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.
Flashpoints in the US-China Relationship
Many books about US-China strategic competition have been published in recent years. This episode will focus on Facing China: The Prospect for War and Peace, which examines various flashpoints in the Indo-Pacific that could result in military conflict.
There are several reasons why this book stands out: First, it includes an examination of debates within China about China’s national interests; Second, it focuses not only on the challenges of major wars, but also on China’s gray-zone strategy of deliberately pursuing its interests in ways that stay below the threshold that would trigger a US military response. And finally, it assesses the applicability of the Thucydides Trap to the US-China relationship. The Thucydides Trap concept was coined by Graham Allison who examined historical cases in which a rising power threatened to displace a ruling power in his book Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? Allison concluded that in the majority of historical cases the outcome was war.
This book is especially interesting because it is written by a European expert who has deep knowledge of Taiwan, mainland China, and the United States: Jean-Pierre Cabestan. He is an emeritus senior researcher at the French Center for Scientific Research in Paris and an emeritus professor political science at the Department of Government and International Studies at Hone Kong Baptist University, and a visiting senior fellow at GMF.
China’s Central Foreign Affairs Work Conference: Implications for PRC Foreign Policy
On December 27 and 28, 2023, the Communist Party of China held the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs. This was the sixth such meeting – the first one was held way back in 1971. This Foreign Affairs Work Conference was the third held under Xi Jinping’s leadership, with earlier meetings held in 2014 and 2018.
Xi delivered a major speech at the Work Conference, which marks the most comprehensive expression yet of his more activist approach to PRC diplomacy. The speech provides valuable insights into Xi’s assessment of the global balance of power, his vision of the international order, and his views of the role of Chinese diplomacy.
Host Bonnie Glaser is joined by Neil Thomas, a Fellow for Chinese Politics at Asia Society Policy Institute’s Center for China Analysis, where he studies elite politics, political economy, and foreign policy. Previously, he was a Senior Analyst for China and Northeast Asia at Eurasia Group.
Beijing’s Response to Taiwan’s Election
On January 13, 2024, voters in Taiwan elected the DPP’s Lai Ching-te the next president of Taiwan. Lai won 40% of the votes–a plurality, but not a majority. In his acceptance speech, Lai pledged to safeguard Taiwan from continuing threats and intimidation from China. He also said that he has an important responsibility to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and reiterated a statement that the current president, Tsai Ing-wen, made 8 years ago: that he would act in accordance with the Republic of China constitutional order.
Beijing expected that Lai would win and was therefore well prepared. The statement, issued by the Taiwan Affairs Office shortly after the final tally was announced, emphasized that the election result would not change the trend of cross-Strait relations and said that reunification remained inevitable. It also warned against Taiwan independence and foreign interference.
This episode focuses on China’s perspectives on the election and its likely reaction going forward. Host Bonnie Glaser is joined by Rick Waters, who is managing director of Eurasia Group’s China practice. He has served 27 years as a career diplomat, most recently as the inaugural head of the State Department’s Office of China Coordination and Deputy Secretary of State for China and Taiwan.
How Domestic Politics are Shaping US-China Relations
This episode covers the role of US and Chinese domestic politics in the US-China relationship. There are many drivers of US-China strategic competition, and domestic politics is among them, and has become increasingly important, though it has not been well researched and analyzed in recent years. One reason for the lack of analysis on Chinese politics is that since Xi Jinping became China’s top leader in 2012, domestic politics in China has become even more of black box than previously.
Bonnie is joined by Dr. Evan Medeiros, who has recently published a pathbreaking study that seeks to update the understanding of political forces in China and the United States that are influencing the bilateral relationship. Medeiros is one of the world’s leading experts on Chinese foreign policy. He is the Penner Family Chair in Asia studies and the Cling Family Distinguished Fellow in US-China Studies in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. The report we will discuss today is titled: "The New Domestic Politics of US-China Relations" and was published by the Asia Society Policy Institute’s Center for China Analysis where Evan is a senior fellow for foreign policy. During the Obama administration, Evan was on the NSC staff, first as director for China, Taiwan and Mongolia, and then as special assistant to the president and Senior Director for Asia.
Balancing Assurances and Threats in the Case of Taiwan: A conversation with Bonnie Glaser, Jessica Chen Weiss, and Thomas Christensen
This podcast episode is a joint and cross-over episode between the CSIS ChinaPower Podcast and the German Marshall Fund’s China Global Podcast. We are joined by Bonnie Glaser, Jessica Chen Weiss, and Thomas Christensen to discuss their recently released article titled “Taiwan and the True Sources of Deterrence.” The authors underline the article’s key point, that assurances, alongside threats, are an integral part of effective deterrence. They emphasize that in order for deterrence to work, the threat of punishment must be not only credible but also conditional. Finally, the authors outline what actions each of the three actors- the U.S., China, and Taiwan- should take to effectively convey assurances to one another.
Ms. Bonnie Glaser is the managing director of the German Marshall Fund’s Indo-Pacific program. She is also a nonresident fellow with the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, and a senior associate with the Pacific Forum. She was previously senior adviser for Asia and the director of the China Power Project at CSIS. Ms. Glaser has worked at the intersection of Asia-Pacific geopolitics and U.S. policy for more than three decades.
Dr. Jessica Chen Weiss is a professor for China and Asia-Pacific Studies in the Department of Government at Cornell University. She was previously an assistant professor at Yale University and founded the Forum for American/Chinese Exchange at Stanford University. Formerly, Dr. Weiss served as senior advisor to the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. State Department on a Council on Foreign Relations Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars.
Dr. Thomas Christensen is a professor of Public and International Affairs and Director of the China and World Program at Columbia University. Prior to this, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs with responsibility for relations with China, Taiwan, and Mongolia. His research and teaching focus is on China’s foreign relations, the international relations of East Asia, and international security.
EU-China Relations on the Eve of the 24th Bilateral Summit
Early next month, the European Union and China are set to hold the 24th bilateral summit. The last EU-China summit was held via video conference in April 2022. It took place against the background of China’s countermeasures to EU sanctions on human rights, Chinese economic coercion and trade measures against the single market, and most importantly, Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and Beijing’s unwillingness to condemn the invasion. Earlier this year, the European Council reaffirmed the EU’s multifaceted policy approach towards China, which is based on the judgment that China is simultaneously a partner, a competitor, and a systemic rival. However, that balancing act is getting more and more difficult.
Host Bonnie Glaser is joined by Mr. Gunnar Wiegand, who has recently retired from the post of Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific at the European External Action Service, which he held for 7 ½ years. He is now a visiting professor at the College of Europe and the Paris School of International Affairs, and as of November 1, 2023, he has joined GMF’s Indo-Pacific program as a visiting distinguished fellow.
Always worth a listen
Carefully curated topics, informs guests, and clear articulation throughout. A very professional and thoughtful production each time.
China’s Role in the US Fentanyl Crisis
Like the other China Global episodes, this one is mercifully brief (under 30 minutes), but provides a lot of information, clearly and thoughtfully. Thanks to Bonnie Glaser’s thoughtful and focused short questions and careful management of the conversation; and also to the concise but content-loaded replies of her outstanding guest. This podcast outshines numerous other “popular” podcasts thanks to Bonnie’s subject matter expertise and dialogue management, brevity and knowledgeable guests.
China’s Prospect of Joining CPTPP
Bonnie Glaser and Wendy Cutler had a excellent discussion about CPTPP and the importance to the US of engaging in it. The China Global podcast is an informative and balanced source of analysis on China.