China's Power Plays

China’s presence and its power is evident across the world, and it is still growing. What does this mean for governments and businesses worldwide? A series of three webinars delivered during October 2020.

China’s greatest interests lie in its immediate neighbourhood. It is determined to recover Taiwan, to avoid foreign encroachment in North Korea, to check Japan and to assert sovereignty over the waters that it claims in the East and South China Seas. The first island chain is vital to China’s security in the face of US maritime power. This region has seen China at its most assertive in recent years, leveraging commercial heft and increasingly military might to change established realities. Should we expect more of the same in the next few years?

  • What would push Beijing to go to war over Taiwan?
  • Does China have a vision for peace on the Korean peninsula?
  • How much economic damage is Beijing willing to sustain to secure its geopolitical interests?
  • How much should we worry about China and Japan coming to blows?
  • Does China intend to turn the South China Sea into a no-go zone for other navies?

A discussion between:

Nick Redman
Director of Analysis, Oxford Analytica

Benjamin Charlton
Senior Asia Analyst, Oxford Analytica

and
Carlo Bonura
Senior Teaching Fellow, School of Oriental and African Studies, London University

Session recordings

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Away from the Eastern Pacific, China faces different challenges and opportunities in Asia. Its underdeveloped western regions need better connections and markets if they are to catch up with the eastern coastal regions that power the national economy. The desire for prosperity and security has propelled China to seek closer ties with Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as well as the states of Central Asia—where it has been welcomed.

Yet its arrival in these regions has also stirred two resident powers, India and Russia, creating complications and opportunities in two important bilateral relationships for Beijing. Will China face resistance if it pushes too hard or too fast?

  • Is the BRI a debt-for-equity trap for Pakistan and other states in South Asia?
  • Will China’s treatment of the Uighurs complicate its objectives with Muslim states?
  • Can the Russia-China compact in Central Asia hold, as China rises still further?
  • How secure are China’s overland energy pipelines?
  • Do India-China standoffs in recent years signal a potential for actual conflict?

A discussion between:

Nick Redman
Director of Analysis, Oxford Analytica

Benjamin Charlton
Senior Asia Analyst, Oxford Analytica

and
David Washbrook
Research Professor in South Asian History, Trinity College, Cambridge

Session recordings

If you would like to request a recording of this session, please get in touch.

Today, China is the largest trade partner for many developing countries from the Middle East to Africa and Latin America. It is also a substantial trade and investment partner for Europe and North America, although the relationship has become clouded by concerns over the competitive challenge posed by protectionist China, its authoritarian ways and its desire for technological mastery. There is also Western discomfort over the extent to which China has built influence in international and regional organisations from the Arctic to Latin America.

How will established powers respond to China becoming more present, and more powerful, in their regions? And what implications will this have for enterprises seeking to do business with East and West?

  • How will Europe and the United States respond to more Chinese chequebook diplomacy on their doorstep?
  • What would a modus vivendi with authoritarian China look like, for Western states?
  • Will China experience pushback against the influence it has built in international organisations?
  • How real is the threat of a split over 5G technology?
  • To what extent will geopolitical rivalries spill over into trade and investment?
  • Are the West and China configured to compete in many areas but also to cooperate on global challenges?

A discussion between:

Nick Redman
Director of Analysis, Oxford Analytica

Benjamin Charlton
Senior Asia Analyst, Oxford Analytica

and
Rana Mitter
Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, St Cross College, Oxford

 

Session recordings

If you would like to request a recording of this session, please get in touch.

Context

In the last two decades, China has taken giant strides forward economically, technologically, diplomatically and militarily. It is a trading power without peer. It is a leader in 5G technology. Through the Belt and Road Initiative, it has become a development champion. It has built influence in regional and international organizations the world over. And it has modernized its huge armed forces. Chinese influence is felt in the domestic politics of developed states, from Australia to Europe and North America. For many developing states, it is the principal investor and trade partner. It is also a country that recently has been more open in articulating its desire for leadership and respect around the world.

This three-part webinar series looks at China’s objectives and interests in three concentric circles: in East and South-east Asia; in Southern Asia and Central Asia; and in the West and wider world.

Series format

Each session is moderated by Nick Redman, Director of Analysis at Oxford Analytica, featuring Senior Analyst Benjamin Charlton and a specialist from Oxford Analytica’s global expert network.

Background briefings

Each session is supported by a background briefing curated by our team of expert analysts who produce our flagship publication, the Oxford Analytica Daily Brief. These in-depth briefings are circulated to attendees in advance of each call and are available both as the written articles published in the Daily Brief, and as audio recordings.