CSIS ChinaPower debates

CSIS ChinaPower debates

Highlights from the debates at the 2018 ChinaPower conference, as organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

China doesn’t have the capability for sea control
The premise that China has the capability to control the South China Sea in all circumstances short of war with the United States is dubious. The South China Sea is 1.351 million square miles in size, not including the Gulf of Thailand. It is about 1.4 times the size of the Mediterranean. To patrol this vast space, China has 125 coast guard vessels over 1,000 tons and 84 maritime militia operating out of Sansha city. That’s 209 vessels, not including the navy. And since we’re talking about circumstances short of war, it seems reasonable to exclude the Chinese navy in this case: that’s one vessel for every 6,464 square miles. Even if we say there are a few hundred additional part-time militia
China doesn’t have the capability for sea control
Can China control the South China Sea?
The South China Sea is a vast, resource-rich body of water that is made up of over 250 islands, reefs and shoals. China claims about 90% of the contested waters, arguing it has historical rights in the region thanks to its “nine-dash line.” Other Asian countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia, have competing claims in the area. Even though the US has no territorial claims in the South China Sea, it sees the waters of as an area of strategic interest, since they are a crucial trade route. Chinese dominance in the seas will threaten America’s position in Asia. In past years, China has become increasingly assertive over the South China Sea, building artificial islands
Can China control the South China Sea?
China enjoys many advantages in AI development
In the last 40 years since the start of China’s economic reform and opening up, a lot has happened. The most profound development in China is the rise of the private sector. Compared to the state sector, the private sector contributes much more to GDP and the creation of new jobs. But more importantly, the private sector has been embracing emerging technologies, in particular over the last decade. Ironically, this decade is epitomized by American inventions. The iPhone and the wireless internet have fundamentally changed China, and that has created a large number of innovations along the way. China has the world’s largest internet economy. There are more than 800 million active internet user
China enjoys many advantages in AI development
China’s state-led AI development model won’t work
There is hysteria around China and particularly around a so-called “AI race with China,” but China is not necessarily going to dominate AI. China is great at writing national plans, but they are not so good at delivering on those plans. China has talked for years about having a globally competitive Chinese car, particularly in the electronic vehicle space. Do we have a Chinese Tesla that's out there competing in global markets? No. Let’s look at the semiconductor industry. For years, the Chinese government has thrown billions of dollars at this sector, and there was tons of policy support. And yet, a ban on the Chinese telecom giant ZTE from the US supply chain almost brought it to its knees
China’s state-led AI development model won’t work
Will China be the leader of the coming AI revolution?
Can China dominate the global race for dominance in artificial intelligence? It’s already made its first move. In 2017, Beijing published a development plan, laying out three steps for China to become a world leader in AI by 2030. Progress is being made. In 2017, China’s AI industry grew by 67%. More patents and research papers originated from China than the US. More money is being poured into AI investment, too. About 48% of total equity funding for AI startups comes from China, while the US funded 38% of these companies. But China’s technological ambitions have led to an international backlash, especially from the US. Washington accuses China of stealing American technology to boost its ow
Will China be the leader of the coming AI revolution?
Is China’s industrial program a threat?
The “Made in China 2025” policy is at the heart of Beijing’s efforts to transform China into an advanced manufacturing leader. The ambitious plan was introduced in 2015 to facilitate the development of 10 key industries, including robotics, new energy vehicles and artificial intelligence. The goal is to replace high-tech imports with locally made products, and to build national champions able to rival tech giants in the West. The program is now a flashpoint in the US-China trade war. The Trump administration has accused China of stealing American technologies and trade secrets in order to further its industrial policies. Amid ongoing trade negotiations with Washington, Beijing has downplayed
Is China’s industrial program a threat?
Is China trying to remake the world in its own image?
At a key Communist Party congress in 2017, Chinese leader Xi Jinping proudly announced that China’s model was one to be emulated. The political model that has led to China’s stunning development, Xi said, offers a “new option” to countires that want to develop while also preserving their independence. Xi didn’t detail what this Chinese option entails, but he said it offers a “Chinese approach” to solving problems. Xi didn’t take a jab at Western democracy as something inferior to the Chinese approach he was promoting. The only time Xi explicitly referred to the West was when he mentioned Western medicine. But Xi’s advocacy of a Chinese model, along with China’s growing economic and political
Is China trying to remake the world in its own image?
‘Made in China 2025’ will contribute to the world
I don’t think that “Made in China 2025” and related industry programs pose a threat to global innovation and the world economy. I will lay out six points. First, these industrial policies have their roots in traditional Chinese culture. In China, we always set relatively high goals. If we achieve half of it, we will be satisfied. For example, China raised the goal of achieving full modernization in the 1960s. And in 1982, Deng Xiaoping raised the goal of a wealthy society by 2000. Every few years, China sets a new vision. These kind of visions drive China to change, and to some extent, innovate. Second, “Made in China 2025” provides public information for the stakeholders – not only big comp
‘Made in China 2025’ will contribute to the world
China is improving the international order
We are talking about international order, not domestic politics. Even though the United States and Saudi Arabia have very different political systems, they are allies in international affairs. We should not equate international relations with internal politics. The current international order is not a liberal order, but a liberal hegemonic one. On the one side, it carries liberal values such as a respect for sovereignty, equality and multilateralism, and economically, international development and cooperation. But on the other hand, this order has been created by the United States, and has been in operation under the command and control of the US. From time to time, the US takes exception wi
China is improving the international order
China has a plan to make the world illiberal
The Communist Party of China has invested a great deal to reshape the international system in its own, illiberal way. China is an illiberal state, even though the Chinese Communist Party bills itself as a democracy with socialist characteristics. China’s ruling regime is not subject to any law, including its constitution. Chinese people are not really protected by a credible system of the rule of law, and their individual freedoms are constantly violated by the state itself. The Chinese state itself consistently promotes ideological values that are fundamentally at odds with what we consider liberal values: nationalism, glorification of the state and a personality cult around its leaders. Th
China has a plan to make the world illiberal