Joe Biden and Xi Jinping met in person for the first time as national leaders at the G20 summit in Bali and agreed to manage competition in their relationship responsibly and restore regular dialogue between senior officials and cooperation between their countries. Bilateral meetings between senior officials in charge of climate, finance, trade, and defense followed. After the US announced another weapons sale to Taiwan, however, Beijing halted the resumption of military-to-military exchanges again. The US issued new export controls aimed at freezing China’s advanced chip production and supercomputing capabilities. President Biden maintained that he would send US forces to defend Taiwan if attacked and repeated that whether the island is independent is up to Taiwan to decide. The Biden administration issued its National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, Nuclear Posture Review, and Missile Defense Review. The US imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for serious human rights abuses in Tibet and arbitrary detention of Falun Gong practitioners. China retaliated by sanctioning two former Trump administration officials.
Biden and Xi Seek to Stabilize Relations
An already acrimonious relationship between China and the United States deteriorated further after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s August visit to Taiwan. Virtually all bilateral communication channels were frozen by Beijing. According to one source, PRC officials refused to speak to their counterparts for almost two weeks. The stalemate began to thaw in the third week of September when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met China’s foreign minister on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. At the same time, Laura Rosenberger, a special assistant to President Biden and senior director for China at the National Security Council, and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Daniel Kritenbrink, met Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng. Among the topics discussed was a possible in-person meeting between the two countries’ leaders at the November G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.
A month later, a sign of possible progress came in Xi Jinping’s congratulatory message to the annual gala dinner of the National Committee on US-China Relations. “China stands ready to work with the United States to find the right way to get along with each other in the new era on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation,” he told the dinner attendees. The same day, President Biden told US Department of Defense leaders that there doesn’t need to be conflict between the US and China.
In the final days of October, US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns, who had been shunned by Chinese officials since Pelosi’s Taiwan trip, met with Wang Yi, and another phone call took place between Blinken and Wang Yi.
As the G20 summit approached, US officials privately expressed cautious optimism that the US and China could begin a process of stabilizing the bilateral relationship. Chinese officials conveyed their desire to prevent further deterioration of ties, and US officials expressed their hopes of putting a floor under the relationship. Before departing for Asia, President Biden said that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss “what each of our red lines are” and determine whether the two countries’ vital interests “conflict with one another,” and where they do, “how to work it out.”
Xi met Biden in Bali with a wide grin and a warm handshake on Nov. 14. It was their first in-person meeting as national leaders. During their three-hour exchange, both pledged to repair the bilateral relationship. In his opening remarks, Xi said, “As the leaders of these two great powers, China and the United States, we must play the role setting the direction of the rudder, and we should find the correct approach for developing bilateral relations.” Biden reiterated that US-China competition should not veer into conflict and emphasized that both countries must manage the competition responsibly and maintain open lines of communication.
Readouts of the meeting suggested that progress was made toward putting the relationship on an even keel and resuming dialogue and cooperation that had been suspended after Pelosi’s Taiwan trip. The leaders agreed to instruct senior officials in charge of diplomacy to conduct regular consultations and their finance teams to coordinate on macroeconomic policies, economic ties, and trade. They also agreed to reopen talks on climate change, public health, agriculture, and food security, and to expand people-to-people exchanges. Xi proposed that the US and China agree on principles that would guide the bilateral relationship and the Chinese readout of the meeting maintained that the US shared the view that working out such principles was necessary.
Biden and Xi did not shy away from discussing differences. Biden told the press after the meeting, “We were very blunt with one another about places where we disagreed or where we were uncertain of each other’s position.” The two leaders discussed the Ukraine war and the DPRK’s provocations. Biden raised concerns about PRC human rights practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong. As has become the pattern in all their encounters, about half the meeting was spent discussing Taiwan, with Xi providing “a full account of the origin of the Taiwan question and China’s principled position.” Biden reaffirmed several elements of the US “one China” policy, including that the US does not pursue a “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan” policy and does not have the intention to use Taiwan as a tool to contain China. Biden raised concerns about the PRC’s increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan. Xi asserted that Taiwan “is at the very core of China’ core interests” and is “the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations.”
As a next step to enhance bilateral relations, Biden and Xi agreed that Secretary of State Blinken would visit China early in 2023. Preparation for that meeting began in mid-December with the NSC’s Rosenberger and State Department’s Kritenbrink traveling to Langfang, China to meet Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng.
In the days following the leaders’ summit, three high-level meetings took place between US and Chinese officials. US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Chinese Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenghua met on the sidelines of COP 27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met her counterpart, People’s Bank of China Gov. Yi Gang, in Nusa Dua, Indonesia. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai held talks with her counterpart Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao on the margins of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.
Resumption of Military Ties Falters
Among the actions that Beijing took after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in early August was the cancelation of three planned meetings between the US and Chinese militaries. Contacts between the two militaries in September and October were essentially frozen, except for occasional visits by representatives of the US and PRC defense attaché offices to the other country’s defense establishment. After Biden and Xi met in Bali, the stage was set for a resumption of military exchanges.
The restoration of military-to-military dialogue appeared to be on track when US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met Chinese Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of the 9th ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Cambodia on Nov. 22. According to the Chinese readout of the talks, the defense leaders agreed to implement the “important consensus” reached by their heads of state to “maintain communication and contact, strengthen crisis management and control, and strive to maintain regional security and stability. Wei pinned blame on the United States for the “current situation in China-US relations” and demanded that the US respect China’s core interests. While China’s account of the meeting focused primarily on Taiwan, the US account revealed that the meeting also addressed the Ukraine war, North Korea’s provocations, and US-PRC defense relations.
Although there was no public announcement, the two militaries apparently agreed to reschedule some of the meetings that had been canceled after Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Those plans were halted by the PRC, however, when the US announced several arms sales to Taiwan in early December. An article in Global Times hinted at the decision, quoting experts from Chinese universities who predicted that the US decision to sell more weapons to Taiwan would hinder the resumption of military exchanges.
In December, hope for a gradual improvement in bilateral military ties were rekindled when US and Chinese defense officials met to discuss the Department of Defense annual report on “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China.” The US readout noted that the discussion took place under the 2014 Memorandum of Understanding on Notification of Major Military Activities Confidence Building Measure Mechanism and was held as a hybrid in-person and virtual discussion with a representative from the Central Military Commission’s Office for International Military Cooperation participating virtually and representatives of the PRC Defense Attaché’s Office joining in person.
The need for more effective rules of road to reduce the risk of accidents between the US and Chinese militaries was evident when a PLA Navy J-11 fighter pilot performed an unsafe maneuver during an intercept of a US Air Force RC-135 aircraft, which was lawfully conducting routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace on Dec. 21. According to the US Indo-Pacific Command, which released a video of the incident just over a week after it took place, the PLAN pilot flew an unsafe maneuver by flying in front of and within 20 feet of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the RC-135 to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision.
US Imposes New Export Controls and Other Measures
The fall of 2023 will be remembered as a crucial moment in US policy on the transfer of high technology to China. In a speech delivered at the Special Competitive Studies Project Global Emerging Technologies Summit, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced a shift in the Biden administration’s approach. In the past, Sullivan said, export controls were formulated with the goal of maintaining “relative” advantages over competitors in certain key technologies, defined as staying “only a couple of generations ahead.” Due to changes in the strategic environment, the US now must “maintain as large of a lead as possible,” he stated. Tarun Chhabra, who runs technology policy under Sullivan at the NSC, later stressed that the US goal is to “extend absolute advantage.”
The new policy, which is being rolled out in a series of new federal rules, executive orders, and legislation, was on display in early October when the US announced revised rules aimed at denying PRC firms the ability to develop an industry of producing advanced computer chips. The restrictions were laid out in a 139-page document issued by the Bureau of Industry and Security, which oversees export controls for the Commerce Department. The rules cover the exports of chips, chip-making equipment, and talent.
The next step is likely to be an executive order targeting US investment in China, though it is still unclear whether a new mechanism will be intended to monitor or restrict investment, which sectors will be covered, and whether new regulations will apply only to foreign direct investment and joint ventures with Chinese firms or also include broader capital flows into China. In addition, legislation regulating outbound investment—the National Critical Capabilities Defense Act—is being considered in Congress.
Although some observers anticipated PRC retaliation, Beijing opted to eschew tit-for-tat reprisals against US companies, likely because it hopes to encourage US firms to invest more in China. Instead, China filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization in mid-December, claiming that the US chip export controls threaten global supply chains.
More Muddled US Statements About Taiwan
For the fourth time in his presidency, President Biden asserted that he would come to Taiwan’s defense if China were to attack Taiwan. In an interview with the CBS show 60 Minutes on Sept. 18, he stated that US forces would defend the island “if in fact there was an unprecedented attack.” As in the past, he insisted that the US long ago committed to defend Taiwan, even though the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act does not contain such a commitment. Biden also reiterated a statement that he made in November 2021 that “Taiwan makes their own judgments about their independence.” The US is not encouraging Taiwan to become independent, he added, stating “that’s their decision.” This implies that Taiwan declaring independence would not align with the US position that sovereignty over Taiwan remains unsettled. Beijing likely views the possibility that the US would allow Taiwan to declare independence as more provocative and dangerous than Biden’s statements that the US would defend Taiwan.
One month later, Secretary of State Blinken maintained in a public event with Condoleezza Rice that China is seeking reunification with Taiwan on a much faster timeline than in the past. The following day, Blinken reiterated his assessment in an interview with George Stephanopoulos. He argued that China had previously accepted the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, but changed its stance and decided to speed up reunification, and do it potentially by any means, including use of force. China watchers were baffled by his statements since the PRC has never accepted the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and although the PLA has been instructed to acquire the capability to seize and control Taiwan, there is no known evidence that Beijing has determined that it must achieve reunification by a specific date. The Department of Defense annual report on “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China in 2021,” released on Nov. 29, explained that 2027, 2035, and 2049 are capabilities development milestones for the PLA.
Addressing questions at a press briefing on Nov. 15, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Milley maintained that Xi Jinping is a rational actor who “evaluates things on cost, benefit and risk.” Xi would likely conclude that an attack on Taiwan in the near future would be extremely costly, Milley argued, and would set back his goal of attaining the China dream of becoming the leading economic and military power. He described the military operation of attacking and seizing the island of Taiwan as “very difficult” adding that “it’ll be some time before the Chinese have the military capability and they’re ready to do it.”
In the last four months of 2022, the Biden administration approved several arms sales to Taiwan totaling almost $2.6 billion. After the approval of a $1.1 billion package on Sept. 2 that included Sidewinder Missiles and Harpoon Missiles, China announced that it was imposing sanctions on the CEOs of Raytheon Technologies Corporation and Boeing Defense, Space and Security, due to their roles in the sales. The US Navy conducted two Taiwan Strait transits in this period, on Sept. 20 and Nov. 5.
Biden Administration Releases Four Key Documents
In mid-October, President Biden issued his National Security Strategy (NSS). It was followed by release of the National Defense Strategy, the Nuclear Posture Review, and the Missile Defense Review. All four documents contain important statements about how the Biden administration views China and its policies toward China.
Echoing the China Strategy speech delivered by Tony Blinken last May, the NSS described China as “the only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to advance that objective.” It asserted that Beijing seeks “to create an enhanced sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific and to become the world’s leading power.” The NSS reaffirmed US strategy toward the PRC as aimed at investing in America, aligning with US allies and partners, and relying on these two efforts to out-compete the PRC in the technological, economic, political, intelligence, and global governance domains. At the same time, the document stated that “it is possible for the United States and the PRC to coexist peacefully, and share in and contribute to human progress together.”
The National Defense Strategy (NDS) defined the PRC as the US’ “most consequential competitor for the coming decades” and the pacing challenge for the Department of Defense. Working in collaboration with allies and partners, US strategy aims to “prevent the PRC’s dominance of key regions while protecting the US homeland and reinforcing a table and open international system.” The NDS set out the objective of dissuading the PRC from considering aggression as a viable means of advancing goals that threaten vital US national interests. It promised to bolster deterrence by various means, including by developing new operational concepts and enhanced future warfighting capabilities against potential PRC aggression.
The Nuclear Posture Review described the PRC as “a growing factor in evaluating” the US nuclear deterrent given the “ambitious expansion, modernization, and diversification” of its nuclear forces and nascent nuclear triad. Those developments, the NPR noted, could provide the PRC with “new options before and during a crisis or conflict to leverage nuclear weapons for coercive purposes.” The report asserted that the PRC’s nuclear expansion, lack of transparency, and growing military assertiveness “raise questions regarding its intentions, nuclear strategy and doctrine, and perceptions of strategic stability.” It stressed the need for bilateral discussions on practical steps to reduce strategic risks. The NDS also stated that the US would need to account for the PRC’s nuclear expansion in future US-Russia arms control discussions.
The Missile Defense Review maintained that the US would continue to rely on strategic deterrence, which includes its nuclear arsenal and a resilient sensor and Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications (NC3) architecture, to deter intercontinental-range nuclear missile threats to the homeland from the PRC. Ensuring the continued credibility of the US deterrent “will require investments in missile warning, missile tracking, and resilient NC3” to keep pace with evolving threats from the PRC and Russia. A range of activities comprise the US approach to counter and defeat an adversary’s offensive missiles. One part of that approach is the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, which supports the homeland missile defense mission. However, the GMD “is neither intended for, nor capable of, defeating the large and sophisticated ICBM, air-, or sea-launched ballistic missile threats from Russia and the PRC.” The United States relies on strategic deterrence to address those threats.
Human Rights and Tit for Tat Sanctions
The second paragraph of Biden’s National Security Strategy maintained “the post-Cold War era is definitively over and a competition is underway between the major powers to shape what comes next.” The US vision of the international order in the new era, the NSS stated, includes upholding universal human rights. Consistent with this vision, the Biden administration made notable statements and undertook several actions in the last four months of 2022 to advance its human rights agenda with China.
In a statement issued on Sept. 1, one day after the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report stating that “serious human rights violations have been committed” in Xinjiang, including possible “crimes against humanity,” Secretary of State Blinken welcomed the report. He reiterated US “grave concern regarding the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity that PRC government authorities are perpetrating against Uyghurs…and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.”
On Dec. 10, marking International Human Rights Day, US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns issued a statement expressing US concern about the PRC’s failure to live up to its international commitments to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He highlighted PRC human rights violations in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong. The previous day, the US imposed sanctions on former Party Secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region Wu Yingjie and director of the Tibetan Public Security Bureau Zhang Hongbo for carrying out “serious human rights abuses” in Tibet and former deputy director of the Chongqing Area Prisons Tang Yong for arbitrary detention of Falun Gong practitioners. In addition, the US imposed sanctions on two large Chinese fishing fleet companies for alleged human rights abuses and illegal fishing practices.
Two weeks later, China retaliated against the sanctions imposed on PRC officials by sanctioning two members of the Trump administration, Miles Yu and Todd Stein. According to the Chinese foreign ministry, the two men and their family members would henceforth be banned from entering China, their assets in China would be frozen, and PRC organizations and individuals would be barred from engaging with them.
China’s COVID-19 U-Turn
After fighting to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within China for nearly three years, the Chinese government made an abrupt about-face in December, ending lockdowns, quarantines, and testing. A massive outbreak of the virus followed, though it was impossible to know the scale of infections since the government stopped publishing daily COVID-19 data as of Dec. 25. Since China’s National Health Commission narrowly defined deaths due to COVID as those caused by pneumonia and respiratory failure after contracting the virus, it was impossible to know how many people succumbed to the disease. Videos posted on social media of overcrowded ICUs in Chinese hospitals and long lines of hearses outside crematoriums suggested that the situation was serious, and many experts predicted that another wave of infections would follow during the Lunar New Year as millions of urban dwellers returned home to visit their families.
At a press conference on Dec. 22, Secretary Blinken said that Washington was ready to help all countries facing major challenges from COVID-19, but that China had not requested assistance from the United States. He encouraged all countries, including China, to get people vaccinated and to share information with the world. China’s lack of transparency about its experience with COVID sparked fears that the surge in infections could spawn new and more dangerous variants. As a precautionary measure, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that beginning Jan. 5, the US would require all travelers from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, to present negative COVID-19 tests before boarding flights headed for the United States.
US-China Relations Face a Rocky Future
The US-China relationship was on a downward trajectory throughout 2022. The Bali summit produced a partial thaw and provided the opportunity for both countries to stabilize their relations, but a sustained détente is unlikely anytime soon. The causes of tensions and mutual distrust will persist, perhaps for decades. China will continue to seek to be the dominant regional power and revise the international order in ways that are damaging to the interests of the United States and its allies. The US will intensify efforts to curb China’s development of advanced technology. Taiwan will remain a dangerous flashpoint. Trade between the two countries will continue, but both will continue to reduce dependency on the other. Although a military conflict between the US in China is not inevitable, it seems that a new Cold War is increasingly likely.
Chronology by GMF research trainee Charlotte (Charlie) Kelly
September — December 2022
Aug. 31, 2022: The US restricts sales of graphic processing units to China and Russia by requiring companies to seek export licenses.
Sept. 1, 2022: Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that the Aug. 31 report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Xinjiang “deepens and reaffirms our grave concern regarding the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity that PRC government authorities are perpetrating against Uyghurs.”
Sept. 2, 2022: State Department approves a possible Foreign Military Sale to Taiwan of AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder Missiles, AGM-84L-1 Harpoon Block II Missiles, Surveillance Radar Program, and related equipment, collectively worth approximately $1.1 billion.
Sept. 2, 2022: Office of the US Trade Representative confirms that domestic industry representatives requested continuation of Section 301 tariffs on China and the tariffs accordingly did not expire on their four-year anniversary.
Sept. 8, 2022: Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-07) leads a congressional delegation of eight Congressional representatives to Taiwan, meets with President Tsai Ing-wen.
Sept. 13, 2022: Congressional-Executive Commission on China holds a hearing titled “Control of Religion in China through Digital Authoritarianism.”
Sept. 15, 2022: President Biden signs executive order directing the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CIFUS) to concentrate on specific types of transactions that would give a foreign power access to key technologies that are critical to US economic growth.
Sept. 16, 2022: China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces that the Chinese government has sanctioned Gregory J. Hayes, chairman and chief executive officer of Raytheon Technologies Corp., and Theodore Colbert III, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, due to their involvement in the latest arms sales to Taiwan.
Sept. 18, 2022: President Biden gives interview to CBS’ 60 Minutes in which he answers questions about what the US would do if China invades Taiwan.
Sept. 18, 2022: Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76), in cooperation with Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331), conducts exercises in the South China Sea.
Sept. 19, 2022: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds talks with representative members of the National Committee on US-China Relations, the US-China Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce in New York and meets Henry Kissinger.
Sept. 20, 2022: Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76), in cooperation with Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331), conducts a routine Taiwan Strait transit.
Sept. 21, 2022: The House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation, holds a closed members briefing on China.
Sept. 21, 2022: Leaders of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup commit to complying with a potential US demand to pull out of China if Beijing were to attack to Taiwan during a hearing of the House Committee on Financial Services.
Sept. 22, 2022: Chinese FM Wang Yi addresses the Asia Society in New York with a speech titled “The Right Way for China and the United States to Get Along in the New Era.”
Sept. 23, 2022: State Councilor and FM Wang Yi meets Secretary Blinken on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Laura Rosenberger, special assistant to the president and senior director for China at the National Security Council, and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Daniel Kritenbrink also meet with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng.
Sept. 28, 2022: Vice President Kamala Harris criticizes China’s actions in the Indo-Pacific during her second trip to Asia, accusing Beijing of “undermining key elements of the international rules-based order.”
Sept. 29, 2022: State Department imposes sanctions on two entities based in China, Zhonggu Storage and Transportation Co. Ltd. and WS Shipping Co. Ltd., for involvement in Iran’s petrochemical trade.
Oct. 1, 2022: Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) and fleet replenishment-oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204), in cooperation with the Royal Canadian Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces, conducts exercises in the South China Sea.
Oct. 5, 2022: Department of Defense releases list of 13 new Chinese military companies operating directly or indirectly in the US in accordance with Section 1260H of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Oct.7, 2022: Commerce Department announces new limits restricting the sale of advanced computing chips, chip-making equipment, and other technology to China.
Oct. 8, 2022: Department of Defense signs a waiver allowing non-compliant specialty metals from China to be used in F-35 development through October 2023, says is needed for national security interests.
Oct. 12, 2022: President Biden releases National Security Strategy, which refers to China as a strategic competitor and says the next 10 years will be a decisive decade for the relationship.
Oct. 12, 2022: Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) leads congressional delegation of five Representatives to Taiwan, meets President Tsai and participates in National Day celebrations.
Oct. 12, 2022: The Office of the US Trade Representative announces a request for public comment on Section 301 tariffs against China as part of the statutory four-year review process.
Oct. 16, 2022: Xi Jinping delivers political report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
Oct. 17, 2022: Secretary Blinken joins event with Condoleezza Rice in which he states that Beijing decided that the cross-Strait status quo is unacceptable and would pursue reunification on a much faster timeline.
Oct. 17, 2022: Maritime forces from the US, Canada, and Japan conduct exercises in the South China Sea in support of Royal Australian Navy forces.
Oct. 19, 2022: Secretary Blinken in an interview with George Stephanopoulos says regarding Taiwan that “a decision that was made in Beijing some years ago that that was no longer acceptable and that the government wanted to speed up the reunification, and to do it… potentially by any means, through coercion and pressure and potentially, if necessary, by force.”
Oct. 24, 2022: Department of Justice charges individuals for alleged participation on malign schemes in the US on behalf of the Chinese government, including conspiracy to forcibly repatriate Chinese nationals, obstruction of judge, and acting as illegal agents of a foreign country.
Oct. 26, 2022: President Xi says that “China stands ready to work with the United States to find the right way to get along with each other in the new era on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation,” in a congratulatory message to the annual Gala Dinner of the National Committee on US-China Relations.
Oct. 26, 2022: President Biden addresses a meeting of Department of Defense leaders that “there doesn’t need to be conflict” between the US and China and emphasizes the need to responsibly manage the competition between the two countries.
Oct. 27, 2022: Secretary of Defense Austin releases 2022 National Defense Strategy, which codifies China as the US military’s pacing challenge and seeks to prevent the PRC’s dominance of key regions. He also releases the Nuclear Posture Review and the Missile Defense Review.
Oct. 29, 2022: US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns meets with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss US-China relations.
Oct. 30, 2022: Secretary Blinken speaks with FM Wang Yi about responsible management of the US-China relationship, Russia’s war against Ukraine, and the situation in Haiti.
Nov. 2, 2022: Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr travels to Taipei, becoming the first FCC Commissioner to visit Taiwan, meets counterparts at the National Communications Commission, the Ministry of Digital Affairs, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Nov. 3, 2022: Commander of US Strategic Command says that US deterrence levels against China are sinking and China could outcompete the US in the future.
Nov. 5, 2022: Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) carries out a routine Taiwan Strait transit, US Pacific Fleet confirms.
Nov. 8, 2022: US Ambassador to China Burns meets China’s Ambassador to the US Qin Gang, in Beijing.
Nov. 8, 2022: President Biden extends for an additional year the national emergency declared in 2020 related to the threat from securities investments that finance certain Chinese companies.
Nov. 10, 2022: Department of Treasury delivers its semiannual Report to Congress on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States, which calls for increased transparency from China, including on foreign exchange intervention.
Nov. 14, 2022: President Biden and President Xi hold a three-hour meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, their first in-person meeting as presidents.
Nov. 15, 2022: US-China Economic and Security Review Commission releases annual report to Congress.
Nov. 15, 2022: US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Chinese Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua meet on the sidelines of C0P 27.
Nov. 15, 2022: Congressional-Executive Commission on China holds a heading titled “China’s Zero-COVID Policy and Authoritarian Public Health Control.”
Nov. 15, 2022: In testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray says that China has stolen more US business and personal data than all other countries put together and that the FBI has serious national security concerns about the China-based TikTok app.
Nov. 15, 2022: Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Milley says in a Pentagon press briefing that he thinks President Xi will avoid attacking in Taiwan in the near future.
Nov. 16, 2022: US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio sentences Yanjun Xu, a Chinese intelligence officer, to 20 years in prison for attempting to steal technology and proprietary information from a US company.
Nov. 16, 2022: Treasury Secretary Yellen meets People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang in Indonesia.
Nov. 18, 2022: US Trade Representative Katherine Tai meets Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao on the margins of the APEC Ministerial Meeting.
Nov. 22, 2022: Defense Secretary Austin meets with Minister of National Defense Gen. Wei Fenghe on the margins of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus in Cambodia.
Nov. 29, 2022: Department of Defense releases its annual report, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China.
Nov. 29, 2022: Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) conducts a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands.
Nov. 30, 2022: Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo gives remarks at MIT titled “US Competitiveness and the China Challenge.”
Dec. 3, 2022: US-China Economic and Security Review Commission releases a report on the PRC in International Organizations.
Dec. 4, 2022: Idaho Gov. Brad Little arrives in Taiwan for a four-day visit with a trade delegation.
Dec. 5, 2022: Defense Security Cooperation Agency notifies Congress of a proposed arms sale to Taiwan of 18 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, 20 Army Tactical Missile Systems Pods, and other equipment worth $520 million as an addition to an October 2020 sale.
Dec. 7, 2022: US Special Representative for the DPRK Sung Kim holds a videoconference with PRC Special Representative on Korean Peninsula Affairs Liu Xiaoming to discuss the DPRK’s increasingly destabilizing and escalatory behavior.
Dec. 9, 2022: US Treasury imposes sanctions on two large Chinese fishing fleet companies that it accuses of engaging in illegal fishing and human rights abuses, and adds eight other Chinese fishing entities to its specially designated nationals list.
Dec. 9, 2022: Marking International Human Rights Day, the US imposes sanctions on two senior Chinese officials over “serious human rights abuses” in Tibet and another official for arbitrary detention of Falun Gong practitioners.
Dec. 10, 2022: US Ambassador to China Burns criticizes China’s actions in Xinjiang and Tibet in a statement released in honor of International Human Rights Day.
Dec. 10, 2022: China’s Ambassador to the US Qin Gang gives the keynote speech at the China General Chamber of Commerce annual gala in Chicago.
Dec. 11-12, 2022: Asst. Sec. of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kritenbrink and National Security Council Senior Director for China and Taiwan Rosenberger meet Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng in Langfang, China, followed by stops in the Republic of Korea and Japan.
Dec. 12, 2022: China lodges compliant with the WTO against US-imposed export controls that aim to limit China’s ability to develop a domestic semiconductor industry and develop its military.
Dec. 13, 2022: The Congressional-Executive Commission on China hosts a hearing titled “CECC at 20: Two Decades of Human Rights Abuse and Defense in China.”
Dec. 15, 2022: Chinese Ambassador to the US Qin Gang meets Secretary of the Treasury Yellen in Washington, DC to discuss global macroeconomic and financial developments as part of efforts to maintain communication and work together on transnational challenges.
Dec. 15, 2022: US Department of Commerce adds 36 Chinese companies to its entity list, which requires anyone seeking to supply those companies with US technology to acquire a license from Washington. It removes 25 Chinese entities from the unverified list and applies the foreign direct product rule to 21 new entities.
Dec. 15, 2022: US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board releases statement confirming they were able to inspect and investigate registered public accounting firms in China and Hong Kong for the first time, allowing critical Chinese companies to avoid potential de-listing from US stock markets.
Dec. 16, 2022: Department of State launches the new Office of China Coordination, informally known as China House, which Secretary Blinken states is aimed at “ensuring we have the talent, tools, and resources to successfully execute US policy and strategy towards the PRC as the most complex and consequential geopolitical challenge we face.”
Dec. 19, 2022: Department of State issues a statement supporting the Philippines in upholding the rules-based international order and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. It criticized PRC vessels for interfering with the livelihoods of Philippines’ fishing communities, disregarding other South China Sea claimants and states lawfully operating in the region, and conducting unsafe encounters with Philippines naval forces.
Dec. 20, 2022: US Representative John Curtis (UT-03) leads a delegation to Taiwan.
Dec. 21, 2022: WTO dispute panel finds that the US broke global trading rules by requiring that goods from Hong Kong be labelled “Made in China.”
Dec. 21, 2022: US defense officials hold a hybrid in-person and virtual meeting with PRC defense officials to discuss the recently released DoD reports National Defense Strategy and “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China.”
Dec. 21, 2022: A PLA J-11 fighter flies within 20 feet of a USAF RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, forcing it to take evasive action. The incident occurred over the South China Sea. The US Department of Defense releases the video on Dec. 29.
Dec. 22, 2022: Secretary Blinken holds a phone call with PRC FM Wang Yi.
Dec. 22, 2022: Speaking at a press availability to highlight four of the most consequential areas where diplomacy delivered in 2022, Blinken says the US has accelerated strategic convergence with the country’s allies and partners on the PRC.
Dec. 23, 2022: In retaliation for sanctions imposed by the US on two Chinese officials on Dec. 9, China sanctions two Americans, Trump administration official Miles Yu and Todd Stein, deputy staff director with the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
Dec. 23, 2022: Biden signs the National Defense Authorization Act, which will establish a specific defense modernization program for Taiwan and authorize up to $10 billion in foreign military financing grants over the next five years and $2 billion in loans, and restricts the use of Chinese semiconductors in items used by the military.
Dec. 25, 2022: PRC Politburo member and FM Wang Yi delivers a keynote speech on China’s foreign relations at the Symposium on the International Situation and China’s Foreign Relations.
Dec. 27, 2022: US Customs and Border Protection announces that merchandise produced or manufactured by Jingde Trading Ltd., Rixin Foods Ltd, and Zhejiang Sunrise Garment Group Co. Ltd. will be barred from importation into the US from Dec. 5 due to use of North Korean labor in supply chains in violation of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.
Dec. 28, 2022: State Department approves a possible Foreign Military Sale to Taiwan of Volcano (vehicle-launched) anti-tank munition-laying systems and related equipment for an estimated cost of $180 million.