China Policy Institute Blog

China in Latin America: A Deepening Friendship

Written by Ariel Armony. What did Beijing hope to gain from President Xi Jinping’s visit to Latin America?  As we know, the Chinese leader had an intense agenda planned for the region: the BRICS summit in Brazil (and corresponding talks with leaders from UNASUR – the Union of South American Nations), a meeting with the “Quartet” …

Keeping China in Check: How North Korea Manages its Relationship with a Superpower

Written by Adam Cathcart. Around the world today, knowing how and when to deflect the will of the Chinese Communist Party seems to be something of a common theme. Beijing’s confidence is manifest at every turn: When one of its top leaders arrives in London, China seems to expect nothing less than audiences with the Queen, …

Abusive Convenience: Recent Chinese-North Korean Relations

Written by Adam Cathcart. In the lengthening aftermath of the Jang Song-taek execution, writers who are fond of metaphors for Chinese-North Korean relations can take heart. The bilateral relationship which had been “like lips and teeth” continues its transition into a new era, one of bleeding lips, or, as the historian Shen Zhihua puts it, …

Mapping A Politics of Insecurity And Hubris

Written by Ben Goren. In his 1941 book General Semantics, Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Prevention, Alfred Korzybski made one of the most abiding observations to have ever been so egregiously ignored at such a large cost: “the map is not the territory”. This important lesson in humility has, depending upon your perspective, either been ignored or …

For China: Make Maps, not War in the South China Sea

Written by Harry J. Kazianis. With the United States once again preoccupied with events in the Middle East China has made another strategic adjustment to its claims in the South China Sea. It seems clear by now that Beijing has found a new way to bolster its position in what Stratfor analyst Robert D. Kaplan …

Marriage of convenience: China and Russia’s gas deal

Written by Karolina Wysoczanska. Last month’s China-Russia gas deal attracted considerable attention not only because of its scale but because of its global significance. Indeed, it is probably a once-in-lifetime opportunity to witness a mega-deal like this, as only China and the United States have the demand and financial muscle to make this kind of purchase …

American Resolve, Not Concessions Needed to Maintain Stability in Asia

Written by Brian Benedictus. Soon after his ascension to the presidency of the PRC in 2012, Xi Jinping stated his desire to establish a “new great power relationship” with the United States. Although Xi’s doctrine remains short on specifics, there is an underlying theme of each side clarifying its interests in order to avoid direct …

The souls of diplomats

Written by Kerry Brown. It is unexpected, but it is not in John Le Carre’s celebrated work where you will find perhaps the most searching and accurate modern description of the soul of a diplomat but that of Lawrence Durrell. In `Mountolive’ the third volume of his great Alexandria Trilogy, set mostly in Egypt at …

The Delicate Balance on U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

Written by Piin-Fen Kok. As the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) enters its 35th year, we continue to be reminded about why this law—and U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, in particular—remains a source of contention in U.S.-China relations. The latest reminder came in the form of China’s backlash against a bill passed by the U.S. House of …

Tuning Out Beijing’s Six-Party Drumbeat

Written by Adam Cathcart. You know things are not going particularly well for China’s diplomatic efforts in Pyongyang when a visit by a small second-rank student song-and-dance ensemble from Dalian starts to look like of some kind of breakthrough in relations. But with the DPRK making ever-louder noises about some new-style nuclear deterrent, that is …