At Strategika Gordon Chang lays out his bearish outline of considerations that should guide our policy with respect to China:
Beijing has, for instance, permitted Chinese entities to transfer semi-processed fissile material and components to North Korea for its nuclear weapons programs. North Korean missiles are full of Chinese parts and parts sourced through Chinese middlemen. China even looks like it gave Pyongyang the plans for a solid-fuel missile.
China’s leaders have permitted North Korean hackers to permanently base themselves on Chinese soil, where they have launched cyberattacks on the U.S., such as the 2014 assault on Sony Pictures Entertainment. Beijing has itself hacked American institutions such as newspapers, foundations, and advocacy groups, and it has taken for commercial purposes somewhere between $300 billion to $500 billion in intellectual property from American corporates each year.
China violated its September 2015 pledge not to militarize artificial islands in the South China Sea; refused to accept the July 2016 arbitration award in Philippines vs. China; threatened freedom of navigation on numerous occasions with dangerous intercepts of American vessels and aircraft; seized a U.S. Navy drone in international water in the South China Sea; and declared without consultation its East China Sea air-defense identification zone. Its warning to a B-1 bomber in March was phrased in such a way as to be tantamount to a claim of sovereignty to much of the East China Sea. Official state media has issued articles that imply all waters inside the infamous “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea are China’s, “blue national soil” as Beijing now calls it.
Beijing also wants to grab land. It regularly sends its troops deep into Indian-controlled territory with the intention of dismembering that country.
China, under the nationalist Xi Jinping, is engaging in increasingly predatory trade practices with the apparent goal of closing off its market to American and other companies. Of special concern are its Made in China 2025 initiative and the new Cybersecurity Law.
These are not random acts, unrepresentative of the regime’s conduct. They form a pattern of deteriorating behavior over a course of years. And these acts flow from similar ones in preceding decades, suggesting the aggressiveness is not just related to any one Chinese leader.
What should U. S. policy with respect to China be? I think I’ve already made my views clear. China has not lived up to its obligations in its international agreements; I don’t think that China is a good global citizen; I don’t think that China can be a good partner. That is particularly aggravated by the zero-sum strategy employed by the Chinese authorities. They clearly believe that it is only possible for China to win if the U. S. loses.
So, what should our policy be?