(1) Before President Barack Obama traveled to Beijing this month, I made a short contribution to a conversation at Asia Society’s ChinaFile, calling for President Xi Jinping and Obama to get down to the hard strategic questions. In part, I argue:
Xi and Obama should start by recognizing some facts. First, the rise of China is an important factor in changing global power dynamics, and this effect can’t be stopped or “contained.” Second, the U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific promotes stability, and U.S. commitment to global norms and the security of its allies will not evaporate. Third, despite deep economic integration and strong common interests in peace and prosperity, a dangerous dynamic of political and military competition between China and the United States and U.S. allies is now evident in the region. [more]
(2) After Obama moved on from Beijing to Myanmar and Australia for other meetings, I gave a tentative but positive assessment of what Obama and Xi achieved in Beijing. Writing for the Nikkei Asian Review, I argued in part:
The U.S. and Chinese governments made a big splash this week with a joint announcement on efforts to combat climate change that surprised even the most optimistic observers. But the overall significance of President Barack Obama’s visit to Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and a state visit with President Xi Jinping is still in question — as is the outcome of Obama’s trip to the region.
The climate announcement and other new efforts produced an upbeat moment in U.S.-China relations at a time when mutual suspicion and negativity have been on the rise in both capitals. Now the question is what progress was made, and whether this will be enough to establish a “new normal” in bilateral relations. [more]
(3) Most provocatively, I argued in The Diplomat that the U.S. government has committed itself to the wrong cyber fight with China with its emphasis on commercial spying. Instead, I write, the United States and China urgently need to address the rising risk of strategic conflict online—and deal with commercial disputes in other forums.
Since 2013, the Obama administration has publicly pressed China on one particular cybersecurity problem: the alleged theft of U.S. trade secrets by units of the Chinese government for the benefit of Chinese firms. The pressure, which administration officials said will continue at this week’s Obama-Xi summit in Beijing, has produced no significant results and has stalled dialogue on a much more dangerous aspect of cybersecurity: the quiet arms race to develop the ability to disrupt critical computer systems, potentially leading to chaos and civilian deaths. [more]