Skip to main content

The Month in U.S. - China Relations (October 2018) 中美关系月报

Rui Zhong
The Month in U.S. - China Relations (October 2018) 中美关系月报

As chillier weather approaches Washington, trade and technology tensions between China and the United States ar  heating. At the Hudson Institute, Vice President Mike Pence said that: “Across the nation, the American people are growing in vigilance, with a newfound appreciation for our administration’s actions to re-set America’s economic and strategic relationship with China, to finally put America First.” China’s law enforcement actions were aimed inward, as Interpol Chief and Chinese security Veteran Meng Hongwei has been detained and revelations about re-education camps for Xinjiang’s Uighurs were confirmed.   

Groundwork is underway for a Xi-Trump meeting at the 2019 G20 summit, and policymakers from both governments are ramping up tariffs and law enforcement actions that don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

Rui Zhong

Program Assistant

Kissinger Institute on China and the United States

Major Issue Tracker

China’s Global Influence

Pope gives Chinese bishops 'warm welcome' (October 3): Pope Francis offered a "warm welcome" to two Chinese Catholic bishops attending a synod for the first time following a landmark deal between China and the Vatican… Read More>>

China-Japan ties at ‘historic turning point’ after Shinzo Abe’s visit, but can the goodwill hold? (October 28): Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s latest China visit marked a major effort to reset the tumultuous relations between the two Asian giants amid a backdrop of historical grievances, territorial disputes in the East China Sea and geopolitical rivalry in the wake of Beijing’s rapid ascendancy in the region.

U.S. charges Chinese spies and their recruited hackers in conspiracy to steal trade secrets (October 30): The Justice Department on Tuesday unsealed charges against 10 Chinese spies, hackers and others accused of conspiring to steal sensitive commercial airline and other secrets from U.S. and European companies… Read More>>

U.S. Asia Policy  

US tells China: We want Competition, Not cooperation (October 1): A speech by the NSC’s Matt Pottinger suggests that the U.S. sees its relationship with China as a competition, a senior member of the Trump administration has told Chinese diplomats at an event that highlighted the gulf between the two sides’ world views… Read More>>

Trump Reaches for Checkbook Diplomacy to Counter China (October 8): In a stark reversal, the “America First” administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has ramped up Washington’s ability to compete with China in financing development around the world, pushing back against what administration officials have called Beijing’s “debt trap diplomacy”…Read More(subscription)>>

Xi Jinping and Donald Trump May Meet Next Month at G20 amid Rising China-US tensions (October 12): President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump plan to meet in Buenos Aires during the Group of 20 leaders’ summit at the end of November, amid rising tensions between the countries over trade, South China Sea and Taiwan issues…Read More>>

Taiwan Invites Pope Francis to visit after landmark China-Vatican deal (October 15): Taiwan has invited Pope Francis to visit, President Tsai Ing-wen has said, just weeks after the Vatican reached a milestone deal on the appointment of bishops with mainland China, which claims the self-ruled island as its own… Read More>>

Chinese Media Blast Pompeo's 'Malicious' Latin America comments (October 23): As reported byAl Jazeera, Chinese state media sharply criticized U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday after he made comments in Latin America warning about the hidden risks of seeking Chinese investment amid a growing battle for influence in the region.

U.S. pullout from INF nuclear treaty with Russia also targets China (October 23): President Donald Trump said   that his decision to withdraw from a decades-old atomic accord with Russia was also driven by a need to respond to China's nuclear build-up…Read More>>

Southeast Asia and the South China Sea  

China’s navy to join Thailand and Malaysia for training exercise as military seeks to build bridges with neighbors (October 15): China and the United States are competing in a new round of military diplomacy in Southeast Asia this week, as Beijing plays catch-up in an effort to build trust with its neighbors, analysts said… Read More>>

US bomber mission over South China Sea risks inflaming tensions ahead of Asean defence summit (October 18): Two US B-52 bombers have flown over the disputed South China Sea, in a move that could inflame tensions ahead of a key regional defence summit in Singapore where the US and Chinese defense ministers are slated to meet… Read More>>

Taiwan’s President Warns China Against Meddling in Local Elections (October 9): Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen cautioned China against any efforts to interfere in local elections next month, in a toughly worded speech that mirrored U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s own rebuke to Beijing… Read More>>

Technology, Surveillance, and Espionage

  • The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies (October 4): Read More>>
  • The Big Hack: Statements From Amazon, Apple, Supermicro, and the Chinese Government (October 4): Read More>>
  • China hack: Chinese official avoids questions about chip hack report (October 8): Read More>>
  • Apple's Tim Cook calls for retraction on Chinese spy chip story: 'There's no truth to this' (October 19): Read More>>


Chinese spy, Charged With Stealing U.S. Aviation Secrets, Extradited for Prosecution (October 10): Yanjun Xu, a senior officer with China’s Ministry of State Security, is accused of seeking to steal trade secrets from leading aviation firms, top Justice Department officials said…Read More (subscription)>>

U.S. Lawmakers Call China’s Internment of Uighurs ‘Dire’ Situation (Oct 10): As reported by Bloomberg, a new Congressional-Executive Commission on China. report warned of a “dire human rights situation” in China, especially the country’s mass internment of Uighurs and other Muslim ethic minorities in “political re-education camps.” Related: China legalizes Xinjiang 're-education camps' after Denying they Exist

China legalizes Xinjiang 're-education camps' after denying they exist (October 11): As reported by CNN, authorities in China's far-western Xinjiang region appear to have officially legalized so-called re-education camps for people accused of religious extremism, a little more than a month after denying such centers exist. Related: Full transcript: Interview with Xinjiang government chief on counterterrorism, vocational education and training in Xinjiang

Google CEO Sundar Pichai confirms censored China search engine (October 16): As reported by Engadget, Google chief Sundar Pichai has openly confirmed the search engine's existence at the Wired 25 Summit and told the audience that its development is going very well. Related: Google’s CEO Says Tests of Censored Chinese Search Engine Turned out Great

U.S. restricts exports to Chinese semiconductor firm Fujian Jinhua  (October 29): As reported by Reuters, the Trump administration took action to cut off a Chinese state-backed chipmaker from U.S. suppliers amid allegations the firm stole intellectual property from U.S. semiconductor company Micron Technology Inc. Related: Why China Technology-Transfer Threats Matter

Soft Power, Media, and Censorship

China Fines Actress Fan Bingbing, Companies $129 Million in Tax Evasion Case (October 2): China’s decision to slap superstar Fan Bingbing with one of the country’s biggest tax evasion penalties in recent memory sends a reminder that the Communist Party has no plans to loosen its grip on the booming film and television industry. Read More>>

Hong Kong Ousts Western Journalist in Free-Speech Dispute (October 5): Authorities effectively expelled a British journalist from this Chinese territory weeks after he hosted a press-club talk by an activist who had called for Hong Kong’s independence from China, a speech that angered Beijing… Read More>>

China requires blockchain-based information service providers to register users using real names, censor postings and store user data (October 22): Under proposed new rules, companies and entities operating in China that provide blockchain-based information services will have to ask users to register their real names and national identification card numbers, censor content deemed to pose a threat to national security and store user data to allow inspection by authorities… Read More>>

Academia and Law

China Accuses ex-Interpol chief Meng of Bribery and Corruption (October 8): Former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei has been detained in China on bribery and corruption charges, the country's public security ministry said 13 days after he went missing…Read More>>

Chinese Companies Seek to Buy U.S. Campuses (October 15): When a Chinese company seeks to buy an American music college, opponents of the sale raise academic freedom concerns. Over the last several years, Chinese buyers have purchased a number of campuses in the U.S…Read More>>

Uighur Americans Speak against China’s Internment Camps. Their Relatives Disappear (October 18): The Washington area has the largest population of Uighurs in the United States. Chinese officers aim to silence Uighurs abroad by detaining their family members…Read More (subscription)>>

Trade and Economic Relations

Commerce's Ross eyes anti-China 'Poison Pill' for New Trade Deals (October 5): U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross signaled that Washington may flex its muscle with additional trading partners in order to exert pressure on China to open its markets, saying that a “poison pill” provision in the recently completed pact with Canada and Mexico could be replicated…Read More>>

US threatens to block trade talks with China at G20 (October 8):  US officials have warned China that Donald Trump will not engage in trade talks with Xi Jinping at the 2018 G20 summit if Beijing does not produce a detailed list of concessions…Read More (subscription)>>

169 House Members urge Trump administration to Allow Exclusions from the latest China Tariffs (October 16): In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer dated Monday, 169 representatives pushed the White House to let firms request exclusions from the duties…Read More>>

Trump Opens New Front in His Battle With China: International Shipping (October 17): President Trump plans to withdraw from a 144-year-old postal treaty that has allowed Chinese companies to ship small packages to the United States at a steeply discounted rate, undercutting American competitors and flooding the market with cheap consumer goods…Read More (subscription)>>

Treasury Opts Against Labeling China a Currency Manipulator (October 17): The Trump administration is eagerly embracing a trade war with China, but on Wednesday, it opted once again not to label that nation a currency manipulator despite President Trump’s repeated complaint that Beijing is weakening the renminbi… Read More>>

US trade war takes a bite out of Apple as supplier abandons China for Vietnam (October 17): The Chinese company that assembles Apple's AirPods is moving its production from China to Vietnam, as the US-China trade war escalates following US tariffs on some $US250 billion in Chinese goods… Read More>>

If You Read/ Watched Nothing Else…


The fine writing and film/videography on U.S.-China relations published each month far exceeds the assimilating capacity of any institution.  It would be ridiculous to feature “the best” efforts of the past month, but KICUS would like to highlight the following work nonetheless:

Op-Eds and Commentary

Taking sides -- US or China (Wu Junhua, Nikkei Asian Review)

In Search Of Historical Parallels For China's Rise (Alexis Dudden and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, NPR)

Will China Hack the U.S. Midterms? (Adam Segal, the New York Times)


Vice President Mike Pence's Remarks on the Administration's Policy Towards China (Hudson Institute)

Transcript of Ambassador Cui Tiankai's Interview with FOX News Sunday (Embassy of China)

Blog Posts

Reflections on American Grand Strategy in Asia (Ash Carter, Belfer Center)

About the Author

Rui Zhong

Rui Zhong

Program Associate
Read More

Kissinger Institute on China and the United States

The Kissinger Institute works to ensure that China policy serves American long-term interests and is founded in understanding of historical and cultural factors in bilateral relations and in accurate assessment of the aspirations of China’s government and people.  Read more