China’s borders have been sealed for well over a year now. And those borders will be closed for the foreseeable future. That, obviously, is a result of the pandemic; but, is there a larger grand strategy at play?
For decades now, China’s coupling with western economies has been the dominant theme of the global economic landscape - beginning with China’s 2001 accession to the World Trade Organization.
But that’s been changing. Fast forward to a speech by President Xi Jinping to mark the hundred year anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. He spoke before a massive crowd in Tiananmen Square: "The Chinese people", Xi said “will never allow any foreign force to bully, oppress, or enslave us. Anyone who tries to do so shall be battered and bloodied colliding with a great wall of steel forged by more than 1.4 billion Chinese people using flesh and blood.”
On July 2, Chinese regulators announced an investigation into DiDi Global, a ride-hailing company, right after its IPO. DiDi had raised $4.4 billion in the biggest Chinese IPO in the U.S. since Alibaba’s in 2014. There have been similar moves against other Chinese companies listed in the US.
Where will this go? Consider this: There are currently 244 U.S. listed Chinese firms with a total market capitalization of around $1.8 trillion, equivalent to some 4% of the U.S. stock market’s capitalization.
Are we witnessing the decoupling of the US and China economies? Is this the one issue on which there seems to be a bipartisan consensus in the US? Is the Biden administration cementing the Trump policies towards China or reversing them? How is China dealing with the Delta variant and how will it factor into the Chinese Communist Party’s next moves?
There’s no better guest to help us understand what’s going on than Matt Pottinger. Matt covered China and lived in China as a journalist for Reuters and then The Wall Street Journal. He covered the first outbreak of SARS in China.
He then, in his early 30s, made quite a career change. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps, and served in multiple combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Later on, Matt played an instrumental role in the geopolitical story of our time: reshaping the West’s relationship with China, when he served as the deputy National Security Advisor in the Trump administration, and he was the architect of the administration’s strategy towards China. Today, he is regularly called upon from policymakers on both sides of the aisle, to consult on US policy towards China.
As we enter a new phase of pandemic, what is going on with the US-China relationship and how will it play out?
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