tv 19th Chinese Communist Party Conference Policy Preview CSPAN October 10, 2017 12:26pm-2:00pm EDT
thursday night, a discussion on the lead-up and response of the 1957 forced desegregation of little rock central high school. and friday night, from american history tv's oral history series, interviews with prominent photojournalists who documented major events throughout american history. watch american history tv this week in primetime on c-span3. >> the 19th congress of china's communist party begins later this month. earlier this month, the carnegie endowment for international peace hosted a discussion on awhat direction the chinese government is taking its foreign policy. this is about three hours.what government is taking its foreign policy. this is about three hours. >> good morning, everyone. welcome to the carnegie endowment. my name is doug paul. i think i know just about everyone in the room one way or another, so i'll keep the introductions short.
i handle the asian program here. it's my opportunity on behalf of carnegie today to host a pair of panels that include some of the people i admire the most in the field of contemporary china studies. we at carnegie and i think throughout the china watching community have had tremendous admiration for the leadership and the production of the china leadership monitor, which is organized by professor alice miller at the hoover institution of stanford university. they have established a terrific record for hearing the facts as opposed to trends, feelings, moods, and things like that. so whenever you want to touch base with reality, i recommend you go online to the china leadership monitor, and do precisely that. today, we're going to give you a
sampler of their writings in the form of presentations looking ahead at the 19th party congress, which is just a very short time from now. we have the day broken into two panels. the first one will be the people you see here. i'll moderate. michael swaine and alan romberg have been regular contributors to china leadership monitor as well as to many other making contributions in the field. and they will speak for the first period, until 10:45. james mulvaney was here a moment ago, but he's been called away by a family emergency and has had to leave. he will not be presenting this morning. but you can find his writings in the china leadership monitor and get the trend. he can't be with us, but we wish him well and what he's having to manage this morning.
i wanted to mention, as you look around the room, you may see no one here actively working for the brookings institution. that is not a protest. they have all been called off to a mandatory retreat. they would love to be here with us as well. in case you're looking supfor somebody and you don't see them, it's just one of those things that happen in bureaucracies. i would like to get started here on this panel, and the order we have for you, speaking first, michael, and then we go to alan. >> thanks very much, doug. really a pleasure to be part of this effort. i have been writing for the china leadership monitor now for, i don't know, how long? quite a few years. how many? 152 years. sometimes it seems like that. no. and yes, it's a tough job. you know, it's a very demanding schedule. the deadlines are really harsh. and but it's been a pleasure
writing. and my topic has been foreign policy, and i have usually focused on trying to sort of dig deep in chinese views in the open media on foreign policy issues, distinguishing between authoritative and nonauthoritative sources because so often in narratives and discussions about chinese policies, observers completely ignore distinctions between what the government actually says in an authoritative way and what all manner of other chinese say. sort of jumbling it all together as if they represent chinese views. they do in some sense, but they certainly don't in the sense that they represent authoritative views. what i would like to do today is speak a little bit about what i think will be the foreign policy themes, continuities and changes and policy initiatives in the area of foreign policy that we might see in the party congress
coming up later this month. party congresses are usually not occasions for getting into the details of foreign policy. most people will focus on them and we'll see that today, for implications for leadership changes and broad national policy direction. but they do say some things about foreign policy. some very important things. so what i have done is i have taken a look at the 17th and 18th party congress statements and developed since the last, the 18th party congress in 2012, so i'll make some comments on the three general areas that the party congresses usually cover in terms of foreign policy. the first is general statements on the global environment that have an impact on foreign policy. these are sort programmatic statements about the nature of the external environment in the world and obviously its implications for china. here, i think the party congress will continue to stress the
development toward a multi-polar world. a generally stable international environment, and the concept of peace and development as what's called the underlying trend of the times. i think we'll see that's been highlighted in past party congress statements. i think we'll see this again or something similar to it, but this statement has always been paired with more negative concerns about the international environment. and those in the past have involved what's been called hedgemannism, which is code word primary for the united states, and power politics, local politics, hot spot issues that keep emerging. imbalances in the world economy, which may be worsening, and then of course, traditional and nontraditional security threats. i think you'll see reference to these kinds of factors as well in the party congress statement. now, there's also been a reference in the past, in the 18th party congress, to
something called neointerventionism. that, of course, has been dependency for states to intervene in the internal affairs of other states without having the inpenture of the united nations. this was prompted or highlighted for the first time in the 18th party congress, and it came about largely as a result of events in libya and syria at the time with intervention there by outside powers. now, the concept intervention might not be as prominent in this party congress because you haven't had as many new examples of this that have occurred since the last party congress unless you talk about the possibility and the fear of a u.s.-led military intervention in north korea. i doubt that that would be likely to be mentioned or cause the mention of new interventionism, but because that's usually occurred after a development, but it's possible, i suppose.
now, in addition to these concerns that we've seen before, both positive and negative, i think the party congress will probably also highlight more recent potential threats to what it sees as peace and growing stability, growing growth, growth in the international system. and that will be this idea of growing imbalances in economic development and more importantly, what is seen as a troubling backlash against greater global economic integration and the forces of globalization. this is a theme that has been struck by chinese leaders in recent year or so that has become increasingly prominent. and beijing in this respect will likely present itself as a strong opponent of a trend towards protectionism and a proponent of greater economic integration and free trade. which have become, as i say, theme, particularly since the
election of donald trump and the rise of similar what you might call me-first nationalism or nationalist movements in europe. and just to sort of high lielli this, just last month, the foreign minister said we live in a world that is witnessing profound changes in the international landscape and change of power. prominent threats, insufficient driving force for global growth, and a growing backlash against globalization. there are unprecedented challenges from mankind's pursuit of lasting peace and sustainable development. i wouldn't be surprised if some variation of this kind of statement appears in the party congress statement. now, a second area getting more to the issue of chinese policies, in other words, how does china deal with this environment. i think you will see, again, in the party congress, a central focus in all realms on pursuing, still pursuing following through
the double centenary objectives for china, which is, as we probably all know in this room, a moderately prosperous society by the year 2021. this was a project that was ratified in the report to the 16th party congress in 2002, reaffirmed in the report to the 17th party congress in 2007. and reaffirmed yet again in 2012. the second is the construction of a strong democratic, civilized, harmonious and modern society by 2029. and so these two things have continued to be basic statements about chinese objectives, but i think these will be, as they have been in recent years, couched within the context of the china dream, which is xi jinping's concept of the rejuvenization of china. that will have a prominent place, i would imagine, in the
party congress's statement. now, in terms of general characterization of china's specific foreign policies in the 19th party congress, you'll have the usual bromides we have heard over and over again in party congresses. holding high the banner of peace, development, cooperation, mutual benefit. independent foreign policy of peace. following a win/win strategy for countries opening up sustainable balanced growth, et cetera, et cetera. you'll also hear, i think, a repetition for the desire for new type of international relations and new type of power relations. some have thought recently that these two slogans, particularly the new type of great power relations have been deemphasized somewhat in chinese leaders' statements. and i doubt, however, they will be lacking from the party congress statements, because i think they still are a major element of china's view towards dealing with the united states and dealing with developing
countries, particular neighboring developing countries. and i also think that perhaps most notably, the 19th party congress will repeat the past 17th and especially 18th party congress statements of china's need to, quote, fully up hold china's territorial sovereignty, maritime rights, and interest in national unity. this, of course, refers to its disputes with its neighbors around its periphery, particularly in the maritime area, that have become more direct in recent years. and again, from a recent speech, in this case by state counsel in july on this issue, where he stated that china must unequivocally make clear its position on taiwan, the south china sea, and other issues concerning china's major core interests. quote, we have drawn a clear line of what is acceptable and acted forcefully to defend our core interests as well as our
legitimate right, unquote. so the emphasis on this issue remains. and i think very much it will be reflected in the party congress statement. it reflects the larger emphasis by the xi jinping regime, but this north, the defense of stability and the advancement of peace and stability alongside the protection of china's rights and interests, using china's greater influence in the international system to advance those interests. the same time, i think there will be efforts to emphasize multilateral diplomacy as has occurred in the recent party congress and the idea of reforming global governance, which has also been a theme in past party congress meetings. now, in the defense and security realms in particular, i think you'll probably hear the phrase which was, again, which was made actually after the 18th party congress on the search for a common comprehensive cooperative
and sustainable security. in this regard, you might hear for the first time the actual placement of the party congress statements of the three principles to dealing with hot spot issues. these were announced, mentioned in 2015, and they include adherence to noninterconvenience in internal affairs and opposition against the practice of imposing solutions on others. big theme in chinese foreign policy. upholding a fairness and justice in opposition of the pursuit of one's own interests, which is kind of a dig, it seems to me, at the trump administration. even though it pre-dates that administration. and adherence to political settlement and opposition to the use of force. now, i think regarding military policies in particular, the 19 party congress will probably reiterate the 18th party congress' rather unprecedented statement about the function of
china's military and military modernization. which said a strong national defense and powerful armed forces are needed that are commensurate with china's international standing and meets the needs of its security and developing interests and that the chinese military needs to take a more active role in international political and security fields. this idea of china's greater military strength and its more activist stance overseas is a theme that will continue into this party congress, and there also will probably be a repetition of the emphasis on both maritime space and cyberspace security, which has also occurred in the past party congress. the reference to cyberspace was unprecedented in the 18th party congress work report and also that of space in the context of security. and then of course, i think there will be a repetition of the concept, the objective that the chinese should continue to build itself into a maritime
power. finally, although no details are usually provided in party congress statements, it might offer some individual references to specific policy initiatives associated with these objectives. one belt, one road, for think for sure will appear. the improving relationship with periphery countries, which was a major theme since the convening of the 18th party congress, could very well appear again. increasing -- china's increasing involvement in a range of multilateral events including ones china will organize and host, promote. xi jinping's views, especially global views. you could get a reference there. the new relations in relation to the united states. an interesting question is whether or not it will mention china/russian relations and the improvement in china/russian relations and the nuclear crisis
in particular. i'm not sure about either of those. china/russians relations have barely been mentioned in the past. they might be mentioned. the nuclear crisis in particular, i'm somewhat doubtful unless it's placed in the context of these hot spot issue statements that i said before. in any case, what i see are probably a lot of continuities with some greater emphasis on globalization, et cetera, and free trade, open markets, nonprotectionism. but the real question i think in foreign and defense policy is not so much what themes and policies will be struck at the 19th party congress and the following national peoples congress in the spring of 2018, but whether a stronger, more dominant xi jinping will emerge from the party congress to directly turn to a more assertive, even perhaps confrontational china, an on
issues such as maritime disputes, activities in asia, taiwan, and possibly even north korea. now, i don't subscribe to the view that xi jinping is primary a communist ought ocrat most concerned with strengthening ccp controls and pushing the u.s. out of asia, as some observers think. yes, he wants china to be more effectively using its growing presence and influence internationally to promote its national development and its security interests, as i have said. but xi jinping and the chinese leadership, in my view, continue to recognize the imperative for china to maintain relatively positive, cooperative relations with the u.s. and the west. like it or not, china is integrating into the global economy and the global regimes and highly averse to major shifts in the regional or global order that could threaten its continued stability and prosperity such as a confrontation with the u.s.
xi jinping and the chinese leadership also know they have yet to make a stable transition to a new normal of lower but highly beneficial growth rates and a more equitable and just chinese society with higher living standards and low er levels of corruption and pollution. i tend to agree with those who argue in order to obtain these goals, china must carry through major structural reforms that will demand a continued focus on domestic environment for years to come. it would be exceedingly foolish in my view for china under xi jinping to transition into a highly aggressional, confrontational foreign policy posture after the 19th party congress. now, this doesn't preclude the possibility of greater tension with the u.s., its allies, and others asian states in particular over sovereignty and other issues. in fact, over time, i think this is probably likely. as i have argued elsewhere.
this will require, in my view, new approaches to regional security and more extensive cbms than we have yet seen, hopefully leading to a stable balance of power eventually across the region. u.s. policy needs a strategy to deal with this changing situation, and we haven't seen one yet. i hope one emerges in the not too distant future, and i'll stop there. thank you very much. >> thank you, michael. i guess we have an early test of propositions you enumerating at the end of your presentation when president trump and his entourage arrive in beijing, shortly after the party congress. there's a lot of buzz around about whether it was going to be a more aggressive or less aggressive phase of the communist party under xi jinping's presumably fortified leadership going forward. this audience will have lots of good questions and challenges shortly. but first -- next, we're going
to turn to alan romberg. alan has written the bible on contemporary u.s./taiwan relations. a chapter, what happens in taiwan and it's relations with the u.s. and others as well. i recommend -- has it been rereleased yet? not yet. also, on the brink of the precipice, which is a really superb look and granular detail at what has been going on in taiwan's relations with the west, across the strait, and at home. and today, it's our privilege and honor to have alan here to tell us some more. >> thanks very much, doug. it is my privilege and honor to be here. i thank that as michael indicated, under alice miller's leadership, i think we have been able to do some useful things
through the china leadership monitor, and really, it is through my contributions there that i have been updating things as i see them. as far as the party congress is concerned, despite all of the issues which michael very astutely identified, the congress is going to be overwhelmingly, in my view, focused on domestic issues. both political as well as economic. and taiwan has traditionally been limited in the congress itself to the half of a paragraph. the other half being hong kong and macao. and i would be surprised if there were any greater formal attention. there's also, there are briefings that go along and taiwan gets addressed in those briefings, press briefings. but i do not see basically a
sharp departure from that practice. my own view is that basically, in terms of cross strait relations, we have what is sort of a classic irresistible force and immovable object problem in that beijing has chosen, and i'm not entirely sure why, but chosen to focus on getting taiwan to endorse one china. be it under the 1992 consensus or in some other way, and i think that we know from several years of conversation with prc leaders that although they stress the 1992 consensus, it isn't that particular formulation which is so critical. what is so critical is what they call the core connotation, which is that there is one china, which taiwan and the mainland
both belong. and they have not done that. what she has done, in my view, is conducted her policy in a way which in fact is my view is conducted her policy which in fact is not inconsistent with what traditionally has been viewed as a one china approach. she's not provoked. she -- this goes -- if you go back and look at previous statements it was quite a different story. basically, since she became a candidate for president in 2015, a lot of the rhetoric that surrounded her and the dbp has fallen away. i don't think the principiple concern had changed. that is, first of all, i think that despite the polls, which show there is limited support for taiwan independence based on the polls that i consider the most reliable, not more than 23, 24% at any time, either to go to
independence now or after a considerable period of maintaining the status quo. nonetheless, my view is that if the leaders woke up tomorrow morning and said, want to have independence, be my guest, that independence would happen very quickly. now, there would not be a uniform view this on the island, but that's going to happen. i think people in taiwan know this isn't going to happen, and that's why you see the polls show support for maintaining the status quo so high. however, beijing looks at this with great suspicion. and they look at, t tsai with gt suspicion sfigs and they feel her leadership really points not at a declaration of independence, they don't fear that.
though many may be concerned with the appointments of certain justices she wants to go through a jury independence through the back door. but mainly it is a cultural independence that they are concerned about. that i think has been the focus of a lot of their policies in cutting off contact at authoritative levels, at least the highest aztecs of authoritative level. there still is a lot of communication at working levels. but coming out of this congress, although some point to a killing sanity tightening up or use or threat to use force, i don't think so. i think there will be a tightening up, unless there is some movement e. that we don't see at the moment, particularly starting in teipei in back channel negotiations which would lead to some kind of a deal, i don't see a likelihood that this congress is going to produce a
major change in the direction of policy. in taiwan, if you go back a year or more there was a hope actually that after the 19th party congress xi jinping would be in a position to be somewhat more flexible not on the principle of one china but on ways of addressing this stalema stalemate, perhaps in the way in thai as a trade negotiationor you get stuck on a topic and you find way around it. my sense is -- and you may have different information, i would be interested -- that they are much more concerned now, that that is not likely to happen. that the statements coming out of beijing and the crackdown on communication does not suggest there is going to be an easing after the congress.
xi jinping's attitude, i think, has been not too push for unification in a knowable time frame. although michael raises the point of the second 100 years, that is the 2049 target, and a country that is essentially unified with territorial sovereignty and so on and so forth. under that heading, one could say that is a target date. and i think a number of people on the mainland in fact look at it that way. whetherx xi thinks he can achieve that by then, i don't know. but unless there is a real change in the way the system works -- we will hear that in our second panel, i don't think xi jinping is going to go to go to be running things in 2049. but i think he has put a great deal of emphasis on one china and trying to get adherence and
acceptance of one china in whatever way. again, i don't think it has to be at all in the form of the 1992 consensus, but it has to be something that scratches that itch. and i don't see taiwan willing to do it in a direct fashion. whether there are indirect ways of doing it is another question. but xi jinping is not going in my view, despite their suspicions of thai and ongoing activities as far as they are concerned to undermine covert cultural independence. i don't see him wanting to precipitate a crisis. i could say three reasons. i'm sure you can come up with a lot more. one is the effects in taiwan itself. why make the problem harder? already you know there is a lot of backlash to the kinds of punishments if you will, beijing would dismiss that term but i think it is a fair term, punishments imposed on taiwan
because of the tsai administration's unwillingness to promote the common idea of one china. second, i think that focusing on taiwan in some major fashion would distract the leadership from issues which are clearly more urgent and in the current scheme of things, more important. and why do they need that? i think they view taiwan in a very different context from foreign policy issues. obviously, it is, quote, a domestic issue. and so from beijing's point of view they don't have the same necessity of imposing a discipline on their relationship as they do, perhaps, in some of their foreign policy in their neighborhood. and so as long as they don't
lose ground, as long as there is not a reversal of the current situation, i think they feel they have time. maybe it's becoming more urgent -- i'll discuss that in minute. but it's not something that is worth distracting them from more urgent, more pressing, more important issues. and finally, the relationship with the u.s. as i explore in the book that doug kindly mentioned, taiwan was the obstacle to normalization of u.s. prc relations for years. and it was only through acceptance of various and sundry terms which also have their nuances to them that we were able to move ahead. and yet we continue to hear from our prc friends that taiwan remains the most sensitive and most important issue in u.s./prc relations.
that doesn't mean today it heads the agenda, but it does mean if something goes wrong in taiwan and taiwan relations, that that, indeed, could set u.s./prc relations on a very negative track. i would i would argue and have argued for years, i think taiwan is probably the only issue that at the end of the day has the potential to have the u.s. and the prc come into actual conflict. we can have problems in korea, the south china sea. whatever. but actual conflict bilateral i think over taiwan is still a possibility. in the congress documents, they probably were in the surrounding briefings, they will talk about family as the now premier, i'll mention him in a bit. further it said okay if they are my family at best they are a distant cousin.
taiwan doesn't generally buy into this notion. if there were real movement toward day jury taiwan independence, that would be a different story. but there's not. and as i say, i'm quite convinced the prc doesn't believe there will be. i don't think they are worried about that. i do think that maintaining a military capability to deal with taiwan independence is very important from their perspective to make sure that remains the case. we don't like the fact that they have their military importantly focused on a taiwan contingency but it serves a useful purpose from their point of view. and so i think that as long as that is the case that won't really change much. some people suggest that xi jinping could become vulnerable over taiwan if he doesn't advance something. and that he also wants a legacy on taiwan. again, my point of view is that
at least at this point, unless they lost taiwan, go back to the u.s., he is not so vulnerable, as long as he maintains principle, as long as he doesn't accept the notion that taiwan and the mainland are separate and insists that indeed they are part of one and the same state, whether teipei accepts it or not. so their focus right now i think will be on 2020 and the elections in taiwan. that involves, depending to a big extent on the guamidan to come back check. that's not the most certain read i have to lean on at this point. we'll see how they handle it. within taiwan i have three quick points. tsai reiterated the need for a new model. she hasn't said what it is,
although she talks about greater reciprocity and working together with the mainland with regional issues and so on. i have to say although i think it is a reasonable approach i don't think it's going to work. from beijing's point of view why would they accept joint responsibility for something they have tagged taiwan with responsibility for alone? they have got to first accept one china, and then perhaps they can do a lot of things together. anyw anyway, in that respect i don't see it working. second there is what i call the former mayor of tie unanimous factor, who is well-known for his support for taiwan independence, famously while in the main lds, stated haddis support for taiwan independence, is now premier. since he wam premier, he was asked, do you support taiwan independence? and he basically said yeah. then there was quite a back and forth with the press w the legislature and so on.
at the end of the day, the point is the premier doesn't have responsibility for cross-strait policy. the president does. so he said i'm going to to follow policy and stop asking me about my personal views. but he also after that made a statement that want will not declare independence. i'm puzzled, i must confess, why if he is trying to get away from the issue, he is the one talking about what want is going to do regarding independence. maybe some of you can shed some light on that. by the way, one of the things he said is that taiwan is a sovereign, independent country. that's not mantra. the mantra is that the republic of china is a sovereign independent country. the dpp, t sai's party says in
conjunction with a resolution of 199 says that taiwan is known as a republic of china, et cetera, et cetera. that was not to provoke beijing. so that was another element in the stir that he caused by his statements. i just say finally on taiwan is that the reality that i don't think anybody can be elected in taiwan who advocates independence. the people did not elect tsai to move toward independence. she frequently says she is committed to maintaining the status quo. she won't endorse beijing's definition of the status quo but i believe her pollees in fact generally speaking have been consistent with that. there are other issues, textbook issue, separating chinese history from taiwan history.
things like that. but i don't think the people of taiwan are willing to bring down a disaster on their own heads. as many of you who suffered through some of my articles on leadership model will know i keep raising the issue of independence rather than one chinese. perhaps she could say taiwan independence is not on her agenda. that's a statement of fact from my point of view. she hasn't said that. when i raise something like that with mainland colleagues i say yeah that would be a good thing but she doesn't do it. there is the whole issue of the taiwan independence clause in the party charter which is more complicated. the u.s. role is important. we can't forget that. we are not just a bystander in this relationship. our goal is clear and consistent, that is we want peace and stability to be maintained. and we want the two sides to find a way forward to engage in dialogue to consolidate a peaceful and stable basis for
their relationship that can benefit their own people but also the region. and so the u.s. continues to say it urges both sides to be creative and flexible. it has commended tsai indeed for what she has done and what she hasn't done in terms of provocation. but i think the hope is that both sides will continue to work on finding approaches that will in fact work better. some people say, well, u.s. is going to throw taiwan under the bus eventually. and some people say well, we should. i don't think so in either case. if anything, i think the u.s./taiwan relations are becoming closer and the mainland notes this and worries about it. they continue to fret about arms sales not because necessarily of the capability of what we sell, although there is that to some extent. but also, it represents and school dates a representation of closer security relationship.
and that is not the direction that beijing would like to see things go. . as i say, i think a factor of beijing's not pushing to a crisis, a factor is the u.s. relationship in terms of what might happen in a crisis over taiwan and the impact of it and an impact over over allprc relations. as i was walking across a newsstand i recognized a china daily headline, which says major consensus, u.s./china. that's the way i think beijing is trying to structure president trump's trip and the approach to the relationship, and they don't want to upset that. we'll see what the taiwan paragraph looks like in the work report, we'll see what steps are taken afterwards but as i say i think the likelihood is for
anything that happens to be incremental. i think it will. i think a year from now if we meet we will find that taiwan's 20 diplomatic partners are not 20 anymore. how many beijing will try to take away, we'll see. i don't think they will do it wholesale. that would create a firestorm on taiwan that they don't need but they want to demonstrate that they have got the power to do that and to block taiwan also in economic space. one final point, for me an interesting factor will be who the people who are running taiwan policy. to me, people and interests are what determine a nation's policy. while xi jinping is indeed a la george w. bush the decider, i think it matters what advice he gets. so we'll see. i don't know what difference the differences will make. but i would think there will be some differences. and there will be other players like the pla and so on. thank you.
>> well thank you very much, allan, for that comprehensive forecast for the party and the implications. you talked about personnel at the ends. i whole heartedly agree with you that people really make a difference in these systems despite the fact the system is very strong. and we are not going to see probably many indications of what the people and the personnel changes will be until march of next year when they normally have the national people's congress. so it will be a prolonged aftermath from the matter conferen -- party kochlk it's not something we will know for two weeks or three weeks after. both of you argued for considerably more continuity than change if i read you right in the -- of course, if you systematically do as the china leadership monitor's authors do, you look at the staged documents
and events that lead up to these big party congresss. you have a pretty good optic on where they are going. one thing that's always discussed in washington is this new chinese military capability. now, james mull van den unfortunately had to leave and can't be here with us now. i don't know what he wanted to say but i'll offer my own thoughts, and i'm probably not too farere he is, which is that the chinese people's tremendous change. going through both personnel at the top, and there are stories about this being driven by politics or corruption or what have you, where the change of generalational leadership where xi jinping wants his own to replace those who have been apointed by his predecessors. two years ago, xi jinping announced a massive reduction in the armed forces. 300,000 troops was the goal, and a massive reorganization of the
way china organizes itself, both in creating a new rocket force that recognizes the role of missiles in china's defense and power projection capability. and also organizing the regional military structures. and we're seeing increased activity by the pla air force and navy around japan, more flights and ships going through their international space. literally around taiwan than we've seen in the past. we had a little bit of an incident between end india and china up on the bhutan border. there have been reports out of northeastern china of build ups alongside the north korean border. and each of these may have its own explanation, but for me i look at it and i see a pla which
is going through tremendous change and expansion of capabilities. they are going to be preoccupied with this for quite some time. i think people who are involved in the american department of defense's reforms under the goldwater nichols reform said it took about ten years to internalize it to have the new laws reflected in promotions and people's awareness of their new functions. i have to think that in china this must be a massive challenge which china's military has been so stove piped than our military is. they do have the same -- similar types of interservice competitions for resources and for missions. and i would think in very quick summary this islikely to argue as well for more continuity than change, in this case in the name of domestic change that need to
be more active on the periphery, on the borders or beyond those borders, will be less than their need to work on their internal accommodation of the new instructions from the top from xi jinping and his -- and the other top commanders he's now appointing. so that probably is not the theme you would get out of most newspaper stories that appear week by week in the u.s. press, that china is on the march and it's a source of tremendous risk, and the u.s. needs to take preemptive action or do other things to address what is a force of change coming at us. do you have any additional comments on that, either of you? >> i'll just make a quick one. i think michael will have probably a more informed one. first of all on personnel, i absolutely agree with you, and the npc will be critical. but we can see some hints in terms of who is and who isn't attending the 19th party congress. but it doesn't tell us anything about where those people are in
their thinking, and what what their role will be and how much they will be trusted. and we've heard rumors for a long time that xi jinping has had problems with the taiwan affairs office beyond the corruption issues that we know have appeared. on the p.l.a. i'm interested in your view doug and michael and others -- my view, and there are folks here who have a deep military background in this room. even though i think the p.l.a. takes very seriously as do other militaries their responsibility for national security, in terms of fighting a real war that is a major conflict, they are, if not the last, among the very last to really want to do that. i think they are more aware of the consequences of a war than a lot of other people are. it's easy to talk in conceptual
terms, but when you see it. and for those who have watched the vietnam series, you get some sense of why people might take that view. so i don't know -- the p.l.a. talks tough. and so on. but i'm not sure that indicates that they would be -- even if they were not in the midst of reorganization and things that would stretch out their calendar, they would be particularly anxious to do more than sort of show the muscle and try in that way to achieve national objectives. >> i mean, i don't disagree with any of this. i think it's important to understand that the p.l.a. is an institution that is undergoing such a huge, huge change from what it has done, how it has operated, for decades. and it's occurring orgsizationally, it's occurring
in terms of new types of military weapons systems that it's having to absorb and utilize. new types of strategies. it's still primarily focused by and large on the issue of taiwan and achieving a capability that facilitates chinese policy towards taiwan, but it has expanded its capabilities to go beyond that to a range of other types of functions in a include of course maritime security issues, and then issues even beyond the region, but not in a classic power projection, foreign bases type of model of the united states for example. so -- and currently, the -- i mean, allan mentioned this, the organizational challenges. it's going from an organization that was very infantry heavy and very focused on the army in its organization, in its outlook to one that is genuinely joint, with a joint staff that operates
in a much more effective way in coordinating the different services. and that is a huge transition for the p.l.a. to undergo. and it also is going through the process of, as are all institutions in china, the anti-corruption campaign which has led to the down fall of some very senior military people. and that has, i think, also affected where it's -- you know, its abilities lie. there was a recent story that came out. we were talking about it, some of us on line about a recent book by ian easton that says that the chinese military is preparing for the invasion of taiwan in 2020. this was a totally distorted interpretation about what exactly is going on. the chinese conduct planning, and the military planning includes an ability to achieve certain capabilities over certain periods of time.
as you saw in my remarks, they have certain benchmarks. they have place ads benchmark in trying to achieve a certain type of capability by a certain period, in this case 2020, 2021. it does knots indicate a plan to invade taiwan at that point as it has been portrayed as being. and as we have just said it's very hard to see how china has the capabilities to invade and sustain an action against taiwan even within the next several years. block aids, pressure, punishment are something else. but an actual invasion and seizure of that island, the chinese, as far as i can see, they are not prepared to do this. now, they may ultimately think they need to do this, but that's not what their policy states in terms of their desire and their intent. >> i was struck. we keep talking about the chinese additional new ships,
new aircraft, new kinds of missiles and capabilities. but in looking at the taiwan scenario, it was pointed out to me, i think to you as well, that china actually has fewer missiles today than three years ago that appear to be aimed at taiwan, and fewer amphibious vessels to carry armor and the like across the strait to taiwan than three years ago. that runs against most everybody's assumptions but it's worth bearing in mind. we have talked about continuity and change. you can have different kinds of continuity. one of the hallmarks of the china leadership monitor is they distinguish between what's authoritative and what's less or not author tate i. i saw some less authoritative commentary, i think it was in global times about xi jinping on the weight of his coronation at the party -- on the way to his coronation at the party congress being praised for his asertiveness in putting forth
the the middle east asia air defense identification zone a few years ago and giving him credit for the island building in the south china sea and further credit for his forward-leaning posture vis-a-vis india on the bhutanese border. does continuity mean -- first, is this just not authoritative, or secondly is this continuity continuity of greater irritation and envelope pushing by the chinese leadership? aimed at you. >> me? >> yeah. >> i think that these kinds of actions adiz, the island building as well, i think are indicative of a china that believes that it has for quite
some time operated at a very distinct disadvantage in dealing with its immediate periphery in upholding what it regards as its sovereignty claims in that area. that doesn't mean that the conclusion has been reached that we need to decidively resolve these issues now, and we are laying the ground work for doing that. as many people seem to think. i think it has a lot to do with hedging, and a lot to do with improving china's leverage in dealing with the other claim antsz on these issues and in changing the past what it saw as, to its disadvantage status quo particularly around the spratly islands themselves in the southern part of the south china sea and particularly involving the issue of the senkaku islands in the east china sea. and the chinese, thing they are
fairly confident they have established a more in their view stable position not just for themselves but in the romney as well because they have been less liable now to be manipulated or taken advantage of. the question is, oh, is this simply a launch pad for a further move? will there be now an establish men of an avic in the south china sea. will there be a for the fix of the islands where they will have permanent basing on them for deployment further down the road? one cannot say for sure that those sorts of things would not emerge. i think based on the context of what we have been talking about that the chinese would be very hesitant to move in those directions in a very, very deliberate way, in a very major way, because i think it would jeopardize their larger
interests, and it would directly, i think, undermine their argument about their desire to maintain stability and continue an emphasis on negotiating these differences with these countries. so i think their position is one of relative confidence at this point but not a confidence that's going to lead to greater aggressiveness in a really radical sense. >> may i just add one point on this? >> yes. >> i agree with all of that. i also think again the u.s. is a factor. if china were to become really aggressive in the south china sea, clearly the u.s. has signalled it isn't going to, to coin a phrase, sit idly by, we have a treaty deal with japan with regard to the ken contact you islands. china has sought i think to undercut japan's claim to
exclusive administrative control, which is the basis for our commitment. but i think that they see there are limits to what the u.s. is going to tolerate with regard to that. so it isn't the only factor by any means, i think the larger ones that michael is talking about are very real. but all of this in one way or another does involve the united states. and china -- i believe china wants and needs a -- not without problems but a constructive, workable relationship with the u.s. >> let me push that just another degree, and then we'll take some questions then from the audience. the trump administrationing has -- well, before coming into office and since coming into office has gone from accepting the phone call from tsai i think want and raising the question about the relationship between taiwan and china to whole
heartedly accepting the one china and trump won't talk to taiwan without letting china know beforehand in the future. and the sanctions on korea by authorizing a large sale of arms to taiwan. is this coherent yet, is it stabilizing? >> from a u.s. point of view? >> yes. >> big question. i think basically yes in the sense that having played around with the one china policy, i think that president trump has come back to he's not going to do that anymore. it's not really in his interest to do that. on north korea sanction one might have thought that when
china couldn't and didn't deliver everything he wanted on north korea he would then react in a harsh way. he did react. he did a few things. the bank, and the freedom of navigation and the arms sales and so on. but basically, i believe, he has kept on a track of trying to mainta maintain, again, as xi jinping has, a positive relationship to the extent it's possible acknowledging difference. there isn't to say there couldn't be major problems if one or the other finds it in its interests to act in a way custom the other really has a problem with. but i don't see at this point either side having an interest in upsetting the relationship. secondary sanctions against chinese entities, banks, and so on due to north korea, we'll see how far that goes. right? if the u.s. sanctioned the bank of china in a major way, that's a big deal.
my sense is that something else is likely to happen in that regard. >> thank you very much. we are going to open the floor to your questions. i will ask you to raise your hand, we'll call on you. please wait for the microphone to come so everybody can hear you. then identify yourself and ask a quick question. now, remember, this is on taiwan foreign affairs and the related aspects. the second panel will give you an opportunity to dwell on party history, internal party dynamics, the future of xi jinping and other such questions. so we can look at the foreign policy side and the cross-strait side for this round of questions. that's appreciated. i invite anyone to speak. i would ask the editor of the china leadership monitor in the front row here. >> thank you. since the congress will deal with the leadership and the
military leadership, i wonder if either doug or michael or even allan has any thoughts on what the cmc, the central military commission will look like coming oust congress. this was a set of reforms as michael notes that are really far reaching. part of the purpose is to recentralize command and control at the central level. and it's created now 15 subordinate units under the cmc. i'm wondering how they will configure the cmc in light of these institutional changes. >> i'll be sure to confay that very to james mull venin. >> in the last few weeks, there have been a number of reports that have come to me orally, not on paper, not in official documents or anything like that, that suggest something very big is happening in that space. but we don't know where it's settling down. we have got numbers from 11 to
15 on the possible -- and there maybe others but i've seen numbers from 11 to 15 on the possible composition overall of the central military commission. there is question as to -- we are pretty sure you are there will be a chairman and xi jinping will be the chairman. there is a question as to whether he will have one, four, or no vice chairmen. whether they will be designating a vice chairman will trip over into your panel later which is does that suggest that that person is the successor, do we want to indicate who the successor is at this time or is that something they want to reserve that for the next congress. >> four vice chairmen would double the number of vice chairmen who have existed that would be a very interesting thing. >> 11 in the lates '70s.
>> does everybody know what the cmc is? it's the leading -- it has a state version but it's identical it's the leading party body in china that. it's chaired by the president of the party and vice chaired by the person usually regarded as the most senior. and then it has functional areas within the p.l.a. in its body. >> in the recent weeks china has publicized the depart your and the corruption allegations of the head commissar. and the prosecution of the general, who was accompanying xi jinping to mar-a-lagoo in april.
as recently as that. they have departed and i'm hearing others have been given warnings or are departing for other reasons and that a very significant move was made to exercise much stronger control over the top rank of generals. 83% of the military representatives to the last party congress are being replaced by new representatives to this party congress. that's a -- probably more than anything just not having all the details yet revealed, it's likely to be a reflection of the fact that a lot of these people have been apointed ten years ago or earlier and it's time for them to step down and time for new guys to come in. i'm sure there is horse trading and games being played to back up the selection of those being chosen but there is significant turmoil within the p.l.a. top leadership from what i can say. >> something to say about the relationship of the military and
whom it reports to versus the non-military side of the house and their independence. >> well, the steady theme over the last few years is one with xi jinping will not depart from as far as i can tell is the party is going to control the military. and the departure of some previous military figures from very high positions they were in the ends accused of political transgressions even though they were also found guilty of personal corruption or misuse of power. there is a idea logical fight going in for the p.l.a. they wouldn't publicize it if there weren't some resistance. so there is something going on but it's one of the hardest diamonds to get into in the chinese communist system. thank you for your question. in the third row we've got a question. >> thank you very much.
i'm with the china news agency of hong kong. i still have a question on ian's argument that the p.l.a. will attack taiwan in 2020. michael, you have touched upon that, but i'm still curious about if this argument is just kind of exaggeration of this threat or if it is a real sense of urgency in the united states. how will it affect the u.s. policy toward taiwan? thank you. >> well, i don't believe that this -- there may be people here who are affiliated with the u.s. government who have some greater understanding about how it is looked upon.
but my sense is that the -- first of all, my understanding is that ian easton himself has taken exception to the interpretation that he has presented the argument that the chinese are going to invade taiwan in 2020. he has himself said that's not what i have been saying. i mean, this is based upon a report by bill gurts of that book. i think mainly based upon that. and i wouldn't rely on anything bill gurts says about anything to do with china. so his interpretation of ian easton's book quite plausible completely incorrect. i think what easton was trying to draw attention to was the fact that there are plans that the p.l.a. has been developing, contingency plans that are directed toward achieving a certain capability by a certain time period. these plans have been known, to my understanding, by the u.s. government for some time. they are not brand-new. they have existed for quite some time.
and they apply to a lot of different areas. i think -- i can't recall exactly, maybe others can, that easton's point in writing this book at this time was to i guess call attention to this planning in a more public way, and there by increase desire by people to have a greater degree of response to it in some sense. and beyond, that i don't know exactly what his objective might be. i don't see it as particularly causing greatage station in the u.s. government or elsewhere -- great agitation in the u.s. government or elsewhere because of reasons i already suggest. so i think it needs to be put in that context. >> that's another taiwanese press flurry that you get from time to time. if you look at the liberty times they published a comment by easton explaining that people were taking this way too much
out of context. question here in the second row. >> thank you. my name is arnold decide lin, i have been teaching in china -- excuse me. the discussion has raised many questions. and i will ask two. one is in terms of foreign policy and the belt and road initiative, what will be china's posture and position regarding afghanistan for example? and two, you mentioned who will be advising china on u.s./china relations. i would like to turn that around. who in the united states is advising the trump administration on china relations? >> i'll answer your second question. we three are the main -- >> you gave it away.
we are sitting in this room, we are not in the white house. >> no, we have got nothing to do with it. do you want to take the first? >> the one belt one road initiative is a very broad, very ambitious initiative. as know, it's both interior into asia, your asia, and also maritime. it's south asian. its manifestation at present seems to be primarily to do with pakistan and the china/pakistan corridor, and the funding, $50 billion, $60 billion for pakistan to support that. i think china's position in afghanistan has been, to my understanding, i have not been following this in great deal, but it has been increasingly involved in economic assistance to afghanistan. and increasingly cooperative in that issue, on that issue, with the united states and other powers who are trying to stabilize the country economically as a way with dealing with the internal threat
that continues to exist there. and it's unfortunately, from what i see, it's not something that's working that effectively. you still have enormous unrest in that country with the enormous threats even to kabul at times. so it is it's in process. and i think the chinese sort of see it that way. they want to stabilize that part of their periphery. that's part of what the whole one belt one road enterprise is about is both building up their west, which is you know, extremely -- is asymmetrical in asia and creating immediate stability in its immediate your asian periphery. and increasing its political and economic leverage evenly as far
as europe even through participation in this one belt one road initiative. so it is a much bigger strategy than just dealing with afghanistan and south asia. >> just a little more on afghanistan. the chinese back in the late '90s they were camps tolerated by the taliban. and china doesn't want that to happen again, leading to disruptions in regions. they have been consistent in providing advice at a small scale, people say it's good stuff on police training to help the afghan police with training in making sure these problems don't come back to haunt china. as an uptick. as the u.s. was departing afghanistan there was an uptick in china getting involved with
those who have influence in afghanistan. we have given the chinese relief from that, because we are recommitting and reinvesting in afghanistan so china can lean back a little bit and let us handle the problem for them. this has the side benefit of keeping the u.s. focused on southwest asia and the middle east or on korea and not on china. so this is a double winner for them even though it is a small gain. >> and your second question, beyond the sort of organization chart answer and the go-to answer that everybody has about almost anything regarding national security issues for example, being general mattis starting at the top of the list and maybe secretary tillerson, i don't know the answer to that. but i would also say that his -- the president's attitude toward china for example, on trade issues has a lot to do with his attitude toward trade issues rather than about china specifically. so we saw for example, that apparently that his senior economic team thought they had negotiated a deal on steel with
china. and the president said no, don't want to do that. so i really -- i don't know. and over time, it probably changes. >> question way in the back. next to alex. central news agency, taiwan. my question is for allan with regard to the number of the diplomatic al you identify taiwan may have under the 19 party congress. allan, do you mean that is beijing trying to set up a trap or trying to provoking president tsai not to maintaining the status quo? and do you see any way out for this stalemate? and does beijing really care about how taiwanese people feel? >> thank you. >> no, i'm not suggesting they are trying to set a trap. i just think that if it is correct that they are going to continue to slowly ratchet up
pressure that one way of doing that -- we know there are other countries that have diplomatic relations with teipei that would like to move and despite beijing's explanation that oh, gee at this time panama just decided to move, that isn't the case, that panama had long wanted to change and that beijing finally gave him a green light on that. there is a lot of potential. is he i'm casting it in that kind of context. your final -- does beijing care what people in taiwan think? yeah, i think they do care, because unless they really want to have hardline long-term resistance, they have got to care. but i think they are willing to pay a certain price at this point because of their concern of where the tsai administration they fear is going. but yeah, if they try to swallow
taiwan as a hostile element, that's not something they really want to do. way out? well, i don't know. i have suggest one way out is to address the issue differently. maybe picking up in fact i think in what in a sense has been tsai's approach, to find a way around not to resolve this issue of one china which both sides are not determined to move on. i don't know. she has political issues to deal with. we'll have to see how that goes. >> in the back here? keep going back. >> hi, dennis wilder, georgetown university. allan, you asked a question
about does xi jinping want a legacy related to taiwan? but i didn't -- maybe i fell asleep for a moment, but i didn't -- i didn't think you answered that question. >> very astute dennis. very astute. [ laughter ] >> if we assume that xi jinping in some way shape or form is going to be with us as the leader of china longer than five years wouldn't we have to assume that he is going to want to take on this issue at some juncture, that patience in beijing may run out, that without a kmt that that can sort of move the situation back? it's hard to see where this goes. i guess i would like to hear more of your thoughts on xi jinping. >> right. again, i'd start with what i said, which is i don't think he can afford to be seen or
vulnerable to the charge that he has lost taiwan. and i think that's the most immediate issue for him. i think in terms of legacy, if you go back and look at states that he has made over a long period of time, setting aside the 2049 date -- and i don't know how that plays in his thinking -- i do think a commitment to one china in some form or to no independence in some form is what he's really trying to get at this point. that would be a pretty significant step forward, i believe, at this point. unification obviously is the goal. and as beijing keeps reminding everybody, don't mistake that. we haven't given that up. it's serious. although, i have to say, i don't know what that means. what does unification look like? and i think that's a critical
issue that beijing, beijing along with teipei over time are going to have to wrestle with. i have said many times i think they need to redefine what one china means, what unification means, what sovereignty means. unless and until they can do that, i don't see -- to be back to this question -- i don't see a way out, in essence. but i think they can do that. and i think they have had time to do that. i mean michael i think is exactly right on the 2020 date. i don't think that's a -- i don't think it is a meaningful date, and i don't think based on easton's follow-up statements it's meant to be a significant date in his mind. but i do think he wants to go beyond not losing taiwan before he leaves office. as i say, i think it's focused on one china. they have been trying for long time, long before tsai came into office to get consensus from
taiwan about one china. i don't think that's changed. i think it has become more problematic and in a way more urge ep. yes, i think he wants a legacy but i don't know how to define it beyond what i have just said. >> yes. >> dennis, you and i were both at a meeting fleenl beijing. and there was a considerable concern about the trend developments in taiwan. it was very much in line with this point that allan was making not about what you call hard independence, it was about what you call soft independence. changing the rules of the game in very gatt gradual but discrete and very meaningful ways that alter the perceptions of the status of taiwan in the minds of not just the taiwanese public but the american government as well. and i agree with allan that there is -- it's unlikely that
xi jinping is going to make a decision that the time is right for him to do something momentous on taiwan because the cost of doing so will remain extremely high. but if the woman dong really fails to reinvent itself in a meaningful way -- you have successors to, the sai who are dpp people and they have cabinets who have very pro-independence points of view even though they keep talking about the status quo. and then you have a deterioration in u.s./china relations, which is to my mind the most critical factor affecting this taiwan dynamic. if the relationship gets problematic then america's confidence in taiwan and its resistance to the movement of independence, its resistance to
all the kinds of actions the government could take to increase its relations with taiwan, all of that becomes problematic for the chinese. and then, then you have pressure. this was even mentioned in our meeting among some, to resize the anti-secession law or to invoke the anti-secession law. pressure could begin to sort of bubble up in the system, why aren't we reacting to this more deliberately? now i'm not predigiting any of this will lead to an option to use force against taiwan. but i'm saying you know can you can see a pathway how this becomes much more problematic and it becomes a much more serious crisis again as it was in the early 2000s. >> allan. >> those are great points. on the kmt, obviously, they were rendered -- they were in terrible position coming out of the november 14 local elections and the 2016 presidential
elections. i think we might make a mistake if we assume they cannot stage a comeback to the point that if the tsai administration is seen as failing, and although link lie ching denying's appointment has boosted somewhat, latest poll numbers are around 30%, they are not great. have to look at the trend. i think a focus of their activity may in fact remain trying to convince the voters in taiwan they made a mistake. my view s i said this many times, i basically dhi the kmt lost the last election rather than the dpp overwhelmingly winning it. it's there to be done. but we'll have to see. not only are people talking about invoking the anti-secession law. they have also talked about at the next npc perhaps looking at
a yew fix law. i have to say that while i'm sure there's a lot of chatter about this i am concerned a bit that we rely too much on some of other academic friends in our a mainland and their views on this. some of them are tough minded and we're going to not let taiwan get away with this and so on and so forth. the essential point remains the one that michael just articulated, which is the u.s. relationship is critical. i think that xi jinping understands this and that is among the factors that leads him to want to continue to have a workable constructive relationship with the united states. we don't get into a position where taiwan is a the kind of divisive problem between us. i think they're convinced and got convinced the united states is not interested in promoting taiwan independence.
but i think they do believe many, many of them believe, the u.s. is not interested in seeing unification either. and so the suspicion about the u.s. and its relationship to taiwan, in a variety of ways, including military but also other ways, is real. and is a factor. >> i'll add one little nuance to that, which is that xi jinping spent time working with taiwan investors and businesspeople and other responsibilities he had on his way up the center. in thad period, i'm told repeatedly that he came to the conclusion, much as the emperor of the shing dynasty did earlier, the economic rule of the mainland will be the long
te term guarantor that taiwan will which back. now, that will be tested and events will make an important difference but that's the thought. we have time for one more question before we take a break. let's see. >> this is a question that may segue into the second panel. i think it would be fair to observe, and i'm certainly prepared today take opposition on this question. xi jinping likes to control things. whether you want to talk about economic small groups or information or history or south china sea islands or whatever, the guy likes to be in control. so we're talking about possibly as a result of the 19th party congress his being even more in control. i think there probably are some foreign policy implications that might spring from that. i would like any of you or all of you to speculate briefly on
that. to include the notion he wants to control the diaspora as well. >> that's a -- the last part of that, the diaspora thing is interesting. i don't think it stops and starts with xi jinping however. we saw with the russian affair and involvement in european and american politics, we're still learning the dimensions of that. i spent some time in europe this summer teaching. and was given insights into the amount of effort that china has been making to influence elections in the european countries. they're intresivesting in these things. we have a ckerfuffle right now n
new zealand. so the truth is somewhere in between. it's a hot topic, especially in australia where the fairfax media group has launched an investigative program tloo lookt where china may be trying to extend itself. we have had a running debate of confucius institutes. and different campuses, where they've been hosted or different localities have had different outcomes on that. i don't have a definitive answer for you except certainly activity in a space that we're not used to seeing activity in before. >> just mention one thing. i think michael's probably got the major thing to say on this. but if he is, in fact, in greater control after the party of congress and there is a
debate about that. i think probably the majority of the opinion is that is what is likely to happen. it may give him greater freedom to be assertive. it also may give him greater freedom to ignore some of the pressures he might otherwise feels he needs to cater to in order to maintain his control within the leadership. and i don't know how to assess that in terms of the net outcome for particular issues. but i don't think it's just a uniform direction in terms of okay, well, so he's got greater control so he can give in to his obviously inclinations to have china play a greater role. >> he said what i was going to say. no. i mean, it's a hard question to answer. i mean, i think from national
interest point of view, you can make a very strong argument that china needs to, and i've made the argument that china needs to remain pretty cautious, pretty conservative in how it behaves. people argue, well, they haven't been the last bit conservative. the last five years they've been aggressive and more is going to come. you know, i put that in a spot different context. a lot of this depends on xi jinpi jinping's personality. is he going to be able to push things the leadership in general would not support for a variety of different reasons. i have not seen a lot of evidence, others may contradict this, that there are hugely divisive issues in foreign policy that exist within the chinese leadership. i think they in general look at xi jinping at somebody who is more of take charge, decisive guy who -- and they like that.
i don't think they necessarily think oh, he's out to get me. i'm talking about senior people that would be coming in. and if the 19th party of congress supports him, that will be more so the case. so i don't really see it as leading to a major transition it how the chinese look at foreign policy issues. people who have had many meetings with xi jinping say he's taentive attentive to what say. he seems to be relatively open minded about things. but at the same time, you know, he's dedicated to strengthening the position of a party. his primary focus remains domestic and that will tend to
taylor how he looks at these issues in a variety of ways. if you have this weird argument that people make, if xi jinping is strong he'll be assertive because he has freedom to do that. if he's really week he'll need to bolster support for himself and use foreign policy and become more assertive to do that. he'll be assertive if he's strong or weak. >> it covers it all. >> it covers everything. i think you have to take both of those with a grain of salt based upon national interests and what i know about the divisiveness and lack thereof of foreign policy. >> says something about this gathering today that we've spent hardly any time discussing china and north korea. >> nothing. >> whereas the media are -- my life has been hell for the last three months. people request media coverage on
north korea. i'm sure that's true for a lot of other people here. we're going to take our break at the moment and, you know, if you read the china leadership monitor or its predecessor, you come a word you don't see often. quinnquennial. the five year things. party congresses are quinnquennial. five years ago before the last party congress, i invited two people to talk about what they thought were going to happen. we'll have another reprise of that effort in a few minutes. we'll have a 15 minute break. please take advantage of the restrooms and refreshments. and please join us in thanking our presenters today. [ applause ]