September 4, 2020 – Stealth War Newsletter 6

By: Jamestown Foundation

Fri September, 2020, Age: 3 years



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September 4, 2020

Strategic Indicator
This issue’s number to watch

$170 billion

The value of America’s university sector, which will be hard hit by the departure of Chinese students affected by new visa restrictions and COVID-19. Chinese students, many of whom are ineligible for national scholarship programs, have long buoyed rising tuition costs at schools nationwide.

Stealth War Flyover


In the second episode of Stealth War Flyover, Jamestown President Glen Howard and former Senior Director for Strategy to the President Robert Spalding discuss President Trump’s recent executive order potentially banning TikTok and WeChat; what policy options Washington has on the situation in Hong Kong; and recent comments made by Keith Krach, the undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, on U.S. universities’ index funds holding Chinese stock.

Stealth War Flyover is a periodic series featuring Brigadier General (ret.) Robert Spalding and Jamestown Foundation President Glen Howard discussing and dissecting the latest news in the ongoing competition between China and the United States.

Watch Here

Top Stories

In a seemingly first of its kind decision, the University of North Texas has terminated its exchange program with a national Chinese scholarship fund, the Chinese Scholarship Council. The move effectively expels 15 researchers working at the university with Chinese government funding. A petition asking for the university to reconsider its decision alleges that scholars were not provided with a reason for their termination. However, the decision comes as the U.S. government has encouraged schools to increasingly investigate Chinese influence on American campuses. Following the closure of China’s Houston consulate over accusations of spying, the Department of State earlier this month designated Confucius Institutes, which are often hosted on college campuses, as foreign missions “advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign.”

On Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo further escalated the diplomatic conflict with China by declaring that the U.S. will now implement reciprocal procedures restricting Chinese diplomats’ access to American society, including a requirement that Chinese diplomats receive approval to visit U.S. university campuses or meet with local government officials.

The Pentagon has released its annual report on China’s Military Power, which provides an update on Chinese military developments. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) seeks to complete a military modernization program by 2035 in order to establish a “world-class military” that can rival or exceed that of the United States by 2049. The report noted that China’s naval forces have now surpassed the U.S. to become the largest in the world, and suggested that China has made significant advances in shipbuilding, air defense, and missile force developments.

The report made the first official public estimate of China’s operational nuclear stockpile – “in the low 200s” – and also said that “unspecified developments” last year seem to indicate that China is moving away from its historic minimum deterrence policy by implementing a launch-on-warning posture supported by an expanded silo-based force.

Following the establishment of a bipartisan caucus in July to boost the production of strategically important minerals in July, this week U.S. House lawmakers introduced a bill aimed at reducing dependence on China for rare earths used in everything from electric vehicles to missiles to wind turbines. The measure would give tax incentives for companies involved in the mining, reclaiming and recycling of critical minerals and metals from deposits in the U.S. The bill is part of a push in Congress to shift supply chains, particularly in industries critical for national defense, away from China and back toward the United States, and has drawn broad support from domestic rare earth companies.

And finally, the U.S. pushback on mainland threats to Taiwan has continued. Recently, the world has seen increased arms sales by the U.S. to Taiwan, increased American patrols through the Taiwan Strait, and the historic visit of a U.S. Cabinet secretary. This week, Reagan-era commitments to Taiwan were declassified. Known as the Six Assurances, the assurances govern arms sales and promise that “the United States will never pressure Taiwan to negotiate with Beijing.”

Support against the PRC’s heavy-handed pressures have also grown in Europe, with Germany, France, and Slovakia warning against Chinese threats to the Czech Republic for “crossing a red line” and violating the One China policy after Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil’s recent visit to Taiwan.

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