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Stories to Watch in 2023

2022: US-CHINA RELATIONS IN REVIEW

Taking you through the most important themes, trends, and events of Sino-American affairs in 2022, one of the most consequential years for the relationship in recent history.

Insight 1: Growing Bifurcation of the International System

2022 proved to be a challenging year for countries that often found themselves wedged between the two superpowers of the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and its subsequent implications on Taiwan — changed the dynamic of the U.S. and China’s formerly economic rivalry to one of explicit strategic competition. In the wake of these security concerns, much of the rest of the world experienced greater pressure to choose sides. As a result, 2022 ended with a considerably more bifurcated international order than those seen in years past.  

 

Despite this growing split, however, not every country has shown willingness to line up as a foot soldier in the emerging greater power competition. Seeing it as a false choice, these countries seek to continue playing off both camps to secure greater economic and diplomatic patronage for their governments. 

Jan. 18: Taiwan Makes Unofficial Gains in the International Community

2022 marked a year of advances for Taiwan in various areas of international cooperation. Slovenia’s opening of a Taiwan Representative Office on January 18th, 2022, following Lithuania’s decision to open a trade office on November 7th, 2022, showcases the role EU member states play in the deteriorating relations between the PRC and the wider Western community. This has been the case despite China’s stern warnings against official engagement with Taiwan. Many nations have begun to take a harder stance on the China-Taiwan issue, with some nations drawing closer to China, resulting in further losses in Taiwanese official recognition. However, the island has made ground elsewhere, such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on August 2nd, 2022. Other countries have also gotten bolder. Taiwan saw visits from nations wishing to position themselves closer to the U.S.-centric international order such as Japan, the UK, Australia, and representatives of the EU — acts formerly considered too provocative to the PRC in the past.

 

The wider Sino-American rivalry has profound consequences for Taiwanese recognition and serves as a push factor, influencing these states to take a stronger stance on Taiwan depending on their ties to both great powers. The fact that some nations have shown a willingness to acknowledge Taiwan against the PRC’s wishes shows the increasing bifurcation of the world order into U.S. and Chinese camps. 

Dec. 8: President Xi Visits Saudi Arabia

In December of 2022, President Xi visited Saudi Arabia and signed off on 34 bilateral agreements concerning Chinese investment in green energy, transportation, cloud services, logistics, and many other industries. This cooperation is nothing new, as the Kingdom was the largest recipient of Chinese investment in 2022. However, Xi’s personal visit to mark the occasion signifies an important deepening of Sino-Saudi cooperation. There is a lot of speculation of China’s intentions given a year of Washington-Riyadh tensions and the timing of Xi’s visit. However, fears of the Kingdom making a complete pivot to Beijing are unfounded if the realities of Saudi security interests are considered. According to analysis done by researcher Yu Jie at Chatham House, China neither has the ability nor the desire to take America’s role as the Saudi security guarantor. The U.S. will likely stay its course, continuing its long lasting strategic partnership with the Kingdom while China looks to deepen economic ties. That being said, the agreements still represent a significant Saudi reevaluation of its positioning between the two great powers. The tenability of its courtship of both sides will be tested as the U.S.-China relationship continues to break down and the great powers demand firmer stances from allies.

Dec. 22: China-New Zealand Relations Turn 50

On December 22nd, China and New Zealand commemorated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of official diplomatic relations. During a video link call between Xi Jinping and Governor-General Cindy Kiro, both governments lauded people-to-people cultural exchanges, two-way economic development, and cooperation on climate change. However, New Zealand’s cordial words for China’s government did not offset a year of icy rhetoric and security challenges. On March 29th, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of the Solomon Islands announced that it had come to an unprecedented security agreement with the People’s Republic. In recent years, the Solomon Islands abandoned its recognition of Taiwan for mainland Chinese rule. Upon the announcement of this new security agreement, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, called the event ‘gravely concerning.’ Setting the stage for Chinese troops to enter the region, the Solomon Islands’ security agreement with China brings New Zealand to the front line of China’s forays into the South Pacific. Prime Minister Ardern’s words represent a historic change in rhetoric coming from New Zealand, which for its 50 years of diplomatic relations with China, has conducted a hands-off style of engagement. As the year continued, Ardern grew even more pointed in her criticisms of China in addresses to the public, often enumerating “economic coercion, human rights, Xinjiang and Hong Kong.” This rhetoric is somewhat unfamiliar in New Zealand foreign policy spaces: New Zealand’s past relationship with China was built outside of the dictates of Washington and London. Fast forward to Thursday, January 19th, Prime Minister Ardern announced that she will resign from office. Reflecting on her premiership, Ardern concluded that China has indeed grown more ‘assertive.’ Her successor will have to confront more security challenges as China may be capable of moving troops into the region from now on. 

Insight 2: U-turns in Chinese Policy

If 2021 was the year of Chinese political zealotry, this past year was one of meandering direction and U-turns abound. Throughout the year, Zhongnanhai embraced a variety of hardline and ideological campaigns only to abandon many of them unceremoniously with little fanfare. Beijing’s volatility reflects a general uncertainty on the overall direction for Xi Jinping’s unprecedented third term in office. Whereas the early part of 2022 saw the dogged pursuit of controversial policies such as “Zero-Covid” or Xi’s wide ranging economic vision of “Common Prosperity,” growing discontent and a festering economic malaise led to the Communist Party pivoting from their intransigent positions towards more moderate objectives. In many ways, this political backpedaling by Beijing is deeply ironic due to its timing. The 20th National Party Congress saw the total consolidation of institutional power into the hands of President Xi. Although his position within the Party may have been confirmed, 2022 revealed that his political agenda appeared anything but certain.

Jun. 24: China Amends its Anti-Monopoly Law

On June 24, 2022, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) announced the amendment of the Anti-Monopoly law (AML). The AML, which initially targeted foreign enterprises to prevent them from dominating Chinese markets, has been turned to focus on domestic businesses. The amendment of the provision in 2022 instituted new prohibitions on the use of data algorithms and technologies by companies to engage in monopolistic practices. In addition, the revision increased the liability for violating the provisions by allowing antitrust authorities to raise the maximum fines and add violators to credit records. The amendment passed in support of the CCP’s “Common Prosperity” campaign which permeated in 2021, when the CCP was struggling to restrain private firms and equalize the wealth gap. Stock prices in China plunged after the amended AML was announced, signaling uncertainty over intensified restrictions of tech companies. Despite the continuation of the CCP’s effort to crack down on private enterprises, the CCP reported that it plans to loosen state intervention in the market and the tech industry, a significant reversal of previous policy since the start of 2022.  

Nov. 30: Death of Jiang Zemin Marks the End of an Era

On November 30th, 2022, former CCP General Secretary, Jiang Zemin, died at the age of 96. Hours after his death was announced, the government formalized a funeral committee that would arrange various party memorial proceedings and a state funeral at the Great Hall of the People: the first of its kind in 25 years. The nine-day long mourning period concluded with Jiang’s burial at sea aboard a navy ship named for his hometown. In many ways his death was symbolic. At the 20th National Party Congress the previous month, members of his once formidable ‘Shanghai Clique’ — loyal party members he cultivated while he was Mayor of Shanghai in the 1980s — gained no significant CCP leadership roles. Beyond sidelining his political faction, many of the flagship policies of the Jiang era have also been rejected by this current Communist Party, namely his commitment to Deng’s project of reform and opening up and the liberalization of the Chinese economy. Jiang’s passing also came at a time of unprecedented domestic upheaval and discontent in China. At the time, numerous Chinese cities were experiencing a wave of protests against the Communist Party’s strict Zero-Covid policy after dissidents claimed lockdown measures contributed to the death of ten in a fire in a Xinjiang apartment complex. In a different sense, the death of Jiang Zemin also marked a significant inflection point in terms of the policy orientation of the CCP. Just a week after his death, the government announced it would be easing some of its Covid restrictions. In the month that followed, amidst reports of anemic growth in the Chinese economy, Beijing made clear that it was scaling back much of Xi’s neo-Maoist economic vision of “common prosperity.” To the surprise of many, Zhongnanhai’s pro-business pivot resembled more the China of Jiang than the China under Xi. Although Jiang was certainly no liberal — as attested in his handling of the Falun Gong movement — in the eyes of many Chinese netizens, China in the 90s and early 2000s represented a time of greater economic opportunities and boundless optimism. Whether a momentary flash or a seismic shift in CCP policy, Jiang’s death and the policy changes that came with it felt once again like the China of old — a nostalgia for a different time. 

Dec. 8: China Reverses Course on its Zero-Covid Policy

On December 8th, 2022 China ended its ‘Zero-Covid policy’. This reversal surprised many because three years ago, China implemented strict Covid-19 policies in order to keep its cases at a minimum. China’s pandemic control strategy saw less Covid cases compared to countries like the U.S., though their official numbers are difficult to verify. However, the economic repercussions of the policy were substantial and strict quarantines were not completely successful. China established city-wide lockdowns when new strains of the virus broke out, forcing residents to be locked in their homes for weeks to months. Strict quarantines and lockdowns led to the economy stalling. Deaths due to quarantine restrictions sparked nationwide protests against the restrictions. Historically, the Chinese government's primary strategy when dealing with protests has been to silence and suppress them, as seen with the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. However, in a significant reversal of previous protest response strategy and its Zero-Covid policy, the government gave into the protestors’ demands by ending the lockdowns and reopening its borders. Though it seems to have quelled unrest, another pandemic resurgence is now much more likely.

Insight 3: Limited Economic Decoupling

Economic decoupling between the U.S. and China gained momentum in 2022. Far from reversing the former Trump administration’s policies, President Biden has continued to expand the trade war to technology exports and raw materials. At the same time, the Biden administration attempted to diversify its reliance on Chinese exports through friendshoring supply chains of strategic importance to allies and partners firmly in its camp. However, these policies have been met with some resistance in the global market, which see lower costs from sourcing products from China. Despite the prevailing narrative of broad-based decoupling, in reality it has been targeted primarily at technology sectors of strategic and national security interest. 2022 was actually a record year for trade between the U.S. and China, indicating that decoupling is far more limited in scope than rhetoric suggests.

Aug. 25: Biden Signs the CHIPS Act into Law

On August 25th, President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act, a major step towards reshoring semiconductor manufacturing back to the U.S. Recent tension in the Taiwan Straits has presented American lawmakers with the possibility of the U.S. losing access to some of the largest semiconductor producers, including Taiwan. Semiconductors are critical for products ranging from cars, to smartphones, to military equipment and thus the possibility of this loss is perceived as a national security threat. The U.S. does have a domestic semiconductor industry; however, it has grown to specialize more in research and development rather than manufacturing. Actual American chip production has dropped from 37% to 12% in the last 30 years, mainly because chip production is capital intensive and demands high subsidies. The CHIPS Act’s $52 billion in subsidies is an effort to woo private firms to build more in America. The legislation also includes special provisions that block subsidies to companies building advanced chip factories in China. Despite these provisions, it is far from a deathblow to Sino-American semiconductor trade. The U.S. will struggle to compete on low-margin chip manufacturing against low labor cost nations like China. For now, American strategy seeks to reshore the most advanced semiconductors first, but the words “made in China” are not leaving chips just yet.

Sep. 21: Commerce Department Decides Against Tariffs on Magnets from China

China’s near monopoly over the mineral and magnet trade has been a bipartisan worry for over a decade. Despite being the global leader in the magnet trade throughout the 1980s, U.S. production steadily declined while the demand for magnets in technology rapidly increased. By September 2022, this worry culminated in a Section 232 investigation by the U.S. Commerce Department into the magnet and mineral trade. Used in practically all technologies from iPhones to electric vehicles to missiles, the Commerce Department found that the country’s lack of domestic magnet production “threatens to impair [U.S.] national security.” Despite this, the Commerce Department stopped short of recommending that the Biden administration implement magnet tariffs on China. Instead, they suggested that the Biden administration allocate funds for investment in the domestic magnet production industry and work with allies to increase supply. Commerce’s plan is similar to strategic investments made by the Biden administration in February 2022, in which the administration allocated $3 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding towards battery and magnet production, as well as $140 million in BIL funding for the purpose of reclaiming already-mined batteries and minerals. Overall, while the U.S. continues to trade for magnets with China, the Section 232 investigation marks a shift in U.S. policy toward greater industrial self-reliance.

Oct. 7: U.S. Institutes New Export Controls on Advanced Semiconductors

On October 7th, The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) implemented a series of export controls on advanced semiconductors sold to the PRC. The newly imposed restrictions require chip makers to acquire an extremely tedious license to export advanced semiconductors and chip-manufacturing equipment to China. The scope of the restrictions include the technology to produce and develop equipment used in advanced semiconductor production. Acquisition of a license to export listed products is required not only to companies operating in the U.S., but also to foreign-based companies using American technologies. The BIS explained that these restrictions targeting advanced semiconductors are critical to impede China’s growth in developing cutting edge AI with military applications. China’s access to advanced semiconductor-related products, necessary to develop AI and supercomputers, has been undermined by these new export controls. Nevertheless, companies can still export other types of non-advanced semiconductors to corporations in the PRC. China criticized the new restrictions, saying that the export controls are the “weaponization and politicization” of science and technology. 

Insight 4: Biden and Xi Ramp Up the Rhetoric

While Biden and Xi drew the rhetorical battle lines last year, 2022 witnessed the escalation of antagonistic talking points and harsh responses to political differences. Emerging bipartisan consensus among U.S. policymakers in Congress that China is America’s foremost security threat has given Biden wide latitude to be more confrontational in words and action. Meanwhile, President Xi has upped the revolutionary rhetoric, calling back to the spirit of the Mao era to ignite a passionate nationalism within the Chinese people. New to 2022 is that entrenched opposition and bellicose rhetoric have spilled over to all areas of the relationship, sparing not even climate cooperation. But despite their escalating antagonism especially when speaking to domestic audiences, Biden and Xi’s meetings have maintained a measured and diplomatic tone reflecting a continued interest in positive relations.

May 23: Biden’s Strategic Clarity on Defending Taiwan

Over the course of 2022, President Biden has boldly inched himself ever closer as Taiwan’s ally, much to Beijing’s fury. The first instance of Biden’s overt support of Taiwan came on May 23 when he answered “yes” to the question of whether the U.S. would come to Taiwan’s aid if attacked. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin responded the next day with “strong dissatisfaction” that the U.S. spoke against the One-China Policy that was agreed upon between the two countries. Biden’s remarks broke the White House’s historic usage of strategic ambiguity regarding Taiwan. However, this did not represent a national policy shift, as the U.S. State Department’s website still maintains the message that the U.S. “[does] not support Taiwan independence.” Later in July, Xi made a statement about Taiwan in a phone call to Biden: “Those who play with fire will perish by it. It is hoped that the U.S. will be clear-eyed about this. The U.S. should honor the one-China principle and implement the three joint communiqués both in word and in deed.” 

 

Most recently on September 18, Biden reiterated that U.S. forces will militarily defend Taiwan, adding that the question of independence was “[Taiwan’s] decision.” Biden’s clear stance on Taiwan has been a guaranteed provocation for Beijing, and it will continue to be an especially contentious issue for U.S.-China relations going into 2023.

Aug. 2: Nancy Pelosi Visits Taiwan Sparking Escalating Tensions

On August 2nd, 2022, amidst rising tensions between the PRC and Taiwan, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and a delegation of House Democrats landed in Taiwan for an official visit. Speaker Pelosi’s visit marked the first time a sitting House Speaker visited Taiwan in over 25 years – causing a major breakdown in U.S.-China relations. While there, Speaker Pelosi visited Taiwan’s legislature and reaffirmed ties with the island nation, highlighting opportunities for the U.S. and Taiwan to deepen their economic cooperation and collaboration on national security issues. Additionally, Speaker Pelosi visited the National Human Rights Museum in Taiwan where she discussed the PRC’s human rights violations. The visit was met with hostility by China, which labeled the visit as provocative and said the U.S. was “playing with fire.” In response, the PRC began live-fire military drills in the Taiwan Strait and flew 21 aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense space. Speaker Pelosi’s visit has changed the status quo in the Taiwan Strait with China’s rhetoric towards the U.S. on the issue growing more bellicose.

Can China Reinvent Itself Again? 

One of the pillars of legitimacy for China’s ruling communist government is the notion of revolution from within. The fundamental idea is that overthrowing the government is unnecessary and damaging because the CCP can adapt and change on its own. One of the challenges that has threatened this pillar of legitimacy is China’s response to Covid-19. Due to dissatisfaction with how the Zero-Covid policy affected their daily lives, thousands of Chinese people protested it. Many demanded changes to said policies, criticized Xi’s leadership, and some even went so far as to demand the end of CCP rule. In response, the CCP ended its Zero-Covid policy. However, the sudden reversal of its extremely strict and inflexible Covid policy may portray the current administration as incompetent. Normally the Chinese government would crack down on protestors and suppress the media, as famously seen during the 1989 Tiananmen square protests. However, in this instance, the CCP conceded to the protestors by relaxing pandemic restrictions. These concessions could trigger a domino effect in 2023, igniting mass protests on other issues and further destabilizing the regime. There are two possible ways the CCP could respond to further protests. The first, and less likely, possibility is that China relaxes state control. The other, and more likely, possibility is a crackdown to demonstrate that the concessions will not be repeated. Evidence suggests that the latter option is being taken with China quietly rounding up protestors after the concessions were made. In 2023, the CCP may reassert its control and send a clear message to potential protestors that further dissent will not be tolerated.

Is 2023 the Death of the Middle Way Countries?

More countries are siding with the U.S. or China amid rising U.S.-China tensions. Western democracies are standing more firmly behind the U.S. while developing countries from Central Asia to Africa lend greater support to China. However, there is not a neat division of Eastern and Western blocs. In fact, many countries are striving to maintain good relations with both the U.S. and China. This includes Turkey, a NATO member that is close to China and does not participate in the embargo against Russia; Indonesia, a U.S. ally that allowed Putin to participate in the G20 Summit despite protests from the American delegation; and Panama, which has sought stronger diplomatic relations with the U.S. but is being swayed by the growing sophistication of Chinese diplomacy.

 

Going forward into 2023, it will be important to look at how ASEAN responds to the increasingly bifurcating world order. China has been actively building diplomatic relations with Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. Meanwhile, Thailand and the Philippines are U.S. treaty allies, and some ASEAN member states like Malaysia have ongoing maritime disputes with China. Nonetheless, ASEAN as a bloc has carefully continued its neutral posture.

 

It is important to note that China has been ASEAN’s largest trade partner for the past 13 years, and the U.S. has been its largest source of foreign direct investment since 2019. Much of the world relies heavily on both countries for trade and economic investment. While it appears that it will become more difficult to please both sides, a worldwide dependence on American and Chinese economies could blur or lessen divisions amid the growing U.S.-China chasm.

How Would a 2023 Recession Shake Up U.S.-China Relations?

One of the major challenges that the U.S. and China face going into 2023 is the possibility of a global recession. The U.S. consumer price index rose by 9.1% in 2022, indicating the level of inflation increased over the past year. The International Monetary Fund predicts that in 2023, global growth will fall by 2.7%, which would mark the poorest global economic performance since 2001. Much of the world is dependent on the U.S. and China’s economies, and their relationship is bound to be impacted by a potential recession. China’s Zero-Covid policy had previously stymied businesses from sustaining involvement in the international economy. Now that more businesses are re-opening and workers can return, China is focused on returning to fast growth. However, since removing Zero-Covid policies, the number of people infected with Covid-19 in China has surged. China’s economic reintegration in 2023 will likely be a rough and slow one. The trade market is one facet which is being affected by the recession; about one-fifth of China’s GDP is reliant on the trade market. Not only is China affected by the recession in the trade market, but because of Zero-Covid, their number of exports have suffered. Outbound shipments have decreased by 8.7%, which marks their worst performance since February 2020 when Covid had initially struck. Looking into 2023, a recession could worsen decoupling in the technology sector. The U.S. has already placed many sanctions on Huawei Technologies within the last 10 years as a means to prevent their interaction with 5G development and other R&D partnerships with U.S. tech companies, such as AT&T and Google being terminated. The U.S. has many policies limiting the control of exports of semiconductors and products that “do not support 5G”, including the Export Reform Control Act (ERCA). Because of these policies, the supplier industry has been negatively affected, as these policies do not support their interests. A recession in 2023 could damage U.S.-China trade relations and give further impetus for shifting supply chains to more friendly shores. Furthermore, developing economies hit hard by a potential recession will likely seek financial aid to cover their debt obligations. U.S.-China competition over the provision of aid could lead to the further bifurcation of the international economic order. While the U.S. sets conditions for giving aid, China is willing to provide aid more freely to boost its soft power. The U.S. and China may use the recession as an opportunity for economic-geopolitical competition to ramp up. It  may also facilitate a competition to see which economy will emerge stronger and faster in 2023. In short, a recession in 2023 could be bad news for the future of U.S.-China relations.  

Are China and the U.S. Preparing Their Forces for War?

In 2022, both the U.S. and China took steps to prepare their military forces for possible conflict. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continued to increase its effectiveness, including developing new weapon systems, improving its organizational structure, and enhancing its personnel training process. Recently, the U.S. has taken significant steps to counter China in the Indo-Pacific. In addition to approving more than $1 billion in arms sales to Taiwan, the U.S. has prepared its forces by rotating the squadrons on Japanese air bases and modernizing its forces on the island of Guam.

 

In 2023, both sides will undoubtedly continue these actions. The 20th National Party Congress held in October outlined the need to intensify and accelerate the modernization of the PLA so that it can be a “fully modern army” by 2027. This includes developing its strategic nuclear forces, increasing the tempo of training and readiness in all domains, and strengthening Communist Party control of the force. Since Xi took power in 2013, the PLA has undergone rapid modernization. However, with a likely recession in store for 2023 and ever-increasing Covid cases in the wake of China’s zero-Covid policy reversal, it is possible their efforts may begin to slow. However, with continued incursions into Taiwanese airspace and provocative actions elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific, PLA modernization continues to be a top priority for President Xi. 

 

On the other hand, with growing U.S. bipartisan support for anti-CCP policies, it will be important to watch where these efforts go in 2023. How will the U.S. service branches conceptualize their roles in the Indo-Pacific? Most importantly, will allies like Japan continue their policy shifts towards a more confrontational stance with China?

Timeline

January Events

Jan. 1

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership comes into force, eliminating 90% of tariffs on imports between its signatories

Jan. 5

Taiwan announces $200 million in investment funds to Lithuania’s technology and manufacturing industries, which China had embargoed

Jan. 6

Japan and Australia sign the Reciprocal Access Agreement, strengthening defense partnership against China

Jan. 12

Nicaragua joins China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Jan. 13

India and China hold the 14th round of military talks to resolve disputes over their shared border

Jan. 14

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in China to discuss their strategic partnership

Jan. 18

China condemns Slovenia for plans to upgrade its relationship with Taiwan

Jan. 22

US suspends 44 China-bound flights as China cancels US flights over coronavirus concerns

Jan. 24

China responds harshly to comments made by US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on China’s nuclear buildup

February Events

Feb. 4

US imposes a diplomatic

boycott of the Winter Olympics

in Beijing

Feb. 4

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin make a joint statement announcing that the two nations’ friendship “has no limits”

Feb. 6

Argentina signs an agreement with China to become an official member of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

Feb. 11

Chinese exports to Britain reach a record $78.7 billion

Feb. 11

US launches Indo-Pacific Strategy that envisions freer more secure region

Feb. 16

US Trade Representative accuses China of 'serious harm' to workers through trade in a WTO report

Feb. 21

China sanctions US defense companies for arms sales to Taiwan

March Events

Mar. 1

A delegation of former senior US defense officials arrive in Taiwan under orders from Biden

Mar. 5

China prioritizes growth initiatives at Two Sessions meeting, signals deviation from Common Prosperity campaign

Mar. 10

US holds high-level talks with UK over China’s threat to Taiwan

Mar. 11

Premier Li Keqiang offers Russia help in playing a “positive role” in Ukraine at the National’s People Congress

Mar. 18

Biden and Xi hold a video call after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Mar. 21

Chinese Eastern Airlines Flight 5735 crashes near Wuzhou; all 132 passengers killed

Mar. 23

US reinstates tariff exemption on select Chinese products in fight against inflation

April Events

Apr. 1

China quietly ends a two-year long boycott on the NBA, caused by a team’s support of the Hong Kong protests

Apr. 4

2,000 military medical personnel sent into Shanghai to control Covid spread

Apr. 12

China’s Zero-Covid Lockdown in Shanghai results in US recall of non-essential consulate workers in the city

Apr. 14

Six US senators, including the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, make an unannounced visit to Taiwan

Apr. 15

China conducts military drills in the East China Sea and around Taiwan in response to the US delegation’s visit

Apr. 19

China signs a security agreement with the Solomon Islands

May Events

May 8

John Lee wins uncontested election to replace Carrie Lam as HKSAR Chief Executive

May 19

President Biden visits South Korea and Japan in order to send a message to China

May 20

Huawei is banned from 5G networks in Canada

May 23

Biden explicitly states at a press conference in Tokyo that he would be willing to defend Taiwan militarily

May 24

Xie Zhenhua and John Kerry, climate envoys of China and the US respectively, meet at 2022 WEF Davos and vow to cooperate on climate change

May 26

US Secretary of State Blinken calls China the “most serious long-term challenge to the international order” in a key speech laying out America’s China strategy

May 26

China holds unprecedented nationwide video conference to address economic struggles with Covid-19

Jun. 2

China demands US government stop trade talks with Taiwan

September Events

Sep. 1

China imposes new maritime identification rules for foreign vessels that enter its territorial waters

Sep. 1

Russia and China launch war games and military exercises in the Sea of Japan as part of Vostok 2022

Sep. 2

Biden Administration approves more than $1.1 billion in arms sales to Taiwan

Sep. 7

US Department of Commerce announces restrictions barring tech companies from building advanced facilities in China

Sep. 9

India and China withdraw troops from clash in Himalayan border area

Sep. 10

China’s National Space Administration announces plans to launch three unmanned missions to the moon over the next decade

October Events

Oct. 7

Biden administration announces new restrictions on advanced technology exports to China

Oct. 12

Biden administration unveils its National Security Strategy and plans to “out-compete” China

Oct. 13

Protest at Sitong Bridge in Beijing calling for Xi and the CCP to step down

Oct. 16

20th Chinese National Party Congress Begins

Oct. 18

Ex-UK military pilots are recruited to train the Chinese Air Force

Oct. 22

Former CCP President Hu Jintao escorted out of 20th National Party Congress

Oct. 23

New Politburo Standing Committee unveiled

June Events

Jun. 1

6.1 magnitude earthquake recorded in Sichuan, province of China

Jun. 5

Chinese fighter jet intercepts Australian plane in South China Sea

Jun. 7

China reaches settlement with Didi in data security probe

Jun. 11

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reaffirms the “One-China Policy,” while also suggesting that China’s military activity threatens to change the status quo

Jun. 28

China reduces quarantine time for travelers arriving from overseas

Jun. 29

NATO Strategic Concept 2022 lists China as security challenge for first time

July Events

Jul. 6

FBI-MI5 joint press conference identifies Chinese espionage as “greatest” threat to West

Jul. 7

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern advocates for flexible “third way strategy” on relationship with US and China

Jul. 10

Protests in Zhengzhou over corruption; protesters assaulted by authorities

Jul. 12

A devastating heat wave and drought hits southern and eastern China

Jul. 14

Alibaba executives called in to Shanghai to talk about the theft of a police database on nearly 1 billion Chinese citizens

Jul. 15

Xi Jinping visits Xinjiang for the first time in 8 years, stating that Xinjiang plays a role in connecting China to Central Asia and Europe

Jul. 27

PRC State Council unveils plan to use PBoC to raise $148 billion in real estate bailouts

August Events

Aug. 2

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan

Aug. 4

China engages in military exercises around Taiwan in retaliation for Pelosi’s visit

Aug. 5

China suspends climate talks with the US in retaliation for Pelosi’s visit and announces sanctions against Pelosi

Aug. 9

Biden signs CHIPS and Science Act into Law, includes $52 Billion in semiconductor subsidies

Aug. 10

PRC Taiwan Office unveils white paper on reunification plans

Aug. 16

A Chinese military vessel docks in Sri Lanka, causing friction between Delhi and Beijing

Aug. 25

US and Chinese regulators reach agreement on SEC inspections of PRC-based firms listed on US Markets

Aug. 31

UN releases report accusing China of human rights abuses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang

Sep. 14

Xi and Putin discuss Ukraine War at meeting

Sep. 17

Turkey’s President Erdogan announces intention to join China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Sep. 21

US and Canadian fleet sail through Taiwan Strait

Sep. 21

President Biden denounces the lack of transparency in China’s nuclear buildup during his speech at the UN General Assembly

Sep. 22

NATO Secretary General meets Chinese Foreign Minister in New York, discusses Ukraine War

Sep. 23

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

Sep. 24

China’s Foreign Ministry says the US is sending “very wrong, dangerous signals” on Taiwan

Sep. 24

China strengthens military presence around Taiwan; US and Philippines strengthen military ties in response

Sep. 24

Australian Foreign Minister says the country seeks stable ties with China

Sep. 26

Reports announce Apple will shift production of high-end iPhones from China to India

Sep. 26

US Secretary of State meets with Chinese Foreign Minister, says the US does not take a position on Taiwanese sovereignty

Sep. 28

China urges US to join in talks with Russia about banning weapons in outer space during UN Geneva Conference

Sep. 30

Bipartisan group of US senators propose legislation to create a China Grand Strategy Commission

Oct. 24

FBI Director Wray announces new actions to counter Chinese espionage

Oct. 27

Xi Jinping embarks on symbolic Yan’An Tour

Oct. 31

China launches final module for its permanent Tiangong space station

Nov. 4

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits China on state visit, speaks out against decoupling

Nov. 6

Kenya discloses secret railway contract with China

November Events

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