Reports & Papers

31 Items

A Watrix employee works at his desk in their company’s offices in Beijing, October 31, 2018. Watrix, a Chinese technology startup hopes to begin selling software that recognizes people by their body shape and how they walk, enabling identification when faces are hidden from cameras.

AP Photo / Mark Schiefelbein

Paper - Project Syndicate

Is China Beating the U.S. to AI Supremacy?

| August 2020

Combining decades of experience advancing frontier technologies, on the one hand, and analyzing national security decisionmaking, on the other, we have been collaborating over the past year in an effort to understand the national security implications of China’s great leap forward in artificial intelligence (AI). Our purpose in this essay is to sound an alarm over China’s rapid progress and the current prospect of it overtaking the United States in applying AI in the decade ahead; to explain why AI is for the autocracy led by the Chinese Communist Party (hereafter, the “Party”) an existential priority; to identify key unanswered questions about the dangers of an unconstrained AI arms race between the two digital superpowers; and to point to the reasons why we believe that this is a race the United States can and must win.

A traveler on a train from Kaohsiung to Taipei watches the news about Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s re-election on Sunday, January 12, 2020.

AP

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Combatting and Defeating Chinese Propaganda and Disinformation: A Case Study of Taiwan’s 2020 Elections

| July 2020

Using Taiwan’s most recent elections as an example to elucidate the nature of Chinese propaganda and disinformation, this report identifies China’s motives, tactics, and actors in its foreign information warfare.

Paper

Confronting China’s Efforts to Steal Defense Information

| May 2020

The United States government must require private industry and research institutions to take this threat seriously and develop cybersecurity policy and practices that will result in multiple layers of cybersecurity protections. This layered approach will require combined efforts from both the government and private industry to create an overlapping protection scheme.

A satellite view of Shigatse, Tibet, home to the PLA’s 6th Border Defense Regiment, near the China-India border.

Maxar Technologies / CNES Airbus via Google, used with permission

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

The Strategic Postures of China and India: A Visual Guide

| March 2020

Fueled by aggressive rhetoric from both capitals, Indian and Chinese ground forces engaged in a standoff between June and August 2017. The Doklam crisis, as it became known, stimulated introspection among officials and experts in both states about the future of their relationship. Politically, both strategic communities largely concluded that the peaceful resolution of border disputes is now less likely, forecasting more rivalry than cooperation. Militarily, Indian discussions on the strength of its military position against China in their disputed ground frontier areas have converged on the view that China holds the conventional and nuclear edge over India in this domain.

Based on our analysis of data on the location and capabilities of Indian and Chinese strategic forces and related military units, we conclude that this assessment of the balance of forces may be mistaken and a poor guide for Indian security and procurement policies. We recommend that instead of investing in new nuclear weapons platforms that our analysis suggests are not likely to be required to deter China, New Delhi should improve the survivability of its existing forces and fill the gap in global arms control leadership with an initiative on restraint and transparency.

Workers dismantle the Belt and Road Forum logo next to the “Golden Bridge of Silk Road” structure outside the media center as leaders are attending the round table summit of the Belt and Road Forum chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, Saturday, April 27, 2019

AP Photo/Andy Wong

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Triangle in the Long Game

| June 19, 2019

The purpose of this paper is to analyze how China’s new power is reaching Europe, the challenges that it poses, and the European responses to this new reality. This process has to be examined in the context of the current strategic competition between China and the U.S. and its reflection on the transatlantic relationship.

The flag of the People’s Republic of China flies on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan during a port call in Hong Kong, November 21, 2018

AP / Kin Cheung

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Coherence and Comprehensiveness: An American Foreign Policy Imperative

| March 2019

As the United States now confronts the prospect of a multi-faceted and quite possibly generational competition with China—underscored not only by recent Trump Administration public statements but also by the clear emergence of bipartisan support for a firm posture against certain Chinese practices—it is essential that U.S. policymakers take steps to ensure our approach is as coherent and comprehensive as possible. (As we make this point, we offer our hope that the relationship between the U.S. and China, unquestionably the most important in the world, can evolve into one that is mutually beneficial and avoids confrontation.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (left) and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin (right) shake hands on a Marine Corps V-22 Osprey as they depart the USS Stennis after touring the aircraft carrier as it sails the South China Sea April 15, 2016.

SMSgt Adrian Cadiz / DoD

Report

Reflections on American Grand Strategy in Asia

| October 2018

To understand how I approached China during my time as Secretary, it’s important to note that I don’t see U.S. strategy in Asia as centered on China at all. I said many times: We don’t have a China policy, we have an Asia policy. The heart of that policy is a mesh of political, diplomatic, economic, and military relationships with many nations that has sustained security and underwritten an extraordinary leap in economic development.

During my time as Secretary, I referred to this structure over and over as the “principled, inclusive network.” Enunciating and reinforcing its strategic and military dimensions in a rapidly changing security environment was my constant priority as Secretary of Defense. Even amid pressing challenges such as the fight against ISIS and the need to confront Russian aggression, no other issue I dealt with had such lasting implications for our national security and prosperity.

My three-word title for this policy was admittedly not very catchy. But my counterparts in the region understood it. They understood that all three words have been essential to its success and will remain essential to its future.

Photo of a container ship docked in Shangahi.

AP

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Debtbook Diplomacy

| May 24, 2018

The goal of this report is to analyze the future of debtbook diplomacy: which countries are vulnerable to Chinese coercion; how U.S. strategic interests will be impacted; and how U.S. policymakers can mitigate the effects of this strategy.

United States. Central Intelligence Agency. The Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands. Scale 1:2,000,000. Washington, D.C.: Central Intelligence Agency, 1992.

CIA map, 1992.

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea: A Practical Guide

| June 2017

By virtue of geography, the South China Sea is home to some of the world’s most important shipping lanes. Ships carrying exports and imports between markets in Asia and in Europe, Africa, and the Americas must transit through the South China Sea; it is estimated that $5.3 trillion in trade passes through the region annually. Circumnavigating the region would involve both considerable expense and time delay in the delivery of goods. As a result, most nations have a direct stake in ensuring that freedom of navigation is respected in the South China Sea.

Unfortunately, however, the South China Sea is home to a number of longstanding territorial disputes. Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam have overlapping sovereignty claims to various maritime features and areas of water in the South China Sea. Most of these territorial disputes center on features located in the Paracel and Spratly island groups.

Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

China's Uranium Enrichment Capacity: Rapid Expansion to Meet Commercial Needs

| August 20, 2015

Based on satellite imagery, Chinese publications, and discussions with Chinese experts, This report suggests that China has much more civilian enrichment capacity than previously thought, and even more is on the way. If these new estimates are correct, China has enough enrichment capacity to meet its nuclear power fuel requirements for the coming decade and beyond. Further, China will have excess enrichment capacity and will likely become a net exporter of commercial enrichment services.