Here at our CUSEF blog, we share news, updates and stories about China and the United States. We provide more than a cursory glimpse of what’s going on between the two powers - here, we offer an in-depth look into their current state of affairs.

CUSEF Express

CUSEF Express - Aug 1, 2022

Daily highlights of developments that affect China and the U.S.
Daily highlights of developments that affect China and the U.S.

Military tensions heighten as Pelosi visits Asia

  • Chinese and U.S. military are actively preparing for Nancy Pelosi’s possible stop in Taiwan during her Asian trip, although the U.S. House Speaker did not mention it in her public plan. According to the press release of the trip, Pelosi and another five House Representatives will visit Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan.
  • The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has conducted at least four military exercises near Taiwan since Friday. Over the weekend are two drills in the South China Sea, one in the waters near Fujian, and one in the East Sea. There will be one more in the South China Sea on Tuesday.
  • The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and its strike group reentered the South China Sea Thursday after a Singapore visit. On Sunday, China released footage of the test launch of the DF-17, a hypersonic missile known as an "aircraft carrier killer."
  • With tensions becoming extremely combustible, a high-profile visit to Taiwan looks unlikely. Under such a circumstance, the military show-off of China and the U.S. means very different to the two governments. For the U.S., the aircraft carrier operation is mainly for preventing a military emergency. For China, it can make its people more united and weaken the support for Taiwan separatists by preparing for the conflict with much fanfare.
  • But what China can reap from the potential crisis is much more. The risks Pelosi poses provide a reason for Beijing to take further and more frequent military actions in the region around Taiwan.
  • Visiting the island or not, Pelosi has already boosted China’s determination to retake Taiwan and, perhaps, the ability to do so. However, the U.S. is closer to a scenario of confronting two major powers at the same time. The tools it can wield then would be even more limited, as sweeping sanctions on China like Russia would only backfire harder.

Tenth NPT review conference begins today

  • Signed in 1968, the NPT has been joined by 191 among 195 states recognized by the U.N. Five countries possessing nuclear weapons — the U.S., the UK, Russia, China, and France are parts of the Treaty. Three nuclear-weapon states (NWS) — India, Pakistan, and Israel, as well as South Sudan, which was founded in 2011, have not signed it.
  • In 2003, North Korea announced to quit the NPT in a move that triggered the Six-Party Talks. But the U.N. has not acknowledged Pyongyang’s withdrawal from the Treaty. Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un threatened to mobilize nuclear forces, saying the country was "fully ready for any military confrontation" with the U.S.
  • Meanwhile, Tehran is galloping towards a nuclear-weapon power as the Iran nuclear talks are suspended. On Sunday, media linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) also warned of building nuclear bombs “if the US or the Zionist regime make any stupid mistakes.” The IRGC, or Sepâh, is Iran’s major security force that controls most of its missile systems. The warning was published the day the Iranian nuclear negotiator signaled some progress in Vienna negotiations on the 2015 nuclear deal.

Indonesia, U.S. start annual military drills

  • Like Singapore, Indonesia is not a defense ally of the U.S. but a strategic partner. The U.S. Army and the Indonesian Army began to hold the Garuda Shield exercise in 2009. The U.S. said the exercise enhances the cooperation to support “a free and open Indo-Pacific.” Japan has also intensely brought up this idea in recent years. Indonesian President Joko Widodo stopped in Japan after visiting China during a trip to East Asia last week.

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