Japan and China hold high-level dialogue on East China Sea tensions, trade and Covid-19

The first high-level dialogue between China and Japan since Yoshihide Suga succeeded Shinzo Abe as Japan’s Prime Minister in September have taken place in Tpkyo, with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi discussing maritime tensions over disputed islands in the East China Sea, trade and the Covid-19 pandemic response.

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Biden says US should align with other democracies to set global trade rules to counter China’s influence

On Monday [16 November 2020], US President-elect Joe Biden said that the United States needed to negotiate with allies to set global trading rules to counter China’s growing influence – but declined to say whether the US would join the 15-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, the new trade pact that includes China, which was signed in Hanoi on Sunday [15 November 2020].

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Australia hopes Asia-Pacific trade deal will improve ties with China

Australia hopes the trade deal about to be signed by 15 Asia-Pacific economies will help improve Australia’s strained relations with China. Australia’s Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said that the trade pact offers a platform that can lead to a positive change in relations. “The ball is very much in China’s court to come to the table for that dialogue,” he is reported to have said.

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Strategic autonomy in the face of competing US and China technology strategies: a European perspective (IFRI)

An invaluable introduction to the complex and critical struggle for technological superiority which will the characterise the geopolitical environment for decades to come. This report sets out all the key issues and addresses the question of how the EU could maintain strategic autonomy in the face of this competition between China and the US.

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Chinese, US military chiefs hold crisis communication amid heightened South China Sea tensions

It is reported that officials from China and the US held a video conference meeting about crisis communication on 28-29 October, amid amid heightened tensions in the South China Sea. According to Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper denied a media report suggesting the US was “studying” a plan to attack Chinese islands and reefs in the South China Sea using an MQ-9 drone.

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US State Department approves a further $2.37 billion in potential arms sales to Taiwan

The US State Department is reported to have approved the potential sale of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems to Taiwan, at a cost of up to US $2.37 billion. The move comes days after the State Department approved the potential sale of three other weapons systems to Taiwan, as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China in the runup to the November presidential election.

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Moving away from the China-America binary (Alan McCormack)

Whether it is the West’s relative decline or the “rise of the rest,” the Eastward shift of geostrategic gravity is a reality. That reality presents major ideational and institutional challenges to the West’s domination of the international order. The challenge for international relations theorists and policy-makers is to demonstrate that Western-framed status quo versus revisionist analysis provides a disinterested assessment of “non-Western” institutional initiatives.

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