US - China

Chronology from Jan 2023 to May 2023

: National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan delivers remarks to the Brookings Institution elaborating on Yellen’s speech on China-implicated economic policy the previous week. He clarifies that the administration’s “modern trade agreements” with “like-minded partners” will include more than just tariff reduction, adding supply chain resilience, green finance, and labor rights to the list of US economic interests.

: House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations holds a hearing entitled “A Review of the Defense Intelligence Enterprise’s posture and capabilities in strategic competition and in synchronizing intelligence efforts to counter the People’s Republic of China.”

: A US 7th Fleet P-8A Poseidon aircraft transits the Taiwan Strait.

: House Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services holds a hearing entitled “China in Our Backyard: How Chinese Money Laundering Organizations Enrich the Cartels.”

: US and Philippine forces sink a mock warship in the South China Sea during the “Balikatan” annual joint exercise. China’s ambassador to the Philippines denounced Manila’s increased military cooperation with the US at a forum the previous week.

: President Xi speaks on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the first time, with the latter welcoming China’s substantive step in facilitating a political end to the conflict despite Washington’s apprehension.

: Biden administration agrees to send a nuclear ballistic missile-armed submarine, and other “strategic assets,” to South Korea during a state visit by President Yoon Suk-yeol to Washington. Beijing angrily responds the next day calling it the product of Washington’s “selfish geopolitical interests” that undermines “regional peace and stability.”

: House Select Committee on China holds tabletop exercise that simulates a Chinese attack against Taiwan to review US policy options in a worst-case scenario.

: Pentagon releases Annual Freedom of Navigation Program Report for Fiscal Year 2022 which lists China as the country with the most transgressions of international laws which govern maritime claims and navigational rights.

: Secretary Yellen gives a speech at Johns Hopkins University that presents a softer economic approach to China than seen in months previous. It seeks “a constructive and fair economic relationship with China” which aims to close gaps in US national security through “friendshoring…creating redundancies in our critical supply chains” without “a full separation of [the two] economies” or “stifl[ing] China’s economic and technological modernization.”

: US Army Maj. Gen. in Japan Joel Vowell states that Tokyo has shifted its military focus to protecting the Ryukyu Island chain in its southwest against potential threats from China, and that the US is aiding in this pivot.

: House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations holds a hearing entitled “China’s Political Prisoners: Where’s Gao Zhisheng?”

: Department of Homeland Security announces commencement of a 90-day, AI-integrated review of Chinese influence in US supply chains and firms.

: House Committee on Ways and Means holds a hearing entitled “The US Tax Code Subsidizing Green Corporate Handouts and the Chinese Communist Party.”

: Adm. John Aquilino, senior US military commander in the Indo-Pacific, dismisses colleagues’ speculations about a potential timetable for a Chinese invasion of Taiwan in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

: House Oversight and Accountability Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic holds a hearing entitled “Investigating the Origins of COVID-19, Part 2: China and the Available Intelligence.”

: House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Indo-Pacific holds a hearing entitled “Surrounding the Ocean: PRC Influence in the Indian Ocean.”

: House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa holds a hearing entitled “Great Power Competition in Africa: Chinese Communist Party.”

: House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade holds a hearing entitled “Countering China’s Trade and Investment Agenda: Opportunities for American Leadership.”

: Foreign ministers of the G7 countries meet in Japan and vow, among other things, to address China’s increasing threats to Taiwan and ambiguity on the war in Ukraine.

: US 7th Fleet Destroyer USS Milius transits the Taiwan Strait.

: China refuses to reschedule Secretary Blinken’s planned visit to Beijing over concerns that the FBI may release to the public the results of its analysis of the debris recovered from the Chinese surveillance balloon downed in early February.

: Treasury Department sanctions two entities and four individuals from China over their involvement in supplying precursors for US-bound fentanyl.

: Government Accountability Office releases a report entitled “Federal Spending: Information on US Funding to Entities Located in China.”

: Washington and Manila agree to move forward with drafting a “Security Sector Assistance Roadmap,” with a focus on resisting Chinese incursions in the South China Sea, at a 2+2 (defense and foreign) ministerial dialogue in Washington.

: US 7th Fleet Destroyer USS Milius conducts a Freedom of Navigation Operation near the Beijing-controlled Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands.

: House of Representatives votes unanimously to instruct the White House to work toward changing China’s status as a “developing nation” in the World Trade Organization.

: Leaked documents from the Pentagon come to light and expose US military intelligence’s apprehension about Taiwan’s ability to accurately detect and quickly counter potential Chinese air strikes. The leaks also reveal that, as of January, China ignored all requests from Russia’s Wagner Group to provide weapons for its military actions in Ukraine.

: House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul visits Taiwan and meets Tsai and Vice President Lai Ching-te. On the 13th, China responds by sanctioning him personally, adding to the list of senior members of Congress on Beijing’s blacklist.

: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen stops in California, en-route from visits to Guatemala and Belize, where she meets House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and several other US lawmakers at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. China responds on the 7th by sanctioning the US institutions and individuals who met Tsai, and sending aircraft and warships across the Taiwan Strait for a 3-day exercise “encircling” the island.

: Washington and Manila jointly announce the locations of four more military bases with US funding and troop access—three of which are located in the north of the country near Taiwan, and one in the southwest near the Spratly islands. China’s foreign ministry responds on the 6th, saying that the new locations are “uncalled-for.”

: Treasury Department releases proposed guidance on the electric vehicle consumer subsidy found in the Inflation Reduction Act which will effectively ban Chinese EVs and EV battery components from the US market.

: Beijing’s state-owned Xinhua news issues a report decrying US arbitrary detention practices at home and abroad.

: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen transits New York on her way to Central America where she receives a Global Leadership Award from the Hudson Institute.

: China’s State Council Information Office issues a report decrying the level of human rights violations in the US in 2022.

: US 7th Fleet Destroyer USS Milius conducts a Freedom of Navigation Operation in the Paracel Islands.

: TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testifies before House Committee on Energy and Commerce and is questioned on the company’s firewall and data protection policies. Following the hearing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry clarifies in a press conference that China does not ask any company for access to foreign data.

: House Select Committee on China holds a hearing entitled “The Chinese Communist Party’s Ongoing Uyghur Genocide.”

: House Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions holds a hearing entitled “Follow the Money: CCP’s Business Model Fueling the Fentanyl Crisis.”

: Department of Commerce issues a proposed rule to restrict foreign firms from using CHIPS and Science Act grants to expand semiconductor manufacturing capacity overseas.

: Biden signs a law requiring his administration to declassify US intelligence on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

: China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues a report decrying the state of US democracy in 2022.

: President Biden announces project milestones and timelines related to a landmark agreement to jointly develop and deploy nuclear submarines in the Asia-Pacific region with Australia and the United Kingdom.

: House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence holds a hearing on “Confronting Threats Posed by the Chinese Communist Party to the US Homeland.”

: US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines tells lawmakers at a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee that the Chinese government is seeking to avoid further escalation of bilateral tensions and emphasized China’s desire for a more stable relationship.

: House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet holds a hearing entitled “Intellectual Property and Strategic Competition with China: Part I.”

: White House endorses introduction of the RESTRICT Act in the Senate, which would empower the Commerce Dept. to ban technology services and service providers deemed to pose “undue or unacceptable risk” to US national security from the country.

: President Xi, in rare form, takes direct aim at US “containment, encirclement and suppression” of China in a speech at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

: Department of Commerce adds 28 Chinese firms to the Entity List over alleged ties to the Iranian military.

: Pentagon approves a $619 million sale in F-16 fighter jets and related munitions to Taiwan. China responds with an incursion of over 20 fighter jets in Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

: An inaugural hearing of the House Select Committee on China is held on “The Chinese Communist Party’s Threat to America.”

: House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology holds a hearing on “United States, China and the Fight for Global Leadership: Building a U.S National Science and Technology Strategy.”

: House Foreign Affairs Committee holds a hearing on “Combatting the Generational Challenge of CCP Aggression.”

: A US 7th Fleet P-8A Poseidon aircraft transits the Taiwan Strait.

: CIA Director William Burns, in a revision of comments from earlier in the month, assesses that China likely has doubts about its ability to invade Taiwan and that Xi’s 2027 target to be invasion-ready is not indicative of a solid decision.

: Updated Department of Energy report concludes, albeit with a low level of confidence, that the COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s research into the novel coronavirus.

: Office of the US Trade Representative releases an annual report on China’s WTO Compliance.

: Beijing issues a 12-point “Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis” which US officials are quick to dismiss as “talking up Russia’s false narrative about the war.” Secretary Blinken tells ABC News that China’s peace plan is not serious as “if they were serious about the first [point], sovereignty, then this war could end tomorrow.”

: Beijing’s state-owned Xinhua news organ issues a report decrying economic polarization in the US.

: China launches a new concept paper for the “Global Security Initiative” which appends 20 “priorities of cooperation” to its standard sovereignty-focused fare.

: A Chinese J-11 fighter jet shadows a US Navy reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea.

: Beijing’s state-owned Xinhua news organ issues a report decrying US “hegemony” across the world’s political, military, economic, technological and cultural spheres.

: Ranking members of the House Select Committee on China, Mike Gallagher and Ro Khanna, travel to Taiwan as part of two delegations and issue a statement against China’s “cognitive war” against Taiwan upon their return.

: Wang Yi, Politburo member and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, delivers keynote remarks titled “Making the World a Safer Place” at the 59th Munich Security Conference in Germany.

: In an effort to maintain lines of communication, Secretary Blinken meets Wang Yi on the sidelines of the 59th Munich Security Conference, the first high-level meeting between Chinese and US officials since the balloon incident. Maintaining a cold shoulder, the Chinese readout is explicit that the meeting comes at the request of the US side.

: China imposes sanctions on US defense manufacturers Raytheon and Lockheed Martin as a “countermeasure” for their fulfillment of arms sales contracts for Taiwan.

: Beijing’s state-owned Xinhua news organ issues a report decrying gun violence in the US.

: Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman says that all countries should warn China against invading Taiwan at an event at the Brookings Institution.

: US Defense official anonymously confirms that the planned trajectory of the downed Chinese surveillance balloon would likely have taken it over Guam and Hawaii rather than the continental United States.

: China alleges that the US sent 10 balloons into Chinese airspace in 2022.

: US Navy’s Nimitz Carrier Strike Group conducts combined exercises in the South China Sea with the Marine Corps” Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group.

: Department of Commerce adds six Chinese companies to the Entity List over their involvement in Beijing’s balloon surveillance program.

: Senate Committee on Foreign Relations holds a hearing entitled “Evaluating US-China Policy in the Era of Strategic Competition.” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Affairs Ely Ratner testifies that it is unlikely that China would be capable of invading Taiwan before 2030.

: Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Defense Deptartment holds a hearing on “The People’s Republic of China’s High Altitude Surveillance Efforts Against the United States.”

: Beijing’s state-owned Xinhua news issues a report decrying the level of drug abuse in the US.

: Pentagon describes the downed balloon as part of a wider, global Chinese surveillance operation.

: President Biden vows to respond to Chinese threats to US sovereignty in his State of the Union address.

: House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing entitled “Combatting the Economic Threat from China.”

: House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing entitled “The Pressing Threat of the Chinese Communist Party to US National Defense.”

: China protests the downing of the balloon with the US Embassy in Beijing.

: China’s foreign ministry issues a statement on Washington’s downing of the balloon calling it a “clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.” Chinese defense officials reject a call with US Defense Secretary Austin.

: China acknowledges the “unintended entry of a Chinese unmanned airship into US airspace due to force majeure.”

: US shoots down the surveillance balloon over the coast of South Carolina.

: Department of State indefinitely postpones Secretary Blinken’s planned visit to China over the balloon incident.

: US reopens its embassy in the Solomon Islands with Secretary Blinken hailing it as an important signal of Washington’s commitment to democracy in the Pacific region.

: Defense Secretary Austin reaches agreement with Philippine President Bongbong Marcos to expand the rotational US military presence in the Philippines with reference to confronting China in the South China Sea.

: Pentagon publicly announces that a high-altitude surveillance balloon from the People’s Republic of China is present above Montana.

: At an event at Georgetown University, CIA Director William Burns warns not to underestimate China’s ambitions toward Taiwan and that the agency knows “as a matter of intelligence” that President Xi has instructed the military to be operationally ready to reclaim Taiwan by 2027.

: House Committee on Energy and Commerce holds a hearing entitled “Economic Danger Zone: How America Competes To Win The Future Versus China.”

: US Customs and Border Protection begins to issue detention notices against aluminum shipments originating in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region over concerns of forced labor.

: US stops approving export licenses bound for Huawei.

: Undersecretary for Defense Policy Colin Kahl dismisses Gen. Minihan’s leaked assessment for Taiwan saying “I don’t see anything that indicates that this thing is imminent in the next couple of years.”

: A Chinese surveillance balloon floats across the continental United States after first being spotted over Alaska on Jan. 28.

: United States Marine Corps opens a new base on Guam to counter China’s presence in the Western Pacific.

: US Trade Representative appeals two WTO dispute panel rulings brought by China on Section 232 tariffs and on “made in China” designations for Hong Kong to a defunct WTO Appellate Body.

: Air Force Gen. Mike Minihan warns in a leaked internal memo to US military leadership that the US and China “will fight in 2025” over Taiwan. The Pentagon immediately distances itself from the comments saying they are “not representative of the department’s view on China.”

: President Biden extends a program that allows for Hong Kong residents to remain in the US, citing the erosion of human rights and freedoms.

: Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Dr. Rahul Gupta, tells the Financial Times that his office is increasing pressure on Beijing to crack down on precursor chemicals used to create fentanyl while highlighting the potential for the drug crisis to spread to Europe and Asia.

: US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China Michael Chase speaks to Song Yanchao, deputy director of China’s Office for International Military Cooperation, to express US “red-lines” on the Ukraine War ahead of a scheduled visit to China by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has a “candid, substantive, and constructive conversation” with Vice-Premier Liu He on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

: China conducts live-fire exercises in the South China Sea as the US Navy’s Nimitz Carrier Strike Group also transits the waters.

: US Special Climate Envoy John Kerry meets virtually with Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua.

: US House of Representatives votes to establish a Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party.

: A proposed phone call between Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe is canceled after the Chinese decline to participate.

: US 7th Fleet Destroyer USS Chung-Hoon transits the Taiwan Strait.

: Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang departs Washington after his tenure as Chinese ambassador to the US ends.

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