Welcome to the Stealth War Newsletter, a collection of the top recent news items, collected on The Jamestown Foundation’s new website, stealth-war.org. To continue to receive this weekly collection, click the button below to subscribe.
In the past few weeks, U.S. officials have contemplated stepping up arms sales to India and Taiwan as part of a strategy to strengthen old but often-overlooked alliances with “like-minded” nations. In addition to providing weaponry and equipment, U.S. forces have also increased their presence in the region: in 2019, the United States conducted a record number of exercises in the South China Sea. As U.S. aircraft and ships increased their patrols of the Taiwan Strait this past winter, Washington agreed to sell Taiwan new military equipment in May and approved upgrades to the PAC-3 missile defense system in July. These actions prompted a strong response from China, which began increasing its own flights around Taiwan and declared last week that it would sanction the American company Lockheed Martin for its arms sales to Taiwan, which “violate the One-China principle.”
This past Tuesday, China began sea trials for its new Type 075 LHD, a 40,000 ton amphibious ship designed to carry helicopters and landing craft. The testing sends an unmistakable warning at a time as tensions over the Taiwan issue are at an all-time high and the U.S.-China relationship reaches a nadir.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has denied the Wall Street Journal’s claim on August 4 that it had received aid from China to construct a uranium extraction facility near Al Ula—which would put it a step further on the path to weaponizing nuclear technology—but a statement released by the Saudi Energy Ministry admitted that it had contracted uranium exploration rights in certain parts of the country to the Chinese.
Finally, updates in the United States over the past week indicate that, as President Trump’s headlines-making fight to ban Tiktok in the country places the specter of influence operations in the spotlight, American businesses are hardening their stance against disinformation—particularly from Chinese agents. Google reported that it had taken down 2,500 YouTube accounts linked to China as part of an ongoing investigation into “coordinated influence operations.” And a scathing 100-page report by the free-speech advocate PEN America titled “Made in Hollywood, Censored by Beijing” laid bare the CCP’s impact on America’s entertainment industry and called for a “more unified approach” to resisting pressure from China. The explosion of Chinese investment in Hollywood has long been an open secret, and is key to studios’ ability to produce box office hits with record-breaking budgets. At the same time, the threat of losing foreign funding or being denied access to the massive Chinese film market has stifled creative dissent against the CCP party-line in Hollywood, even as the industry takes pride in its vocal criticism of the U.S. government.
Stealth War Flyover
The Jamestown Foundation is proud to release the inaugural episode of a new video series, Stealth War Flyover. Part of Jamestown’s new website, Stealth War, this periodic series will feature Brigadier General (ret.) Robert Spalding and Jamestown Foundation President Glen Howard dissecting the latest news in the ongoing competition between China and the United States.In this first episode, Howard and Spalding discuss the recent decision by the United Kingdom to ban Huawei from its 5G infrastructure; the announcement by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company that they will cease processing new orders from Huawei; and the sudden closure of China’s Consulate in Houston.