Sat. May 18th, 2024

Prof. ST Hsieh

Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum


[email protected]

August 15, 2023

New generations are our future, no question about it. There is the Chinese proverb: If one does not think far ahead, one will have troubles on you hand now. So, it is a good advice that we should give our new generation of leaders a chance to fix the US-China relation. The unspoken message of this “advice” is that “go slow” and do not push too hard now. It also implies that the current US-China relation is near a breakpoint, there is a risk of major blow up.

A major challenge for US foreign policy is “consistency;” consistency in messaging and consistency in execution. Specifically, even if the administration accepts this advice, how to sell it to the US public? Then how the message should be conveyed to China? The US as an open democracy, anyone can dispute with the administration in public!

The suggestion is based on the assumption that President Xi will not change his position at all, Xi is too tough for this generation of US leaders to deal with. Is it true? Or is it the US leaders now are too tough but take the wrong approach with China?

This generation of leaders must learn one fact of life: do not screw up the world so bad that our next generation of leaders will not be able to fix our mistakes. These include global climate change, global stability, and some prosperities!

Then our next generation leaders, like us, are not perfect. But hopefully they are more tolerant.

PS: Vivek Ramaswamy is 38 years old; he has some potential.

New generation of leaders may be best hope for US-China relations, says ex-Obama adviser

Tue, August 15, 2023 at 2:30 AM PDT

The best hope for US-China relations may be the emergence of a new generation of leaders who want to solve problems rather than settle past scores, a former adviser to Barack Obama has said.

But Ryan Hass, now an analyst at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, said that will “perhaps not [happen] during the Xi Jinping era”.

He told a podcast released by his think tank on Monday that imagining a better future for the US-China relationship is hard, but “Xi Jinping is mortal. He is not going to be in control of China forever. And our approach toward China needs to account for this”.

When asked what the best-case scenario for the relationship between the two countries in five to 10 years’ time was, he replied: “A new generation of leaders in both the United States and China come forward and are focused on solving problems of the future rather than adjudicating grievances of the past.”

The former White House China adviser said that if such leaders did not allow their differences to “define the entirety of the relationship”, then “over time a bit more balance emerges with space for cooperation, even amidst intensifying competition”.

Beijing and Washington have started to re-engage with each other after years of sharply deteriorating relations, with senior US officials such as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visiting China last month.

But Hass said: “I haven’t been thinking of recent developments in terms of a thaw. More so in terms of both sides acting in their own self-interest.”

On this point, he said: “President Xi confronts a thicket of challenges at the moment, and it would be in his interest to try to slow the pace of American pressure and Western pressure on China.”

And for his US counterpart Joe Biden, “it is in his interest to demonstrate competence in being able to manage a very competitive and complex relationship, particularly as we head into the 2024 presidential election season”.

Hass said that the upcoming elections in both Taiwan and the US would increase the risk of instability in the Taiwan Strait “somewhat”.

But he said “I don’t think that the risk is going to come from Taiwan … If there’s going to be instability, I worry that more so that it will come from China and China concluding that their strategy is simply not working and that they need to take more aggressive measures to try to reclaim control of the narrative and the direction of travel in the Taiwan Strait.”

“The risk of China deciding to throw caution to the wind and pursue a cosmic roll of the dice to have a surprise invasion of Taiwan is a very low probability as well, but it’s not zero,” he said.

China considers Taiwan a breakaway province that must be reunified with the mainland – by force if necessary. The US does not recognise Taiwan as a separate country, but is opposed to any forcible change to the status quo and is legally bound to help the island defend itself.

GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy says China can have Taiwan after 2028 if he is elected

Michelle De Pacina

Tue, August 15, 2023 at 3:14 PM PDT

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said China could invade Taiwan without major consequences from the U.S. once he has hypothetically attained the nation’s “semiconductor independence” in 2028.

Semiconductor independence: In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Ramaswamy stressed the importance of semiconductors and why the U.S. should take aggressive action until the nation is able to produce its own. Ramaswamy noted that China would hypothetically not take the risk of aggressing towards Taiwan for his term “if we show we’re serious about [semiconductor independence].”

“The truth of the matter is there are two reasons why China wants to annex Taiwan. One is to squat on the semiconductor supply chain so they can exert leverage over the United States of America. That’s not happening on my watch. I’d take a firm position on that.

“But the second reason why is that they have unfinished nationalistic business dating back to their civil war in 1949. And if that’s the sole basis for Xi Jinping going after Taiwan after we have semiconductor independence, then you know what? I am not going to send our sons and daughters to die over that conflict. And that’s consistent with my position on Ukraine as well.”

“Strategic ambiguity to strategic clarity”:  The candidate believes that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “rush to do it before 2028 is going to change” if he becomes the next U.S. president because he will move “from strategic ambiguity to strategic clarity.”

“What’s clear to me is that you are saying ‘I will go to war, including attacking the Chinese mainland, if you attack before semiconductor independence. And afterwards, you can have Taiwan. So if you just wait until 2029, you may have Taiwan,’” Hewitt clarified with Ramaswamy.

“I’m choosing my words very carefully right now,” Ramaswamy replied.

“I’m being very clear: Xi Jinping should not mess with Taiwan until we have achieved semiconductor independence, until the end of my first term when I will lead us there. And after that, our commitments to Taiwan, our commitments to be willing to go to military conflict, will change after that, because that’s rationally in our self-interest. That is honest. That is true, and that is credible.”

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