Scholars from Huaqiao University explore the implications of generative AI for China’s prosperity and national security, following the launch of ChatGPT. They emphasize the pivotal role leadership in AI research and applications will play in global power distributions going forward, given implications for standards-setting ability, productivity growth, and information control.
Wu Zhaohui, vice minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology and China’s lead delegate at the 2023 Bletchley AI Summit, delivered a keynote address at a summer 2023 AI conference in Beijing. This news coverage includes highlights of his speech where he suggested ChatGPT will usher in a ‘new industrial revolution,’ and have significant impacts on labor, production, business models, and the global economic landscape more broadly.
Meeting in San Francisco in November 2023, Biden and Xi agreed to launch U.S.-China talks on the risks associated with advanced AI systems and potential areas for bilateral collaboration. In this piece, researchers at Tsinghua University detail where Washington and Beijing’s interests on AI issues might converge, and what they see as the most fruitful areas for discussion. While there is some consensus on basic principles around AI in the defense sphere, they argue, more fruitful discussions will center on non-traditional security fields – including the social governance challenges engendered by AI and the application of AI toward anti-crime and anti-terrorism objectives.
Lu Feng, a Peking University professor, argues a closed-loop domestic integrated circuit (IC) supply chain is urgently needed in the face of U.S. and allied technology controls. He suggests Beijing advance this goal by encouraging Chinese enterprises in the field to buy from and sell to each other – decisions that, Lu argues, will be made easier by U.S. technology controls. Lu also suggests China play to its strengths and use its expansive market as a source of leverage to influence the scope of such controls.
A pair of Chinese economists argue that the U.S. will have a difficult time effectively de-risking from China due to a variety of hurdles, including tensions with allies over the speed and scope of strategies, vested U.S. business interests, and partisan debates about China policy within the United States. To limit the scope and impact of U.S. technology and economic policies, they suggest, Beijing should seek to improve diplomatic relations with U.S. allied and partner nations, expand economic ties with developing countries, remain open to diplomatic engagement with Washington, and invest in China’s science and technology ecosystem to address innovation bottlenecks.
Zhang Gaoyuan, a security scholar at Peking University, draws lessons for China amid what she terms the digital transformation of intelligence gathering. Zhang argues dual-use technology such as drones and Starlink satellites, open-source social media information, and efforts by non-combatants have been pivotal in guaranteeing Ukraine a steady flow of battlefield intelligence. As a prognosis for China, she promotes greater research into the opportunities and risks digital technologies present for intelligence acquisition and security.
This piece from the U.S. studies program at Ministry of State Security-linked think tank China Institutes for Contemporary International Relations argues that the Ukraine war heralds the end of the post-Cold War order. The article argues the United States has been the biggest beneficiary of the war so far, leveraging the crisis to strengthen its alliance network and fight a proxy war with Russia. The authors of the report warn countries in Asia to remain vigilant to what they describe as U.S. efforts to preserve and expand its hegemony in ways that might destabilize the region.
In this roundtable, scholars from Fudan University and several invited guests debate the degree of convergence between U.S. and EU outlooks on China, the likely trajectory of EU trade and investment ties with China, and what type of role the EU should play in China’s international strategy going forward. Most of the scholars argue that Europe-China relations have deteriorated over the past years. However, many appear optimistic that there is considerable room for EU-China cooperation going forward, on matters from the green energy transition, to supporting developing countries weather shocks from COVID-19, to the Ukraine war. On the Russia-Ukraine war, one scholar suggests that a “substantial push by China to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict would help greatly to improve China-EU relations,” while others suggest that the degree to which the EU leads a resolution will be a “weathervane of its strategic autonomy” and determine whether the EU can avoid being marginalized in China’s foreign strategy.
A scholar from Tongji University argues that while Europe is increasingly emphasizing systemic rivalry with China, there is still “potential for deepening high-level cooperation” because many of China’s policy priorities (including ensuring food security, improving supply chain resilience and security, achieving self-reliance in science and technology, and boosting innovative capabilities) “share a common language” with those of the European Union. As a result, she argues that Europe should jettison what she refers to as its “Cold War mentality” and achieve “ideological independence,” so that China and the EU can work collectively to “inject more certainty, security, and development momentum into the world.”