China's Strategy toward the U.S.

Toshiya Tsugami

1 Factors Influencing China's Diplomacy with the U.S.

1.1 Introduction - Another "Actor" in Chinese Politics: "The Public Sentiment Inside the Regime"

Recent media articles in Japan make it seem like President Xi Jinping decides every policy in China. This is an overly simplified view. Regarding diplomacy, nowadays, Chinese diplomats are famous for their harsh "wolf warrior" remarks. As the Communist Party of China (hereafter referred to as "CPC" in this article) has tightened its guidance and control over the Foreign Ministry through personnel changes, it has become more prominent. It is generally viewed that diplomats have come to make such remarks in response to the wishes of the CPC, especially its head, President Xi Jinping.

At times, however, remarks raise questions about whether they align with President Xi's intentions. One example is the April 2023 televised remark by Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye that " These ex-Soviet Union countries (such as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) do not have effective status under international law because there is no international accord to concretize their status as a sovereign country," which immediately provoked intense anger throughout Europe.

China, which is in serious confrontation with the United States, is working hard to gain support from other countries. While relations with the countries of the "Global South" are generally not bad, China faces problems with Europe, where relations have deteriorated over Taiwan and security issues over the past few years, and China is eager to recover it. Just two weeks before the ambassador's remarks, President Xi invited French President Macron and E.U. President von der Leyen to Beijing to check the "decoupling" move and urge Europe to remain neutral in the U.S.-China confrontation. It was no wonder that the ambassador, whose completely unnecessary remarks had put a damper on President Xi's efforts, angered President Xi and was dismissed from his post. But in reality, he was not dismissed, nor was he punished or reprimanded in any way.

The key to solving this enigma may lie in Chinese public sentiment. Regarding the war between Ukraine and Russia, the government is appealing for "neutrality" because it does not want it to be seen that "China is leaning toward Russia." Still, the domestic media and social networking sites are clearly "pro-Russia and anti-Western" in their headlines. Ambassador Lu is also quite popular in China, having made a number of "wolf warrior" statements. He probably made his remarks on T.V. with the confidence that he would not be punished even if he displeased President Xi Jinping. The current CPC, which upholds a "democratic centralized system," is indifferent to the rights and opinions of the minority but is very much concerned about the views and feelings of the majority. Public sentiment has that much power even in China.

In this way, even President Xi cannot move everything as he wishes. Although this is a mere hypothesis, it is not the case that "China has only one actor, President Xi," but there is another potential actor, "the public sentiment inside the CPC regime," which is usually elusive, but when this sentiment has a clear direction on an issue, it may have a power that even President Xi cannot easily overturn.

Recently, Chinese intellectuals have voiced their alarm and concerns about the "narrow nationalism" directed toward the West, especially the United States. In the past, the nationalist left was viewed as a formidable force in China, albeit not a majority one. Still, it has been gaining strength since the US-China confrontation and the COVID-19 incident that heightened tension with the West, and now it constitutes the mainstream of "the public sentiment inside the regime." Chinese diplomats have been "cozying up" to this popular sentiment to save their face and to get further promoted. Therefore, we can take their "wolf warrior" comments as a good "window of observation" into the regime's mood.

1.2 China's Changing View of the United States

Relations between the United States and China have been tumultuous over the past several years. The first significant change in relations with the West, especially with the United States, which in the previous century had been the object of fear and admiration, or in other words, of "ostentation," occurred in 2008 when the Lehman Shock hit. China witnessed the mistakes made by the West, which had been the undisputed "teacher" of the economy up to that point, and changed its perspective: "Teachers are no big deal either." Since then, an assertion of "core interests" in diplomacy and "internationalization of the Chinese yuan" in the economy arose with its growing national power.

The next major catalysts of change were two events in the West in 2016. One was the passage of Brexit in the U.K. in a referendum, and the other was the election of Trump as president. Both were criticized worldwide as "own goals" detrimental to their national interests. Having seen these events, China came to believe that "the Western democratic political system is defective, causing fatal errors," its perspective on the West changed to one of looking down on the West. The confident declaration at the party congress in 2017 that "China's solutions will be spread throughout the world" may have been a sign of this change.

Then came the decisive change in 2020 with COVID-19. A strict blockade contained the outbreak in Wuhan for a short period. The Chinese people, basking in a sense of accomplishment, were shocked to hear the finger-pointing of the "China virus" from abroad. They heard with surprise that more than 200,000 people had died in the U.S. in six months and felt that the U.S. was like a developing country. They also thought that Trump was shifting the responsibility for his inaction onto China. In the same year, while China's economy was rapidly recovering, 30% of the U.S. public refused to accept Trump's defeat, claiming that the results of the presidential election had been "stolen." The Chinese people scoffed, "Denying the result of the election that they did, then what is the meaning of such a Western democratic political system?"

Also, during this period, a "rule of thumb" was heard and widely circulated in China that "when a foreign country's GDP reaches 60% of the U.S.'s, the U.S. sees it as a rival that threatens its hegemony and begins to crush it," as seen in the examples of the former Soviet Union and Japan. As the U.S. sanctions against China became more and more severe after then, the idea that "the rule of thumb was correct, and the U.S. intends to crush China" became firmly established.

It is said that both the government and the people in China have now given up hope of "restoring relations with the U.S." and that a mood of "fighting a long-term struggle against the U.S." is emerging with the narrative that "China has been attacked and abused by foreign countries in the past but has always rebounded." 1

This paper offers a hypothesis that China's policy toward the U.S. is now heavily weighted toward the hard-liners in the Party, who are in a "wolf warrior" mood, and that the Xi Jinping administration gets support from the hard-liners if it adopts a hard line toward the U.S. and is subjected to criticism and pressure if it takes an appeasing stance.

1.3 Changing Perceptions of "the Period of Strategic Opportunities."

One keyword that describes China's view of "diplomacy" is "the Period of Strategic Opportunities." It was officially documented at the 16th Party Congress in 2002. It is the view that the world conditions at the time presented "a unique opportunity for China's development that must be grasped and utilized to the fullest extent possible. The "unique development opportunity" refers to the fact that, on the economic front, China had gained institutional guarantees in terms of trade and investment by joining the WTO, and that, on the political front, there was no possibility of a major upheaval like a world war in the foreseeable future. In addition, since the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. has shifted its foreign policy focus to anti-terrorism and sought cooperative relations with China.

Later, however, as China's national power grew and its self-esteem strengthened, its friction with the U.S. increased. As a result, the theory of a "period of strategic opportunity" came to be discussed with the reservation that "on the other hand, there are also risks and challenges." In the years that followed, "risks and challenges" gained more and more weight. And at the 20th Party Congress in 2022, they were given equal importance as "strategic opportunities and risks/challenges coexist."

At the same time, however, "opportunity" was rephrased as "new opportunity." Chinese diplomatic researchers describe this change as a shift from "opportunity as a gift" to "opportunity that must be created and won proactively." 2 Having become a "superpower," China now has the power to adapt and change to its environment.

The "risks/challenges" at the time of the 20th Party Congress were still considered to be controllable. On the economic front, the report predicts that no matter how much the West advocates "decoupling (from China,)" it cannot afford to move away from China in terms of supply and demand (market). On the political front, despite the increased tension in U.S.-China relations, the likelihood of a major military conflict is extremely low, as evidenced by President Biden's statement that "there should be 'guardrails' to prevent unforeseen events from occurring in U.S.-China relations.

As described above, the official document of the October 2022 Party Congress still shows confidence and optimism. Under the surface, however, the Party's perception of the situation may have taken a dark turn since then. One reason is that the Chinese economy has been under solid downside pressure since 2021 due to an unprecedented recession in the real estate sector, and the harsh "zero-corona" measures led to a dismal 0.4% GDP growth rate (y/y) in the second quarter of the same year. In addition, in October, the U.S. issued a regulatory measure of unprecedented severity stating that it would not hand over advanced semiconductors to China, which began to have an enormous impact on China's semiconductor industry. Although the Party has not announced any official change in its position on the "strategic opportunity period" since the Party Congress, the Xi Jinping administration's perception of the situation may have become even more critical under these changes 3 .

1.4 Preparing for a long endurance battle?

In the second quarter of 2023, the Chinese economy showed signs of stalling, spreading pessimism among public and private enterprises. However, since the economic stimulus package announced on July 24 was small and did not involve the expected sizable fiscal stimulus, experts are increasingly concerned that the economy will further cool down toward the end of the year if nothing is done.

At the party congress the year before, in which it elected President Xi for the third term, he pledged to "raise GDP per capita to the level of a 'moderately developed country' by 2035. To achieve this goal, the country must maintain an average growth rate of around 4.5% for the next dozen years. However, fulfilling this pledge can quickly become complicated if the economy cools significantly in 2023. Nevertheless, why has the administration yet to develop a significant economic stimulus package?

Worrisome media commentaries have recently appeared on this question. According to them, the Xi Jinping administration;

1 "(desires to) shift the country's priorities away from rapid growth at all costs toward steps that help gird China for possible future conflict with a more hostile world" (2023-07-14 Wall Street Journal) 4

2 "pursues global leadership in advanced technology and other strategic areas of the economy, such as a transition to green energy (and or "tech self-sufficiency")" (2023-7-17 Financial Times) 5

3 "believes that the (post-WWII) global architecture is becoming irrelevant and that attempts to preserve it are futile. Instead of seeking to save the system, Beijing is preparing for its failure "(2023-6-20 Foreign Affairs) 6

4 Aims for Multi-polarization and Building a Non-U.S. Economic Bloc" (Xi Jinping's Philosophy of Action, Endo Homare) 7

Even if national security is given higher priority, the Xi Jinping administration will be held accountable if it fails to achieve the economic growth pledged at the party congress, and it will probably respond by saying, "Now is a time of national crisis, so we will ask the people to bear economic difficulty." If this happens, the pessimistic mood in the general public and private enterprises will become even stronger. In contrast, "the public sentiment inside the regime" will probably become even more hostile toward the U.S., and the "wolf warrior" mood will intensify.

Moreover, if China were to assume that the international order is collapsing and aims for regime survival, the means would be to build a "sphere of influence" in which China can feel secure in both economic and political terms and to "exercise 'superpower' that can change the environment" toward this end.

2 China's Economic Security Policy

2.1 Early Policy: "Mirror Attack" on the U.S.

Successive Chinese administrations, including the Xi Jinping administration, have tried to ensure China's economic security and have implemented various policies in areas such as energy, food, and resources. However, as the growing feud between the U.S. and China has raised concerns among Western countries about economic security, and as economic measures targeting China have been introduced, China's awareness of its economic security has also strengthened.

As shown in the table below, China's first response to the number of sanctions imposed by the U.S. was to launch a "mirror attack"-style countermeasure, mimicking the "Unreliable Entity List System" enacted in September 2020, which became the pioneering one. In response to the U.S. "High-Tech Cold War" policy, the Chinese government rapidly began enacting economic and security-related laws and regulations.

A series of Chinese laws and regulations related to economic security were initially passive in opposition to the U.S.'s but have since "evolved," on one hand by following the U.S. legal system and on the other hand by actively pursuing China's economic security.

In particular, the Export Control Law that went into effect in December 2020 made "deemed exports" and "re-exports" of all goods, technologies, and services subject to regulation. As a result, domestic transactions that provide goods, technology, or services to foreign-funded companies or their employees in China are also regulated as "deemed exports," focusing on nationality. Third-country transaction in products and services containing Chinese parts and technology is also considered "re-export" and subject to the same extraterritorial application, the approach of which was to imitate the U.S. If these regulations are implemented as written, there will be a significant impact on trade and the activities of foreign-invested companies in China. However, while the legislation is in place, the Chinese government has been cautious about the actual implementation and enforcement at an early stage.

The enforcement began in 2023 (see table below). Why was the operational policy changed? The author can point to the following three points.

First, on October 7, 2022, the United States announced sanctions that would profoundly impact China's semiconductor industry. These measures are far more severe than the previous sanctions against China. And the Chinese government must have felt that their semiconductor industry was being "strangled" by the sanctions.

Second, there may be growing pressure from "the public sentiment inside the regime" that there is no reason to get hit and not fight back. The hard-line statements of former government officials against the U.S. October 7 sanction 8 seem to be a mirror of such a mood.

Third, the author believes the Chinese government has developed a comprehensive view of ensuring economic security, including supply chain policies, which will be discussed in the next section.

2.2 President Xi Jinping's view of the "supply chain."

Before this, in April 2020, President Xi gave a speech to the Party's Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission in preparation for the "14th Five-Year Plan" to be enacted the following year, in which he stated the following regarding supply chains.

To protect industrial safety and national security, focus on establishing supply chains that are independently controllable, safe, and reliable, ensure at least one alternative source for critical products and supply routes, and form necessary industrial backup systems.

In the future, we will strive to rebuild new supply chains and fully expand technological innovation and import substitution. We will increase the dependence of the international supply chain on our country to form a strong countermeasure and deterrent force against artificial supply disruptions by foreign governments.

The 20th Party Congress in October 2022 refrained from being overly direct about the supply chain, but instead noted that the supply chain is positioned as an essential part of "national security," which is the most crucial priority of the Xi Jinping administration. Since then, China's supply chain policy has developed under this philosophy.

2.3 Deepening and Covert Chinese Supply Chain Policy 9

Over the past three years, China's supply chain policy has been taking shape, identifying choke points (China's weak spots) in crucial industries and commodities and promoting the acquisition of technologies aimed at eliminating them in a systematic and comprehensive manner.

It is said that the National Security Commission of the Party determines the basis of policy. The various departments of the State Council, such as the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), and Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), are responsible for the execution of the policy set by the Party. Recently, these offices have begun to issue instructions to Chinese companies not in writing but verbally and covertly, resulting in a significant lack of transparency in the execution of policies.

The " choke points" to be resolved used to be vaguely defined as "semiconductor chips," but after repeated interviews and surveys of related domestic companies, Chinese agencies began to delve deeper and identify which parts and components are the actual "choke points" (in the case of batteries, the "separator").

Aiming to eliminate the weak points by "Indigenization" with emphasis on nationality ("defense")

The typical approach to "indigenization" of identified "choke points" begins with (1) encouraging foreign companies with the relevant technology to establish joint ventures (requiring a majority (51% or more) by Chinese partner from the outset or after establishment) and (2) at the same time demanding that the domestic user industry "increase the ratio of domestic products used (sometimes "don't use foreign products). However, "indigenization" is not completed simply by foreign capital building factories in China. (3) When technology diffuses to Chinese firms through joint ventures, a wave of capital investment that far exceeds the scale of immediate demand (overcapacity phenomenon) usually occurs. As a result, foreign firms become unprofitable and are eliminated, and (iv) this accomplishes supply chain "indigenization."

In other words, China's "indigenization" policy emphasizes "nationality," and foreign-funded companies are not regarded as members of a complete supply chain, even if they have factories in China. This "emphasis on nationality" is a depressing reminder of China's deep-rooted distrust of foreigners, but at the same time, we also need to reflect on whether we, too, are viewing Chinese companies and Chinese scientists with skepticism based on their "nationality."

China also aims at making the world hold the choke points ("offense")

China's supply chain policy aims not only to eliminate China's "choke points." There are signs that China has also begun seeking an "offensive" (offensive) in the international supply chain. In industrial areas where conditions are met, China tries to force foreign countries to hold "choke points" and to rely on Chinese products and technologies by building a dominant position in the international market by developing overseas markets, expanding factories overseas, and seizing claims to overseas raw materials. (This move is reminiscent of President Xi's speech in April 2020 in which he stated that China would "increase the dependence of the international supply chain on our country" (see above speech).

The areas in which China aims to move in this direction include solar panels and E.V.'s. In these areas, China aims to seamlessly control the entire supply chain upstream and downstream, from raw materials (mines) to finished products. For essential commodities (rare-earth and polycrystalline silicon) in which China has an overwhelming market share, China is taking steps to restrict exports of goods and related technology.

On the other hand, it seems that China has given up on acquiring the much-talked-about high-end chip (single-nano-class) technology for the time being and instead aims to foster "legacy"(middle/low-end) chips (including power and gallium semiconductors) that are several generations behind of the state-of-the-art chips and can be produced solely using domestic (Western-free) technology, with large industrial subsidies.

China is the largest market, accounting for 1/3 of the world's semiconductor consumption. 10 In particular, many "legacy" chips are used in automobiles and home appliances, and this is the "volume zone" of the semiconductor market. At present, China's self-sufficiency rate for semiconductors is low at 16.7%, even including those produced by foreign-funded factories in China. 11 But the country is improving its capabilities in "legacy" semiconductors. Suppose the Chinese government instructs its user industries to use domestically produced chips instead of imported or foreign-made chips. In that case, foreign companies, both the chip makers and the user industries, will be significantly affected. Furthermore, if China, after occupying the domestic market with domestically produced chips, begins to penetrate the "volume zone" of the international market with its high-cost performance, the semiconductor industry in the West could be severely affected. Because less than a handful of Western semiconductor companies can survive on high-end chips alone.

2.4 The author's Findings on China's Supply Chain Policy

A strong sense of crisis that "threatens the very existence of the regime"

Two keywords show up frequently in Chinese supply chain policy, namely and " (to strive for self-reliance)." "卡脖子" originally meant "to be strangled," but it has since been translated to mean "to be hit on the choke point. The blocking of access to high-end chips by the U.S. is a typical example of "卡脖子." What can be seen from "卡脖子" is a strong sense of crisis that "if we do not resist, our regime will be strangled." Japan, too, strongly reacted to China's restrictions on rare earth exports in 2010. Having faced the U.S. sanctions after another, the sense of crisis China is experiencing may far exceed that of Japan at that time.

The phrase " to strive for self-reliance " is almost synonymous with Mao Zedong-era ‘s "自力更生(self-reliance)," which was advocated by Mao Zedong when the former Soviet Union cut off aid to China, and relations between the two countries deteriorated dramatically in the 1950s. This phrase is imbued with the memory of China's past, in which China has been buried and invaded by the imperial powers since the 19th century, and with pride that China has always been able to bounce back.

Asymmetry between the U.S. and China Part 1 - Asymmetry of Motives and Means

The U.S. has taken a hard-line approach to stop the supply of high-end chips to China because it believes that high-end chips and A.I. are directly related to the military or in the narrow sense of "national security." The reason for the narrowing of the range of chips to be restricted ("small yard high fence") may be because "legacy" semiconductors have little impact on the military.

In this way, the U.S. has invoked the chip restrictions as a "narrowly-defined security" measure, but China has taken this measure with a strong sense of crisis, as if the "very existence of the regime" were at stake. As a result, China is now launching a broad-based counterattack that is not limited to "narrowly defined security," here we can see a significant "asymmetry of motivation" between the two countries.

The reason why China is not stopping at eliminating its choke points but is trying to hit back at other country's choke points is that it believes that a " nonaggressive defense" is insufficient against a U.S. attack and that it can only stop an attack when it can hit back at the enemy's choke points.

Asymmetry between the U.S. and China Part 2 - "Asymmetry in Policy Measures"

Although "industrial policies" that heavily subsidize vital industries are now flourishing in Western countries, there is still a significant difference between China's "industrial policies" and Western countries. In the West, the final decision is based on the company's profitability, while China can ignore profitability.

In the West, the rush in the building of factories in the advanced chip industry occurs for now. Experts are concerned that this will result in an oversupply that will disrupt the profits of semiconductor companies and prevent the "Moore's Law (cycle)" that has been in place until now from working (turning). 12 Western countries, which provide billions of dollars in subsidies for factory construction, will not be able to provide tens of billions of dollars in subsidies to keep the Moore's cycle working. The Chinese semiconductor industry is being hit hard by new U.S. regulations in October 2022, and the technological gap with the West may widen. Still, the Chinese government will be willing to subsidize even unprofitable companies to ensure self-sufficiency in "legacy" semiconductors. Herein lies another asymmetry between the two sides.

3 Where the World Economy is Headed

3.1 The "Chinese Counterattack" has come

The rapid growth of Chinese-made EVs has recently brought about several significant changes in the domestic and international automobile markets. One is the dramatic increase in China's automobile exports (see table on the right; exports are up almost 100% year-on-year this year, may exceed 4 million units per year, and are on track to overtake Japan as the world's largest exporter this year).

The other is that while new energy vehicles represented by BYD are making rapid progress in China, sales of cars made by foreign automakers are decreasing. In June, the market shares (YoY) of German automakers went from 22.7% to 21.1%, Japan's went from 21.5% to 17.8%, and U.S. automakers from 10.1% to 9.2% (according to data from the Passenger Car Market Information Association). In particular, sales of Japanese-affiliated automakers in the January-May period showed a slight increase of 0.1% for Toyota, a sharp decline of 23.5% for Nissan, and a sharp decrease of 22.6% for Honda.

Chinese E.V.'s not only demonstrated a high level of perfection at the Shanghai Motor Show in April 2023 but are also seizing the world's most pressing supply chain choke points, such as batteries, high-performance magnets, and rare earths, and are likely to make rapid progress across the globe in the future.

However, automobiles are a "very political product," as the fierce trade disputes of decades past have shown. France quickly demanded dumping measures in response to the surge in Chinese E.V. imports. Chris Miller, author of the popular book "Chip War," cites the possibility of heightened security concerns over the data collection of connected cars in his article posted to the F.T. and goes on to offer the outlook that protectionist trade will spread to the auto industry, and in turn, China will prevent selling cars with foreign-made chips in the Chinese market 13 .

Western countries can protect their markets by adopting measures to keep Chinese cars out. Still, there is an intense fear that China will dominate the "Global South" market. The impact on the Japanese and European auto industries, which are highly dependent on exports, will be enormous.

Western automakers, having learned from the supply disruption brought about by 2022 "Zero-Colona" measures, have also begun "siloing (intra-decoupling inside a corporate group)," using Chinese-made parts for cars sold in China but not using them for cars sold outside China. If both the West and China emphasize economic security, further decoupling will likely occur at the supply chain level.

China has already taken over the critical mass of solar panels, from raw materials to finished products. If Chinese chips can attack at lower prices through overcapacity tactics in the "legacy" semiconductor industry, the entire ecosystem of the global semiconductor industry will be severely affected.

At the Hiroshima Summit in May 2023, the G7 adopted a "de-Risking, not decoupling" stance. This can be taken as a call to continue to pursue mutually beneficial economic development with China in areas that do not lead to an increase in economic and military risk (and the most prominent business that Japan, the U.S., and Europe want to maintain in China is automobiles).

China, however, is unlikely to buy this offer. It has become increasingly alarmed with the changing situation over the past few years and is moving to resolve its choke points and, instead, to push back on the choke points in the future so that the West will not be able to hit China again like a high-end chip.

While we cannot discuss this in detail due to the paper's length, the future of the Chinese economy is quite bleak. 14 The bottom line is that China will never surpass the United States in economy. But even such a China has the power to shake up the Western economy, and we may have underestimated it.

What do the Chinese think is the "ideal development" in the future? According to the author's understanding of the thinking patterns of the Chinese people, it would be foolish for the two sides to harm each other seriously. Ideally, China would show the West its power, and the West would realize that there would be no benefit to either side if they proceeded to harm each other further, and a compromise would be reached to stop the current sanctions against China. But will the West, especially the U.S., think as the Chinese expect?

3.2 The Chaotic Future of 21st Century

Over the past few years, the global economic trend has shifted from "a combination of globalization and neoliberalism (small government)" to "a combination of protectionism and big government (increased government intervention). This is the first cyclical shift in 90 years, from the 1930s, when a similar trend occurred.

In particular, the free trade regime with the WTO at its core, has recently been dissolving. Following Trump's series of tariff hikes in violation of WTO concessions, there have been violations of rules and disciplines by major countries one after another, including import and export bans on the grounds of security exceptions and rampant industrial subsidies that discriminate against imported goods, while the WTO's dispute settlement function to remedy disciplinary violations remains broken due to the U.S. sabotage. On the Chinese side, the abovementioned countermeasures are about to be adopted. These whole things make us realize the magnitude of this change in trend's impact on the global economy.

We must avoid the rut of protectionism in the 1930s, which led to a sharp decline in world trade and eventually to a massive catastrophe that took countless lives. Still, if the change in trend is rooted in structural causes, such as the U.S. unipolar hegemony that began in the 1990s and is now starting to recede, it won't be easy to turn the tide.

Free trade may only be maintained with a trusted partner. If there is an overwhelming gap in national power, even if a country is dissatisfied with the other country's bad behavior, it is not necessary to say, "So we stop maintaining international order." However, when national power becomes closer, and especially when the other (country) can no longer be trusted, it isn't easy to maintain free trade.

I suggested the view that "China, anticipating the collapse of the international order, intends to survive by building a "sphere of influence" that will allow it to assert itself both politically and economically. If this is the case, will the world finally be heading toward an era of a "veritable jungle" (the dreaded "G-zero") with no leader?

(Adjunct Researcher, the Japan Institute of International Affairs)

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