Tajikistan: A Sino-Russian flashpoint?
The drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan and Chinese persecution of the Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang could turn Central Asia into a hotbed of jihadist terrorism. One country that is particularly vulnerable to such a resurgence is Tajikistan. It is also the area where Russian and Chinese security interests could most easily come into conflict.
China’s threat to Russia’s Far East: Real or perceived?
The vulnerability of Russia’s Far Eastern and Siberian regions to Chinese expansion has become a truism. Yet most Russians seem to favor closer ties with China, and bilateral relations may be at their best in history, without a trace of military or political tension. There are also few signs of Chinese economic penetration, at least on a level that exceeds Japan’s or South Korea’s. Migration pressure from China into the underpopulated Russian north may be the hollowest of these popular myths.
Two scenarios for the future of U.S.-China relations
There are no longer any illusions that the U.S. sees any potential in partnership with China. The two countries have entered into a strategic competition that in the worst case, could quickly become a cold war-style confrontation. Negotiation on the biggest economic sticking points could ease tensions, but only for the short to medium term. The emerging rivalry of the two powers is with us to stay.
Mounting tension in Asia
Pressure is building in relations between the U.S. and China, especially after the recent APEC summit. However, the heightened rhetoric used there could give both countries a chance to climb down and come to a deal. Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping will have a perfect opportunity to do so during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.
The U.S. and China: The trade war and the broader confrontation
As the “trade war” between the U.S. and China looks set to last, it is time to ask if the confrontation is more about “war” than “trade.” In fact, China is simply carrying on the ideological battle initiated by the Soviet Union in the 20th century. This time, however, with its hybrid totalitarian-capitalist system, Beijing is a more formidable foe. For now, the pragmatic Chinese may back down for strategic reasons, but in the long term, the showdown is likely to intensify.
Potential benefits of the U.S.-China trade dispute
Past U.S. administrations have shied away from standing up to China on trade. Donald Trump’s tough stance has put Beijing in a tough spot, and it is likely to bite the bullet on a deal. A face-to-face meeting between the country’s two leaders this month could initiate a process of U.S.-China policy coordination.
Xi’s growing influence goes beyond constitutional changes
China’s National People’s Congress recently abolished term and age limits for the highest offices, including that of president. While the changes may not mean much for the workings of the Chinese party-state or the country’s development, they are part of a broader effort by President Xi Jinping to expand his influence and that of the Communist Party.
GIS Dossier: China’s Belt and Road Initiative
In 2013, China launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a huge infrastructure-building project that includes investments in roads, railways and ports spanning three continents and two oceans. While Beijing claims the BRI is purely an attempt to better connect China with key markets, it is clearly using the investments to gain geopolitical leverage. This Dossier brings together GIS experts’ analysis of how China is using the BRI to build its influence, and how countries around the world are reacting.