Xi-Putin Meeting - Politicising the Olympics - New 1962 War Book - Imran Khan in Beijing - Regulating AI Content - China-US Friction
I. A New World Order
by Manoj Kewalramani
In many ways this was a slow news week but also one with enormous significance for the future of the world order. Early in the week the Central Committee met for a new year’s banquet. Xi Jinping spoke at the dinner. I covered his comments here in my daily tracker. But more importantly, on Monday, the People’s Daily published a page-long piece telling us the “story of General Secretary Xi Jinping and the people.” To me, this bit from the article, which describes Xi’s visit to Ningdong Energy Chemical Industry Base in 2016, captures the essence of what the piece was trying to accomplish.
In the story, the employees of the company flocked to greet Xi. After his comments, their applause and cheers filled the air; and then they said: “人民领袖爱人民，人民领袖人民爱” – The people’s leader loves the people; the people love the people’s leader.
Later in the week, we had the opening of the Beijing Winter Games, amid controversy around Dinigeer Yilamujiang, an ethnic Uighur athlete, being the final torch-bearer. So much for Beijing not politicising the Games. Of course, there’s more on China’s politicisation of the Games with regard to India later in the newsletter.
Anyway, several leaders from different parts of the world did attend the opening ceremony. The leaders of 22 nations, as well as the leaders of several international organizations, including the United Nations and the World Health Organization, attended, according to a list published by China’s foreign ministry. In fact, NYT reports that Chinese officials were highlighting that these VIP attendees were far more than the 15 who attended the opening of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last year, but far less than the 80 who traveled to Beijing for the 2008 Games.
All eyes, however, were on the meeting between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. There was a flurry of activity before Putin arrived. For instance, the foreign ministers of the two countries met in Beijing first. The Chinese readout from that meeting was interesting in terms of the list of discussion items, with Ukraine being fairly low. Then there were two media engagements that Putin had. First, there was an article he signed onto, which was published in Xinhua; and second his interview with China Media Group.
Quick thought: This is a remarkable document. It shows that there is tremendous commonality of purpose between the two countries in terms of their visions of a future world order. But it is worth bearing in mind that commonality of purpose does not necessarily imply easy agreements on approaches and policies. Russia and China have different stakes and interests in Europe and the Indo-Pacific. The structure and drivers of their economies are also very different. It’s useful to keep all this in mind.
The joint statement is divided into four sections. Here are some excerpts:
View on the State of the World:
“Today, the world is going through momentous changes, and humanity is entering a new era of rapid development and profound transformation. It sees the development of such processes and phenomena as multipolarity, economic globalization, the advent of information society, cultural diversity, transformation of the global governance architecture and world order; there is increasing interrelation and interdependence between the States; a trend has emerged towards redistribution of power in the world; and the international community is showing a growing demand for the leadership aiming at peaceful and gradual development. At the same time, as the pandemic of the new coronavirus infection continues, the international and regional security situation is complicating and the number of global challenges and threats is growing from day to day. Some actors representing but the minority on the international scale continue to advocate unilateral approaches to addressing international issues and resort to force; they interfere in the internal affairs of other states, infringing their legitimate rights and interests, and incite contradictions, differences and confrontation, thus hampering the development and progress of mankind, against the opposition from the international community.”
“democracy is a universal human value, rather than a privilege of a limited number of States, and that its promotion and protection is a common responsibility of the entire world community…There is no one-size-fits-all template to guide countries in establishing democracy. A nation can choose such forms and methods of implementing democracy that would best suit its particular state, based on its social and political system, its historical background, traditions and unique cultural characteristics. It is only up to the people of the country to decide whether their State is a democratic one…Russia and China as world powers with rich cultural and historical heritage have long-standing traditions of democracy, which rely on thousand-years of experience of development, broad popular support and consideration of the needs and interests of citizens…”
“The two sides note that democratic principles are implemented at the global level, as well as in administration of State. Certain States' attempts to impose their own ”democratic standards“ on other countries, to monopolize the right to assess the level of compliance with democratic criteria, to draw dividing lines based on the grounds of ideology, including by establishing exclusive blocs and alliances of convenience, prove to be nothing but flouting of democracy and go against the spirit and true values of democracy. Such attempts at hegemony pose serious threats to global and regional peace and stability and undermine the stability of the world order. The two sides believe that the advocacy of democracy and human rights must not be used to put pressure on other countries. They oppose the abuse of democratic values and interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states under the pretext of protecting democracy and human rights, and any attempts to incite divisions and confrontation in the world.”
Sustainable Development, Climate Change & Tech
“The two sides reaffirm their focus on building the Greater Eurasian Partnership in parallel and in coordination with the Belt and Road construction to foster the development of regional associations as well as bilateral and multilateral integration processes for the benefit of the peoples on the Eurasian continent. The two sides agreed to continue consistently intensifying practical cooperation for the sustainable development of the Arctic…They call on the developed countries to implement in good faith their formal commitments on development assistance, provide more resources to developing countries, address the uneven development of States, work to offset such imbalances within States, and advance global and international development cooperation. The Russian side confirms its readiness to continue working on the China-proposed Global Development Initiative, including participation in the activities of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative under the UN auspices…The two sides call on the international community to create open, equal, fair and non-discriminatory conditions for scientific and technological development…(the two sides) expect that developed countries will actually ensure the annual provision of $100 billion of climate finance to developing states. The two sides oppose setting up new barriers in international trade under the pretext of fighting climate change…The two sides emphasize that ascertaining the origin of the new coronavirus infection is a matter of science.”
The international community should actively engage in global governance to ensure universal, comprehensive, indivisible and lasting security. The two sides reaffirm their strong mutual support for the protection of their core interests, state sovereignty and territorial integrity, and oppose interference by external forces in their internal affairs. The Russian side reaffirms its support for the One-China principle, confirms that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and opposes any forms of independence of Taiwan. Russia and China stand against attempts by external forces to undermine security and stability in their common adjacent regions, intend to counter interference by outside forces in the internal affairs of sovereign countries under any pretext, oppose colour revolutions, and will increase cooperation in the aforementioned areas.”
— Quick thought: this is such an interesting section, which is riddled with contradictions. At one level, there is talk of comprehensive and indivisible security. At another, there’s essentially a clear call for a world order based on spheres of influence. Also, I wonder what it means for India when Moscow pledges strong support for Beijing’s core interest. I guess it will be worth keeping an eye to see if the boundary dispute is specifically classified as a core interest by Beijing.
On terrorism, the statement says that they sides “promote the idea of creating a single global anti-terrorism front, with the United Nations playing a central role…oppose politicization of the issues of combating terrorism and their use as instruments of policy of double standards.
“The two sides oppose further enlargement of NATO and call on the North Atlantic Alliance to abandon its ideologized cold war approaches, to respect the sovereignty, security and interests of other countries, the diversity of their civilizational, cultural and historical backgrounds, and to exercise a fair and objective attitude towards the peaceful development of other States. The two sides stand against the formation of closed bloc structures and opposing camps in the Asia-Pacific region and remain highly vigilant about the negative impact of the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy on peace and stability in the region. Russia and China have made consistent efforts to build an equitable, open and inclusive security system in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR) that is not directed against third countries and that promotes peace, stability and prosperity.”
On nuclear weapons, the statement calls on “all nuclear-weapons States” to “reduce the role of nuclear weapons in their national security policies, withdraw nuclear weapons deployed abroad, eliminate the unrestricted development of global anti-ballistic missile defense (ABM) system…”
On AUKUS, it says: “Russia and China believe that such actions are contrary to the objectives of security and sustainable development of the Asia-Pacific region, increase the danger of an arms race in the region, and pose serious risks of nuclear proliferation.”
The statement further calls “on the United States to respond positively to the Russian initiative and abandon its plans to deploy intermediate-range and shorter-range ground-based missiles in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. The two sides will continue to maintain contacts and strengthen coordination on this issue. The Chinese side is sympathetic to and supports the proposals put forward by the Russian Federation to create long-term legally binding security guarantees in Europe.”
There’s specific criticism of the US on arms control agreements and its apparent plan to build “global missile defense and deploy its elements in various regions of the world.” In addition, it says that Russia and China “will counteract activities aimed at achieving military superiority in space and using it for combat operations.” They “affirm the need for the early launch of negotiations to conclude a legally binding multilateral instrument based on the Russian-Chinese draft treaty on the prevention of placement of weapons in outer space and the use or threat of force against space objects that would provide fundamental and reliable guarantees against an arms race and the weaponization of outer space.”
The statement also says that the two sides “support the internationalization of Internet governance, advocate equal rights to its governance, believe that any attempts to limit their sovereign right to regulate national segments of the Internet and ensure their security are unacceptable.”
The statement says that the two sides back the “central coordinating role of the United Nations in international affairs, defend the world order based on international law, including the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, advance multipolarity and promote the democratization of international relations, together create an even more prospering, stable, and just world, jointly build international relations of a new type…In order to prevent the recurrence of the tragedy of the world war, the two sides will strongly condemn actions aimed at denying the responsibility for atrocities of Nazi aggressors, militarist invaders, and their accomplices, besmirch and tarnish the honour of the victorious countries.”
“The two sides call for the establishment of a new kind of relationships between world powers on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation. They reaffirm that the new inter-State relations between Russia and China are superior to political and military alliances of the Cold War era. Friendship between the two States has no limits, there are no “forbidden” areas of cooperation, strengthening of bilateral strategic cooperation is neither aimed against third countries nor affected by the changing international environment and circumstantial changes in third countries.”
This is followed by references to the different list of different minilateral groupings that the two countries are part of; interestingly, the RIC format also gets a mention.
Apart from this joint statement, the two sides also issued a list of the different deals that were signed.
One important bit to note is the Gazprom-CNPC deal covers the provision of 10 billion cubic metres of gas a year for a period of 30 years. Reuters reports that Russia already sends gas to China via its Power of Siberia pipeline, which began pumping supplies in 2019, and by shipping liquefied natural gas (LNG). It exported 16.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas to China in 2021. The report adds that “the deal would be settled in euros, the source added, in line with efforts by the two states to diversify away from U.S. dollars.”
The Chinese readout from the Xi-Putin meeting — President Xi Jinping Held Talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin
II. India-China Brief
Suyash Desai & Swayamsiddha Samal
China chose Qi Fabao, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) regiment commander involved in the June 15, 2020 clash with the Indian Army at Galwan, to carry the Winter Olympics torch during the relay this week in Beijing. The Winter Olympics began on February 4. On Wednesday, two days before the inaugural event, a torch relay was held in Beijing, with 1,200 torchbearers involved. Among them was Qi Fabao, who “took the flame from Wang Meng, China’s four-time Olympic short track speed skating champion, at Winter Olympic Park,” Global Times reported.
This is not a one-off event of the use of the Galwan clashes and strained India-China relations by the PRC for propaganda purposes. Earlier this week, the China Central Television (CCTV) broadcasted the first episode of a five-part documentary on PLA soldiers of the Xinjiang military command stationed along the LAC in eastern Ladakh. The first episode showed patrols along the border, including flag-raising ceremonies held in Galwan Valley and boats patrolling Spanggur Lake, south of Pangong Lake. A preview of the series included interviews with the relatives of the PLA soldiers who died in the Galwan clash.
Interestingly, there’s also a new book that’s being published in China discussing the 1962 war. Swayamsiddha covers this later in this section. In the meantime, do check out this threat that Manoj had put together on some recent developments that are shaping a public consciousness in China of India being a threat/adversary.
Global Times @globaltimesnewsQi Fabao, a PLA regiment commander who sustained head injury while fighting bravely in the #Galwan Valley border skirmish with #India, is a torchbearer during Wed’s #Beijing2022 Winter Olympic Torch Relay. https://t.co/aWtWTDsVKF
The Indian government reacted sharply to the politicisation of the Winter Games. On Thursday, the MEA announced that India’s Chargé d’Affaires in Beijing will not attend the opening and closing ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympics.
Sidhant Sibal @sidhantBig Breaking : India announces that its top diplomat in Beijing will not attend the Beijing Winter Olympics https://t.co/PtSUIN1SXR
The Indian Ambassador to China, Pradeep Kumar Rawat, whose appointment was announced in December 2021, is expected to take charge in the next few weeks, and hence the Charge d’Affaires Acquino Vimal is the top diplomat in Beijing at present. Mr Vimal and other officials were expected to attend the ceremonial functions at the games, although the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that no political or high-level representation would be sent from Delhi.
The MEA spokesperson said that it is “regrettable” China chose a PLA commander involved in the Galwan Valley clash as an Olympic torchbearer and that the Chinese side has chosen to politicise an event like the Olympics. India had earlier expressed support for the Beijing Olympics, even as more than a dozen countries, led by the United States, had announced a boycott of the games.
In addition, hundreds of Tibetan exiles marched near the Chinese Embassy in Delhi, calling for the boycott of the Winter Games while demanding freedom for their region.
Sidhant Sibal @sidhantShortly protests by Tibetans in Delhi against Controversial Beijing Winter Olympics that begins later today. https://t.co/CdJW1zQo00
Meanwhile, China’s defence ministry held its monthly press conference last week. On India, the PLA spokesperson, Senior Colonel Wu Qian, said that the recent round of military (Corps Commanders) talk was “positive and constructive,” China will work closely with the Indian side to handle the border issue negotiation and consultation properly.
Elsewhere, the Chinese Armed Forces have returned Miram Taron, a 17 years old resident of a border village in Arunachal Pradesh, who was reportedly abducted by the PLA last month. “Recently, Chinese border guards were patrolling the territory of China’s Medog county when they found an Indian man who had illegally entered Chinese territory and carried out routine questioning and quarantine observation … and provided humanitarian relief,” said Long Shaohua, spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army’s Western Theatre Command, in a brief statement. According to the statement, the handover came after the Indian military asked for help from the Chinese side through their border hotline, and the two sides had maintained “close negotiations” since then.
— New Book on 1962 War
This October will mark the 60th anniversary of the 1962 India-China war. In order to commemorate the anniversary, Zhang Xiaokang, daughter of Lieutenant General Zhang Guohua, the then commander of the Tibet Military Region, who reportedly organised the Chinese offensive in the eastern sector, has published a new book.
The book is said to be a compilation of first-hand information from senior officers who fought in the war. It is titled One Hundred Questions on the China-India Border Self-Defence Counterattack. The book reportedly primarily focuses on developments in the Eastern Sector and explores the significance of Tawang’s capture in 1962.
Three detailed excerpts of the book were published on Guancha last month. The first extract highlights the combat strategies and command organisation of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The second extract focuses on the crucial first battle at Namka Chu, which the book calls the “opening battle of the self-defence counterattack”. The final extract talks about Indian Brigadier John Parashuram Dalvi, commander of the 7th Brigade, who was captured by the PLA.
III. Region Watch
by Shibani Mehta
This Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the tiger. The animal, one of a dozen in the Chinese zodiac, is considered a positive sign believed to symbolise resilience and strength. While I’m not convinced by zodiac culture, the pivot to resilience is refreshing after the past two years humanity has endured.
Between Lunar New Year festivities and the opening of the Winter Olympic Games 2022, Beijing prepared to host a high-level delegation from Pakistan – Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, National Security Advisor Moeed Yousaf, Commerce Advisor Abdul Razak Dawood and Special Assistant on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Khalid Mansoor. Apart from deepening political engagement and enhancing strategic ties, reports suggested that Islamabad’s long to-do list included acquiring a loan of $3 billion to stabilise its foreign exchange reserves.
‘Unlike in the past when we would only talk about Pak-Sino friendship being higher than the Himalayas and sweeter than honey, this time we are going prepared to China with a structured approach,’
The Federal Planning and Development Minister told The Express Tribune.
The ‘structured approach’ was exhibited when Pakistan’s Board of Investment (BoI) and China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) signed the ‘Framework Agreement on Industrial Cooperation'. The deal will enable the relocation of enterprises and investment from China and other parts of the world to Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Pakistan. Reports indicate that the framework provides mechanisms that encourage business-to-business linkages between Pakistan and Chinese corporations.
With bilateral industrial cooperation, one of the ten joint working groups established under CPEC in 2016, imagined to go beyond 2030, the agreement is vital for the second phase of CPEC.
The function of SEZs in driving urban expansion to bring new business opportunities and development, thereby reducing poverty was highlighted in a case study on Economic Corridor Development (ECD) in Pakistan. Released last week by the Asian Development Bank, the report recommends ten policy reforms to manage haphazard urbanisation and industrialization in the country. Last among these is,
‘Leverage SEZs as a spatial economic unit to create synergy between urban and industrial development processes. SEZ-based industrial and urban development has become one of the main modes of expanding urban spaces. In city spaces, SEZs can play a large role in the urban space dynamics, driving urban expansion to bring forth new business opportunities and residential and commercial development, as evident from the PRC’s experience.’
Resistance to the CPEC and Chinese ‘colonisation’ of Pakistan has been a frequent concern that was rekindled once again last week. When security forces faced separatists in Balochistan province for three days following attacks on two military bases are said to have been carried out by the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA). Security officials noted the time of the attacks, hours before the Prime Minister left for Beijing and concluded that they were aimed at derailing the visit. The BLA has historically (and violently) opposed Chinese investment in Gwadar and other parts of Pakistan, calling it colonisation and exploitation of the province by China and Pakistan. News reports suggest the incident led to the deaths of at least 12 soldiers and nine militants while the BLA quotes different numbers.
A parliamentary committee meeting in Islamabad on Thursday noted that the burden of security was shouldered by the Army and the Police and other stakeholders could take more responsibility. The committee chairman, while stressing the weaknesses in coordination at various levels among ministries and divisions of CPEC security, advised that the Joint Working Group on the security of CPEC meet regularly.
Last year, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi travelled to China to meet with his counterpart Wang Yi for a strategic dialogue. The dialogue was held under tense circumstances as it took place days after the death of 13 people, including nine Chinese workers, in a bus blast near a hydropower project. Foreign Minister Qureshi was told then that President Xi had ‘put forward clear requests’ to bring the perpetrators to justice and ‘to further improve security protection for Chinese nationals, institutions and projects in Pakistan’, an issue expected to be discussed during the ongoing visit.
IV. Regulation of AI Generated Content
by Megha Pardhi
The Cybersecurity Administration of China (CAC) has floated a draft of provisions on administrations of synthetically generated content using AI (official version here, unofficial translation here). The provisions have been framed under the Cybersecurity Law, Data Security Law, Personal Information Protection Law, Measures for Administration of Internet Information services, etc. State Internet Information Office (国家互联网信息办公室 Guójiā hùliánwǎng xìnxī bàngōngshì) (SIIO) will be responsible for the interpretation of these provisions. The draft targets applications of "deep synthesis" technologies to provide internet information services.
Key terms from the proposal and their meaning:
Deep Synthesis: This term in the proposal refers to technologies that use AI algorithms to generate or manipulate content. In the draft, "deep synthesis" refers to text, images, audio, video, virtual scenes, or other information generated using deep learning artificial intelligence technology.
Deep Synthesis Service Providers: Platforms, companies, and tools, that use deep learning AI to edit content or allow users to edit content. Also includes app stores that are used to distribute applications.
The document explains six key areas (but not exhaustive) where "deep synthesis" is used:
The listed motivation behind the proposed regulations is national security and preserving law and order. Article 6 of the draft regulation states that "deep synthesis services must not be used by any organization or individual to engage in activities that are prohibited by laws and regulations, such as those endangering national security, undermining social stability, disrupting social order, or violating the lawful rights and interests of others…." (第六条 任何组织和个人不得利用深度合成服务从事危害国家安全、破坏社会稳定、扰乱社会秩序、侵犯他人合法权益等法律法规禁止的活动，不得制作、复制、发布、传播含有煽动颠覆国家政权).
This includes any content that:
Can subvert state sovereignty
Endanger national security and social stability
Has fake information
Infringe upon intellectual property rights
Distorts reputation of someone
As per the draft, internet platforms and providers of deep synthesis services have the following responsibilities:
Register with CAC within 10 days of starting to provide such services.
Establish information security and management systems (like algorithm review mechanisms, user registration, information content management, etc.)
Conduct real-name identity verification for users.
Strengthen content management (review data inputs by the user, employ measures to address illegal and negative information, etc.)
Strengthen the management of technologies (periodically reviewing, assessing, and testing algorithmic mechanisms, etc.)
Strengthen the management of training data
Alert the public about synthetically generated content and stop transmission if it is not labelled.
Establish mechanisms for dispelling rumours.
Mechanism to manage public complaints.
My thoughts on the draft:
Although this draft is being primarily read as targeting deepfakes, the "deep synthesis" technologies can be used for a range of different purposes. The draft itself mentions six broad areas that include not only image and voice manipulation but also text editing and 3D reconstruction.
Responsibility to manage content shouldered on platforms and service providers
The burden of management of synthetic content is placed on internet platforms and service providers. This includes companies who make tools used to generate and edit such content. The responsibility to track, verify, and ensure legality, is also on service providers. Moreover, the list of applications mentioned in the draft is not exhaustive. This means the interpretation of applications using deep learning AI tools might be subject to interpretation.
Significance for military
Generated content can be used for a range of purposes apart from deepfakes. The future warfare and battlefield conceptualized by the PLA researchers and officers will need generated content using deep learning AI.
For example, to make "battlefield metaverse" a reality, PLA will need superior capabilities to generate and manage synthetic content. This includes 3D reconstruction, editing biometric attributes, face generation, gesture manipulation, etc.
Hence regulation of such technologies will nudge platforms and providers towards building a resilient structure.
Significance for national security
Deepfakes can be used to target leaders, spread misinformation to create social discontent, destabilize the government, discredit a leader, etc. Hence, it can be a potent tool for offensive and defensive information operations. Hence, it is not surprising for Beijing to try and bring generated content under regulation. This is continuing with the trend of bringing more accountability to internet platforms (like 2019 rules banning deep learning to produce fake news videos and audios).
Also, anything deemed politically sensitive or otherwise unfit will come under the scanner.
On the other hand, provisions to label the generated content ensures that users will know when they are using or viewing synthetically generated or edited content. Hence preventing the spread of misinformation. For example, if you are watching a video of a viral speech, and it has been altered, the platforms will have to either take down the video or label it as being manipulated.
Data Security and Privacy
Draft mandates that users need to obtain consent of a person before altering biometric features. This is consistent with other laws and guidelines emphasizing data security and privacy. The Chinese government views data security and privacy as a national security matter.
Note: I will cover a brief overview of deep learning AI in an upcoming issue of China Tech Dispatch.
Also, refer to this thread:
V. China-US Ties
by Shrey Khanna
On January 28, the Taiwanese Vice-President Lai Ching-te held a virtual meeting with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a transit stop in San Francisco. During the meeting, Lai thanked Pelosi for her “long-term, staunch support of Taiwan”, and for “proposing the House version of the America COMPETES Act which includes numerous sections supporting Taiwan”, according to a briefing provided by Taiwan’s Representative to the US Bi-khim Hsiao.
On January 30, China’s MFA Spokesperson Zhao Lijian gave his remarks on the meeting. He said:
“China rejects all forms of official interactions between the US and Taiwan and has lodged solemn representation with the US side over Lai Ching-te’s virtual meetings with US lawmakers and others during Lai’s “transit” through the US. We urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations in the three China-US joint communiqués, immediately stop the erroneous acts of having official exchanges with Taiwan, avoid sending any wrong signal to the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces, and refrain from further undermining China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
In a related development, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers have proposed matching bills in the Senate and House of Representatives on February 3 that would require the US to negotiate with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington to rename it as the Taiwan Representative Office.
After it was reported that the US is considering the renaming of Taiwan’s US office in September 2021, China had “lodged solemn representations” with the US urging it to abide by the one-China principle. Beijing has yet to respond to the latest development.
When asked to comment on the legislation, the US Department of State Spokesperson refused to comment on the pending legislation while highlighting the US’ commitment to deepen its “unofficial ties with Taiwan”.
Meanwhile, on February 4, the US House of Representatives passed the America COMPETES Act of 2022. The Act aims to increase the US competitiveness with China by providing $52 billion in support of US fabrication of semiconductors. It also authorises $45 billion to improve America’s supply chain. The Act’s Senate counterpart, the US Innovation and Competition Act, was passed in June 2021.
The Act has an explicit China-focus. As House Speaker Pelosi said:
“We’re positioning US interests and values to win in the world arena, including holding the People’s Republic of China accountable for genocide and using slave labour. This is not just a values issue in terms of human rights – this is a competition issue, making our workers and our country compete with slave labour in China.”
Similarly, when President Biden sought the Republican support for the Act in Senate, the China focus was clear. He said:
“If House Republicans are serious about lowering prices, making our economy stronger, and competing with China from a position of strength, then they should come to the table and support this legislation, which does just that.”