms the proposition that acts of genocide can stem from the choices of a handful of individuals who are determined to achieve a political goal using all available means.
  • Topic: Genocide
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia
  • Author: Jon R. Lindsay
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The ubiquity and interconnectedness of computers in global commerce, civil society, and military affairs create crosscutting challenges for policy and conceptual confusion for theory. The challenges and confusion in cybersecurity are particularly acute in the case of China, which has one of the world's fastest growing internet economies and one of its most active cyber operations programs. In 2013 U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon singled out Chinese cyber intrusions as “not solely a national security concern or a concern of the U.S. government,” but also a major problem for firms suffering from “sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies . . . emanating from China on an unprecedented scale.” One U.S. congressman alleged that China has “established cyber war military units and laced the U.S. infrastructure with logic bombs.” He suggested that “America is under attack by digital bombs.” The discourse on China and cybersecurity routinely conflates issues as different as political censorship, unfair competition, assaults on infrastructure, and internet governance, even as all loom large for practical cyber policy. Although they involve similar information technologies, there is little reason to expect different political economic problems to obey the same strategic logic, nor should one necessarily expect China to enjoy relative advantage in all spheres.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Sebastian Rosato
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Can great powers reach confident conclusions about the intentions of their peers? The answer to this question has important implications for U.S. national security policy. According to one popular view, the United States and China are destined to compete unless they can figure out each other's designs. A recent Brookings Institution report warns that although “Beijing and Washington seek to build a constructive partnership for the long run,” they may be headed for trouble given their “mutual distrust of [the other's] long-term intentions.” Similarly, foreign policy experts James Steinberg and Michael O'Hanlon argue that “trust in both capitals...remains scarce, and the possibility of an accidental or even intentional conflict between the United States and China seems to be growing.” Reversing this logic, many analysts believe that U.S.-China relations may improve if the two sides clarify their intentions. Thus the Pentagon's latest strategic guidance document declares that if China wants to “avoid causing friction” in East Asia, then its military growth must be “accompanied by greater clarity of its strategic intentions.” Meanwhile China scholars Andrew Nathan and Andrew Scobell recommend that even as the United States builds up its capabilities and alliances, it should “reassure Beijing that these moves are intended to create a balance of common interests rather than to threaten China.”
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Beijing
  • Author: Fiona S. Cunningham, M. Taylor Fravel
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Whether China will abandon its long-standing nuclear strategy of assured retaliation for a first-use posture will be a critical factor in U.S.-China strategic stability. In recent years, the United States has been developing strategic capabilities such as missile defenses and conventional long-range strike capabilities that could reduce the effectiveness of China's deterrent. Writings by Chinese strategists and analysts, however, indicate that China is unlikely to abandon its current nuclear strategy.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, East Asia
  • Author: Hui Zhang, Tuosheng Zhang
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the threat of nuclear terrorism has become one of the most significant challenges to international security. China has worked to meet this challenge, but a continuing effort is needed. The 2010 and 2012 Nuclear Security Summits raised the issues of nuclear security to a higher political level and enhanced international consensus on the danger of nuclear terrorism. China actively participated in the first two summits, and President Xi Jinping will participate in the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands in March 2014. China's commitment to nuclear security is now well established. Former president Hu Jintao emphasized in 2012 that, "the threat of nuclear terrorism cannot be overlooked." Meeting that threat, as President Hu recognized, "is a long and arduous task."
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Border Control
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Henry Lee, Scott Moore, Sabrina Howell, Alice Xia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In recent decades there has been a gradual transformation in environmental policy away from command-and-control policies and toward the use of more flexible, market-based mechanisms. This transformation is evident in the environmental policy of the United States, and the European Union where many scholars and policymakers have accepted the argument that, in comparison with more traditional regulatory approaches, market-centered solutions offer a cheaper and more efficient way to achieve many environmental policy objectives. While market mechanisms may work in certain economies and certain countries, whether they are appropriate for addressing the problem of climate change for countries without an institutionalized domestic market economy, such as china, is still an open question. This report summarizes the discussions, conclusions, and questions posed during The Harvard- Tsinghua Workshop on Market Mechanisms to Achieve a Low-Carbon Future for China. As the report makes clear, most participants believe that market mechanisms have a powerful role to play in achieving a low-carbon future for China. However, considerable differences emerged among the participants regarding the proper design and implementation of market mechanisms, and sig-nificant questions remain concerning the proper role of market mechanisms in addressing climate change. This report, and the workshop it summarizes, does not attempt to resolve these differences, but aims to contribute to an ongoing discussion on the future of climate policy in China. The re¬mainder of this Introduction describes the context for the workshop, its three thematic sessions, and outlines three over-arching themes that emerged. These themes are explored in the summaries of the three thematic sessions, while the Conclusion raises issues for further research. The impetus for the workshop was laid out in three public keynote speeches that addressed, respec¬tively, China's desire to achieve a low-carbon future, reasons to prefer market mechanisms over other potential solutions, and the importance of sustaining innovation in achieving climate policy objectives. China has adopted pilot cap-and-trade programs in five Provinces and two cities – to¬gether accounting for seven percent of the country's total carbon dioxide emissions. These pilots support a vision of achieving a “third industrial revolution” where economic growth and value-creation is de-coupled from carbon dioxide emissions. Second, market mechanisms are generally preferred by economists to regulation and subsidies as a means to reduce emissions because they achieve reductions at a lower overall cost, tend to direct emissions to their highest-value uses, and demand less institutional capacity since emitters rather than governments decide how to reduce emissions. Third, emissions reductions need to be linked to continual technological and policy in¬novation, as well as the need for proper design and implementation of market mechanisms. This point was emphasized with reference to the European Union Emissions Trading System (EUETS), where initial carbon permit prices were too low to incentivize low-carbon research and develop¬ment. The low initial price of the EUETS made it more palatable to industry, but too low to send a significant market signal due to institutional weaknesses and the economic downturn. The keynote addresses framed the discussion for the remainder of the workshop, which consisted of three off-the-record thematic sessions. Each thematic session focused on a different set of mar¬ket mechanisms to address different facets of the climate policy challenge. The first session exam¬ined instruments designed to limit and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, either by imposition of a tax designed to internalize the external cost of climate disruption or through establishment of a cap-and-trade system whereby permits to emit carbon dioxide are issued under an overall cap set by government, and which can then be traded as some emitters make efficiency improvements. The second session examined the use of subsidies and other incentives to encourage clean technol¬ogy innovation, and the third session examined the potential for a water-rights trading system to allocate water resources under conditions of increasing scarcity triggered by disruption in precipi¬tation and increased evaporation rates. The workshop concluded with a session devoted to developing a framework for further research and debate on the use of market mechanisms to refine and advance China's climate policy. The framework centered on three over-arching issues concerning market mechanisms: policy mix, innovation systems, and governance. The first of these issues concerns the inclusion of market mechanisms in a broader mix of policy responses, including command-and-control, which may be combined to achieve specific policy objectives. The second concerns the use of market mecha¬nisms to develop, sustain, and enhance innovation systems that continually create new solutions and technologies to achieve a low-carbon future. The third concerns the importance of institutional design and governance systems to ensure the proper functioning of market mechanisms.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Wing Ho Tom Cheng, Gautam Kamath, Kevin Rowe, Eleanor Wood, Taisen Yue
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Shanghai will lock in a future of high energy costs and worsening air pollution if it does not change current policies for the planning, construction, and operation of new urban developments, particularly transportation systems, and buildings. This report assesses the policy frameworks for these systems and their implications for Shanghai's prospects as a low carbon city. The major obstacles to efficient, low carbon development are the fragmented planning system for land use and transportation, the insufficiently stringent building energy efficiency codes and the lack of investment in opportunities to encourage efficient consumer behavior. Carbon lock-in occurs when infrastructure projects, or other developments with long lifetimes, are designed with high-carbon characteristics that are difficult to reverse later. This issue is par¬ticularly acute for rapidly-urbanizing Shanghai, where there is an emphasis on keeping project costs low and completion times short. This report was prepared as a case study for the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), a prominent government-affiliated think tank in China. The recommendations are addressed to the Shanghai Municipal Government. Many recommendations hold relevance for the governments of other fast-growing Chinese cities facing similar carbon lock-in challenges to Shanghai.
  • Political Geography: China, Shanghai
  • Author: Yuen Foong Khong
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: One of the early exhibits of the 2010 Shanghai Expo that greeted the visitor was a display of the Chinese living room through time. What made the otherwise prosaic display rise above the ordinary was its point of departure: the year 1978. The 1978 room was dim, dowdy, and equipped with the most basic furniture, reflecting a poor household. The 1988 living room offered visible improvements, while the 1998 living room had many, but not all, of the accoutrements of the middleclass living room. The 2008 living room—whether aspiration or reality—had it all: ambient lighting, leather sofas, and a plasma television screen. The message was clear: China today would prefer not to dwell on the past; the focus needs to be on economic modernization and its payoffs that began with Deng Xiaoping's opening up of China's economy in 1978.
  • Political Geography: United States, China