China’s rise has captivated and vexed the international community. From defense, technology, and the environment, to trade, academia, and human rights, much of what Beijing does now reverberates across the map. China Global is a new podcast from the German Marshall Fund that decodes Beijing’s global ambitions as they unfold. Every other week, host Bonnie Glaser will be joined by a different international expert for an illuminating discussion on a different aspect of China’s foreign policy, the worldview that drives its actions, the tactics it’s using to achieve its goals—and what that means for the rest of the world.
The Significance of Evolving Sino-Russian Relations with Alexander Gabuev
Ties between Moscow and Beijing continue their upward trajectory, with their bilateral cooperation expanding across a broad range of areas. In the wake of the withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan, Russia and China are coordinating their policies. This past June, NATO expressed concern about Chinese-Russian military cooperation and their joint exercises in the Euro-Atlantic area. While the United States and virtually all its allies are criticizing numerous Chinese policies, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Xi Jinping in a phone call a few weeks ago that he supports China’s legitimate actions to safeguard its interests on issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and the South China Sea, and said he opposes any external interference in China’s domestic affairs.
Bonnie Glaser talks with Alexander Gabuev about Sino-Russian relations and the reactions of and the implications for the United States and Europe. Alexander Gabuev is a senior fellow and the chair of the Russia in the Asia-Pacific Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center. His research is focused on Russia’s policy toward East and Southeast Asia, political and ideological trends in China, and China’s relations with its neighbors—especially those in Central Asia.
China’s Concept of National Security under Xi Jinping with Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens
In 2014, Xi Jinping established the China National Security Commission (CNSC) and was appointed its head by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo. A year later, Xi stated that China “should attach equal importance to internal and external security.” Under his direction, the CCP has created a unified national security system based on Xi’s concept of comprehensive national security. That concept has evolved to include at least 16 forms of security, including military, territorial, technological, ecological, societal, polar, cyber, space, cultural, political, economic, bio, deep sea, resource, nuclear, and overseas interests. It is no exaggeration to say that national security tops Xi Jinping’s agenda.
Bonnie Glaser talks with Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens about China’s concept of national security under Xi Jinping and the linkages between domestic security trends and Chinese foreign policy. Dr. Greitens is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin. Her research interests include East Asia, American national security, and authoritarian politics and foreign policy.
Lithuania's ties with China Sour, and Warm with Taiwan
On August 10th, the People’s Republic of China recalled its ambassador to Lithuania and demanded Vilnius recall its representative to Beijing. The reason? Lithuania’s decision to allow Taipei to open a representative office in Vilnius under the name "Taiwanese Representative Office." Sino-Lithuanian relations started deteriorating in 2019. That year, Vilnius identified Chinese espionage as a threat to its national security. Since then, Lithuania has opposed the Hong Kong National Security Law at the UN Human Rights Council, withdrawn from the China-led 17+1 grouping, and criticized PRC policies in Xinjiang. In the meantime, Vilnius’ ties with Taiwan are warming. The new coalition government in Vilnius announced in November 2020 that it would follow a values-based foreign policy. Leaders pledged to “oppose any violation of human rights and democratic freedoms…from Belarus to Taiwan.” In addition to Taiwan’s plans to open a diplomatic mission in Vilnius, Lithuania will open its own trade office in Taipei this fall.
Bonnie Glaser talks with Dr. Konstantinas Andrijauskas about the drivers of Lithuania’s recent policy shifts, Chinese interests in the region, and the potential for future Lithuania-Taiwan cooperation. Dr. Andrijauskas is an Associate Professor of International Relations at Vilnius University’s Institute of International Relations and Political Science. His research focuses on China’s domestic and foreign policies and the political systems and international relations of Asia.
China’s Interests and Role in Afghanistan Amid U.S. Withdrawal with Andrew Small
After two decades of military involvement in Afghanistan, the United States and NATO are withdrawing their forces, with potential implications for regional security and thus for Chinese interests. Some observers have suggested the U.S. withdrawal will create opportunities for China to fill the void, but in fact, Beijing is worried about the potential negative security and economic impact of the U.S. pull-out. China has several major investments in Afghanistan, including in the Aynak Copper Mine and in the Amu Darya Basin Oil Fields. The Taliban has said it would welcome Chinese investments and reconstruction, but the Taliban’s rapidly growing influence has alarmed the Chinese government. An explosion that killed nine Chinese workers in Pakistan in mid-July, which Beijing has said was a terrorist attack, has further heightened Chinese fears of regional instability.
Bonnie Glaser talks with Andrew Small about China’s interests, strategy, and future role in Afghanistan on this episode of China Global. Andrew is a senior transatlantic fellow with GMF’s Asia Program and author of The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics. His research focuses on U.S.-China relations, Europe-China relations, Chinese policy in South Asia, and broader developments in China's foreign and economic policy.
Chinese Investment in Global Ports and PRC Strategy with Dr. Isaac Kardon
Chinese companies are investing in ports that are strategically located along sea lanes of communication, connecting China to resources and markets that are vital for China’s economy. These ports, called “strategic strongpoints” by Chinese military writers, can be found all over the world—in Europe, the Americas, and countries situated adjacent to the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, and the Horn of Africa. A growing number of observers believe that these commercial ventures will eventually become dual-use facilities or even military bases that will enable the Chinese navy to project power further from its shores.
In this episode of China Global, Bonnie speaks with Dr. Isaac Kardon to discuss China’s growing role in port construction and operation and its potential strategic implications. Dr. Kardon is an assistant professor in the Strategic and Operational Research Department in the China Maritime Studies Institute at the US Naval War College. He specializes in China’s maritime disputes, Indo-Pacific maritime security and commerce, and Chinese firms’ overseas port projects.
China's Outer Space Ambitions with Dr. Namrata Goswami
A few months ago, China became the second country to successfully land on Mars. Since then, its Zhurong rover has sent back captivating panoramic images of the red planet. Meanwhile, China is building its own space station, which will rival the International Space Station (which Beijing was barred from in 2011) once completed next year. Last month, three Chinese astronauts arrived at the Tiangong station for a three-month stint; and just this weekend, the astronauts performed the country’s first tandem spacewalk.
China’s ambitions don’t just reach beyond its borders – they reach far beyond this planet. In this episode of China Global, Bonnie sits down with Dr. Namrata Goswami to explore Beijing’s activities and ambitions in outer space, its cooperation in this domain with Russia and Europe, and the absence of collaboration with the U.S. Dr. Goswami is an author, strategic analyst, and consultant who focuses on great power competition and security in space. She is currently working on two book projects on space power and China’s grand strategy.