Scholars from Renmin University argue that China is particularly vulnerable to supply shocks and rising prices for agricultural commodities triggered by the Ukraine war. A volatile and challenging geopolitical outlook, the authors suggest, represents a long-term risk for China’s food security. The authors call on Beijing to diversify sourcing of China’s food supply (including away from the United States) by encouraging greater Chinese investment in the Russian agricultural sector and pursuing trade agreements with a wider range of partners.
Experts from China Agricultural University argue the war in Ukraine will have long-term impacts on food supply chains and the global economy, causing many states to improve agricultural self-sufficiency, hoard supplies, and restrict exports. In this environment, the scholars suggest Beijing reduce its vulnerability to Western sanctions and enhance its influence over international food supply chains by encouraging Chinese agricultural conglomerates to develop a larger international presence and by better regulating and supporting agricultural production and innovation at home.
Zhao Xiaozhuo, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, explains the trajectory of the Ukraine war in terms of two types of warfare: “mechanized warfare,” centered mostly on large-scale platforms such as aircraft and tanks, and “information warfare,” which more systemically integrates such platforms with other tools, including low-cost, dual-use technologies such as drones and social media. Zhao argues that Ukraine has used the latter to its advantage, which has enabled it to—among other things—take out Russian combat platforms through precision strikes.
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.
Huang Bin, a former defense industry executive, draws lessons for Beijing from the Russia-Ukraine war, which he sees as worth attention due to rising turbulence in China’s security environment. Huang argues China should increase its military spending as a share of GDP, invest in systems that enhance battlefield situational awareness, step up the production of equipment for special operations, improve its military logistics capabilities, and leverage patriotic education to expand its counterespionage network.
A researcher at the Academy of Military Sciences, the PLA’s main research institute, argues that Russia’s performance in the Ukraine war so far has revealed a range of military deficiencies, including relatively limited battlefield situational awareness, underdeveloped automation of weapons systems, and military personnel shortages. That said, the author argues that Moscow has successfully used nuclear deterrence to discourage NATO from direct military intervention.
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.
Feng Yujun, a senior Russia expert at Fudan University, argues that while Russia’s relations with the West have deteriorated precipitously since its invasion of Ukraine, China-Russia ties have been characterized by regular diplomatic contact, increased trade, and alignment in international organizations. Feng argues that strong and stable ties with China are increasingly critical for Russia as its international status and influence decline.
Zuo Xiying, one of China’s top experts on international security, examines evolving U.S. deterrence strategies in light of rising strategic competition with China. He argues that the gap in conventional deterrence capabilities between China and the U.S. is rapidly narrowing owing to China’s technological and military advances and what he sees as the decline of the U.S. industrial base. As a “stress reaction” to this perceived decline, Zuo argues U.S. policymakers have begun to discuss declining American conventional deterrence capabilities vis-a-vis China more frequently. Zuo warns that Beijing should approach shifts in relative capabilities cautiously, and recognize that the U.S. is expanding its “toolbox” of mechanisms that can be leveraged flexibly to deter China, particularly in the case of heightened tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
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.