While Washington and Beijing’s overheated rhetoric and mutual recriminations amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic are grabbing headlines, equally important is what has been playing out across China’s eastern and southern peripheries over the past several weeks. At a moment when the Chinese Communist Party has been touting the generosity of its approach to COVID-19, there has been a marked increase in the number of incidents between China and its neighbors. Beijing has used its naval and paramilitary forces as well as its increasingly sophisticated information operations to ratchet up tensions, probe responses, and see how much it can get away with.
This raises the question of what exactly China is up to. Has Beijing truly embraced a new approach of cooperation with its neighbors? Is it trying to take advantage of the COVID-19 mess to assert its interests more aggressively? Or is this simply an extension — albeit an opportunistic one — of its pre-pandemic strategy?
Read the full article in War on the Rocks.
More from CNAS
CommentaryChina's post-Covid 19 'techno-nationalist' industrial policy
While Covid-19 brings China one step closer to technology-perfected authoritarianism through improvised health apps and real-time surveillance, Europe is busy looking inward. ...
By Rebecca Arcesati & Martijn Rasser
PodcastHong Kong Crisis
China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong to deter and punish what it calls “acts of secession or subversion.” Daniel Kliman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Asia-P...
By Daniel Kliman
CommentaryConverging Chinese and Russian Disinformation Compounds Threat to Democracy
In recent weeks the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) propaganda and disinformation blitz around COVID-19 has drawn increasing attention, and with good reason. In addition to pr...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor & David Shullman
VideoU.S.-China relations are in a free fall, says expert
Former State Department official Anja Manuel joins Morning Joe to discuss why she says U.S.-China relations are in a free fall. Watch the full conversation on MSNBC....
By Anja Manuel