China is employing a new tactic in attempts to advance its political agenda in the Asia-Pacific and beyond. From the millions-strong anti-communist protests in Hong Kong to the mounting trade tensions with the US, a military standoff with Taiwan and ongoing disputes in the South China Sea, China appears to be taking its time and refraining from any decisive actions.
International security experts say Beijing is planning to wait in hopes the resistance to its policies fades over time.
But there’s a risk to this tactic, which may mean the actual policy is very different from what the public is seeing. Unlike other countries like the United States, China doesn’t telegraph to the world their intentions on Twitter. If their hope is that President Trump loses his reelection bid, it’s unlikely they’re going to sit around and hope it happens. As a colleague noted yesterday, they’re likely already engaged in election hacking that would make Russia seem like amateurs.
The same holds true for their interactions with Hong Kong and Taiwan. On the surface, it appears they’re stepping back and letting things play out, but behind the scenes they’re likely engaged in covert activities to harm protesters and subvert detractors.
Whatever China’s plans are for solving its various problems, one thing is certain. Their solutions will run contrary to America’s goals in the region and across the world. The two world superpowers are as opposed as any two nations in history.
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