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The Month in U.S.-China Relations 中美关系一个月 (June 2016)

June kicked off with the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, a three-day security forum in Singapore where the South China Sea dominated headlines. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned that “China could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation,” while Chinese Admiral Sun Jianguo lamented that “some…are still looking at China with the Cold War mentality and prejudice” and may end up building “a wall in their minds." Washington and Beijing were cordial, however, at the eighth session of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED). This year’s S&ED, the last under the Obama administration, produced scant progress. The two sides touted bilateral cooperation, but increased restrictions on American businesses, NGOs, and media firms in China were stark reminders of the limits of the relationship.

The Month in U.S.-China Relations 中美关系一个月 (June 2016)

June kicked off with the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, a three-day security forum in Singapore where the South China Sea dominated headlines. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned that “China could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation,” while Chinese Admiral Sun Jianguo lamented that “some…are still looking at China with the Cold War mentality and prejudice” and may end up building “a wall in their minds.”

Washington and Beijing were cordial, however, at the eighth session of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED). This year’s S&ED, the last under the Obama administration, produced scant progress. The two sides touted bilateral cooperation, but increased restrictions on American businesses, NGOs, and media firms in China were stark reminders of the limits of the relationship.

Sandy Pho

Program Associate, Kissinger Institute

China as an Emerging Superpower

China's Foreign Minister Scolds Canadian Journalist for 'Irresponsible' Question on Human Rights (June 2): As recounted by The Telegraph, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, publicly rebuked a Canadian journalist on Canadian soil for asking about China’s human rights record. The New York Times (subscription) also reported the story.

Li asks Overseas Chinese to Invest at Home (June 2): Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, speaking at the Eighth World Conference of the Overseas Chinese Friendship Associations, urged overseas Chinese to contribute more to the country’s development…Read More>>

China Said to Seek Economic Summits for Bigger Global Voice (June 2): China is urging global economic organizations, including the IMF and World Bank, to establish an annual meeting that would offer China a stronger voice on the world economic stage …Read More>>

Xi Visit Raises Eastern Europe Investment Hopes (June 15): According to the Financial Times (subscription), Chairman Xi Jinping’s second trip to eastern Europe in four months raised expectations of an investment surge, as Beijing seeks increased geopolitical influence and trade access on the continent. Reuters also reported on this story.

China Ups Ante in East China Sea (June 17): According to Nikkei Asian Review, a Chinese Jiangkai 1-class frigate sailed within 12-nauticle miles of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands on June 9. Related: How to Avoid a China-Japan Conflict at Sea (Chinese perspective).

China wants more cooperation with West in corruption fight (June 27): China needs to "narrow its differences" with Western countries to which corrupt officials have fled and seek their support, as Beijing seeks to address worries about rule of law and transparency in corruption probes… Read More>>

Putin Visit Highlights Mutual Interests (June 28): According to Caixin, China and Russia signed three joint declarations on global affairs and cyber sovereignty issues during a 24-hour whirlwind visit to China by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

China Bars India from Nuclear Suppliers Group (June 28) : Although India’s application enjoyed strong support from the United States and other member nations, China vetoed its inclusion in NSG, which controls the trade and transfer of nuclear technology…Read More>>

China and U.S. Politics

Trump Proposes Putting Major Super PAC Donor 'In Charge of China' (June 17): Donald Trump proposed putting a Republican super PAC supporter "in charge of China" in a Trump administration …Read More>>

What Do Chinese Women Think of Hillary Clinton? (June 17): Hillary Clinton is a household name in China. How do Chinese women view her rise to power? Read More>>

The U.S. Rebalance to Asia

The Choice for Asia in the 21st Century (June 3): In a speech prior to the Shangri-La Dialogue, Senator John McCain said, “China can choose to disrupt the rules-based order. Or it can choose to become a vital partner in maintaining it. I fear the consequences if China chooses the path of disruption.”

Obama Tells Congress to Ratify UN Maritime Rules (June 3): While addressing the U.S. Air Force Academy, President Obama asked Congress to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to strengthen America’s hand in the South China Sea…Read More>>

McCain: U.S.-Taiwan Friendship Remains Strong (June 5): The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain, led a group of U.S. senators to Taiwan to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen. McCain hopes Taiwan will increase its defense budget to a level equal to 3 percent of its GDP…Read More>>

U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue Outcomes of the Strategic Track (June 7): The Eighth Round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue was held from June 6 to 7 in Beijing.  Outcomes and areas for further cooperation can be found here.

United States, South Korea Moving Forward in THAAD Talks (June 7): The United States and South Korea are moving forward in negotiations on the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system in the ROK," the Pentagon said last month…Read More>>

U.S., Japan, and India Kick off 2016 Malabar Exercise (June 12): As reported in The Diplomat (subscription), the United States, India, and Japan kicked off the annual Malabar joint exercises. Related: Three Nations Set Sail for Exercise Malabar 2016.

Australian Support for U.S. Alliance Slips (June 21): As reported in the Financial Times (subscription), public support in Australia for its military alliance with the U.S. has fallen to its lowest point in almost a decade amid concerns over a Trump presidency. The Lowy Interpreter also reported on the story.

Xi urges caution over THAAD deployment in South Korea (June 29): Xi Jinping urged South Korea to pay attention to China's concerns about the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system …Read More>>

Southeast Asia and the South China Sea

As Beijing flexes muscles in South China Sea, Malaysia eyes harder response (June 1): Spurred by the appearance of 100 Chinese fishing vessels in the area, Malaysia may be hardening its previously muted response toward China. One senior minister said Malaysia must begin to stand up against China’s maritime incursions …Read More>>

Maritime Spat Simmers as U.S., China Talk (June 5): According to the Wall Street Journal (subscription), China pushed back strongly against U.S. criticism of its stance on maritime disputes as the two sides prepared for economic and security talks.

ASEAN Retracts South China Sea Criticism (June 14): Southeast Asian countries reversed course on a statement that expressed deep concern over events in the South China Sea after Malaysian officials said that "urgent amendments" needed to be made…Read More>>

Indonesia, Vietnam stress ASEAN's Common Stance on South China Sea (June 16): Indonesia and Vietnam separately said that the retracted ASEAN statement on the South China Sea, (see above), represented a consensus between all ASEAN foreign ministers…Read More>> 

Indonesia Fires at Chinese Boats in Dispute Over Fishing Grounds (June 19): According to TIME, an Indonesian navy vessel fired at Chinese boats fishing illegally near Natuna Island. Related: Indonesia president visits islands on warship, makes point to China.

Cyber, Espionage, and Surveillance

Hearing on Chinese Intelligence Services and Espionage Operations (June 9): The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission hosted a hearing on Chinese intelligence services and espionage operations. Testimony can be downloaded on the USCC website.

U.S. Woman Convicted of Conspiracy to Export Jet Engines to China (June 9): A California woman was convicted by a federal jury in Florida of conspiring to illegally export fighter jet engines, a military drone, and technical data on the weapons to China, …Read More>>

U.S. Sees Progress in Latest Cyber Talks with China (June 14): The United States is pleased to see progress has been made with China on information sharing about cyber threats, a senior U.S. official said during the latest round of cyber talks between the two countries…Read More>>


U.S. to Counter China Uncertainty with Combined Pacific Fleet (June 14): The U.S. Navy will use the combined power of its Pacific Fleet—the 7th Fleet and the 3rd Fleet—to counter rising uncertainty in Asia, a senior naval officer told the Nikkei Asian Review. The announcement came days after a Chinese frigate entered the contiguous zone near the Senkaku Islands.

China Spy Ship Shadows U.S., Japanese, Indian Naval Drill in Western Pacific (June 15): A Chinese observation ship shadowed the U.S. aircraft carrier John C. Stennis in the Western Pacific last month, the carrier's commander said, as it joined warships from Japan and India for drills in the Western Pacific…Read More>>

Navy Sends Growlers to Philippines Amid Continuing Sea Tensions (June 16):

Four Navy E/A-18G Growler aircraft and 120 personnel arrived at Clark Air Base last month to help the Philippines patrol its sea borders …Read More>>

Soft Power

Book on Xi's Prosperous Society Remarks Published (June 5): For all you Xi super fans, a compilation of his remarks on the campaign to achieve a moderately prosperous society by 2020 was released in English last month…Read More>>

Mickey Mouse Mooncakes: How Disney Made Its $5.5 Billion New Shanghai Disneyland Distinctively Chinese (June 16): As reported by the International Business Times, after 20 years of negotiation and five years of construction, the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disneyland park officially opened to on June 16. Related:  How China Won the Keys to Disney’s Magic Kingdom (subscription); China Post Issues Special Stamps about Shanghai Disneyland

WWE Signs First Chinese Wrestler, John Cena Stuns Everyone by Giving Press Conference in Mandarin (June 16): WWE has signed a multi-year distribution deal with Chinese streaming service PPTV. Starting on June 28, fans can watch SmackDown and Monday Night Raw online, in Mandarin. As part of their effort to bring wrestling to China, the WWE signed its first-ever Chinese wrestler, 22-year-old Bin Wang …Read More>>

Minnesota Timberwolves add NBA’s first Chinese minority owner (June 27): Shanghai investor and sports marketer Lizhang Jiang is finalizing a deal to buy 5 percent of the team, which could help raise the Timberwolves’ profile in China… Read More>>

China Bans Lady Gaga After She Meets Dalai Lama (June 28): The diva is popular in China, but sales of her music were banned after she posted a video of her meeting with the Dalai Lama on Facebook…Read More>>

American Fantasy Film May Set a New Model for Major Power Co-Productions (June 20): Warcraft, a CG orc-fest that did poorly in the U.S., scored China’s biggest five-day opening of all time with $156 million in ticket sales, as reported by China Film Insider. China’s Dalian Wanda owns both the film’s producer, Legendary Films, and the AMC theater chain, which was able to secure preferential treatment and enhanced marketing opportunities for the movie. Related: Jackie Chan: Warcraft's success in China scares Americans

Internet, Media, and Technology

How China Supersizes the Web (June 2): This 2016 Internet Trends Report gives a great overview of how China’s internet industry pervades everyday life …Read More>>

China’s Government to Pre-Approve Mobile Games (June 2): The Chinese State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television issued new rules requiring that all mobile games be pre-approved 20 business days before launch…Read More>>

China’s Content Crackdown Forces Western Media Concessions (June 12): Rules barring foreign media companies from operating video-streaming services in China, and from showing content online or via cable as stand-alone brands, have been in place for several years. Recently they have been more strictly enforced…Read More>> (Subscription)

China Investor Launches China-Focused Media Startup (June 13): Tech in Asia interviews U.S.-based SupChina CEO Anla Cheng about the challenge of starting a new China-focused media company. Related: Startup Aims to Bring a Different Perspective to News on China.

China’s Tencent, Lenovo Buy Into U.S. Augmented Reality Startup (June 13): Tencent and Lenovo have joined a $50 million round of funding for Silicon Valley augmented-reality startup Meta …Read More>>

Russia and China Seek Media Control at Home and Abroad (June 14): As reported by the Financial Times (subscription), online “trolls” backed by the Chinese state generate half a billion fake social media posts each year. 

Beijing Says Apple's iPhone 6 Violates Chinese Design Patent (June 17): According to NPR, Beijing's intellectual property agency ruled that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus violate a design patent by one of China's own smartphone-makers. The New York Times (subscription) and Wall Street Journal (subscription) also reported on this story. Related: Apple's Patent Foe in China Is Basically Bankrupt.

China Is Building Its Own Version of Netflix (June 17): Chinese search engine Baidu announced it will invest $305 million in 30 film and television projects and will stream the content on iQIYI…Read More>>

Xu Lin replaces Lu Wei as head of cyberspace authority (June 29): Lu Wei, China’s head of the Office of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs, also known as China’s “internet czar”, has been replaced by former deputy Xu Lin, as reported by Xinhua. Shanghaiist also reported the story and reflected on Lu’s legacy.

Education and Academic Relations

Chinese Students ‘Brainwashed by Western Theories’ (June 1): According to the Financial Times (subscription), Chinese scholars have urged Beijing to reinstate Marxism in economics courses to save students from being “brainwashed by western theories.”  NewsMax Finance also reported the story.

Should I Stay or Should I Go? (June 3): Chinese graduates from American colleges are pondering what to do next: return to China or stay in the U.S. ChinaFile reached out to recent grads to ask how they view their prospects at home and abroad. 

Foreign Students Seen Cheating More Than Domestic Ones (June 5): Public universities in the U.S. recorded 5.1 reports of alleged cheating for every 100 international students, versus one report per 100 domestic students, according to the Wall Street Journal (subscription). Chinese students were singled out by many faculty members interviewed. Related: ACT Cancels Entrance Exam in South Korea, Hong Kong After Test Leak.

New NGO Law’s Impact on Higher Education (June 9): China’s recently released NGO law raises barriers to foreign investment in Chinese higher education, according to this China Briefing piece.

Trade and Economic Relations

China’s Latest Export: Broken Deals (June 1): A string of unfinished overseas acquisition bids highlights contradictions Beijing faces as it seeks global clout for businesses. The opacity of bidders and the unknown rationale for deals are keeping foreign regulators on edge…Read More>> (Subscription)

Chinese Consumers Embrace New Balance’s ‘Made in U.S.A’ Label (June 2): In a twist on global trade, Chinese consumers who love American-made shoes are helping keep New England's last shoe factories afloat. …Read More>>

U.S. Subpoenas China's Huawei in Probe over Exports to Syria, Others (June 2): As reported by the New York Times (subscription) and picked up by Reuters, the U.S. Commerce Department issued a subpoena to Huawei Technologies as part of a probe into the Chinese company’s transactions in Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria.

SEC Charges Couple with Fraud in Chinese Investor Visa Scheme (June 3): According to Reuters, a California couple raised $27 million from at least 50 Chinese investors seeking U.S. immigration visas. Instead of building a cancer treatment center as promised, they misused two-thirds of the money, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said last month.

It's official: GE Appliances Belongs to Haier (June 6): Chinese manufacturer Haier completed its purchase of the appliance division of General Electric…Read More>>

Chinese Pharmaceutical Startup Acquires American Firm to “Go Global” (June 8): A new investment case study by the Paulson Institute told the story of WuXi Pharmatech, which acquired a U.S. medical device firm and then opened R&D operations in multiple states.

XpressWest, Seeking to Build U.S. High-Speed Rail, Ends Deal with China Group (June 9): XpressWest, the private U.S. firm proposing to build a high-speed rail link between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, terminated a joint venture with Chinese companies less than nine months after the deal was announced, citing delays faced by its partner…Read More>>

Return to Prior China Yuan Policy Would Reignite Tension (June 16): U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned China that any return to its policy of keeping the yuan's exchange rate artificially low against the dollar would trigger a new round of tensions …Read More>>

A Chinese Tech Giant Just Sealed a Multimillion Deal to Acquire Yahoo's Land (June 17): LeEco, the Chinese electronics maker, bought 50 acres of land that belonged to Yahoo in Santa Clara, California.  …Read More>>

Chinese Investors Looking to Dethrone Tesla as Electric Car Kingpin (June 18): Tesla, maker of luxury electronic vehicles faces competition from startups backed by Chinese money…Read More>>

Wal-Mart Sells China Website for Stake in (June 21): Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will exchange its main Chinese shopping website for around $1.5 billion worth of shares in, China's second largest e-commerce company, …Read More>>

China Threatens WTO Case over U.S. Steel duties (June 28): China could file suit at the World Trade Organization in order to protect its steel industry, after the United States said some steel imports from China were hitting U.S. producers…Read More>

If You Read/Watched Nothing Else in June…

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 60 days, but KICUS would like to highlight the following work nonetheless:


China Does Not Want Your Rules Based Order (T. Greer, June 4)


China’s Perspective on the U.S.-Vietnam Rapprochement (Yun Sun, CSIS PacNet, June 6)

What China’s Big Nation Complex Means for the Future of Asia (Shannon Hayden, War on the Rocks, June 13)


China’s Response to Terrorism (Murray Scot Tanner and James Bellacqua, The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, June 16)


Is China’s Door Closing? (Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, June 28)


50 Years of Work on U.S.-China Relations (Sinica, Sup China)


David Roy was born and grew up in China. He enjoyed a long career as a professor of East Asian languages and civilization at the University of Chicago and spent 30 years translating a 16th-century Chinese novel. Professor Roy was the elder brother of Kissinger Institute Founding Director Emeritus, Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy.

Thanks for reading and for your continued support of

The Kissinger Institute on China and the United States.

About the Author

Sandy Pho

Senior Associate
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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