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  • Author: Paul A. Goble
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In most parts of the world, the lines on maps separating countries are true borders. That is, they are controlled by the governments on one or both sides. But in some places, they remain the quasi-open frontiers they were in the past or have reemerged as such because of recent political changes; those borders are highly porous zones, where people and goods can move more or less freely in one or both directions without much regard to the powers that be. Such situations invite outside involvement that can ramp up quickly and disturb preexisting international arrangements. One poignant example is the adjoining border area shared by Tajikistan and Afghanistan. In recent years, that frontier has attracted attention because of the danger that Islamist militants from Afghanistan could cross it to move north into Tajikistan and beyond. But another danger is emerging: China is establishing increasing control over Tajikistan and, thus, is putting itself in a position to project power southward from Tajikistan into Afghanistan. If Beijing does so, that could fundamentally change the security situation and geopolitical balance in Central and South Asia as a whole.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Borders
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, South Asia, Central Asia, Asia, Tajikistan
  • Author: Branimir Vidmarovic
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: As the globally difficult 2020 came to an end, China is entering a challenging and perilous period unlike any other in its long history. COVID-19 pandemic, widely believed to have originated in Chinese Wuhan, severely damaged China’s international image, especially among Western democracies. At the beginning of the millennium, Chinese policymakers reached a conclusion that favorable political and security environment presented China with a ‘strategic window of opportunity’ for the next 15 to 20 years, during which the country should strive to achieve its economic, social and security development goals. It was believed that at some point, the West would become wary and agitated by China’s rise – which would in turn lead to a shift towards less favorable conditions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, Hegemony, Isolation
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Francesca Ghiretti
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The debate on technological development and the unfolding fourth technological revolution tends to neglect the role of the EU, relegating it to follower status. The leadership positions are occupied by the US and China, who compete with one another for technological supremacy. Yet, despite lagging behind in some areas, the EU is better placed than is often assumed and still stands a chance of guaranteeing the delivery of a technological revolution that is not only environmentally but also socially sustainable. This is critical in proposing a model of technological development alternative to that of China, in particular, and especially in such sectors as artificial intelligence, supercomputing and digital skills.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, European Union
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Alice Politi
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been described as the largest infrastructure project in history, affecting around 60 per cent of the global population. Whilst promoting a narrative of connectivity, growth and “win-win partnerships”, the project has received opposing assessments regarding its wider impact, particularly in the environmental domain.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Infrastructure, Green Technology, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Flavio Fusco
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Building on emerging debates on the need to develop de-escalation mechanisms for the Middle East, the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) and the Brussels-based Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), with support from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, launched a one-year research and outreach project entitled “Fostering a New Security Architecture in the Middle East”. Connected to the research, an expert survey targeting European, US, Russian, Middle Eastern and Chinese experts and practitioners was conducted on key themes, principles and approaches associated with a potential new security architecture for the region. The results of the survey – first published in an edited book volume jointly published by IAI and FEPS in November 2020 – are analysed below, complete with tables and infographics on key themes associated with the research project and the search for new, inclusive mechanisms for dialogue and de-escalation in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Anton Malkin
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: China’s journey from being a technological backwater to a technological superpower was fuelled, in part, by the success of its venture capital (VC) sector in supporting start-ups. Its VC market is now the second largest in the world after that of the United States. As of 2019, China produced more “unicorns” (privately held, rapidly growing, early-stage technology companies valued at US$1 billion or more) than the United States. Policy makers can learn the following lessons from China’s growing VC sector: China’s use of labour market incentives promotes reverse migration of highly educated expatriates; weak intellectual property protection is not necessarily a deterrent to VC funding, especially in developing countries; government finance, when used appropriately, can help direct VC toward promising technology firms; and an emerging market does not need to wait until it becomes financially developed in order to create funding channels to support start-ups and entrepreneurship.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Hegemony, Finance, Venture Capital
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Hanzhi Yu, Yang Xue
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Cutting-edge biotechnology, mainly consisting of gene editing, gene drives and gene synthesis, is developing and changing rapidly. It acts as a double-edged sword, bringing benefits to human development in many fields, such as medical treatment and agriculture, while also posing serious threats to biological security, human existence and development. For example, the case of He Jiankui, a young scholar from the Southern University of Science and Technology of China who created gene-edited babies, triggered a global controversy and debate on biosafety in the winter of 2018. This paper argues that the problems China faces do not only exist in China — they are in fact common problems faced by all countries in the world. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is paying close attention to global health governance and biosafety issues. There is a window of opportunity for global collaboration to deal with biosecurity threats.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Science and Technology, Biotechnology
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Alex He
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the strategies and plans, policy-making institutions, process and problems in China’s techno-industrial development. Although it has made noticeable progress in some areas in the past two decades, China still lags behind in most core technology and advanced manufacturing fields, such as high-end chips. There have been several real breakthroughs in the semiconductor sector by private companies such as HiSilicon and rapid advancement in frontier technologies — artificial intelligence, fifth-generation wireless communication network technology, big data, blockchain and the Internet of Things — by private companies such as Huawei, Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu; however, state-sponsored technological innovation and breakthroughs have been crippled by the existing problems in China’s science and technology research system and a campaign-style catch-up strategy that rewards bureaucrats on short-term goals, as well as by weak links between academic research and industry and a swing between the market-oriented approach for technology acquisitions and indigenous innovation for technology breakthroughs. A case study of China’s semiconductor industry demonstrates both the problems and progress in China’s techno-industrial development, as well as the implications for the country's prospects of evolving into a technological powerhouse.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Industry, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Vijay Gokhale
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: China and India struggle to comprehend each other’s international ambitions. The misperceptions that follow lead to a lack of trust, border skirmishes, and potentially worse. On June 15, 2020, Indian and Chinese troops engaged in a brawl that left twenty Indian soldiers dead while causing an unspecified number of Chinese casualties. The clash is a part of a broader border standoff along the Galwan River between the two forces on the Line of Actual Control that is yet to be resolved. The Indian strategic community is broadly in agreement that this border dispute marks an implacable decline in India-China ties. They argue that the very basis of relations that emerged after former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to Beijing in 1988 has been shaken, if not destroyed. Yet, how did the two countries manage to reach this nadir in ties, and furthermore, what does the Galwan clash signify for the future of Sino-Indian relations? This paper argues that, long before the present border dispute occurred, Sino-Indian relations had been steadily declining due to rampant misperceptions of the other side, contributing to a lack of trust. The most fundamental misperception between the two countries is the inability to comprehend each other’s international ambitions, yielding the fear that their foreign policies are targeted against the other. This paper traces the impact and development of these misperceptions on Sino-Indian ties through three different phases before considering the future of the relationship after the Galwan dispute.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes, Borders
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: During the pandemic, Chinese medical and equipment supplies to Chile have come mostly from a diverse cast of Chinese players with local experience in Chile. They adapted to Chile’s unique system of emergency and disaster management. China has become a global power, but there is too little debate about how this has happened and what it means. Many argue that China exports its developmental model and imposes it on other countries. But Chinese players also extend their influence by working through local actors and institutions while adapting and assimilating local and traditional forms, norms, and practices. With a generous multiyear grant from the Ford Foundation, Carnegie has launched an innovative body of research on Chinese engagement strategies in seven regions of the world—Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, the Pacific, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Through a mix of research and strategic convening, this project explores these complex dynamics, including the ways Chinese firms are adapting to local labor laws in Latin America, Chinese banks and funds are exploring traditional Islamic financial and credit products in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and Chinese actors are helping local workers upgrade their skills in Central Asia. These adaptive Chinese strategies that accommodate and work within local realities are mostly ignored by Western policymakers in particular. Ultimately, the project aims to significantly broaden understanding and debate about China’s role in the world and to generate innovative policy ideas. These could enable local players to better channel Chinese energies to support their societies and economies; provide lessons for Western engagement around the world, especially in developing countries; help China’s own policy community learn from the diversity of Chinese experience; and potentially reduce frictions.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Disaster Relief, Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South America, Chile
  • Author: Chad P. Bown
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The Trump administration changed US trade policy toward China in ways that will take years for researchers to sort out. This paper makes four specific contributions to that research agenda. First, it carefully marks the timing, definitions, and scale of the products subject to the tariff changes affecting US-China trade from January 20, 2017 through January 20, 2021. One result is that each country increased its average duty on imports from the other to rates of roughly 20 percent, with the new tariffs and counter-tariffs covering more than 50 percent of bilateral trade. Second, the paper highlights two additional channels through which bilateral tariffs changed during this period: product exclusions from tariffs and trade remedy policies of antidumping and countervailing duties. These two channels have received less research attention. Third, it explores why China fell more than 40 percent short of meeting the goods purchase commitments set out for 2020, the first year of the phase one agreement. Finally, the paper considers additional trade policy actions—involving forced labor, export controls for reasons of national security or human rights, and reclassification of trade with Hong Kong—likely to affect US-China trade beyond the Trump administration.
  • Topic: Education, Trade Wars, Trade Policy, Protectionism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anna Gelpern, Sebastian Horn, Scott Morris, Brad Parks, Christoph Trebesch
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: China is the world’s largest official creditor, but basic facts are lacking about the terms and conditions of its lending. Very few contracts between Chinese lenders and their government borrowers have ever been published or studied. This paper is the first systematic analysis of the legal terms of China’s foreign lending. The authors collect and analyze 100 contracts between Chinese state-owned entities and government borrowers in 24 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Oceania, and compare them with those of other bilateral, multilateral, and commercial creditors. Three main insights emerge. First, the Chinese contracts contain unusual confidentiality clauses that bar borrowers from revealing the terms or even the existence of the debt. Second, Chinese lenders seek advantage over other creditors, using collateral arrangements such as lender-controlled revenue accounts and promises to keep the debt out of collective restructuring (“no Paris Club” clauses). Third, cancellation, acceleration, and stabilization clauses in Chinese contracts potentially allow the lenders to influence debtors’ domestic and foreign policies. Even if these terms were unenforceable in court, the mix of confidentiality, seniority, and policy influence could limit the sovereign debtor’s crisis management options and complicate debt renegotiation. Overall, the contracts use creative design to manage credit risks and overcome enforcement hurdles, presenting China as a muscular and commercially savvy lender to the developing world.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Debt, Government, Banking
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: The Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI), with the generous support of the Korea Foundation, organized six “Vision Group” roundtable conversations with leading American scholars and commentators to discuss the United States’ relationship with the Republic of Korea. The first was held in December 2019, the last in November 2020. The intent was to consider the future of relations during a time of change. The Vision Group comprised a wide range of expertise and opinion. This record conveys some of the insights and recommendations that arose during the conversations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Maximilian Ernst
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: This paper examines South Korea’s foreign policy towards China before, during, and after the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense dispute to investigate the limits of South Korea’s public diplomacy and soft power. South Korea’s official public diplomacy has the objective to “gain global support for Korea’s policies,” following Joseph Nye’s narrow definition of soft power. South Korea furthermore ranks high in the most relevant soft power indices. Based on the case of Chinese economic retaliation against South Korea in response to THAAD deployment, this paper argues that public diplomacy and soft power only work in the absence of traditional security contentions, but fail in the presence of such security contentions. The THAAD case also demonstrates the utility of traditional diplomacy, based on high-level summits and negotiations, to solve the very disputes that South Korea’s latent public diplomacy and soft power were unable to alleviate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Weapons
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Chunbing Xing
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the evolution of China’s industrial and occupational structure in the last two decades and its impact on wage inequality. We find that non-routine cognitive and interpersonal tasks have increased, while routine cognitive tasks first increased and then declined. Occupation structural change is accompanying rising wage inequality. The wage premium for educated workers rose sharply in the 1990s and remained high thereafter. Occupations with high routine task intensity are associated with lower wages. While the return to education has become the largest contributor to wage inequality, routine task intensities have yet to play a significant role.
  • Topic: Education, Labor Issues, Employment, Inequality, Work Culture
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Scott Lincicome, Huan Zhu
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising U.S.-China tensions, American policymakers have again embraced “industrial policy.” Both President Biden and his predecessor, as well as legislators from both parties, have advocated a range of federal support for American manufacturers to fix perceived weaknesses in the U.S. economy and to counter China’s growing economic clout. These and other industrial policy advocates, however, routinely leave unanswered important questions about U.S. industrial policy’s efficacy and necessity: What is “Industrial Policy”? Advocates of “industrial policy” often fail to define the term, thus permitting them to ignore past failures and embrace false successes while preventing a legitimate assessment of industrial policies’ costs and benefits. Yet U.S. industrial policy’s history of debate and implementation establishes several requisite elements – elements that reveal most “industrial policy successes” not to be “industrial policy” at all. What are the common obstacles to effective U.S. industrial policy? Several obstacles have prevented U.S. industrial policies from generating better outcomes than the market. This includes legislators’ and bureaucrats’ inability to “pick winners” and efficiently allocate public resources (Hayek’s “Knowledge Problem”); factors inherent in the U.S. political system (Public Choice Theory); lack of discipline regarding scope, duration, and budgetary costs; interaction with other government policies that distort the market at issue; and substantial unseen costs. What “problem” will industrial policy solve? The most common problems purportedly solved by industrial policy proposals are less serious than advocates claim or unfixable via industrial policy. This includes allegations of widespread U.S. “deindustrialization” and a broader decline in American innovation; the disappearance of “good jobs”; the erosion of middle‐​class living standards; and the destruction of American communities. Do other countries’ industrial policies demand U.S. industrial policy? The experiences of other countries generally cannot justify U.S. industrial policy because countries have different economic and political systems. Regardless, industrial policy successes abroad – for example, in Japan, Korea and Taiwan – are exaggerated. Also, China’s economic growth and industrial policies do not justify similar U.S. policies, considering the market‐​based reasons for China’s rise, the Chinese policies’ immense costs, and the systemic challenges that could derail China’s future growth and geopolitical influence. These answers argue strongly against a new U.S. embrace of industrial policy. The United States undoubtedly faces economic and geopolitical challenges, including ones related to China, but the solution lies not in copying China’s top‐​down economic planning. Reality, in fact, argues much the opposite.
  • Topic: Government, Industrial Policy, Manufacturing, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Patrick Suckling
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: China’s recent commitment to reach carbon neutrality before 2060 means that for the first time ever, India is on track to become the world’s largest emitter. At a time that demands urgent action if we are to stay within the goals of the Paris Agreement, this brings into contrast India’s traditionally bifurcated approach that it has used to guard against taking greater action in light of the responsibility of the developed world to lead the way. Nevertheless, in recent decades, a political appetite for climate action has been growing in India, including reinforcing its global leadership credentials at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Climate-related disasters have also driven public support for more constructive engagement by Delhi. However, this appetite does not yet match growing international expectations for Indian action, as momentum for global climate action and ambition accelerates rapidly around the world in the lead-up to the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow in November 2021. The election of U.S. President Joe Biden and recent commitments to net-zero by other Asian economies such as Japan and Korea underscore the weight of growing expectations on India. A sophisticated and holistic strategy to catalyze climate ambition from India is needed if the world is to succeed and help the country navigate a new low-carbon development model. India’s recent establishment of an Apex Committee on the Implementation of the Paris Agreement and its commitment to produce a long-term strategy to reduce emissions provide two particular openings for this even if signals elsewhere are mooted, including the impact of India’s economic response to COVID-19. And at a geopolitical level, India’s relations with China can help reinforce the need for action, and so too can India’s shifting relations with the G77 group of developing nations. This strategy must involve a mix of both greater political and policy engagement and deeper technical and financial support to help accelerate action — including through helping unlock greater private finance domestically. The recently announced U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership is an excellent first step in this regard. This Asia Society Policy Institute issue paper, Catalyzing India's Climate Ambition, authored by Senior Fellow and former Australian High Commissioner to India and Ambassador for the Environment Patrick Suckling, sets out how the wider international community should sensitively, constructively, and intelligently now work with India to catalyze greater climate ambition in the lead-up to COP26 and beyond.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: After four years of U.S. absence from the global climate stage, a majority of voters—including a plurality of Republican voters—agree the United States should take ambitious actions to address climate change and lead the world in tackling the climate crisis, even if China and other countries do not increase their own ambition. With the exception of nuclear disarmament, a majority of voters see climate change as the most important issue for the United States and China to cooperate on—more so than tackling COVID-19. At the same time, competing with China to become the world leader in the development of clean energy technologies drives up support among voters across the political spectrum for the United States ramping up its own clean energy industry. Similarly, voter support for the United States enhancing its climate ambition increases if China takes additional steps. Despite voters expressing apprehension toward partnering with China on innovation and trade in a number of sectors like automobiles and healthcare, voters are also very receptive to a potential partnership around clean energy development. However, voters want President Biden to also uphold his campaign promise to devise policies that will hold China “accountable” for its climate commitments. Voters support this more than any of Biden’s other proposals for global climate action. With this in mind, voters support the idea of the United States providing competitive financing for renewable energy projects to Belt and Road Initiative countries and instituting a carbon border tax as possible ways to increase pressure on China to do more both at home and abroad. For instance, an overwhelming majority of voters think China should aim to achieve carbon neutrality much sooner than 2060. Notably, a near majority of voters are also supportive of the U.S. military and Chinese military working together even more to assess climate risks and improve disaster preparedness around the world. Though President Biden may face some roadblocks from Republicans who are less supportive of U.S.-China climate cooperation than Democrats and independents, messaging around maintaining U.S. leadership over China on climate action and clean energy development clearly resonates with Republican voters.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Public Opinion, Voting, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, United States of America
  • Author: David Hoffman
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The recently enacted revisions to China’s Anti-Monopoly Law, and its extensive provisions for regulating China’s “platform economy” – i.e., fintech and ecommerce platforms – are consequential for foreign investors in China, bearing both upside and downside risks. On the one hand, they reinforce the trend of increasing state intervention in China’s economy and commercial markets and raise concerns about a more confined and controlled play-space for the private sector in China, a cohort which includes foreign multinational companies and financial investors.
  • Topic: Governance, Law, Economy, Business , Investment, Monopoly, Private Sector, Commerce
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: David Hoffman
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: Many China organizations of western multinational companies (MNCs) report increasing friction and misalignment with headquarters (HQ) across a range of China issues. We observe three primary sources of tension and misalignment: a differing appraisal of risks, including, importantly, confidence in abilities to protect IP; a differing calculus on the evaluation of opportunities; and concerns, at HQ and Board level, about the control implications of increasingly divergent, if not more autonomous, China operations.
  • Topic: Economy, Business , Multinational Corporations, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Malte Winkler, Sonja Peterson, Sneha Thube
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: Linking the EU and Chinese Emission Trading Systems (ETS) increases the cost-efficiency of reaching greenhouse gas mitigation targets, but both partners will benefit – if at all – to different degrees. Using the global computable-general equilibrium (CGE) model DART Kiel, we evaluate the effects of linking ETS in combination with 1) restricted allowances trading, 2) adjusted allowance endowments to compensate China, and 3) altered Armington elasticities when Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets are met. We find that generally, both partners benefit from linking their respective trading systems. Yet, while the EU prefers full linking, China favors restricted allowance trading. Transfer payments through adjusted allowance endowments cannot sufficiently compensate China so as to make full linking as attractive as restricted trading. Gains associated with linking increase with higher Armington elasticities for China, but decrease for the EU. Overall, the EU and China favor differing options of linking ETS. Moreover, heterogeneous impacts across EU countries could cause dissent among EU regions, potentially increasing the difficulty of finding a linking solution favorable for all trading partners.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: C. P. Chandrasekhar
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Forced by the 1997 Southeast Asian crisis to recognize the external vulnerabilities that openness to volatile capital flows result in and upset over the post-crisis policy responses imposed by the IMF, countries in the sub-region saw the need for a regional financial safety net that can pre-empt or mitigate future crises. At the outset, the aim of the initiative, then led by Japan, was to create a facility or design a mechanism that was independent of the United States and the IMF, since the former was less concerned with vulnerabilities in Asia than it was in Latin America and that the latter’s recommendations proved damaging for countries in the region. But US opposition and inherited geopolitical tensions in the region blocked Japan’s initial proposal to establish an Asian Monetary Fund, a kind of regional IMF. As an alternative, the ASEAN+3 grouping (ASEAN members plus China, Japan and South Korea) opted for more flexible arrangements, at the core of which was a network of multilateral and bilateral central bank swap agreements. While central bank swap agreements have played a role in crisis management, the effort to make them the central instruments of a cooperatively established regional safety net, the Chiang Mai Initiative, failed. During the crises of 2008 and 2020 countries covered by the Initiative chose not to rely on the facility, preferring to turn to multilateral institutions such as the ADB, World Bank and IMF or enter into bilateral agreements within and outside the region for assistance. The fundamental problem was that because of an effort to appease the US and the IMF and the use of the IMF as a foil against the dominance of a regional power like Japan, the regional arrangement was not a real alternative to traditional sources of balance of payments support. In particular, access to significant financial assistance under the arrangement required a country to be supported first by an IMF program and be subject to the IMF’s conditions and surveillance. The failure of the multilateral effort meant that a specifically Asian safety net independent of the US and the IMF had to be one constructed by a regional power involving support for a network of bilateral agreements. Japan was the first regional power to seek to build such a network through it post-1997 Miyazawa Initiative. But its own complex relationship with the US meant that its intervention could not be sustained, more so because of the crisis that engulfed Japan in 1990. But the prospect of regional independence in crisis resolution has revived with the rise of China as a regional and global power. This time both economics and China’s independence from the US seem to improve prospects of successful regional cooperation to address financial vulnerability. A history of tensions between China and its neighbours and the fear of Chinese dominance may yet lead to one more failure. But, as of now, the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s support for a large number of bilateral swap arrangements and its participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership seem to suggest that Asian countries may finally come into their own.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Financial Crisis, Central Bank, IMF, Liberalization, Financial Globalization, Financial Integration
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Aliya Tskhay
  • Publication Date: 10-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Central Asia is at the core of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which promises to bring connectivity, trade, and improved infrastructure, as well as overall economic development to the states of the region. Yet beyond the official rhetoric, China is promoting its power through geoeconomic means. This paper looks at areas of cooperation (energy, infrastructure, trade, and finance) and identifies the ways in which China is involved with the region. Through a combination of loans, investments, and infrastructure projects, the research shows how China ‘binds’ the region closer to itself and ‘wedges’ out alternative partners. It also shows how Central Asian states utilise the funding within the BRI framework for national development programmes, whilst navigating avenues for mitigating the establishment of a dependent relationship with China. The paper concludes with some policy implications for China, Central Asia, and the wider region.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Hegemony, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: Over the last decade and a half, Israel and the U.S. have become India’s top arms suppliers, and a robust defence partnership is underway. Beyond pure defence trade, Israeli and U.S. defence companies have participated in the ‘Make in India’ initiative, focusing on technology transfers and the co-development and co-production of technologies. This is the moment for India to capitalise on these two critical, bilateral defence partners, and particularly the start-up innovation hubs of Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv. How can India insert itself into the U.S.-Israel defence technology cooperation corridor, and participate in the development of emerging technologies like quantum computing and artificial intelligence in defence? What benefit will the U.S. and Israel gain from a partnership with India? This paper studies the U.S.-Israel defence technology corridor, and suggests potential collaborations for India. It will necessitate the three innovation hubs of Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv and Bengaluru coming together to capitalise on their respective strengths and declared national technology priorities. Bringing a like-minded, tech-savvy democracy like India into the arc of the U.S.-Israel partnership will offer a trinity of benefits: a robust and tested edge in emerging technologies to the three militaries over their adversaries, develop interoperability, and reinforce their access to the Indian market. The greatest benefit will be for India, which has been set back by lengthy defence acquisition procedures, and will do better with a modern defence base at home. India will have to overcome the geopolitical hurdles of its defence relationship with Russia, and of Israel’s reported defence ties with China and Pakistan, to build a sturdy trilateral cooperation.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Science and Technology, Geopolitics, Arms Trade, Defense Industry
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, China, South Asia, India, Israel, United States of America
  • Author: Lora Saalman
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: This SIPRI Insights paper explores a series of nuclear transparency and confidence-building measures (CBMs) proposed by military, nuclear, political and regional experts from China, India, Pakistan, Russia and the United States to address nuclear challenges in South Asia. It categorizes these bilateral, trilateral and multilateral measures into doctrinal dialogues and joint threat assessment exercises; communication lines, pre-notification and de-alerting; and development and employment of strategic technologies. The paper then provides a spectrum of viability across which it identifies proposals with the greatest potential, moderate potential and the least potential for reinvigorating nuclear transparency measures and CBMs in South Asia.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Disarmament, Nonproliferation, Transparency
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, China, South Asia, India, United States of America
  • Author: Ian Anthony, Jiayi Zhou, Jingdong Yuan, Fei Su, Jinyung Kim
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The long-standing relationship between China and the European Union (EU) is being subsumed into a broader geopolitical competition between major power centres. Alongside cooperation, elements of competition and rivalry have been sharpened by a re-evaluation of the bilateral relationship by EU actors. Areas of cooperation have included Chinese involvement in the EU’s internal connectivity projects—specifically in transport and digital networks. This report examines this cooperation and assesses its prospects. Enhancing connectivity within and around the EU to facilitate trade and commercial relations was relatively uncontroversial even if initiatives were never fully aligned. But the space for common projects has been narrowed by political divergence and new sensitivities in the EU regarding the security implications of Chinese investments. China understands that the EU’s scrutiny of its investments and restrictions on its involvement in connectivity projects are affected by EU–US relations. Despite these tensions, the report shows that constructive ways forward in this globally significant relationship are still possible, both within and beyond the connectivity domains.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, European Union, Conflict, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Peace
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Ian Anthony, Fei Su
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: This SIPRI Insights on Peace and Security paper examines security challenges arising from the Arctic activities of three actors with a substantial ‘footprint’—China, Russia and the United States—and how they might be addressed in existing and new frameworks. Arctic and non-Arctic states want to exploit commercial opportunities created by a changing physical environment. Arctic states agree that climate-related challenges can be addressed through cooperation within existing institutions. However, to ensure that increasing human activity stays within acceptable environmental and human security risk levels, non-Arctic states need to be engaged. The risk of unwanted escalation in military tension in the Arctic due to deteriorating relations among major powers over disputes arising elsewhere has grown to the point where it cannot be ignored. A steady increase in military investments in the Arctic, or Arctic operations, will continue, but there is no ready-made framework to address military security challenges. Issues that occupy a ‘grey zone’ between military and non-military security will have to be addressed as digital and transport infrastructure expand in the Arctic. However, there is little experience in how diverse state and non-state actors can manage cooperation and competition simultaneously.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Ekrem Eddy Güzeldere
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: With the EU putting the Western Balkan countries in an undefined waiting room, there was more room for maneuver for non-EU players. Turkey among others used this space to broaden its influence in the Balkans from politics to the economy, from culture to military cooperation, albeit from a very low starting point. The bilateral relations with all countries of the region are rather good, President Erdogan enjoys the recognition he is often lacking in other parts of the world. While the pandemic further harmed the EU’s image, it was mostly China and Russia who could fill the void with their own vaccines. Lacking its own vaccine so far, Turkey was much less visible. However, in the long-run, Turkey is not interested in an EU-Turkey confrontation over the Western Balkans, but that these countries join the EU. Through this, Turkey would increase the number of allies in a bloc where friends have become few.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Turkey, Balkans
  • Author: Gidon Gautel
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: The 2020s will see a flurry of space activity, with both national and commercial programs picking up pace. Both the United States and China hold strong ambitions in telecommunications, lunar exploration, and beyond. However, currently fraught relations between the superpowers are unlikely to improve and may yet deteriorate further. On the one hand, competition between both countries may drive space activities and foster technological innovation. On the other, as both superpowers expand their activities in space, geopolitical tensions may increase the risk of harmful dynamics that could endanger the sustainable rollout of future programs. In this Strategic Update, Gidon Gautel seeks to outline and call attention to two high-risk flash points arising from the development of the US and China’s national space programmes and industries.
  • Topic: Geopolitics, Space, Innovation, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Chris Alden, Kenddrick Chan
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: This Strategic Update explores how official Chinese foreign policy entities have used Twitter as a public diplomacy platform during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nature of their Twitter activity, and what this means for Chinese Twitter Diplomacy in the future.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Social Media, COVID-19, Twitter, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Dimitri Zabelin
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: COVID-19 has accelerated the trend of deglobalisation and further entrenched China into the growing political and economic fort of Asia. This has made the US less effective at implementing policies aimed at curbing Beijing’s political ambitions and strength in the region. Washington must therefore make itself indispensable in Asia and employ strategies for bringing China into a global network that can collectively reign in the Asian giant’s growing influence.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Strategic Competition, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Yee-Kuang Heng
  • Publication Date: 11-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: LSE IDEAS
  • Abstract: In this Strategic Update, Professor Yee-Kuang Heng investigates European power projection and presence in the Indo-Pacific, and its converging nature with Japan’s attempt to shape the regional environment in its favour. While UK threat perceptions have converged significantly with Japan’s since former Prime Minister David Cameron’s promulgation of a “golden era” in relations with China, managing expectations of Japan’s attempt to ‘shape’ and encourage Europeanisation remains crucial. But is it fair to conclude that Japan has been successful in encouraging a stronger European presence to help it shape the Indo-Pacific order?
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Europeanization, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, United Kingdom, Europe, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Jie Bai
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: There is often a lack of reliable quality provision in many markets in developing countries and firms generally lack a reputation for quality. One potential explanation is that mistrust due to past bad behavior can make reputation-building difficult. I examine this hypothesis in a setting that features typical market conditions in developing countries: the retail watermelon markets in a major Chinese city. I first demonstrate empirically that there is substantial asymmetric information between sellers and buyers on quality and a stark absence of quality premium at baseline. I then randomly introduce one of two branding technologies into 40 out of 60 markets–one sticker label that is widely used and counterfeited and one novel expensive laser-cut label. The experiment findings show that laser-branding induced sellers to provide higher quality and led to higher sales profits. However, after the intervention was withdrawn, all markets reverted back to baseline. I incorporate the experimental variation into an empirical model of consumer learning and seller reputation building. The results suggest that consumers are hesitant to upgrade their perception under stickers, which makes reputation-building a low-return investment. While the new technology enhances learning, the resulting increase in profits is not sufficient to cover the fixed cost of the technology for small individual sellers. Counterfactual analysis shows that information friction and fragmented market lead to significant under-provision of quality.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Developing World
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Global Focus
  • 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: Malcolm Davis
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines the key drivers shaping Australia’s role as a middle power in an era of intensifying US-China strategic competition. These drivers include the influence of strategic geography; its historical legacy in international affairs; the impact of its economic relationships with states in the Indo-Pacific region; the changing demands of defence policy, including the potential offered by rapid technological change; and, the impact of climate change, resource constraints and demographic factors. The paper considers three possible scenarios that will shape Australia’s middle power policy choices – a US-China strategic equilibrium; a “China crash” scenario that promotes a more nationalist and assertive Chinese foreign policy; and a third “major power conflict” scenario where competition extends into military conflict. The paper concludes that Australia cannot maintain a delicate balance between its strategic alliance with the US and trading relationship with China. It argues there is a need for Australia to adopt a deeper strategic alliance with the US while promoting closer ties with its partners in the Indo-Pacific and supporting the growth of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific region to counterbalance growing Chinese power. Australia needs to embrace an Indo-Pacific step up, and as a middle power, reduce the prospect of a Sino-centric regional order emerging.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nationalism, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Australia, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Frank Umbach
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: When Beijing threatened to restrict China’s export of rare earths (widely used in numerous important civilian and military technologies) to the United States at the end of May 2019, the world was reminded of China’s rare earths export disruption in the autumn of 2010 amid a maritime territorial conflict between China and Japan. In the past few years, the worldwide attention cast on the future supply security of rare earths and other critical raw materials has increased in the United States, the European Union, Japan and other countries owing to the global expansion of “green technologies” (including renewable energy sources, electric vehicles and batteries, and smart grids) and digitalisation as well as equipment and devices embedded with artificial intelligence. In this paper, the term “critical raw materials” (CRMs) refers to raw materials critical to industries that are also import-dependent on them, and to new technologies which often have no viable substitutes and whose supply, besides being constrained by limited recycling rates and options, is also dominated by one or a few suppliers. CRMs include rare earth elements (REEs), which comprise 17 different elements (see Figure 4). The global race for the most advanced technologies dependent on CRMs has intensified the competition for access to as well as strategic control of REEs, lithium, cobalt, copper, nickel and other CRMs. This working paper analyses the global supply and demand balance of three CRMs (REEs, lithium and cobalt, the latter two being major raw materials for batteries) in the foreseeable future and whether ASEAN countries can play a role as producers and suppliers of CRMs. It also examines potential counterstrategies for mitigating and reducing the global demand for CRMs, such as substitution, reduced use of CRMs, and recycling and re-use.
  • Topic: Natural Resources, Digital Economy, Green Technology, Metals
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Gaurav Sharma, Marc Finaud
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Due to the importance India attaches to potential threats to its maritime security, its diplomacy has increasingly focused on the Indian Ocean region (IOR) and it has increased cooperation with Indian Ocean states. In the last five years, India has also established security partnerships with major IOR strategic stakeholders such as France and the United States. India has increasingly invested in providing military training, weapons support and disaster relief assistance to “like-minded” states in the IOR. Due to the potential risks of escalation to nuclear-weapons use should conflict occur with other countries in the region such as China and Pakistan, it would be in India’s interests to promote more confidence and
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Affairs, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, India, Indian Ocean
  • Author: George Perkovich
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: For decades, policy debates in nuclear-armed states and alliances have centered on the question, “How much is enough?” What size and type of arsenal, and what doctrine, are enough to credibly deter given adversaries? This paper argues that the more urgent question today is, “How much is too much?” What size and type of arsenal, and what doctrine, are too likely to produce humanitarian and environmental catastrophe that would be strategically and legally indefensible? Two international initiatives could help answer this question. One would involve nuclear-armed states, perhaps with others, commissioning suitable scientific experts to conduct new studies on the probable climatic and environmental consequences of nuclear war. Such studies would benefit from recent advances in modeling, data, and computing power. They should explore what changes in numbers, yields, and targets of nuclear weapons would significantly reduce the probability of nuclear winter. If some nuclear arsenals and operational plans are especially likely to threaten the global environment and food supply, nuclear-armed states as well as non-nuclear-weapon states would benefit from actions to physically reduce such risks. The paper suggests possible modalities for international debate on these issues. The second initiative would query all nuclear-armed states whether they plan to adhere to international humanitarian law in deciding if and when to detonate nuclear weapons, and if so, how their arsenals and operational plans affirm their intentions (or not). The United Kingdom and the United States have committed, in the words of the 2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, to “adhere to the law of armed conflict” in any “initiation and conduct of nuclear operations.” But other nuclear-armed states have been more reticent, and the practical meaning of such declarations needs to be clarified through international discussion. The two proposed initiatives would help states and civil society experts to better reconcile the (perceived) need for nuclear deterrence with the strategic, legal, and physical imperatives of reducing the probability that a war escalates to catastrophic proportions. The concern is not only for the well-being of belligerent populations, but also for those in nations not involved in the posited conflict. Traditional security studies and the policies of some nuclear-armed states have ignored these imperatives. Accountable deterrents—in terms of international law and human survival—would be those that met the security and moral needs of all nations, not just one or two. These purposes may be too modest for states and activists that prefer the immediate prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. Conversely, advocates of escalation dominance in the United States and Russia—and perhaps in Pakistan and India—will find the force reductions and doctrinal changes implied by them too demanding. Yet, the positions of both of these polarized groups are unrealistic and/or unacceptable to a plurality of attentive states and experts. To blunt efforts to stifle further analysis and debate of these issues, the appendix of this paper heuristically rebuts leading arguments against accountable deterrents. Middle powers and civil society have successfully put new issues on the global agenda and created political pressure on major powers to change policies. Yet, cooperation from at least one major nuclear power is necessary to achieve the changes in nuclear deterrent postures and policies explored here. In today’s circumstances, China may be the pivotal player. The conclusion suggests ways in which China could extend the traditional restraint in its nuclear force posture and doctrine into a new approach to nuclear arms control and disarmament with the United States and Russia that could win the support of middle powers and international civil society. If the looming breakdown in the global nuclear order is to be averted, and the dangers of nuclear war to be lessened, new ideas and political coalitions need to gain ascendance. The initiatives proposed here intended to stimulate the sort of analysis and debate from which such ideas and coalitions can emerge.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Environment, Nuclear Power, Weapons , Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, China, India, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Dieter Ernst
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This special report assesses the challenges that China is facing in developing its artificial intelligence (AI) industry due to unprecedented US technology export restrictions. A central proposition is that China’s achievements in AI lack a robust foundation in leading-edge AI chips, and thus the country is vulnerable to externally imposed supply disruptions. The COVID-19 pandemic has further decoupled China from international trade and technology flows. Success in AI requires mastery of data, algorithms and computing power, which, in turn, is determined by the performance of AI chips. Increasing computing power that is cost-effective and energy-saving is the indispensable third component of this magic AI triangle. Research on China’s AI strategy has emphasized China’s huge data sets as a primary advantage. It was assumed that China could always purchase the necessary AI chips from global semiconductor industry leaders. Until recently, AI applications run by leading-edge major Chinese technology firms were powered by foreign chips, mostly designed by a small group of top US semiconductor firms. The outbreak of the technology war, however, is disrupting China’s access to advanced AI chips from the United States. Drawing on field research conducted in 2019, this report contributes to the literature by addressing China’s arguably most immediate and difficult AI challenges. The report highlights China’s challenge of competing in AI, and contrasts America’s and China’s different AI development trajectories. Capabilities and challenges are assessed, both for the large players (Huawei, Alibaba and Baidu) and for a small group of AI chip “unicorns.” The report concludes with implications for China’s future AI chip development.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Sanctions, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Dan Ciuriak, Maria Piashkina
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The rapid digital transformation occurring worldwide poses significant challenges for policy makers working within a governance framework that evolved over centuries. Domestic policy space needs to be redefined for the digital age, and the interface with international trade governance recalibrated. In this paper, Dan Ciuriak and Maria Ptashkina organize the issues facing policy makers under the broad pillars of “economic value capture,” “sovereignty” in public choice and “national security,” and outline a conceptual framework with which policy makers can start to think about a coherent integration of the many reform efforts now under way, considering how policies adopted in these areas can be reconciled with commitments under a multilateral framework adapted for the digital age.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Reform, Digital Economy, Multilateralism, Digitization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Choong Yong Ahn
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: India and South Korea, Asia’s third- and fourth-largest economies, respectively, established a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2010 and upgraded their relationship to a special strategic partnership in 2015. South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s “New Southern” policy and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Act East” policy share important objectives and values through which Korea and India can maximize their potential to pursue high tech-oriented, win-win growth. Both countries face the great challenge of diversifying their economic partners in their respective geo-economic domains amid newly emerging international geo-economic dynamics as well as rapidly changing Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. Given the two countries’ excessive dependence on the Chinese market and potential risks and uncertainties involved in the U.S.-China trade war and related security conflicts, South Korea and India need to deepen bilateral linkages in trade, investment, and cultural contacts. South Korea-India cooperation is crucial in promoting plurilateralism, prosperity, and harmony in East Asia. This paper suggests a specific action agenda to fulfill mutual commitments as entailed in the “Special Strategic Partnership” between these two like-minded countries of South Korea and India.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Science and Technology, Bilateral Relations, Industry
  • Political Geography: United States, China, South Asia, India, Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Jagannath P. Panda
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Both India’s and South Korea’s strategic choices are deeply influenced by the rapidly evolving Indo-Pacific construct, particularly amid a mounting U.S.-China rivalry. With India’s “Look/Act East” policy and South Korea’s “New Southern Policy” offering a perfect stage for deepened mutual cooperation, both nations need to further their relations to build Asia’s future while advancing their respective national interests. With both countries following stringent foreign policies as a result of the actions of their immediate neighbors, they present a geopolitically strategic complementarity for their relationship to prosper and emerge as one of the most important relationships in the region. Seoul’s hesitation to overtly embrace the “Indo-Pacific” concept is not really a barrier; rather a geo-political overture to discard the balance of power politics and pursue an autonomous foreign policy. India’s preference for the “Indo-Pacific” is equally based on strategic autonomy, imbibing universal values and an inclusive regional order. Both countries emphasize a free and rules-based Indo-Pacific and have immense potential to establish security and connectivity partnerships as the keystone of their bilateral ties. With India and South Korea understanding the economic importance versus security ramifications of China, and with Japan’s reemergence as a key regional, if not global actor, both countries need to bring serious strategic intent to their relationship. Making use of the ASEAN platform and bilateral dialogues, South Korea and India have the potential to become one of the strongest Indo-Pacific partners of the 21st century
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia, South Korea, Korea, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Denny Roy
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic threatened to damage China’s international reputation just as the Chinese government under Xi Jinping was peaking in its promotion of China as a model political system and superior international citizen. Beijing launched a massive diplomatic effort aimed at both foreign governments and foreign societies. The goal was to overcome initial negative publicity and to recast China as an efficient and heroic country in the eyes of international public opinion. The crisis created an opening for China to make gains in its international leadership credentials as the world saw the superpower United States falter. Ultimately, however, Chinese pandemic diplomacy contributed to a net decrease in China’s global prestige, largely because domestic political imperatives motivated behavior that generated international disapproval and distrust for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government. This paper summarizes the content of Chinese pandemic diplomacy through the key period of January through May 20201, identifies specific strengths and weaknesses of China’s effort, and briefly assesses its global impact.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Riaz A. Khokhar
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Within the Indo-Pacific region, the United States and Pakistan have sharply divergent strategic objectives. While American objectives have changed over time, focusing in recent years on rivalry with China, Pakistan’s strategic objective has remained constant—to maintain a balance of power with India. Yet Pakistan retains close strategic and economic ties with China, and the United States considers India an important strategic partner. Nevertheless, the two countries have worked together for nearly two decades toward two tactical goals—achieving a political settlement in Afghanistan and eliminating terrorism in South Asia. There is potential for them to cooperate more broadly, for example, increasing direct foreign investment to Pakistan and helping Islamabad balance its relations with the United States and China. Washington’s willingness to expand such cooperation will depend on Pakistan’s cooperation in fighting terrorism in the region.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Terrorism, Power Politics, Foreign Direct Investment, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, South Asia, India, North America, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Rebecca Strating
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The seas are an increasingly important domain for understanding the balance-of-power dynamics between a rising People’s Republic of China and the United States. Specifically, disputes in the South China Sea have intensified over the past decade. Multifaceted disputes concern overlapping claims to territory and maritime jurisdiction, strategic control over maritime domain, and differences in legal interpretations of freedom of navigation. These disputes have become a highly visible microcosm of a broader contest between a maritime order underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and challenger conceptions of order that see a bigger role for rising powers in generating new rules and alternative interpretations of existing international law. This issue examines the responses of non-claimant regional states—India, Australia, South Korea, and Japan—to the South China Sea disputes.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Geopolitics, Maritime, Jurisdiction
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America, South China Sea
  • Author: Robert Sutter
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The so-called “truce” in the trade war with the signing of the phase one U.S.-China trade agreement on January 15 comes amid indicators that the intense U.S. government consensus pushback against a wide range of perceived challenges posed by China may be subsiding.
  • Topic: Government, Bilateral Relations, Economy, Trade Wars
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: H. H. Michael Hsiao, Alan H. Yang
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The elections in January 2020 marked a new era for Taiwan, clearly demonstrating citizens’ resistance to China. The results showed that incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was re-elected with a landslide victory of 8.17 million votes (57.1%) which is higher than the previous record high of 7.65 million votes obtained by the Kuomintang (KMT) President Ma Ying Jeou in 2008. Michael Hsiao and Alan Yang, Chairman and Executive Director, respectively, of the Taiwan‐Asia Exchange Foundation in Taiwan, explain that “The Taiwanese people firmly defended Taiwan’s sovereignty and cherished democracy through free and open elections.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Sovereignty, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Huong Le Thu
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Dr. Huong Le Thu, Senior Analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, explains that “To many, shared concerns about China are the driving force for Vietnam‐U.S. relations.”
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Vietnam, North America, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Alicia Campi
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Dr Alicia Campi, President of the Mongolia Society, explains that “The [“Third Neighbor”] policy was reinterpreted in content and meaning to include cultural and economic partners as diverse as India, Brazil, Kuwait, Turkey, Vietnam, and Iran. With increased superpower rivalry in its region, Mongolia has expanded this basic policy.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Partnerships, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Turkey, India, Mongolia, Asia, Kuwait, Brazil, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sruthi V.S.
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: The ambitious $400 billion deal between China and Iran has garnered worldwide attention. The 18-page draft proposal says that China will facilitate the infusion of about $280 billion to Iran. This major economic and security partnership between China and Iran has raised India’s concerns against the backdrop of its ongoing border conflict with China. According to the New York Times report, the proposed China-Iran deal talks about expanding China’s presence in Iran’s “banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects”, and in return China will receive a steady supply of oil from Iran for the next 25 years at a discounted price. There are more than 100 projects listed in the draft that will see Chinese investments; these include building Free Trade Zones and several very significant ports. The Chinese will also help Iran build infrastructure for 5G networks and come up with an internet filter like the Great Firewall in China. The stronghold of China in Iran could also result in undermining US policy in the Middle East.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, India, Asia
  • Author: Niranjan Jose
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: This year’s border stand-off in the Galwan Valley between China and India following China’s encroachment into Indian territory, is a reminder of India’s perennial problems with Beijing. The latest violation is an example of the staunch stance China has adopted against India. Neither nation is interested in a full-fledged confrontation. In this scenario, New Delhi has no option but to engage with Beijing to resolve the dispute through dialogue; however discussion and confidence-building initiatives by itself will not lead India towards problem-solving. China’s confrontational approach towards India and the border disagreement set the right background as to why it could not be a better opportunity for India to meaningfully engage with Taiwan. India and Taiwan both are Asian democracies pursuing an effective resolution of dynamic social and ethnic problems, and both face aggressive Chinese security policies aimed at establishing regional hegemony. From a strategic security perspective, both India and Taiwan are deeply concerned about the rising assertiveness of Beijing in the region. The China element can become a tool for moving closer to the strategic communities in New Delhi and Taipei. India and Taiwan have a variety of mutual concerns, ranging from controlling China’s growth to a political and economic partnership. For Taiwan, China’s current trade war with the US has made several Taiwanese firms keen to reduce their vulnerability on China. Indian government initiatives such as Smart Cities, Make in India, Digital India, and Start-up India were launched to increase India’s viability for foreign investors, making it an attractive destination for Taiwanese corporations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, India, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Joshua Cavanaugh
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: A select delegation of leaders from the U.S. Democratic and Republican Parties and the global business community traveled to Beijing, China to meet with senior officials from the Communist Party of China (CPC) on November 18-21, 2019. The discussions were part of the 11th U.S.-China High-Level Political Party Leaders Dialogue organized by the EastWest Institute (EWI) in partnership with the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC). Launched in 2010, the U.S.-China High-Level Political Party Leaders Dialogue seeks to build understanding and trust between political elites from the U.S. and China through candid exchanges of views on topics ranging from local governance to foreign policy concerns. The dialogue process consistently involves sitting officers from the CPC and the U.S. Democratic and Republican National Committees. In the 11th iteration of the dialogue, the CPC delegation was led by Song Tao, minister of IDCPC. Gary Locke, former secretary of the United States Department of Commerce, former governor for the state of Washington and former United States Ambassador of China; and Alphonso Jackson, former secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development; lead the U.S. Democratic and Republican delegations, respectively. Throughout the dialogue, members of both delegations spoke freely on relevant topics including foriegn policy trends, trade disputes and emerging areas of economic cooperation. EWI facilitated a series of meetings for the U.S. delegation, which included a productive meeting with Wang Qishan, vice president of the People’s Republic of China at the Great Hall of the People. The delegates also met with Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs; Dai Bingguo, former state councilor of the People’s Republic of China; and Lu Kang, director of the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The U.S. delegates visited the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and met with their president, Jin Liqun, as well as the Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University to engage prominent scholars on the future of the U.S.-China relationship.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Chaitanya Giri
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: On 16 May, the government introduced a huge reform that liberalised India's space sector, leveling the field and propelling the space ambitions of private players. Corporations such as L&T and Godrej Aerospace, can now compete and collaborate with the Indian Space Research Organisation, to build an indigenous Boeing or Lockheed Martin, and be part of global, private, space industry syndicates. The timing is significant, as the space race has accelerated with the U.S. and China marking their space territories through Accords and SEZs. India now is much better equipped to launch its space agenda. This paper analyses India's future potential.
  • Topic: Space, Private Sector, Industry
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jyrki Kallio
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China has garnered international goodwill by aiding countries hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. China is in a position to show that it takes its ideal of creating a global community with a shared future seriously. However, the country’s other actions undermine its soft-power dissemination efforts.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Katja Creutz
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic has roiled international relations. The huge global toll of the pandemic, both in terms of deaths and economic implications, has raised the question of Chinese responsibility. This Working Paper analyzes China’s responsibility for Covid-19 under international law. In order for state responsibility to arise, China must have committed an internationally wrongful act. The conduct must be attributable to China and must constitute a breach of its international obligations. An analysis of the timeframe concerning the main measures undertaken by Chinese authorities at different government levels shows a lag in reporting the outbreak to WHO according to the International Health Regulations. Hence, there appears to be a case for injured states to invoke China’s responsibility. The prospects for implementation are nevertheless bleak. A tacit understanding seems to prevail among states not to pursue the spread of pathogens in terms of legal responsibility or litigation. Whether major power rivalry or the enormous costs of the pandemic will change this non-confrontational tradition of dealing with pathogens remains to be seen.
  • Topic: Leadership, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Bart Gaens, Ville Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The United States and China are posited to be at the epicenter of an emerging and – by most accounts – intensifying rivalry. This report delves into the theoretical underpinnings as well as the geostrategic and geo-economic dynamics driving this great-power competition. It explores future prospects for contestation and engagement in key issue areas, such as arms control, trade and sanctions. The chapters in this volume also examine the Indo-Pacific as the immediate regional frontline of the unfolding great-power contest and explore the role that Europe has to play in this game. As the world is crossing the threshold into a new age of great-power competition, the debate on the US-China rivalry reveals the complex and contested nature of the meanings, causes, policy implications and future prospects of what is set to become the “new normal” in global politics.
  • Topic: Hegemony, Geopolitics, Conflict, Rivalry
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Mariette Hagglund
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: A key issue dominating Iran’s foreign policy agenda is the future of the Iran nuclear deal with regard to the next US president. Non-state armed groups mark the core of Iran’s leverage in the region, but Iran is currently looking into diversifying its means of influence. Although Iran considers its non-aligned position a strength, it is also a weakness. In an otherwise interconnected world, where other regional powers enjoy partnerships with other states and can rely on external security guarantors, Iran remains alone. By being more integrated into regional cooperation and acknowledged as a regional player, Iran could better pursue its interests, but US attempts to isolate the country complicate any such efforts. In the greater superpower competition between the US and China, Iran is unlikely to choose a side despite its current “look East” policy, but may take opportunistic decisions.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Elections
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Iran, Middle East, Asia, North America
  • Author: Jyrki Kallio
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Speculation is rife that China could take advantage of the potential confusion during the US presidential election and invade Taiwan. Although China has never relinquished the military option for resolving the Taiwan issue, there are sound reasons to downplay the risk of a military confrontation at the present time.
  • Topic: War, Military Strategy, Elections, Conflict
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Taiwan, Asia, North America
  • Author: Elina Sinkkonen, Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China and Russia are jointly advancing their shared interests in the international arena and are building up cooperation in the tech sector. Despite far-reaching plans, the asymmetry of cooperation in favour of China is increasingly at odds with Russia’s national goals in digital technology. Differences in resources and standpoints are also reflected in the implementation of digital surveillance. China’s surveillance system is sophisticated and extensive whereas Russia’s is largely inconsistent and emerging, as evidenced by the fact that there was virtually no control of the internet in Russia until 2012. While advanced surveillance in authoritarian countries is worrying, technology in strategic sectors is also a key field of increasingly disconcerting great-power competition. As a result of strategic competition, the world is faced with the risk of technological decoupling, which would contribute to further fragmentation of the international community and deepening of existing rivalries.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Authoritarianism, Digital Economy, Surveillance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Kristiina Silvan
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan has embarked on a moderate reform programme that aims to achieve socio-economic growth without undoing the country’s authoritarian political system. The programme has implications beyond Uzbekistan’s borders because it has changed the way Uzbekistani foreign policy is formulated and implemented. Uzbekistan’s former isolationist stance has shifted to a foreign policy opening, which is most noticeable in the improvement of its relations with its neighbours. This Working Paper analyzes “good neighbourliness”, the key concept of Uzbekistan’s new Central Asia policy. It details the amendment of Uzbekistan’s bilateral relations with its neighbours and points to the positive reception of Uzbekistan’s new regional policy in Russia, China, and the West. The paper argues that while “good neighbourliness” is a pragmatic strategy rooted in economic rationality, the policy’s regional implications are substantial. It is laying the necessary foundation for sustainable Central Asian co-operation from within in a way that is acceptable to the Central Asian states and big non-regional actors alike.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Authoritarianism, Reform, Leadership
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Central Asia, Asia, Uzbekistan
  • Author: Nan Tian, Fei Su
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Quantitative research on the finances of the Chinese arms industry has been limited by the scarcity of available data. A scoping study to estimate the financial value of the arms sales of companies in the Chinese arms industry—using a new methodology—found information on four companies: the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), the China South Industries Group Corporation (CSGC) and the China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO). These four companies cover three main sectors of conventional arms production: aircraft, electronics and land systems. The estimates suggest that China is the second-largest arms producer in the world, behind the United States and ahead of Russia. All four of the profiled companies would be ranked among the 20 largest arms-producing and military services companies globally in 2017, with three—AVIC, NORINCO and CETC—in the top 10. The new methodology improves the understanding of the structure, size and evolution of the global arms industry.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Weapons , Arms Trade, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Ian Anthony, Jiayi Zhou, Fei Su
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: This SIPRI Insights Paper assesses EU security perspectives on connectivity, alongside and in relation to its evolving relationship with China. The EU’s relations with China have undergone an important shift in recent years, with a strengthened emphasis by the EU on the challenges to bilateral cooperation. In addition, since 2014, EU and EU member states’ security perspectives have undergone a wider reassessment, one that has increased the prominence of the military dimensions of connectivity, including military mobility, in EU security planning. The EU and China are currently pursuing synergies between their separate connectivity initiatives, namely the Belt and Road Initiative and the Connecting Europe programme. However, there remain barriers to sustainable cooperation that will need to be addressed between them moving forward. This Insights Paper outlines a number of those security concerns from the EU perspective, within the transport and digital sectors specifically.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Throughout the United States, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is exploiting COVID-19 in an effort to reshape the global order and enhance China’s international leadership at the expense of the US. A range of prominent commentators further assert that the Trump administration bears much of the blame for this turn of events. This argument tends to rest on twin assumptions:1 China is winning the battle of narratives when it comes to comparative national competence and its decisiveness in responding to its COVID-19 outbreak. The Trump administration is damaging America’s standing by getting off to a bad start in its response to the pandemic, exposing the underlying weaknesses of American institutions and preparedness for such a crisis. These arguments correctly acknowledge that the global pandemic is occurring within a context of US-China strategic, political, and economic competition and/or rivalry. This is the point of warnings to the administration that there is more at stake than containing and managing the virus, even if that is the immediate priority.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Economics, Health, National Security, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia
  • Author: Tobias Gehrke
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The corona crisis, the US-China great power competition and lacklustre international rules vividly demonstrate the vulnerability of economic interdependence. Interdependence is a power struggle, not a mutual aid society. For the vast benefits of a globalised economy to continue to outweigh its risks, policies to build greater resilience are necessary. For the EU, the unprecedented events also offer an opportunity to forge a new economic security approach to better manage its dependencies in strategic sectors.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Europe , Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Atif Choudhury, Yawei Liu, Ian Pilcher
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: In May 2020, the Carter Center’s China Program partnered with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) and the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) to organize a virtual workshop on Africa-U.S.-China cooperation on COVID-19 response. The workshop brought together a range of experts from the U.S, China, Ethiopia, Burundi, Kenya, and South Africa to discuss the public health impact and wider policy implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the African continent. Emory University’s Global Health Institute and The Hunger Project also helped identify speakers and moderate panels.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, United States, China, Asia, South Africa, North America, Ethiopia, Burundi
  • Author: Kazunobu Hayakawa, Tadashi Ito, Shujiro Urata
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The impacts of imports on the domestic labour market have been hotly debated recently. The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the effects of not only imports from China but also those under regional trade agreements (RTAs) on employment in Japan. As in previous studies in the literature, we found that the rise in import penetration from China significantly decreases employment in Japan. However, import penetration under RTA regimes is found to have insignificant effects on employment. The finding suggests that the increase in imports under RTA regimes might not be harmful to the domestic labour market. In addition, we did not find significant effects of import penetration via input–output linkages. This insignificant result may be because imports by Japanese manufacturing firms are mostly conducted in the form of intra-firm trade, enabling them to avoid negative impacts on employment.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Labor Issues, Employment, Manufacturing
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia
  • Author: Yuxiang Yang, Hongyong Zhang
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The tax incentives designed to stimulate firm investment may have a large impact on labour market outcomes. Using a comprehensive data set containing more than 1 million Chinese manufacturing firms during the period 2000–2013 with a difference-in-difference approach, we examine the impact of the value-added tax reform in 2004–2008 on the firm-level labour market outcomes. We find that firms in eligible industries and regions (treated firms) enjoying lower costs of purchasing fixed assets under the reform tended to increase capital investment and reduce employment relative to firms that did not have tax incentives (the control firms). Compared with the control firms, the treated firms became more capital intensive and had an increase in average wage but a decline in labour income share. We also provide evidence that the substitutions of labour input by capital input is associated with increases in firm productivity and the share of skilled workers, but not imported capital goods.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Reform, Tax Systems, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Arzan Tarapore
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: he method of major/minor trends developed in this report suggests that the roots of apparently surprising future behavior can be found in a close reading of a target state’s history. Using this method, the report outlines three unlikely but plausible alternative futures of India as a strategic actor. The first scenario envisions India as a Hindu-nationalist revisionist power hostile to Pakistan but accommodating of China; in the second, it is a militarily risk-acceptant state that provokes dangerous crises with China; and in the third scenario, India is a staunch competitor to China that achieves some success through partnerships with other U.S. rivals like Russia and Iran. These scenarios are designed not to predict the future but to sensitize U.S. policymakers to possible strategic disruptions. They also serve to highlight risks and tensions in current policy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Conflict, Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, India, Asia, North America
  • Author: Robert Einhorn
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: The United States has at times worked cooperatively with Russia and China to promote shared nonproliferation objectives. But with no end in sight to the current precipitous decline in Washington’s bilateral relations with Moscow and Beijing, constructive engagement on today’s nonproliferation challenges has become increasingly problematic. Unless the United States and its two great power competitors can find a way to carve out areas of cooperation in otherwise highly adversarial relationships, the remarkably positive record of international efforts to prevent additional countries from acquiring weapons will be difficult to sustain. From sometimes partners to frequent foes, this Occasional Paper examines the history of US cooperation with Russia and China on key issues including Iran, North Korea, Syria, international nonproliferation mechanisms, and nuclear security. It also outlines the obstacles to future nonproliferation cooperation, as well as the growing proliferation threats that require such cooperation. Most importantly, it identifies several possible areas where the United States can hope to find common ground with both countries. With relationships with Russia and China reaching new lows and unlikely to improve for the foreseeable future, finding a way to for the United States to work cooperatively with both countries will not be easy. Bridges to constructive engagement have been burned and will be difficult to rebuild. However, the author points out that constituencies for cooperation remain in all three countries, including in government bureaucracies. “As hard as it may be to find common ground in otherwise highly adversarial relationships, it is imperative that the US administration in office after January 2021 make every effort to do so. Cooperation with America’s two great power rivals will not always guarantee success, but the absence of such cooperation will surely increase the risk of failure.”
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia, United States of America, North America
  • Author: David Gordon, Haoyu Tong
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This report is the first of two synthesising the findings of a major research workshop convened in Washington DC on 26 June 2019, by The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), as part of its multi-year project on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The IISS commissioned ten papers that addressed development-finance and security issues in the BRI, prepared by leading scholars and policy practitioners. They were joined at the workshop by more than two dozen other experts on China’s international behaviour. This first report focuses on development-finance issues in the BRI; the second will address security issues broadly cast. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is now six years old. Announced by (then) newly ensconced President Xi Jinping, it has since become the centrepiece of Xi’s ambitious drive to make China a more active global leader, and to break free from the cautious approach set out more than 30 years earlier by then-paramount-leader Deng Xiaoping – that China’s strategic approach should be to ‘hide its capacities and bide its time’. At the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 19th Congress in 2017, the BRI was integrated into the party’s charter. Much of the early analytical work on the BRI has focused on questions surrounding China’s motivations – economic or geopolitical. Is Xi’s initiative a response to changing domestic economic circumstances? Or does it signal evidence of China’s intent to build a twentyfirst- century imperium modelled on the post-war United States-led experience, more than on European colonial or earlier Asian empires? The emerging consensus on this question is that it has been a bit of both. At the same time, an often overlooked factor is Xi’s constant need to further consolidate his power inside China, as the economics versus geopolitics debate about the motivations for the BRI gives too little attention to the more purely political dimension. The BRI cannot be separated from Xi’s efforts to cast himself domestically as an exceptional leader for an exceptional moment in China’s history.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, Infrastructure, Hegemony, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Meia Nouwens
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Little is known about how China’s growing defence budget is allocated, particularly following recent structural reforms. In the absence of publicly available information and new research on Chinese defence economics, outside observers consider the official data to be incomplete. Publications addressing Chinese defence spending often claim that ‘it is widely believed’ official Chinese statistics exclude key categories of military-related spending. For instance, in 2003, one analyst wrote that ‘it is widely accepted that the official budget released by the Chinese every year accounts for only a fraction of actual defense spending. In particular, whole categories of military expenditure are believed to be missing from official figures.’ The methodologies employed by research institutions, such as the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), to estimate China’s total military spending date back to the late 1990s. Furthermore, existing estimates do not take into account China’s recent military reorganisation under President Xi Jingping’s direction, which began in 2015, and a wide range of defence reforms. For example, in 2018, the Chinese authorities integrated the China Coast Guard (CCG), the People’s Armed Police (PAP) and the maritime militias into the Central Military Commission’s (CMC’s) command structure. It is currently unclear how this restructuring has affected China’s defence spending. In addition, China’s defence spending could have been affected by the increasing fulfilment of weapons procurements by domestic firms. Therefore, a reassessment of China’s defence spending and the methodologies employed is required.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Budget
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • 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: David F Gordon, Haoyu Tong, Tabatha Anderson
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In this second report published by the IISS Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Project under the Geo-Economics, Geopolitics and Strategy Programme, the authors examine a range of security-related challenges that the BRI confronts as it expands into diverse geographies to China’s west and south. The report explores the risks in operating across environments fraught with political, economic and social instability. Beyond this, it delves into the actual and potential challenges that the BRI faces from Islamic extremism and terrorism. The report also assesses the ways in which the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) fits into China’s growing strategic interests in Southeast Asia, and the development of the Digital Silk Road (DSR) at the forefront of the technological and geopolitical competition between China and the United States. Finally, the report explores the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a case study of the security risks and governance challenges present in what is probably the single most important country-wide BRI endeavour.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Infrastructure, Hegemony, Digital Economy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Silk Road
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: For the past two decades the US and its allies have faced a very limited surface-to-air threat in wars in which they have engaged. This is now changing as the worsening security environment and the emergence of near-peer rivals once again raises the spectre of a strongly contested air domain. A central element of the renewed challenge is the surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. China and Russia have fielded and continue to develop SAM systems across all range categories – and to offer many of these for export – that pose a credible threat to air operations. The US, and to an even greater extent the Europeans, have reduced emphasis and expenditure on what is known as the suppression of enemy air defence (SEAD) role. Counter-insurgency rather than counter-integrated air-defence operations have been the priority since the turn of the century. There is now, however, the renewed challenge of being able to carry out air operations in airspace defended by the latest generations of point-, short-, medium- and long-range SAM systems. Low-observable aircraft only offer a partial solution, particularly as the US and its allies will operate mixed fleets of stealthy and non-stealthy combat aircraft at least until around the middle of the century. The latter types of aircraft remain at greater risk from SAM threats than low-observable aircraft, and their operational utility will depend partly on the wider capacity to counter surface-based threat missile systems. SEAD is an asset-intensive capability, particularly in the early days of a conflict, and has traditionally involved dedicated platforms as well as fighter ground-attack aircraft. In SEAD operations in the 1990s, such as Operation Allied Force during the 1999 Kosovo conflict, up to one-third of strike missions were tasked against ground-based air defences. While the force mix will change as uninhabited systems are increasingly adopted in the inventory, a variety of crewed and uninhabited aircraft and associated weaponry will still be required for the task, and will be required in numbers greater than are available in current inventories if faced by a peer or near-peer threat. Collating what is known as an electronic order of battle against peer and near-peer rivals should once again become a priority, as should the capacity to counter, disable or destroy surface-to-air threat systems.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The fourth in a series analysing the ways COVID-19 is affecting stability across the world, this paper explores the impact on organised crime in the Western Balkans of the health and economic crisis brought about by the pandemic. Criminal organisations active in the Western Balkans have proved very apt at exploiting the evolution of the pandemic and related government responses to expand their activities regionally and globally. The key role played by the European Union in recent times to promote the rule of law and institutional reforms against organised crime in the region is at risk of setback given its limited economic firepower post-COVID-19 and China’s increasing influence through its economic and investment diplomacy. Law-enforcement agencies will struggle to prevent criminal groups from further infiltrating the region’s economies amid increasing budgetary constraints. Western Balkans governments should use the current challenging circumstances as an opportunity to redefine medium- and long-term priorities in their efforts against organised crime. However, for these efforts to be successful, the sustained political and operational support of other countries will be needed, given the expanding international reach of regional criminal groups.
  • Topic: Political stability, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Organized Crime
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Balkans
  • 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
  • Author: Greg Thielmann
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: Growing concerns about third-country nuclear threats led the United States to withdraw from the ABM Treaty’s constraints on the size and scope of ballistic missile defense arsenals in 2002. Inaccurate and alarmist projections of “rogue state” ICBM threats were critical in winning support for the decision to withdraw from the treaty and to sustain the multi-billion dollar annual price tag for developing, deploying, and expanding strategic missile defenses. But 18 years after Washington abandoned the treaty, North Korea is the only rogue state that could pose a near-term nuclear threat against the American homeland—and U.S. missile defense interceptors and radars have not even delivered high confidence of being able to protect against this threat. Meanwhile, the absence of limits on U.S. strategic missile defenses and prudent, worst-case concerns in Moscow and Beijing about their future expansion are fueling resistance to additional nuclear arms reductions and stability measures. The end result is that the exponential threats posed by Russia and China are getting worse and the chances of a disastrous nuclear arms race are increasing. This analysis argues that the nuclear threat confronting the United States is multilateral, three-dimensional, and interrelated. Unless the United States acknowledges the role of missile defenses in this complicated reality, it will not be able to realize the full benefits that arms control offers.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nuclear Power, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jadranka Polovic
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: The Middle East as one of the most heterogeneous and politically conflicting regions in the world and has long been at the center of international interest. Faced with sectarian wars and comprehensive social crises for decades the Middle East, due to its geostrategic importance and especially the imperative of controlling the region’s vast energy resources, has once again become a battle ground for major powers whose interests affect the concentration of participants in the region. The competition between global powers and growing influence of Russia and China, who undermine the US power and European Union’s influence and also undermine established alliances in the Middle East, undoubtedly require a rethinking of Western strategies for the region. A series of geopolitical challenges, especially after September 11 attacks against the United States, as a result of military interventions and civil wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria) and uprisings (Arab Spring) and thus the collapsed regional order, confronted the international community with the changing nature of security threats, as well as with the new balance of power of regional and international actors in the Middle East. Among the many aspects of the Middle East conflicts, the fundamental issue of regional security today is the Sunni-Shiite conflict, which has since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 directly defined the approaches and policies of great powers and significantly changed regional dynamics. In this context, Iran’s role is particularly significant. Namely, over the last two decades, Iran has consolidated its goals in the Persian Gulf and strategically expanded its influence to other countries in the Middle East, primarily Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The growing influence of Shiite Iran, and its close relations with Shiite communities in the region with which it forms a strategic coalition, have become a key geopolitical challenge for the international community.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Natural Resources, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • 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: Hugh Stephens
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: In the past, Canada has had to deal with the matter of Taiwan very delicately. China considers Taiwan to be an integral part of the nation: a rogue province that must eventually be reunified with the mainland. Since Canada relies much more on trade with China than with Taiwan, the stakes have favoured policies that avoid engaging with Taiwan in ways that would unnecessarily irritate China. As a result, there has been little appetite here for negotiating a bilateral trade deal with Taiwan. That attitude is finally changing. One main reason is because China is already angry with Canada, and vice versa. Relations between the two countries are at an all-time low, and domestic support for accommodating China is minimal. As a result, Canada is freer than before to consider negotiating a trade agreement with Taiwan. At the same time, Taiwan is interested in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), to which Canada is already a party. By supporting Taiwan’s accession to the CPTPP, Canada can achieve a free-trade agreement with Taiwan without having to negotiate one bilaterally. The ability to do so under the aegis of a multilateral agreement should serve to mitigate any remaining concerns that China might further retaliate against Canada directly. However, striking back at China is not a reason for Canada to support Taiwan’s accession to the CPTPP. We should do so because it is in the interest of Canada and the other members of the CPTPP to add to the strength of the organization by welcoming an economy that is an important global trader and a key player in global supply chains. In addition, Taiwan is a country that is clearly willing and able to accept CPTPP disciplines. Canada should move quickly and enthusiastically to support Taiwan’s accession. The benefits of having Taiwan join Canada in a free-trade agreement are obvious. The opportunity to make it a reality is finally here. The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which entered into force on Dec.30, 2018 for six of the 11 signatories that had completed ratification at that time (Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore),1 is a beacon of hope in a dark, protectionist landscape. Along with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which was signed on Nov. 15, 2020, the CPTPP advances the trade and investment liberalization agenda at a time when protectionist measures by some major trading countries are threatening to undo decades of progress. The commitments and new disciplines of the CPTPP are particularly important because of malaise infecting the World Trade Organization, where the work of the Appellate Body has now ground to a halt because of actions by the United States, and to offset the negative impact of the U.S.-China trade war now underway.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Partnerships, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Taiwan, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Peter Eppinger, Gabriel Felbermayr, Oliver Krebs, Bohdan Kukharsky
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: In early 2020, the disease Covid-19 caused a drastic lockdown of the Chinese economy. We use a quantitative trade model with input-output linkages to gauge the effects of this adverse supply shock in China on the global economy through international trade and global value chains (GVCs). We find moderate welfare losses in most countries outside of China, while a few countries even gain from the shock due to trade diversion. As a key methodological contribution, we quantify the role of GVCs (in contrast to final goods trade) in transmitting the shock. In a hypothetical world without GVCs, the welfare loss due to the Covid-19 shock in China is reduced by 40% in the median country. In several other countries, the effects are magnified or reversed for several countries. Had the U.S. unilaterally repatriated GVCs, the country would have incurred a substantial welfare loss while its exposure to the shock would have barely changed.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Trade, Pandemic, Global Value Chains, COVID-19, Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus
  • Author: Andreas Fuchs, Lennart Kaplan, Krisztina Kis-Katos, Sebastian Schmidt, Felix Turbanisch, Feicheng Wang
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 outbreak has cut China's supply of and raised the world's demand for face masks, disinfectants, ventilators, and other critical medical goods. This article studies the economic and political factors that are associated with China's exports of medical equipment during the first two months of the global pandemic. Regression results show that—controlled for demand factors—countries with stronger past economic ties with China import more critical medical goods from China at both the national level and the level of Chinese provinces. Friendly political relations, such as the twinning of provinces, appear to work as a substitute for pre-existing economic ties at the provincial level. These findings imply that, to secure access to medical equipment in crises, countries are well advised to either diversify their sources or to develop closer relations with Beijing and China's provinces.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Exports, Pandemic, COVID-19, Medicine
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Holger Görg, Haiou Mao
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: This paper evaluates firms’ exporting responses to BRI and considers their heterogeneity in ownership types, product types, regional origin and trade mode. This is done by analyzing firm-product-destination level customs data from 2011 to 2015 in a gravity model framework. Our empirical results show that aggregate export behavior did not change significantly after BRI. However, ownership matters when evaluating firms’ reactions. SOEs increase their total exporting and average export value (the intensive margin) to BRI countries, while private domestic firms show no reaction to BRI at any margin. Further, our results on regional heterogeneity suggests that “open through the west”, i.e., boosting the development of western regions in China, did not appear to work in the short term. Our findings show clearly the implications of BRI’s impact from a firm level perspective.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Exports, Trade, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus
  • Author: Kevin Tu
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is inflicting high human costs in China and around the world. The stringent quarantine measures imposed by the Chinese government have severely affected the country’s economic activity, with profound energy and climate implications
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Philippe Benoit, Kevin Tu
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: China’s dramatic economic growth in the 21st century has made it not only the second largest economy in the world but also a powerhouse in the global energy system. Now, as the top energy consumer and the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, China is being closely watched and judged as its impact on energy markets and climate grows more profound. Looking forward, many issues are expected to shape the evolution of China’s energy sector, not least of which is its development status. While China’s economic might makes it a superpower alongside the United States, it still faces many of the major challenges of a typical developing country, such as widespread energy poverty, including 400 million people without access to clean cooking, significant air pollution, and dependence on increasing energy use to fuel future economic growth. Its modest income per capita qualifies it as a middle-income developing country. Evaluating China’s development status is not just an academic exercise. How China views itself and its challenges and how the international community classifies it carry real-world consequences that can significantly impact how the country manages its energy needs going forward, what fuels it uses, how it interacts with energy and other partners, and the level of its contributions and commitment to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts worldwide. Understanding the nature and implications of China’s development situation can help in designing energy policies and fostering an international framework that better promote sustainable growth both within the country and globally. This paper examines how the usual criteria employed by international organizations to determine a country’s development standing have become increasingly difficult to apply to China, given the dramatic changes it has undergone over the past several decades, notably from an energy perspective. The paper finds that China combines significant characteristics of both developing and developed countries and examines the energy and environmental implications of this hybrid status.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: David B. Sandalow, Xu Qinhua
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: On June 14, 2020 New York time and June 15, 2020 Beijing time, the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and Center for International Energy and Environment Strategy Studies at Renmin University convened a joint Zoom workshop on green stimulus programs in the US and China. The workshop offered a chance for scholars from the two universities to explore the recent economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, stimulus measures adopted to date and green stimulus proposals in both countries. Participants also discussed other measures to promote clean energy and low-carbon development in the US and China.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Green Technology, Paris Agreement
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anders Hove
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: China is the world’s leader in wind and solar power, although new capacity is being added more slowly than several years ago. Meanwhile, a wave of coal power plant approvals and fewer public mentions of urban air pollution and climate change have raised questions about the future of China’s renewable power sector in the wake of Covid-19. In this commentary, Anders Hove examines China’s recent energy policy announcements and their implications for the 14th Five-Year Plan, which will set energy policy for the period from 2021–2025. He argues that the future of renewable energy deployment in China will be shaped by an ongoing contradiction within the power sector between long-term market-oriented reforms on the one hand and short-term administrative planning on the other. This contradiction is well represented in two draft laws issued in April and June 2020: the draft Energy Law and the draft Guiding Opinion on Establishing a Clean Energy Consumption Long-Term Mechanism. The former states that the country should prioritize development of renewable energy by opening the market to more players, while the latter puts grid companies, provincial officials, and incumbent generation companies in charge of all aspects of planning and target-setting. The ways in which this contradiction will be resolved are unclear. China’s central government remains focused on promoting markets in the longer term, in part based on market models that have worked in Europe and the US, so international lessons and experiences could play a role. China’s power reform could benefit from a greater focus on including consumers and other market players, and greater emphasis of long-term over short-term planning. Such a shift would help ameliorate the current trend of over-investment in unneeded and uneconomic coal capacity at the expense of renewables.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Renewable Energy, Wind Power, Solar Power
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Erica Downs, Sheng Yan
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: Beijing launched the most ambitious reform of China’s oil and natural gas industry in more than two decades with the establishment of the China Oil & Gas Piping Network Corporation (PipeChina) last December. The company is being developed from midstream assets—pipelines, liquified natural gas (LNG) import terminals, and storage facilities—and personnel transferred from China’s national oil companies (NOCs). Beijing expects that its goals of increasing China’s domestic and imported natural gas supplies and consumption will be more effectively advanced by having China’s midstream infrastructure owned and operated by a single company that provides fair and open access to its pipelines, LNG import terminals, and storage facilities instead of by three NOCs reluctant to grant third-party access to infrastructure.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Gas, LNG
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • 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: Agnieszka Paczyńska
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Since 2014 Russian economic, political and security engagement in Africa has grown significantly. This policy brief analyses the motives and recent changes in Russia's Africa policy, and discusses implications for German and European cooperation with Africa.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, Power Politics, Investment, Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, United States of America
  • Author: Nicola Bilotta, Alissa Siara
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The economic ramifications of COVID-19 will accentuate the technological innovation gap between Latin America and the rest of the world. In a region already suffering from chronic underinvestment in research and development, the strain placed on government budgets by the pandemic-induced economic crisis will push innovation further back down the agenda. The region has compensated for a lack of domestic resources with foreign capital and technology imports from China and the United States. As the US–China relationship becomes more adversarial in the face of COVID, however, Latin America will emerge as a geopolitical battleground whose countries may be forced to choose sides and potentially lose out on capital inflows or technology imports. Navigating this potential storm will involve the region in a search for other options. Public–private partnerships with European Union firms represent one valuable possibility, but Europe and Latin America should first align their innovation agendas.
  • Topic: International Relations, Science and Technology, Sovereignty, Foreign Direct Investment, European Union, Institutions, Coronavirus, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: China, South America, Latin America, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jin Liangxiang
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Middle East and Gulf region face three drivers of tension and instability: those caused by the US’s erratic and unilateral policies, those tied to economic underdevelopment and those linked to growing competition among regional actors. China is and will be facing economic challenges stemming from the Middle East and will face growing calls to assume more active roles in the region, roles which however often go beyond its capabilities or interests. China’s approach to regional security can be categorised as promoting political solutions to disputes, contributing to economic development and providing security resources within the UN framework. China backs regional efforts to achieve peace and security via dialogue, also including extra-regional actors involved in the Middle East. China is sympathetic to Russia’s vision for regional security cooperation, and would support the convening of an international conference on Middle East security issues that includes specific roles for regional and external actors.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Gulf Nations
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Carisa Nietsche
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has been a turning point in Europe’s calculus regarding China. Beijing’s ham-fisted mask diplomacy, attempt to rewrite the pandemic’s origins and use of the World Health Organisation to advance the objectives of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) underscored for Europe the nature of Beijing’s objectives. Europe has grown more attuned to the “strategic challenge” China poses in the economic, technology and global governance realms as a result. The growing convergence between US and European perspectives on China provides a solid foundation for future cooperation between the transatlantic partners. Yet, addressing the China challenge will require broadening beyond the transatlantic partnership and bringing Indo-Pacific partners to the table.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Communications, Partnerships, Cybersecurity, Transatlantic Relations, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Dario Cristiani
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In September 2019, the once anti-establishment Five Star Movement (Movimento Cinque Stelle – M5S) agreed to enter a ruling alliance with the Democratic Party (Partito Democratico – PD).[1] By establishing this “yellow-red” coalition government with what was considered its political nemesis, the M5S managed to preserve its presence in power and avoid early elections. However, its influence gradually weakened, as attested to by poor performances in local elections. The M5S’s declining political fortunes and the changing composition of the government have a significant foreign policy dimension, especially if addressed through the lens of Italy–US relations. The PD is a solidly pro-Atlanticist party in Italy. The M5S, despite its evolution towards greater pragmatism over the years, remains a source of concern, being still perceived as the most pro-China actor within the Italian political landscape.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Geopolitics, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Italy, United States of America
  • Author: Hanbyul Ryu, Young Sik Jeong
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: Low cost of labor has been one of the major incentives that foreign firms invest in many developing countries. Yet, many developing countries including China and ASEAN have recently experienced a rapid increase in labor costs. Using the wage information provided by JETRO, this study examines how Korean FDI outflow is affected by the increase in labor costs of the manufacturing industry in host countries. The results indicate that the worker’s and engineer’s wages in Asian developing countries, who accumulated at least 3 and 5 years of work experience, have generally a negative impact on Korean FDI outflow. However, there exist positive relationships between the wages and FDI when the wages stay at very low levels. We do not find evidence that labor costs make a significant impact on Korean FDI outflow to European or Developed countries.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Direct Investment, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Jeremy de Beer
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: To remain competitive on a global scale, Canada needs to enhance its domestic intellectual property (IP) and digital trade strategies with an international approach that can respond to constantly changing global economic conditions. Although Canada launched its Intellectual Property Strategy in 2018 — focusing on IP awareness, strategic tools and legislation — its data initiative, known as the Digital Charter, remains a work in progress. Both policies would benefit from an outward-looking, interconnected, international strategic vision. As a member of various international trade agreements, Canada has framed its IP laws to align with these agreements and its trade partners. Canada should expand its trade relationships with Africa before other countries, such as China, take advantage of the continent’s rapidly growing economies and trade opportunities. Building strategic alliances with the right global partners, combined with the use of hard and soft laws to promote Canadian interests, will help Canada strengthen its international IP and digital trade strategy.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Intellectual Property/Copyright, Digital Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Asia, North America
  • Author: Toby Dalton, Tong Zhao
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: While both countries may think the situation is under control, dismissive attitudes and misperceptions could end up fueling a dangerous competition. On June 15, 2020, a lethal military conflict over disputed territory in the Himalayas shook the edifice of China-India relations. The clash in the Galwan Valley along their shared border is the gravest military confrontation the two nuclear powers have faced in fifty years. This event and ongoing tensions focus attention on the long-standing but tempered competition between China and India. One of the most interesting puzzles of that relationship is why nuclear weapons, which both possess, have not played a more important role. With the potential for a major reset in China-India ties after the Ladakh crisis, are Beijing and New Delhi finally approaching a long-anticipated crossroads in their nuclear relations? The findings reveal that while Indian security analysts give serious attention to China’s nuclear policy and capabilities, Chinese analysts maintain a dismissive attitude about the relevance of nuclear weapons in China-India relations. The attitude stems from a widely held view that India’s indigenous military technologies are significantly behind China’s and that China will continue widening the gulf between the two countries’ conventional and nuclear capabilities. However, Chinese analysts do not appear to fully appreciate the long-term destabilizing implications of this growing gap. India may feel pressure to build out its nuclear arsenal, and this could further threaten the fragile stability between India and Pakistan. Chinese experts tend to underestimate the role Beijing may have in shaping New Delhi’s threat perception and nuclear strategy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Nuclear Weapons, Military Affairs, Borders
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Peter A. Petri, Michael G. Plummer
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: he deepening US-China trade war and nationalist reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic are reshaping global economic relationships. Alongside these developments, two new megaregional trade agreements, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), will refocus East Asia’s economic ties in the region itself. The new accords are moving forward without the United States and India, once seen as critical partners in the CPTPP and RCEP, respectively. Using a computable general equilibrium model, we show that the agreements will raise global national incomes in 2030 by an annual $147 billion and $186 billion, respectively. They will yield especially large benefits for China, Japan, and South Korea and losses for the United States and India. These effects are simulated both in a business-as-before-Trump environment and in the context of a sustained US-China trade war. The effects were simulated before the COVID-19 shock but seem increasingly likely in the wake of the pandemic. Compared with business as before, the trade war generates large global losses rising to $301 billion annually by 2030. The new agreements offset the effects of the trade war globally, but not for the United States and China. The trade war makes RCEP especially valuable because it strengthens East Asian interdependence, raising trade among members by $428 billion and reducing trade among nonmembers by $48 billion. These shifts bring regional ties closer to institutional arrangements proposed in the 1990s and incentivize greater cooperation among China, Japan, and South Korea.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Trade Wars, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Free Trade, COVID-19, Protectionism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Chad P. Bown
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The US-China trade war forced a reluctant semiconductor industry into someone else’s fight, a very different position from its leading role in the 1980s trade conflict with Japan. This paper describes how the political economy of the global semiconductor industry has evolved since the 1980s. That includes both a shift in the business model behind how semiconductors go from conception to a finished product as well as the geographic reorientation toward Asia of demand and manufactured supply. It uses that lens to explain how, during the modern conflict with China, US policymakers turned to a legally complex set of export restrictions targeting the semiconductor supply chain in the attempt to safeguard critical infrastructure in the telecommunications sector. The potentially far-reaching tactics included weaponization of exports by relatively small but highly specialized American software service and equipment providers in order to constrain Huawei, a Fortune Global 500 company. It describes potential costs of such policies, some of their unintended consequences, and whether policymakers might push them further in the attempt to constrain other Chinese firms.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Trade Wars, Industry, Protectionism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America