US - China relations

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China's Ministry of State Security is using AI to uncover the identities of American agents in Beijing in 'new Cold War' with the CIA​

  • China's Ministry of State Security is the country's most sophisticated spy agency
  • MSS is using facial recognition and AI to track American agents in Beijing
  • China has also stepped up recruitment of agents, including US citizens
China's premier intelligence agency is using AI to track American spies and others in Beijing's embassy district, according to a new report highlighting the agency's growing Cold War-style rivalry with the CIA.

The Ministry of State Security (MSS) was once overshadowed by Chinese military intelligence units, but has grown in reputation and prowess to become the country's top spy agency.

Powerful and well-funded, the MSS combines the CIA's mission of foreign surveillance with the FBI's mandate of domestic counterintelligence, all in one overtly political agency explicitly devoted to protecting China's Communist Party.


... Will 2024 add a crisis over Taiwan? The self-governing island will hold elections on January 13th, as will America on November 5th. Both polls will raise the geopolitical heat at a time of military tension across the Taiwan Strait and deepening rivalry between America and China.
America, Taiwan’s main protector, will not favour any candidate in the island’s election. But American officials have long fretted that a victory for Lai Ching-te, deputy to President Tsai Ing-wen and fellow member of the independence-minded Democratic Progressive Party (dpp), could lead to escalation. He is leading polls by five percentage points, according to The Economist’s tracker.

China calls Mr Lai a “destroyer of peace”. Mr Lai, for his part, once described himself as a “pragmatic worker for Taiwan independence”. Of late, though, he has emphasised the fudgy status quo. He says Taiwan is “already a sovereign country” and thus has no need to declare independence. That position still infuriates the mainland, and Mr Lai’s election could quickly be met with intensified Chinese economic or military pressure.



How Will China React to Taiwan's Election?​

Jan 12, 2024

On Saturday, Taiwan will go to the polls to elect its President and Parliament. Polls are currently suggesting a win for the pro-independence party, Democratic Progressive Party, much to the disdain of China, which has already sparked some anxiety both domestically and internationally. In this video, we take a look at Taiwan's upcoming election, how China might react, and whether this could be the beginning of yet another global conflict.


Taiwan: Elections under China's threats of invasion | DW News​

Jan 12, 2024

Voters in Taiwan head to the polls on Saturday, in a tight race that's been dominated by relations with China. The governing party is defending its record of a tough line against China’s threats of invasion, while the opposition says it’s time to restart dialogue with Beijing to de-escalate.

China claims Taiwan as its own, and has warned that this election could be a choice between war and peace. As DW's Chief International Editor Richard Walker reports from Taipei, voters have a difficult decision.

For more on this, we talk DW’s Richard Walker in Taipei.


Beijing called him a "troublemaker" and a dangerous "separatist". Now he will be Taiwan's next president.

China's claims over Taiwan are not new - it sees the island as part of its territory and Xi Jinping has made unification a goal. But the threats have ramped up in the past year.

And yet, despite renewed warnings from China against voting for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), millions of Taiwanese headed to the polls under warm, sunny skies on Saturday to do just that.

They picked their 64-year-old vice-president, a doctor-turned politician, William Lai Ching-te, to lead Taiwan through its testy relationship with China.

It's an unprecedented third term for the DPP, a party China sees as skirting too close to its unquestionable red line - Taiwanese independence.

How Mr Lai manages Beijing, and how Beijing reacts to him, will determine his presidency.

Mr Lai has promised that his term will be a continuation of the eight years of his predecessor, Tsai Ing-wen.

Even in his Saturday address, he chose his words carefully and offered dialogue and co-operation.

On the campaign trail he has repeated her formula over and over that there is "no need to declare independence, because Taiwan is already an independent sovereign state - its name is the Republic of China - Taiwan".

However, Mr Lai has long been considered much more of a firebrand than the cautious President Tsai.

He came up through the DPP's ranks as a member of the "new wave" faction, which advocated the formal declaration of Taiwan independence.

Mr Lai and his running mate Hsiao Bi-khim are deeply disliked and mistrusted by Beijing, which has banned them both from travel to mainland China and Hong Kong.

Ms Hsiao, the daughter of an American mother and a Taiwanese father, was most recently Taiwan's representative to the US.

More (long):

Interesting times /Chinese curse

Biden: US does not support Taiwan independence​

"We do not support independence..." Biden said, when asked for reaction to Saturday's elections.

That's kinda funny. So if we don't support independence, why do we keep sending so many of our tax dollars to Ukraine?

The United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity is ironclad.”
Antony J. Blinken
Secretary of State

Report to Congress on China-Philippines Tensions in the South China Sea​

The following is the Jan. 23, 2024, Congressional Research Service In Focus report, China-Philippines Tensions in the South China Sea.

From the report​

In 2023, the People’s Republic of China (PRC, or China) increased pressure on the Philippines to abandon one of its nine outposts in the Spratly Islands chain in the South China Sea (SCS) and attempted to deny Philippine vessels access to parts of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that China claims as its own territory. The escalation of long-standing Sino-Philippine tensions raises the possibility of a crisis or conflict involving China, the Philippines, and potentially the United States.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who was elected in 2022, has taken a considerably more public stance in challenging China’s expansive claims in the SCS than his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte. Marcos has also expanded military cooperation with the United States under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which aims to support U.S. strategic interests in the region and the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.



The logistics of war: How Washington is preparing for a Chinese invasion of Taiwan​

January 31, 20245:24 AM EST Updated 43 min ago

WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - When U.S. and Australian troops practiced amphibious landings, ground combat and air operations last summer, they drew headlines about the allies deepening defense cooperation to counter China's growing military ambitions.

But for U.S. war planners preparing for a potential conflict over Taiwan, the high-profile Talisman Sabre exercises had a far more discreet value: They helped create new stockpiles of military equipment that were left behind in Australia after the drills ended in August, U.S. officials told Reuters.

The United States and its allies are increasingly worried that in the coming years Chinese President Xi Jinping could order his military to seize Taiwan, the democratically-governed island China considers its own territory. So, the U.S. military is taking a hard look at its own military readiness and trying to play catch-up in a critical area: its logistics network.

The equipment from Talisman Sabre included roughly 330 vehicles and trailers and 130 containers in warehouses in Bandiana, in southeastern Australia, the Army says.



FBI issues dramatic public warning: Chinese hackers are preparing to 'wreak havoc' on the US​

Jan 31, 2024

FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that Chinese hackers are preparing to “wreak havoc and cause real-world harm” to the US.

I saw video of that while eating lunch. It was a BS exercise designed to justify FISA 702 reauthorization. Maybe design unhackable critical systems without Chinese components instead of crying about the need to spy on everyone.
Article contains links to actual warrants.

FBI confirms it issued remote kill command to blow out Volt Typhoon's botnet​

China's Volt Typhoon attackers used "hundreds" of outdated Cisco and NetGear routers infected with malware in an attempt to break into US critical infrastructure facilities, according to the Justice Department.

On Tuesday news broke that the Feds had blocked the malicious network that was set up on end-of-life, US-based small office/home office routers. Now more details have come out about how an FBI team infiltrated the attack and harvested the key data before remotely wiping the KV Botnet, according to four warrants (5018, 5530, 5451 and 5432) filed by the FBI in the Southern District Court of Texas last month and released today.



New US-China economic exchanges show how status quo trumps substantive changes in ties, analysts say​

  • President Joe Biden seen trying to avoid ‘undue escalation’ with China, while Donald Trump hails friendship with President Xi Jinping amid threats of higher tariffs on Chinese goods
  • US-China Economic Working Group’s latest meeting comes as both sides struggle to see eye to eye on economic affairs in their ‘strategic rivalry’
Washington and Beijing appear keen on staying the course in their interactions, with warm handshakes and sincerity in dialogues, but they lack the incentive to resolve deep-seated differences, according to analysts who point to a just-concluded meeting of the US-China Economic Working Group.

Employing such a tactic in a formal economic-dialogue structure, they say, serves the respective agendas in both countries and comes as the administration of US President Joe Biden is facing a resurgent challenge by predecessor Donald Trump in an election year, while President Xi Jinping has his hands full trying to revive China’s economy.

“2024 is a year when both powers have incentives and strong reasons to favour the preservation of the status quo – strategic rivalry with rigorously installed guardrails to prevent the two parties from drifting towards undue escalation,” said Brian Wong, a fellow with the University of Hong Kong’s Centre on Contemporary China and the World.


This one is a bit different.

China's grab for the UN‘s Food and Agriculture Organization | DW Documentary​

Feb 9, 2024

China has headed the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) since 2019. During this time, the country has restructured the organization’s personnel. Critics complain that China is advancing its own interests, using the UN's largest specialized agency.

The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), headquartered in Rome, is responsible for food and agriculture worldwide. It is the UN's largest specialized agency. It collects data on the agricultural sector and develops projects to help people access better nutrition - something that is more important than ever, with climate change and the growing world population.

Qu Dongyu, from China, has been Director-General of the FAO since 2019. After taking office, he restructured the organization. He appointed Chinese directors to central departments. Before Qu's election, two director positions were occupied by Chinese nationals. Now, that number is six. One of these directors is responsible for crop protection - which includes the handling of pesticides. A research team was able to view internal documents that show that dozens of shipments of problematic pesticides to countries in Asia and Africa have been approved since 2020.

Approvals were granted not only for insecticides used in emergencies -- for example, to combat a locust plague -- but for herbicides and fungicides, as well. These are used against weeds and fungal infestations. Many of the pesticides approved for delivery by the FAO contain active ingredients that are no longer allowed in the EU due to their toxicity. When asked, the FAO replied that it does not supply pesticides that qualify as ‘highly hazardous’ and only sends those that are approved in the recipient country. But the FAO left questions about specific pesticide approvals unanswered.

An insider who has worked at the FAO for many years also made serious accusations against the Chinese leadership, claiming that it was instrumentalizing the UN organization for geopolitical purposes. Further research shed light on the role of Chinese officers in the FAO. These Chinese nationals are employed by the FAO -- but their salaries are paid by China. Other countries also pay officers from their home countries. However, the regime in Beijing puts a premium on "political ideology" - as Chinese tender documents show. According to these documents, the officers must regularly report on their work at the FAO to the Chinese embassy in Rome. And none of this is set to change anytime soon: in July 2023, Qu Dongyu was re-elected as Director-General for another four years.


Report to Congress on China’s Global Investment​

The following is the Feb. 22, 2024, Congressional Research Service In Focus report, China’s Global Investments: Data and Transparency Challenges.

From the report​

During the past 20 years, the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China) has significantly increased its investment overseas. In 1999, China launched its “Go Global Strategy” to support the expansion of Chinese firms abroad and make them more globally competitive. Since then, these firms—many of which are closely tied to the PRC government—have acquired foreign assets and pledged billions of dollars to finance infrastructure abroad. Many in Congress and the Biden Administration are focusing on the critical implications of China’s growing global economic reach for U.S. economic and geopolitical strategic interests.



State of the U.S.-China relationship as countries compete economically | 60 Minutes​

Feb 26, 2024

America’s relationship with China is the “most important, most competitive and most dangerous” the U.S. has in the world right now, the U.S. ambassador to China says. 27 mins long.


The Next Taiwan Crisis Will (Almost) Certainly Involve Nuclear Threats​

A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would prompt a major crisis between China and the United States, with significant repercussions for the Indo-Pacific region and the rest of the world. Such a crisis almost certainly would include implicit or explicit Chinese nuclear threats, despite Beijing’s longstanding no-first-use (NFU) policy. The United States can diminish the potential for China to leverage nuclear threats during a Taiwan crisis, but only if it moves with alacrity to strengthen conventional and nuclear deterrence. The Navy has a key role to play in achieving this goal.

Renewed interest in China’s nuclear program spiked after the 2021 discovery of three new missile fields in north central China. In January 2023, U.S. Strategic Command officially notified Congress that China has more intercontinental ballistic missile launchers than the United States.1 Yet, when it comes to assessing specific Taiwan invasion scenarios, Western analysts often downplay the nuclear dimension. In January 2023, for example, a major Center for Strategic and International Studies Taiwan wargame focused exclusively on conventional warfare, altogether sidestepping the potential for nuclear escalation.2 The Pentagon’s 2023 annual assessment of China’s military power makes a passing reference to the possibility of “nuclear activities” in a Taiwan scenario, but only in the context of a “protracted conflict.”3



Secrets of China’s Hacking Industry Unveiled | If You’re Listening​

Mar 8, 2024
The police arrested and interrogated Andrew after he was set up by hackers. Now we know how Chinese spies get away with it. An unprecedented leak of data from Chinese company i-Soon has cracked open the black box, revealing the secrets of China’s cyber espionage operations. Matt Bevan takes a look.

Computer chip trade war heating up:
After the US took several steps to prevent Chinese companies from acquiring both the latest Nvidia AI chips as well as Europe's semiconductor titan ASML from sending its advanced chipmaking machines to Beijing (which resulted in a one-time flood of Chinese orders into both ASML and NVDA ahead of the sales ban which the market assumed was a recurring thing and priced out Nvidia revenue growth ridiculous higher compared to where it will end up being), China has retaliated by introducing new guidelines that will mean US chips from Intel and AMD are phased out of government PCs and servers, as Beijing ramps up a campaign to replace foreign technology with homegrown solutions, the FT reported.

This escalation in the chip war between the two superpowers in the form of stricter government procurement guidance also seeks to sideline Microsoft’s Windows operating system and foreign-made database software in favor of domestic options, and runs alongside a parallel localization drive under way in state-owned enterprises.

According to the FT, the latest purchasing rules "represent China’s most significant step yet to build up domestic substitutes for foreign technology and echo moves in the US as tensions increase between the two countries." In the past year, Washington has imposed sanctions on a growing number of Chinese companies on national security grounds, legislated to encourage more tech to be produced in the US and blocked exports of advanced chips and related tools to China.


Notable attendees included Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder and CEO of private equity firm Blackstone Inc, Raj Subramaniam, head of American delivery giant FedEx Corp, and Cristiano Amon, the boss of chips manufacturer Qualcomm Inc, according to state media.

The meeting comes after a decline in foreign direct investment into China, attributed to concerns over new regulations, including an anti-espionage law, exit bans, and raids on consultancies and due diligence firms.

Sounds like an effort to deescalate the rising tensions with USA over computer chips / tik tok / etc.
China should annex Haiti if they really want to do something productive.
I'm pretty sure it's China that is threatening seaborne shipping lanes with it's aggressive moves in the waters around Taiwan. Maybe they are preparing for a US response to some potential "special military operations" in Taiwan? :snidely: :paperbag:
China wants to divorce the USA and keep Taiwan in the settlement.

U.S., Japanese and Australian Warships Join Philippine Forces in South China Sea Patrol​

Six warships and four aircraft from Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States conducted a joint patrol in the South China Sea on Sunday following Chinese harassment of Philippine Navy resupply missions in the region.

Officially dubbed the Australia – Japan – Philippines – United States Maritime Cooperative Activity, these joint patrols began last November in response to violent incidents between Manila and Beijing in the South China Sea, particularly around Scarborough Shoal and the resupply missions to BRP Sierra Madre (LT-57) at Second Thomas Shoal.

China Coast Guard and Chinese maritime militia have blasted water cannons, conducted blocking maneuvers, deployed long-range acoustic devices, and rammed vessels in a series of increasingly aggressive moves against Philippine vessels.



USS America Wraps Drills with JMSDF, Russia Flies Bombers Near Japan​

Big deck amphib USS America (LHA-6), other U.S. Navy ships, and a submarine wrapped up the Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training 24 drill with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) in the Philippine Sea on Saturday.

America, along with destroyers USS Dewey (DDG-105), USS Higgins (DDG-76), USS Howard (DDG-83) and USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114), fleet oiler USNS Yukon (T-AO-202) and a submarine conducted drills with JMSDF destroyer JS Kongo (DDG-173) from Mar. 18 until Saturday, a Monday JMSDF release reads. The drill included a harbor phase in Yokosuka from Mar. 18-21, followed by a sea phase on Mar. 22 until Saturday, which took from Yokosuka to east of Okinawa, according to the release.

The sea phase consisted of tactical exercises such as antiair warfare, antisubmarine warfare, surface gunnery exercises, electronic warfare, antiair missile firing and replenishment at sea. The release also stated that this was the first bilateral exercise carried out in Japan’s Fiscal Year 2024, which began on April 1.


I failed to post it here, but Yellen visited China and tried to ... advance US interests. I'm not sure that it was a fruitful meeting.
From CNBC - short interview w/Yellen

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen: Not trying to stifle trade and investment in China​

Apr 8, 2024

CNBC's Sara Eisen joins 'Squawk Box' to discuss her sit-down interview with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Secretary Yellen's thoughts on Russian sanctions, China-Russia relations, doing business in China, state of U.S.-China relations, and more.

Opinion piece.


It is a trope in superhero stories that the hero must try and be in two places at once. Europe is trying to do the same by splitting its military capabilities between the Euro-Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific. But neither European states individually nor Europe collectively are or have been superpowers for a very long time. Rather than dilute the fragile sense of purpose and growing power they have built in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European powers should prioritize their home region. Backfilling maritime security in the Euro-Atlantic up to the western Indian Ocean is a more valuable distribution of tasks with the United States than sending limiting capabilities that are unfit for the deterrence of China.

Despite expressing a growing interest in the Indo-Pacific, Europeans have not seriously considered acting on behalf of Taiwan in case of a war between the United States and China. In any case, European countries lack the capacity to do so. A conflict over Taiwan could play out in any number of ways. We assume a conflict in which both superpowers use the full range of their conventional capabilities.

Even if enough European states would reach a consensus to respond with military means, all of the countries, including Europe’s two premier military powers, France and the United Kingdom, lack the capability to make a sustained effort in such a scenario.


I failed to post it here, but Yellen visited China and tried to ... advance US interests. I'm not sure that it was a fruitful meeting.

Main reason's she was there was to complain about China's mfg'ing over capacity and to warn off China from any trade with Russia that could help their efforts in Ukraine.

Meanwhile Xi welcomed Russia's foreign minister while Janet was still there.
....but she didn't meet with him.

Sounds to me like our idiots in charge are doing everything they can to push China and Russia together.

April 11, 2024

War with China: A View from Early 2024​

Marco J. Lyons

US defense analysts are overdue for a fundamental reassessment of the strategic factors that would shape a future Sino-American war.
The United States may lower the overall risk of sparking a war between Washington and Beijing by more formally committing advanced US capabilities in intelligence collection and targeting, long-range fires, and theater air and missile defense to Japan and South Korea and by initiating bilateral planning to introduce such capabilities in Taiwan in the future. The US defense community still lacks a broad and integrated national strategy for successfully managing the rivalry with China. A clear-eyed assessment of a possible United States-China war could lead to a national strategy.

Read the full article:

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