October 10, 2022 | Daily Notes
U.S. - China Technology Competition
Biden Administration Clamps Down on China’s Access to Chip Technology (New York Times)
The moves are the clearest sign yet that a dangerous standoff between the world’s two major superpowers is increasingly playing out in the technological sphere, with the United States trying to establish a stranglehold on advanced computing and semiconductor technology that is essential to China’s military and economic ambitions.
The package of restrictions, which was released by the Commerce Department, is designed in large part to slow the progress of Chinese military programs, which use supercomputing to model nuclear blasts, guide hypersonic weapons and establish advanced networks for surveilling dissidents and minorities, among other activities.
U.S. Restricts Semiconductor Exports in Bid to Slow China’s Military Advance (Wall Street Journal)
The U.S. imposed new export restrictions on advanced semiconductors and chip-manufacturing equipment Friday in an effort to prevent American technology from advancing China’s military power.
The rules will require U.S. chip makers to obtain a license from the Commerce Department to export certain chips used in advanced artificial-intelligence calculations and supercomputing—crucial technologies for modern weapons systems, senior administration officials said.
The U.S. already requires licenses for exports of many advanced technologies to Chinese entities deemed to be working against U.S. national-security interests. Friday’s move expands that to include exports of crucial cutting-edge chips and equipment that can’t be obtained elsewhere. The rules will also allow the U.S. to block foreign-made chips that are manufactured with U.S. technology, the officials said.
‘No Possibility of Reconciliation’ as US Slams China Chips
The Biden administration’s new restrictions on technology exports to China could undercut the country’s ability to develop wide swaths of its economy, from semiconductors and supercomputers to surveillance systems and advanced weapons.
The US Commerce Department on Friday unveiled sweeping regulations that limit the sale of semiconductors and chip-making equipment to Chinese customers, striking at the foundation of the country’s efforts to build its own chip industry. The agency also added 31 organizations to its unverified list, including Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. and a subsidiary of leading chip equipment maker Naura Technology Group Co., severely limiting their ability to buy technology from abroad.
China Lashes Out at Latest US Export Controls on Chips (VOA)
China Saturday criticized the latest U.S. decision to tighten export controls that would make it harder for China to obtain and manufacture advanced computing chips, calling it a violation of international economic and trade rules that will “isolate and backfire” on the U.S.
“Out of the need to maintain its sci-tech hegemony, the U.S. abuses export control measures to maliciously block and suppress Chinese companies,” said Foreign Ministry representative Mao Ning.
“It will not only damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, but also affect American companies’ interests,” she said.
How Biden’s Chip Actions May Be Broadest China Salvo Yet (Bloomberg Opinion)
Depending on how broadly Washington enforces the restrictions, the impact could extend well beyond semiconductors and into industries that rely on high-end computing, from electric vehicles and aerospace to gadgets like smartphones. The Biden administration’s latest curbs encompass three broad categories, though questions remain about their scope and final impact, as well as Washington’s ability to enforce them.
Semiconductors and U.S.-China Relations | Paul Triolo
Semiconductors have become a critical policy issue around the world, making news because of their importance for everything from cellphones to nuclear weapons, as supply chain bottlenecks and political confrontations drive up scarcity and price. Global companies like TSMC and Huawei face difficult operating landscapes as they seek greater regulatory harmonization and clarity. What role do semiconductors play in the relationships among the United States, China, and Taiwan?
Technology policy expert Paul Triolo joined National Committee President Stephen Orlins for an interview conducted on September 30, 2022, to examine the complex geopolitical tensions surrounding the global semiconductor industry, its role in the U.S.-China relationship, and potential ways forward for the United States and China.
China wants to change, or break, a world order set by others (Economist)
Defenders of Chinese ambition argue that communist leaders have a right to reshape global rules written decades ago, when they were not in the room. This is a straw-man argument. It is of course natural for a big country to want to see its views reflected in global governance. The point is that anyone who sees value in today’s world order has a right to fear what China has in mind.
Other analysts question how disruptive China will be. They talk of a slowing economy making it harder for China to recruit supporters, and note that China has never spelt out a complete, alternative order. That is complacent. China does not need to replace every current rule to change the world.
China calls the very notion of universal values a Western imposition. In 2021 Wang Yi, the foreign minister, criticised the Biden administration for saying that the international rules-based order was under attack. This was “power politics”, Mr Wang retorted: a bid to “replace commonly accepted international laws and norms with the house rules of a few countries”.
The World According to Xi Jinping: What China’s Ideologue in Chief Really Believes (Foreign Affairs; Kevin Rudd)
Xi has brought that era of pragmatic, nonideological governance to a crashing halt. In its place, he has developed a new form of Marxist nationalism that now shapes the presentation and substance of China’s politics, economy, and foreign policy. In doing so, Xi is not constructing theoretical castles in the air to rationalize decisions that the CCP has made for other, more practical reasons. Under Xi, ideology drives policy more often than the other way around. Xi has pushed politics to the Leninist left, economics to the Marxist left, and foreign policy to the nationalist right. He has reasserted the influence and control the CCP exerts over all domains of public policy and private life, reinvigorated state-owned enterprises, and placed new restrictions on the private sector. Meanwhile, he has stoked nationalism by pursuing an increasingly assertive foreign policy, turbocharged by a Marxist-inspired belief that history is irreversibly on China’s side and that a world anchored in Chinese power would produce a more just international order. In short, Xi’s rise has meant nothing less than the return of Ideological Man.
Xi Jinping Is a Captive of the Communist Party Too (New York Times Opinion; Kerry Brown)
The remarkable muscularity of Mr. Xi’s style is not all about him or his personal aims, ambitions or ego (while he may certainly have these). China is strong again; Mr. Xi’s one responsibility is not to foul that up. And that’s why his leadership is so risk-averse, and dissenters are so energetically crushed. The systematic repression in Xinjiang is the most extreme manifestation of his obsession with preserving stability, even at the risk of international criticism and domestic suffering. The same goes for his uncompromising zero-Covid policy.