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 - January 11, 2023

2023-01-11
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House to establish China select committee

  • The U.S. House passed a resolution by a 365-65 vote to establish a China select committee, which Republicans had planned for before being sworn in. Formally called “Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party,” the group will be led by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI). According to the resolution, the function of the committee will be “investigate and submit policy recommendations on the status of the Chinese Communist Party’s economic, technological, and security progress and its competition with the United States.” U.S. lawmakers usually highlight the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) in policies against China.

North American summit focuses on migration, chip

  • U.S. President Joe Biden joined Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the North American Leaders’ Summit (fact sheet) in Mexico on Tuesday. The annual meeting, also known as the Three Amigos Summit, started in 2005 during George W. Bush’s presidency as part of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), a trilateral initiative ended in August 2009.

  • In their joint declaration, the leaders pledged to address the migration issues. They also vowed to strengthen the regional supply chains in semiconductors, electric vehicle batteries, and others. The countries will organize their first trilateral semiconductor forum in early 2023, coordinate their mapping efforts on the semiconductor supply chain, and enhance exchange among technology experts in the next five years.

Xi talks with Czech President

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping had a video call with Czech President Miloš Zeman on Monday (Zh/En). Xi expressed hope for promoting relations between China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC), saying that “China's policy on Europe remains stable.”

  • The Czech Republic will hold its presidential election starting on Saturday. Zeman, a political heavyweight who has been trying to strengthen ties with China, is retiring after serving as president for 10 years. One of the presidential hopefuls is the opposition leader Andrej Babis, the former prime minister who is seen as an ally of Zeman. Babis’ strongest rival is Petr Pavel, a retired general who was chairman of the NATO Military Committee.

Commentaries of the day

Toward better China-U.S. relations: Ambassador Robert Blackwill, deputy assistant of President George W. Bush, called for rational approaches to China-U.S. relations with “negotiation, compromise, and political will.”

Taiwan: The CSIS recently published a detailed report of their war game, likely carried out in August last year, foreseeing a Pyrrhic victory even if an anti-unification Taipei defeats Beijing in a military conflict with the help of the U.S. A similar war game by the Pentagon and RAND in 2020 pointed out the narrow Taiwan Strait grants Beijing advantage to move fast. As early as 2015, RAND warned of “significant challenges” the Chinese military could pose to the U.S. in a comparative study.

From the readers

  • Comment on the article “What foreign policy elites really think about you” shared in yesterday’s issue.

    My reaction to the Quincy piece is just this: leaders must be mindful of the nuances of public opinion when shaping policy — foreign or domestic. However, leaders cannot be purely subservient to public opinion and in some cases have to act to the contrary.

    Thus, President Franklin Roosevelt developed the lend-lease program to help the British and Soviets survive Hitler’s aggression, even though the U.S. was still bound by highly popular neutrality laws. Roosevelt’s actions, taken before the Pearl Harbor attack, were deeply controversial at the time. Similarly, President Ronald Reagan deployed Pershing II intermediate-range missiles in Western Europe to counter Soviet SS-20s menacing that region. There were massive demonstrations against his policy, both here and in Europe, but he proceeded and was right. The missiles on both sides were later removed by treaty.

    In the Roosevelt-era and Reagan-era cases, first Germany and then the USSR worked to shape U.S. public opinion in a vain hope to control U.S. actions.

    Martin B. Gold, Washington, D.C.

    (Links are added by the editor.)

Reply to the comment
  • Here is today’s question: How would the China Select Committee affect China-U.S. Relations?

    Send your comments within 120 words by replying to this email or to wendy.weng@cusef.org.hk. Please indicate your first and last name and location. Let us know if you want to answer anonymously. We may shorten or edit your comment before publication.

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