tv Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo- Pacific Security Affairs Others... CSPAN October 3, 2019 2:00pm-4:10pm EDT
u.s. scholars discuss culture and institutions and how they have survived despite slavery and discrimination. watch tonight at 8:00 eastern on cspan cspan3. >> friday at 6:00 p.m. eastern, live coverage of hillary clinton and her daughter, chelsea, talking about their new book, "the book of gutsy women", stories about women who have inspired them. watch our coverage from the book store in washington, d.c. friday at 6:00 p.m. eastern on book tv on cspan2. >> a pentagon official overseeing china policy says u.s. competition with china is a challenge for this generation. randall shriver, explains why we're competing with china during a speech in washington, d.c. after he spoke, china policy experts talked about china's
regional power and president xi jinping's leadership. >> good morning. my name is bruce jones. i'm the vice president and the director for foreign policy here at brookington. it's my pleasure to welcome you this morning. i see lots of old friends in the audience and several new ones and it's a pleasure to invite you to our event with the assistant secretary of defense for endo-pacific affairs, randall shriver. we've been fortunate to engage him on several aspects of policy research over the past decade,
and while he's been serving in the administration since 2017, and randy, thank you for your service to our country and the important role you play in this administration. randall shriver was appointed as assistant secretary of defense by president donald trump on january 8th, 2018. previously having served as deputy assistant secretary for east asian and pacific affairs, under which portfolio he covered china, tie won, hong kong and australia, all the easy stuff. earlier he held the role of chief of staff to the deputy secretary of state from 2001 to 2003 and also served as an active duty navel intelligence officer deployed in support of operation desert shield and desert storm. beyond his government career, randy has been a leading thinker on a range of issues that play into the u.s.-china relationship over two decades and he's been a robust voice on the future of the relationship, asking critical questions to help shape american policy in the region. and with that background, we
couldn't ask for anybody better to join us today as we continue to roll out our project to global china, assessing china's role in the world. i think we all recognize that china has he merged as a global actor impacting every region in the world. its cast aside its strategy of hide and is now assertively seeking influence in asia and well beyond. the effort of this project is to capture a baseline assessment of the trajectory of that now expansive global role. it draws on our deep bench of east asia and china experts, but also pulls in the expertise of our execution strategy, regional, technology and economic scholars to try to capture the full scope of china's activity. it will focus on several key areas of research, strategic competition, frontier technologies, china's influence in critical regions and china's approach to global governorance and norms. today we'll have two sessions.
ryan hoss will chair a discussion with randy and then we'll have a panel that draws on three sets of the papers that are being launched or are still under way today. audrey wong who contributed to an earlier set of papers looking at the future of chinese foreign policies and looking at the influence of china's global influence. all of which are moderated. before i invite randy to the stage, two further notes from me. it is of course campaign season, which means that think tankers are all trying to influence political campaigns as well as doing their day jobs. at brookings we close all of that. you can find their campaign affiliations, they do that off campus and on their own time, but it is an important way that we look at the impact. as wf now we have scholars advising the biden, warren and
buttigieg campaigns and we have scholars on leave working in the trump administration. all of this is a long tradition that has seen scholars from the foreign policy program serve in the state or defense department of every president since nixon, both republican and democratic. of course nixon tried to fire, so we didn't use him. second, i would like to thank the foundation's support for this project which has allowed us to do the research and communicate it to the scholarly community and to policymakers who will hopefully use the evidence that we'll provide to have a baseline approach, imperial approach. and with that, let me welcome randy shriver to the stage to give some opening remarks. [ applause ] >> thanks, bruce, and thank you for the invitation to return to
brookings. and i really appreciate being part of this roll-out of this impressive project. i've been following some of the papers that have already been released, but hearing your two-year plan to help us really both deep dive and really baseline this enormous challenge is really encouraging to know that you've got this project under way, and thanks for allowing me to speak as a part of that. so what i thought i would do is talk about our approach to china, our competition. and what i thought i would do is go into a little bit more detail on sort of the fundamentals of this policy. a lot of people sort of jump right into we're in strategic competition or a competitive environment without really even talking about the fundamentals. what are we competing for? how is competition implemented and how is it different from confrontation or conflict?
and so if i could take just a few moments to do a bit of a deeper dive and explain our perspective from the department of defense, i hope it would set the stage for a discussion that would follow both with ryan and with the audience. so with respect to your strategic competition, we believe that it is a major element of our overall national security strategy and international strategy. we feel as though we are in competition fundamentally because we have different visions, different aspirations, different views of what regional and global security architecture should look like. if you're familiar with our national security strategy, national defense strategy and our dodendo-pacific strategy, you'll know that we talk about a free and open endo-pacific. it is founded upon what we regard as enduring principles and principles that are near universal and widely shared and
believe that they're principles that benefit all countries if countries embrace them. these include respect for national sovereignty, no matter a country's size, fair, free and reciprocal trade, rule of law and peaceful dispute resolution. we fundamentally believe each nation must be free to determine its own course and we believe that all countries can both benefit, as well as participate in preserving a rules-based order. we observe that china under the leadership of the ccp has a different vision, and as i said, different aspirations, that is increasingly developing the tools to pursue its vision and seems willing to accept more and more friction in pursuit of that vision. we are competing with china, therefore, because we see china's leaders have assessed that they're in competition with
us, both our ideas and our capabilities. globally china seeks to shape a world consistent with its authoritarian model and national goals. we see that domestic governance in china is increasingly authoritarian and less respectful for human rights and digity, and that they are even beginning to ex sport some of these tools, such as facial recognition software and capabilities to other countries that are learning from china's governance model. we're concerned that china has grown more willing to apply pressure against other countries and accept friction in pursuit of its vision. we observe china using influence operations to interfere in their domestic politics of other countries, undermining the integrity of elections and threatening internal stability, using economic coercion and we've seen recent examples in countries such as mongolia,
austria and canada. promoting theft of other nation's technologies. exporting the most effective tools from its domestic tool kit for surveillance and potential use for internal repression. we see them extending military presence overseas and expanding the one belt, one road initiative to include military ties with china and we see deploying advanced weapons systems to militaryized. in dod we focus on the military component of china's growing global activities and we take china at their word. they seek to be a world class military by 2049 and they are making progress toward that goal. the department views military developments in china as seeking to erode u.s. military advantages. they're working to become a preeminent power in the region
while simultaneously taking plans to have overseas presence and plan to sustain operations farther from chinese shores. we see them widening the operational reach to match what it's leaders consider to be the global nature of china's economic and national interest. press reporting indicates that china has sought to expand its military base and access in the middle east, southeast asia. kparmt xi squijinping himself h called for overseas interest to oversee personnel. the defense minister has also cited obar to increase cooperation with other countries. while our competition takes place on various levels, at the most fundamental level what we're competing for is to sustain a position within the
regional and international system which allows us to promote, support, and protect a liberal rules-based order, whose institutions, rules and norms have fostered peace for decades. in all of this matters, because if the ccp and china were to be success nfl its authoritarian approach were to work, the world could look much different. states will have less control of their political decisions. institutions could become less independent and less effective. freedom of the seas and overflight in the endo-pacific may be challenged, the prefreed those bodies of water. we can also see a lack of respect for individual and human rights. all of this pore tends a less free and less open and more unstable endo-pacific region for these to manifest on a global scale. as i said, we view competition
as being different than confrontation and conflict, a competitive strategy with china is not meant to lead us to conflict. for the united states, we seek to maintain competition as a stable deterrent that avoids conflict. while we meet vigorously with china, our military to military contacts are aimed at reducing risk and promoting international norms and standards. we'll cooperate with china where our interests align, while competing within a rules-based framework where our interests diverge and we will continue to call out china's behaviors that are counter to that rules-based order. so briefly, dod's response and, as i said, changing our mindset, we seek to regain the advantage and play to our strengths. our goal is to deter china from pursuing and to improve our capacity to prevail at the outset of a crisis. meeting the china challenges requires this fundamental shift
in mind set of defense establishment. we're fielding increasingly sophisticated capabilities instead of expecting to dominate an opponent, our armed forces to learning to expect to be contested throughout a fight while achieving the political objectives set for them. our strategy within the department focuses on a couple of pillars that will be key enablers for us to succeed. namely the first two pillars of our national defense strategy, which include building a more lethal joint force and strengthening our alliances and partnerships. the first line of effort, preparing a more lethal and resilient joint force, takes into account the scope and pace of our competitors abilities and prioritizes investment in
modernizing key u.s. capabilities across a range of domains. our nuclear forces, space and cyber capabilities, missile defense, and looks at how our force can be resilient in having more access options, dispersal opportunities and adaptive basing. within my office we're also changing how we organize for long-term strategic competition. in june, our deputy secretary approved t approved establishment with a position inward looking, and the inward to help us carry out the defense strategy and implementation. the second line of effort is strengthening alliances and attracting new partners. america's alliances and partnerships are crucial and durable asymmetric advantage that no other country can match. for countries that value a rules-based order the strongest
way we can demonstrate our support for these principles is the action we take, both individually and together, to uphold a free and open region. our alliances and partnerships are important for a myriad of reasons. for example, there is inherent trust and confidence building that comes with combined training and enter-operability. militaries that train together and trust one another are more adaptive. in this vein, the department is expanding collaborative planning, and training for high-end combat missions in alliance, bilateral and multi-later multi-lateral exercises. we are working to integrate our national defense strategy with japan's guidelines and we're also working very intently and seriously on important emerging relationships, such as with
india, singapore, indonesia and vietnam. the members and u.s. navy forces test maritime security tasks during our first ever annual, what we hope now is annual, u.s. maritime exercise last month. we're also enhancing our engagement in areas such as the pacific islands to preserve a free and open order. and we have enhanced our engagement in the freely associated states and beyond in that regard. beyond the endo-pacific. the department is engaging partners across the globe and we have brought the china challenge into our discussions in europe and the middle east, for example. china and others recognize our advantages and are actively working to disrupt our alliances and partnerships in these key areas. but we, nonetheless, see strong interest in greater alignment on
these challenges from our partners. we are also exercising with our partners in real world operations to include enforcement of the sanctions against north korea. japan hosts the enforcement coordination cell, a demand center of eight countries to include south korea, australia, canada, new zealand, the united kingdom, japan and france, we're all committed to enforcing the u.n. security council resolutions. we're also working with our partners in the maritime spaces to include the south china sea and are working with partners to build capacity through initiatives such as the maritime security initiative, which has boosted key partner's abilities and helped them conduct maritime security and awareness operations. we're also part of a whole of government approach, which is
allied and partner centric in response to china's expanding influence and coercion and their interests in acquiring and advantaging themselves in the high-tech area. we have ongoing deep conversations with our allies about protection of the innovation base and about the risks associated with new technology, such as 5g. to kconclude, the unfolding challenge with china is the defining challenge of our nation. our current trajectory is largely driven by the ambitions and choices of chairman xi and the acquisition of capabilities to apply toward raelding those ambitions and the current policy choices and actions which demonstrate active pursuit of those ambitions. we remain open to changing the trajectory in our decision is inclusive and affirmative for any country, china included, who choose to support the enduring
principles embedded in our vision. but we should be clear that we do understand these to be consequential times and consequential decisions must be taken. the cost associated with complacency could be extremely high. but the benefits of competing well and competing to prevail are equally high. with that, i look forward to the conversation with ryan and the questions and discussion that may follow. thank you. [ applause ] >> first of all, thank you for being here with us and providing
an overview of the work that is being done in your area of responsibility at the pentagon. i want to give the audience a chance to jump in, because i know there are a lot of questions that they would like to pose to you. but before i turn it over to this distinguished group, i did want to ask you a few questions building upon your comments today. first, you talked a bit about the u.s.-china military to military relationship. i was wondering if you could take us into the engine room a little bit of that. how is it working and is it being insulated from ups and downs in the overall relationship, or is it a derivative of it? >> well, we continue to hear from the chinese that they want the relationship to be a stabilizing force in the overall relationship. we welcome that. so we have maintained a robust level of engagement to include high-level engagement. i think 2018 was the first year on record where there was both a visit to china and a counterpart visit in the same calendar year.
so by that metric, our engagement remains robust. our focus is on how we engage with china in this context of overall competition. so that places a premium on confidence building measures, on safety of operations, so things like the military maritime consultative agreement, other measures that help us to ensure a safe operating environment, while we know we operate in close proximity to one another with greater frequency, how we make sure there's no unintended incident or accident. so that continues. i plan to go to china next week, so our policy talks continue, our emphasis on confidence building measures and safety continues. so i see many old-timers in the audience, we're more insulated from the political ups and downs than we used to be and that's a
good thing. >> strategic competition was a theme of your presentation and it's also one of the themes of this event today. can you talk to us a little bit about where that competition is felt most acutely in your day-to-day work, and also where you expect your successor ten years from now to field the competition most acutely? >> so i would say there's an inside aspect to that and an external aspect. the inside aspect is we're doing a lot to drive the defense enterprise into alignment for this long-term competition. i mentioned the standing up of a new dazde. a lot of that is to help us with the staff and services as they make respective decisions to make sure it's appropriate for the competition and the environment that we see. the external piece is, again, working with allies and partners. we do think that that's an asymmetrical advantage that can't be matched. and of course also some
contested areas, south china sea, some relationships that might be contested where china has ambitions where we want to invest more. so i mentioned the pacific islands and parts of southeast asia. so it's playing out, you know, we're sort of building the airplane as we're flying it because we're in a competitive environment now. but to get to your second part of your question, i think the work inside the enterprise is the work that will continue for quite some time, because the nature of our business. we buy things, you know, big programs that last decades, and decisions now and in five, ten years from now, will have lasting impact. so we want to be investing wisely. i mentioned some of the new do mains and areas of focus in my remarks. but it's a dynamic environment. that could change depending on the directions that china goes. i mean, they will largely be a pacing competitor for these
decisions and we have to be dynamic and flexible and make those wise decisions along the way. >> you mentioned alliances. you've built a reputation as being a strong alliance manager, an advocate of strengthening our alliances. how are we doing? >> well, i think we have a very strong demand signal from our partners, they want largely -- well, to generalize, we see a lot of interest in stronger defense and security relations with the united states. i think we're being resourced for that. and resourced not only in budget terms, but how our senior most leaders are spending their time and attention. secretary esper just took his first trip to the endo-pacific region. he's the second secretary to do that. secretary mattis did the same. so i think we're making the investments, we've got the demand signal as i said, and we're trying to meet countries
where they are. we have advance skpd mature alliances. i mentioned japan and the work we're doing to align our defense strategies. we have emerging partners who are not allies, but a place like vietnam. we pull 92% favorable as a country in vietnam. i've been to vietnam five times, i'll be going next week and then i'll return with the secretary. so that will be seven trips to vietnam in two years, if that's my metric. so i think we're doing okay. you know, we've got a region that china plays very prominently in and they have the ability to use economic weight and their own diplomacy, so it is a competitive environment. and then we have a different approach to issues like trade, which also i think some of our partners are trying to gelt their hands around it and understand the trajectory of that. so that's part of the environment we work in.
but i won't give us a grade, but i would say overall we're doing pretty well on the partners and allies front. >> you mentioned polling. vietnam is 92% favorable ratings for the united states. other allies have a slightly different picture. polling in our allies in the region has shown that favorable ratings for china has gone down considerably but for the united states it's gone down as well. this is evident primarily in australia, but in other places as well. how does that affect your day-to-day job? >> well, some of it is understandable. when you talk about burden sharing, that's a stress in the partnerships that will sometimes be reflected in public sentiment. but it's something that's important to the president and i think previous administrations as well, but i think this administration has been more aggressive in trying to pursue equitable burden sharing. some of the countries, australia, i don't know the exact numbers, but i would guess
we're going from high 80s favorable to low 80s, high 70s favorable. you can fact check me on that. some places like the philippines, we have a different kind of leader there who makes a lot of public commentary on the united states. yet we remain over 80% favorable in the philippines. maybe we're down historically, but still quite high. so it's an important metric but not the only metric. we need to pursue the president's goals on burden sharing and things of that nature, as we're doing what we need to do to compete with china. >> while we're on the topic of alliances, japan, korea is a relationship that appears to be in a downward spiral at the moment. you've spoken publicly about this recently. can you just give us a sense of where we are, where the bottom is in this free fall, and what role the united states can or should play in seeking to bring
our allies back together? >> i was meeting with a prominent chinese scholar and i won't mention his name. but he remarked on the growing tensions between japan and south korea and he said china is very pleased about this. and i said well, why is china pleased about this? he said isn't it obvious? so i think what we need to continue to remind our allies is that the countries that are benefitting from their tension is china, russia, north korea, and that's not a good place to be. we at the defense department do maintain try-lateral relations. i believe this morning, at least -- well, i won't comment on that because i'm not sure it actually came off. but we will soon have an opportunity at the meeting where we'll have a tri-lat wal
meeting. secretary esper will meet with japan. we have regular interactions at my level, including we last met on may 9th in seoul. it was one of the days where there was a missile launch, missile test, and the south korean defense minister called the delegation leaders up into his office, previously unplanned, and said this is why we need to strengthen our defense cooperation and tri-lateral work, and he said knit japanese, by the way. the south korean defense minist minister was a scholar at the japanese college. we're trying our best to secure the relationship from the political tensions that obviously are present. i think one of the reasons we spoke out is because that was spilling into the security tri-lateral work in an unhelpful way, but overall i think we're
doing okay. it's a tough environment for the defense ministries respectively in tokyo and seoul because of where the political leadership is on these things. i think we ultimately are going to be driven together because of the security interest and environment. i don't know how much time it could take, but i do see so much that pull us together. if you give the list of things that japan themselves would acknowledge they agree on, rulz-based order, respect for human rights and human dignity, work in southeast asia on health issues. the list is quite long. so we'll play a role if we can. there's some suggestion we haven't been engaged enough at a high level. i can tell you secretary esper in both capitols spend considerable time on this, secretary pompeo has, former
national security adviser bolton before he left office spent time on this. and we're open to other ways we could be a constructive party here. what typically happens is one country asks us to go straighten out the other country and tell them why they're wrong. so should we be a more active mediator? if both sides can agree on what that looks like and if it could be a constructive role. but we're open to finding ways to help bring the two sides closer together. >> if i could just ask one more question and then i will turn it over to our colleagues here. taiwan is an issue that you've spent considerable time on and thought about deeply and worked on it for many years. right now beijing is intensifying pressure on taiwan, particularly in the run-up to a presidential election in january. what should the u.s. response be to the intensifying pressure? >> well, i think we've got the framework through the taiwan relations act that gives a lot
of flexibility to enhance certain aspects of our approach. we've made some decisions recently on security assistance that was consistent with the law and the growing threat from china. i think this is a particularly tense period because of the election, so we're doing certain things to support a fellow democracy in carrying out a free, fair and non-coerced election, so i think there's very little doubt that the chinese will seek to med doll in that election. they tried it, missile exercises and a finger-wagging. this time i think it's a little more sophisticated with the use of social media and cyber means. so we're supporting taiwan as a fellow democracy interested in seeing free, fair uncoerced
elections, particularly on the cyber piece. but over the longer stretch, certainly we'll need to continue to be that good security partner, economic partner and preserve space for taiwan to keep its unique status until the two sides are in a better place to work things out between them. >> thank you. i would like to turn it open now to any questions. we'll take two or three at a time. we'll start out with this gentleman with the tie. >> dave from axios. mr. secretary, you said in your remarks that china recognizes the advantages that the u.s. has and its alliances and partnerships and is seeking to underminor counter that. i was wondering if you could expand on that idea. >> thanks. >> thank you.
if we could go to the gentleman in the back. >> thank you, secretary. with the news agency of hong kong. assistant secretary, did you watch the military parade in beijing today? what is your take on that? thank you. >> let's take one more question from this lady with the red. >> from radio free raise ya and i have a question on north korea. the united states and north korea are going to resume negotiations this saturday and how would you assess the u.s.-china cooperation on getting north korea to give up the nuclear programs, and will actually the chinese foreign
minister in his united nations speech mentions about the sanctions related to north korea. so how do you assess the u.s.-china cooperation? >> just in order, on military alliances, it relates to the comment that i conveyed from the chinese scholar that china benefits when there's tension between our allies and tension between us and an ally, and as a result, will seek to drive wedges and fine those opportunities. a lot of times it's through their economic weight. a lot of times it's about, in the information space, there's quite a bit about the united states being an unreliable partner, a sort of capricious power who will be drawn back into the middle east and this interest in the region is fleeting.
so they do it in a variety of ways. i think that's just part of the overall competitive environment and why it doesn't bother me as an assistant secretary that places a premium on our alliance relationships and providing that reassurance and explaining where the benefit is and continuing a strong alliance and keeping it moving forward. that's fine, that's a burden i carry with no hesitation. the military parade -- or the national day events, i went home and spent time with my four kids and family. i did not watch it. i'm seeing some reports on it and it seems likes there's an impressive display and it's meant to send a signal, i suppose, internally and ex sternly. so we'll do the post-game analysis on it. but i think it's in line with expectations. and then the last question was
about -- >> north korea. >> north korea and china's cooperation in particular. i think we believe china can do a little better on the sanctions enforcement and cooperating with us in an overall effort to get north korea to the negotiating table in a constructive way. we've seen some slippage on sanctions enforcement, and we are willing to work with china to strengthen that enforcement effort. i've said this, probably people have heard this story, but secretary shanahan, then acting secretary, presented minister of defense wa with a gaft. he said i have a gift with you and he handed him a picture book of north korean illegal
ship-to-ship transfers happening. the gift came with an offer, we would be happy to work with you on curbing this. we can hand off targets at the 12 nautical mile ser toer and hand it over to you. we can do something more robust if that's of interest. we would like to work with china on this. but right now what we see is actually chinese vessels shadowing our forces that are trying to enforce the sanctions, rather than enforcing the sanctions themselves. and so we hope that they can change the course of that and do a little better on sanctions enforcement. >> thank you. we have time, i think, for two or so more questions. we'll start out with this gentleman here. >> david little with herding cats. is china trying to insert its role into the conflict between pakistan and india over the
kashmir, and how are they doing that? >> this woman over here. >> my name is liz kim. i'm a reporting with voice of america. assistant secretary, you said earlier that china was happy about frictions about south korea and japan and my question is more about bilateral relationship between u.s. and south korea. the two countries have been suspending the large-scale military exercise for long and recently south korea has requested the u.s. to expedite the handover of more than half of the bases of the united states military in north korea. does that send wrong signal to china that the weakening sign of u.s. and south korea
relationship? >> so we have a question on i think india, kashmir, and south korea. >> okay. well, china has a longstanding relationship with pakistan and they have growing competition with india. i think india seeks a stable relationship with china. we have an important visitor this week after prime minister modi's big event in texas and then his work at the u.n., foreign minister has stayed behind and they're having consultations with him and we've talked about the relationship with china. they want a stable relationship with china. but there's no doubt that there's growing concern and competition there as well. so i think on a range of issues, to include kashmir, china has leaned toward pakistan. they've supported pakistan in international, and there's some discussion about whether or not
kashmir would be taken up in the u.n., china would support that. but in terms of something beyond that or more active, i don't see it. i think many have concerns that pakistan keep a lid on militant groups that might conduct cross-border activities as a result of the kashmir decisions, and i don't sense that china wants that kind of conflict or would support that. so i think it's mostly diplomatic and political support. with respect to south korea and our relationship, you know, it is a longstanding deep alliance and we have issues from time to time. but it's a very strong alliance. when we look at something like op-con transfer, the remarkable thing is we are pursuing it and talking about it. we're talking about one of the most dangerous areas in the world and we're actually involved in a process that will ultimately lead to south korea
being in charge of combined forces that include u.s. forces. that's a pretty significant statement of confidence in the alliance. we think it has to be conditions-based because of the seriousness of the security environment there and the need to ensure that we're as capable and prepared as possible. and so when we look at things like demand structure and when we look at things like certain key capabilities for that contingency, we're going to be pretty insistent that south korea acquires those capabilities before we agree to the transfer and not be tied to any political calendar. on the exercises, we made some adjustments, president trump felt that it was important to make an adjustment to give our diplomats space to work on this issue. i would just tell you that in a combined environment, what you really want to stress and test is decisionmaking, how you in a
crisis make decisions in a combined environment. and you can do that through simulation and through war gaming and command post type exercises. we can train on all the other mission essential tasks in ways that are lower profile, some off the peninsula, some just smaller elements, training on the mission essential tasks. so i think if general abe rams were here -- in fact, i know if he were here because he's testified before congress, we have made these adjustments to give our diplomats space but give them high readiness, still ready for the emerging challenges. if there are further adjustments, which i'm not aware there's any plan to do that. we would want to maintain the same kind of readiness. and again, it's really focused on the decisionmaking designed environment where they need to be excellent. >> mr. secretary, thank you for spending time with us this morning. i promised your staff that i
and also at the insert for security and emerging technology. we have a stellar panel to reflect both on the remarks that you just heard from assistant secretary shriver and also to talk a little bit more about china's growing global influence. we're not going to have any prepared remarks. we're going to jump right in. before i do, it is brookings and i want to hawk the papers that we just published. so the papers that we published in this tranche of the product are focused on domains and strategic competition and then the domestic drivers behind some of china's foreign policy moves. so among those papers today that i hope you'll take a look at, we're writing about china's approach to counterterrorism policy, including what it's doing today. he has a paper focused particularly on what escalation
could look like in the islands. kate lynn tallmadge has written a book about nuclear competition between the united states and china. david dahler has a case study. and we have written a paper with china's overseas amp bigzs, and then on the domestic drivers front we have with us today jun li who has written about xi's transformation as a populist. jamie has written a great paper on the shift in china's legal development and the growing role of the party in that. and then rush has contributed to a prior tranche in this series, which was focused on continuity and change in china's foreign policy and what role president xi has played in it. and so has audrey as well, where
her focus has been on economics. let's jump right in. rush, i want to start with you because i think a lot of current debate about the united states policy toward china, and also how many other countries around the world are reacting to china's rise really turns on what you think china wants. what kinds often resources and risks china is willing to wager to achieve some of those ambitions, which is essentially a debate about what many would call china's grand strategy. and there's a lot of debate about what that grand strategy is. so i want to pose to you a question that has three parts. so the first is tell us, first, what the contours of that debate about china's grand strategy look like. second, what are some sign posts that we should be looking for, particularly in the do mains and strategic competition that we're focusing on today, whether that's in economic and infrastructure development or security competition or the clash of values.
and third, picking up on some remarks that the assistant secretary made this morning, you know, he said the current trajectory of u.s.-china relations is really being he driven by president xi. so tell us a little bit about how he has zpl sure, thanks. tarun. the first question is basically about kbrand strategy pipts an abstract term. we all know what we mean when we use the term i think of it and many think of it as the coordination of multiple different instruments of state craft fop advance a an overarching strategic objective. the coordination is what makes it grand not just the objective, the coordination. because the coordination is extremely hard to pull off when the coordination is undertaken by a country with a 12 billion-dollar system economy. influence operations it has significant implications. that's what we mean by grand strategy. and why it is because it's pree slis it's hard to do and when you pl it off you can reshape
gloelk politics. there is a debate whether they have a grand strategy. you can divide the debate into two categories. one hand you have individuals say it doesn't have a grand strategy. i call them concept iks. on the other side you have people saying it does have a grand strategy or the believers. i'd say the believers, people bleefgt mchas a grand strategy have not attempted true persuasion and the concept iks are unpersuaded. why is that the case? we have a lot of works come out recently that china has a long-term plan. but a lot of the works don't get deep in the weeds. they're more kmerks works. more glib. not getting into chinese sources or looking at chinese behavior in a sowers way. on the other side people who don't think they have a grand strategy say it's too complicated we don't think china knows what it wants. they would say it doesn't have a clear decision making process making it easy for them oh glemt whatever they decide they want. that there is vested interests that corrupt the pursuit of national interests, that there
is nationalism which occasionally prevents china from pursuing a focus the set of object he was. i don't agree with all the objections. i think china has a grand strategy but that's the current debate. to answer what are the sign posts dhou do we know if they have a grand strategy? you look for three things. you look at how they think about strategy. that's grand strategic concepts. do fef they have a set of ideas about the ways ends and means to accomplish straelg theic object he was and look at capability. can they pull it off? it's hard to pull it off. do they have the ability to overvied parochial interests, et cetera? and finally you look at conduct. are they actually taking action concepts with what we think the concepts are? i think across all three that the answer is yes and hopefully i can get into weeds a bit later but i want to answer the question off the top level first. what would we expect to see if china had a grand strategy? one big debate is is it or its
focusly reamle or increasingly global in do they pursue regional domes nancy or displays the united states globally. it's kief to resolve and in any combined of empirical way. but insiding there is evidence that they are maybe thinking globally you see that in china russia security cooperation in the arctic, additional cooperation that takes on allies like japan and south korea. you see that in some of their global institutions. you see it in the discourse of party on global governance, the number one funded topic within the think tank system in china. there is all the circumstantial evidence suggesting they are seeing things in a global light. we should look additionally for what they do in the financial space. are they seeking to build parallel financial systems or undermine the u.s. dollar? last point quickly. how much is about president xi? in our past batch much of papers we answered this question all of this us coming to the same
conclusion popspy personal view and strong view and contested view if that president huh had a third term a lot of what we see now would continue. but it's not about president xi. a lot is rooted in actually the party and its vision of how global order should be arranged, how the regional system should be arranged what national rereowski looks like. >> cheng this is a great entry in your paper. you said in your paper that there is a -- put this way, there is is a debate as rush just described about xi's impact on foreign policy backup. but a broader debate about his standing within the chinese communist party. so on the one hand he is cleesly consolidated his power giving himself lifetime tenure, writing himself into the constitution. as you point in your paper supporting supporters' at the national and prove inks levels of leadership building a
populist brand and focusing on poverty alleviation and the development of megacities. but on the other side of in debate you also have analysts like richard mcgregor who focus on the backlash to xi's rule. help us better understand this debate. and including, you know, whether there are ways in which both elements of the debate could be correct? >> well, rich is a good friend of mine. and he is a very respected scholar on chinese politics. he wrote a fascinating book a while ago called the party. his new book talks about the backlash. i haven't looked at the new bock but i read his article in foreign affairs. i think it's a fair to say wsh i think richard probably agree with me, no one could hold a whole truce. the thing is not so much black and white, you know it's a little bit of -- the complicated rush may not like the word complicated.
and i think that we should avoid this kind of black and white. to a certain extent based on different perspective. the title of my article i borrow e.e. cummings, the term call the pro refwres. it's a combination of progress and regress. actually, i got this word when i visited shanghai at exhibition called shanghai annual, which was last year. i also was in that museum a few weeks ago. they use the title that is pro regress, to describe the ever changing world. just equivalent chinese term hardly used in chinese, you know, language, is the -- the term called yuvu, based on the
daoist -- aging daoist mysterious dance that a dance that seems like a moving forward. but it's simultaneously moving backward and vice versa. now, i think this is very important from different people's perspective we will get the different assessments about xi jinping. this is also relatewood a harvard professor robert putnam. he wrote about two decades ago so-called two levels of a chess games. you know, sometimes politicians, state leaders playing the game simultaneously domestic chess and international chess. it does not make sense that for like the one chess board make perfect sense you look at two chess boards. that's the dynamic we should look at. we which rush that xi jinping is a continuation with too much talk about the confusion changes
the chinese trajectory. it's not true. i think it's a continuation. he is backed to a certain extent by the entire leadership especially the top leadership. finally i think it's important to understand that the xi jinping is also constantly adjusting environment. it's the action, action process, for example, that he has been -- early on in his first term he was quite kind of a conservative towards market, accept the third plan and talking about market reform and after that johns. but recently he shifted back started from last november, there is six-points policy to promote the private sector. but of course he will continue to emphasize the state role and the so-called state capitalism, et cetera. all these things tell us that the -- did it's not just a simple like true or false. right or wrong.
of course there are some facts. but it's important to keep that we should also look at some other perspective beyond ourselves and be also aware there are a lot of dynamic things going op. this is my take about richard excellent argument. so for in china there is certain backlash. for some international can be, you know, communities also a backlash. but i mean not necessarily for africa, latin america, middle east, some of the people see one belt one road is the opportunity to promote their development. so, again different perspective with different assessment. it should not be surprise for us. but i think very, very important for our policy makers to appreciate that kind of different layers and simultaneously you see progress and regress in a case of xi jinping and to a certain extent in the case of china.
>> so, cheng, if we just be -- if we -- you do talk, though, about xi jinping's populist brand. and if we could play out a little bit in concrete ways thinking about some of the tensions in the u.s.-china relationship right now, the trade war, reaction to the protests in hong kong, the detention of uyghurs in kping jung and some of the report of the treatment of muslims in china may extend to the uyghur in northwest china too. how does the new brand of populism cha play out. >> certainly these are real challenges and problems. i don't want to underestimate these challenges. trade war since the first time hit chinese middle class. and as the country has a surplus usually where we hit mere especially china's steel -- put
a lot of emphasis on exports. but the interesting thing is xi jinping made some adjustment. in addition to what i said about the promote private sector development but also he played the card of eu and the uk and japan. there are a lack of economic development going on in the region. and also that china whether it's rumored or true that the u.s. power will stop the listing of chinese companies. but the china already prepare. they look at the science and technology stock market in market listing in thank high very quickly approve. these are all preparation to deal with the trade war. so that gave xi jinping some leverage. most importantly i certainly spent a lot of time in my article talk about also the contradictory move on one hand xi jinping is a populist. poverty elimination not poverty reduction. post-elimination is a promise. which continue statement
statemented with previous presidents. but xi jinping is lucky enough to announce that the by next year china uncle eliminate it. he also used the more policy kind of mechanism to dpemt use the new term position poverty elimination to announce hopefully the next year he can announce -- this makes him popular among the poor people but now he reach the middle class in the major cities. shanghai, beijing and gaungening. bay area and the z so three or four years almost none of the leaders top leaders party secretary and governor or mayors xi jinpings protege. but now majority of them are xi jinping protege. they are well positioned to carry out the delivery. on this trade front. now, as regard shinning jang.
we are very much interested in hong kong. these are big challenge. but the nationalism on the rise for example just to talk about hang cong. i think that chinese leader may not be as anxious as many of us here believe, because for chinese leadership why they should be too snevz? yes it's embarrassment. but now it sounds like they get used to that. because they certainly demonize the protesters, students. and blame united states, uk, west behind this protest. i want not my view but that's the most people in china certainly feel that probably there is it some evidence for that. and also if there is incompetents it's not becaming incompetents but the other leaders in power. timely they blame the business tycoons. these people in the market.
the pressure for beijing is very, very low if you look at these kind of things going on. of course they don't want to see that happening. but it's already happened. i think that they have the leverage whether right or wrong. at the moment i do not see these things will spread to china because xi jinping is backedly populism. nationalism and as earlier on mentioned about the national parade, certainly can see a tremendous discussion in china, talk about is china coming of amy mrj as global power. united states wants to put china down. that interpretation found more and more people believe. previously intellectuals especially pro u.s. sblg the certainly pro majority are still cynical. but some are persuaded that some people in the united states want to put china down. at this time they want to back kmi jinping and abthe leadership. that's the situation we enter. this is the way to answer the excellent question about the concern. >> i think well have everyone we'll want to weigh in on some
of hong kong and other locations as well. jimmie i want to turn to you on the work on the china legal development. most specialists are aware that the party sits atop the state in china. but the story you tell in your contribution to our series is that sund president xi the party control is consolidated and institutionalized in a fairly unprecedented way through law. and you argue that in some dimension is a legislate myselfing project for the party. but you warn that the party's heightened involvement in state government without legal accountability and continued to resort to extra legal mercies to deal with perceived enemies may undermine the stability much expectations of trust at home and abroad that the party needs to succeed. tell us why are we seeing this move now and why are we seeing it under president xi. >> thank you for the question.
and restating my thesis for me. i guess to start off with first is the continuity piece which everybody has been talking about. there is a lot of continuity under xi jinping in the legal area. primarily when xi jinping came in one of his first priorities was to elevate what he calls rule of law with socialist rule of law with chinese characteristics and ruling the country nornz with law or law based governance. he elevated the legal project for the a higher position. it's one of his four kprens he was. he devote devote add whole plenum to it as well. what we have seen under xi is a continuation of the the previous push to modernize the legal system to modernize rules based system to maintain economic development and maintain social stability. on the other hand what is new and i see as a shift under xi
jinping is an effort to then also legalize the status of the party. so the party is not registered under law. some people argue it always has had constitutional basis because the party is mentioned in the preamble of the state constitution which discusses the history of the prc, et cetera. but for most of the prc history, the party has not been mentioned specifically in the main body of the constitution. and this was one of the constitutional amendments that happened in march 2018 when they removed the term limits and also set up a new branch of government, the supervision commission to take on anti-corruption responsibilities. they wrote the party into the constitution. the parties' role in leadership to constitutionalize it. in addition there's been a push to right the write the party and the leadership role into more law and nationally applicable regulation. so friar o prior to xi's term the party was mentioned in
something called the legislation law from 2000. in 2005 actually they amended the company law that require that all companies, private, foreign invested, and state-owned have to establish and support party organizations. so that was already written in the company law. but under xi the party has begun to be written into of course the whole suite of nationally security related laws that they came out in xi's first term but also in state council regulations as well. it sort of raises the question, why is the party -- why do they feel they need to do in? the parties' leadership and as you note and as we know has always been asserted over everything but under! he made a big point and of asserting and making explicit the party leadership over everything, including law, and legal institutions. but again as rush was talking about and cheng as well, there is the words and then there is the reality and the practice.
s what i've also see -- and so in my area i began to watch this. i follow you know the state society interactions, et cetera. and i've begun to see the party writing itself into procedures for rule making. we always knew the party controls legislation. they control the national people's congress, control the state council. but again they felt it important to writ this actually into state law and make it very explicit. and beyond this they've been asserting or institutionalizing their role in state governance in a variety of other way that is i go into skrushiating detail in this paper. but if has to do with jointly issuing regulations with the state, the merge they're happened after the march 2018 national people's congress of several state entities into party entities, the epitome of all this is of course the establishment of in supervision
commission which was given constitutional status as a branch of government, given its own organic law, but in fact is just the state face of the parties' discipline inspection commission. you have a lot of the more now merged parties state parties dual facing but increasingly taking on state governance the activities? and why is this concerning, as you oint out? because the party even though they are trying to legalize their position they are not accountable under law. if the party jointly issue as regulation with the state council, if it's a state council regulation they have to go through notice and comment procedures. you know, the regulations are made public. people can go to court and sue to enforce them. if it's a party regulation, none of that applies. so the parties then removes the state functions outside the purview of the law such as it is. so that's one shift that i have seen, is this push. now on broader level it's sort of reflects and the argument has
been made that xi does recognize and appreciate the legislate mating power of law. that's why he elevated -- or the party is elevating law has a corner stone of the new governance strategy. we understand the fourth me plenum coming up is devoted to discussing modernization of the parties' governing capability and governance capacity. now, another thing, though, still disturbing, how how do you square the importance of law and the relevant system with this sort of extra legal extremist that we see the party dolling out to perceived enemies of the regime? in this it was going to me to focuses on the fact that there's been a per since of a old malice -- a concept of two contradictsens. you have non-antagonizistic. these should be handled in accordance with law. but then you have contradictsens
between the people and the enemy. and those contradictsens which threaten the stability of the party state, those then are handled outside through extra judicial and often extra legal coercive methods as well. and that's another concerning aspect of the parties' move. because this indicates of a kind of conditional attitude toward law. if you're deemed to be among the people and it's a normal contradictsen, then the normal legal system increasingly professional autonomous rules based, et cetera kicks in. but if you are perceived received an enemy then you are outside of that system. and all of in of course has implications for china's role in the world and dealing with actors both you know foreign companies operating in china but also china's activities overseas. it's not -- again, look at the words they are concerning.
i was trying to identify buy why does in party legalization project make me feel uncomfortable? i've tried to articulate it's partly because it removes us from the area of state governance and undermines in fact the whole legislate missization of the prel project that the party seems to be carrying on. but it it's important to see how it plays out in practice. i i endorse what colleagues said today when you look at china making policy, yes take the party asset at its word but then go beyond and shea how it's playing out in practice and try and analyze how in each situation in may impact us in our interests. >> just to take one example of how this does play out in practice, huawei has been in the news quite a bit. one of the arguments that has been -- that have been made is that well china actually have some data protection laws that may complicate efforts to secure
daytimet data fl hau wau service for example but your argument seems to suggest that as the party begins to eat state law and to think about in one way, those claims would seem to be become more and more hollow. would you agree with that or would you think about it differently? >> well, it's again a complicated situation. i think the huawei case is special. it has a military background, et cetera, et cetera. and it's everywhere in the world now. there is a great deal of interest and concern about tp but to back up again looking at facts on the ground it's very interesting to me to see that the party still doing a fairly light handed approach to the private sector. you know as cheng mentioned now again they've realized as the economy slows the china needs the private secretary are. they are the main source of gdp growth, job creation, innovation. and we have heard stories for example that, you know, the party state has to negotiate with the big tech companies to get access to their data. you know, how much, how much, in
what form, et cetera? which is very laroue to say uber negotiating with new york city before it went in in terms of what data they would have to turn over to the state as well. if you look at the party regulations and policies they do treat the private companies different from say a state-owned enterprise. for example, in the state owned enterprises there were a lot of news reports a couple years ago about the new requirement that the party have to want the write the parties committee's role into the s.o.e. -- the corporate charter, arms of association. and they were applying in also to the joint ventures between s.o.e.s and foreign companies as well. that was raising a lot of concerns about what exactly is the role of the party i mean trshlly they had a requirement whenever there is three or more party members in entity, whether law firm, company, ngo, you must -- the party members must form a party organization. but now they're taking this requirement and trying to
legalize and make it a legal requirement either as a matter of law or in this case the party -- i mean the corporate charter. they haven't imposed that same requirement on private companies. and although of course we know there is a big push for all the companies to set up party organizations, a much smaller percentage of private companies apparently do, et cetera. so clearly the party knows they're trying to -- while they really want to control them and get access to data and other -- and their innovations, and they also don't want the private sector to end up competing with the party state, they know they can't kill the golden goose. you see a very interesting dance going on here. when if comes to national security, though, i think this suite of national security laws which i mentioned, including counterintelligence and national security and the data, cybersecurity law et cetera where they've written the party into it, the national security card could trump it. but even in that case i think the party state would be careful
how they deploy it just like our government is. even know in our case you couldn't go to court to prevent the party from the access there to. it's a very complicated answer to your question. it's a complicated situation. >> audrye, let's come to you. you contributed a paper to the series earlier this year. and you're also writing a book about china's economic state craft and making the case that in somis places china is focused on subversion which you find as going around established political processes and institutions. and in other cases you see them engaged in what you call stakeholder cultivation where they go through the institutions and processes. tell us why do you see different tactics in different place sns and how is this playing out through china's belt and road initiate disbelieve sure. so. >> sure i think in terms of state kraft. can china used the strategy of subversive tense. probabilities to circumvent.
institutional approval procedures. and often use of corruption. and i think in terms of the belt and road this is generalities significant public and predictle backlash. we see political incumbent losing office in countries seeing a strategically important for china in the vi the achlt p malusi maldives. corrupt infrastructure from china. and this is important because it means that we're sees resistance to china's belt and road initiative across a range of developing countries. even those who have the perhaps imperfect democrat processes. and the backlash also produced a demonstration effect in which we see elites and public in different countries becoming more skeptical and wary of accepting chinese investments and chinese financing and think -- and being more wary about chinese intentions. and so this overall created a
bad reputation for the belt and road initiative in the last couple years. and dsh this means that the china has not been widely successful in its purported political intentions of having a very ambitious goal of trying to buy over -- buy over -- buy political influence using economic tools. at the same time, china's also learning. in my conversations in china miep interlocutor resist have acknowledged some mistake china made. and the need for better public diplomacy, cooperation and adhereens to institutional processes and standards, respecting regulations in receiving countries. and we see this learning rhetorically as well in practice. in terms of rhetoric we see a rebranding of belt and road initiative. china recently recent years has tried to -- has announced plans to curb corruption, implement better monitoring of overseas
investment projects and second belt and road forum in april, this year, china's leaders also went beyond the usual rhetoric of win ip cooperation. to importance kraging down on corruption, proven transparency and working with other developed countries and multilateral institutions. and investment financing infrastructure development. and in practice, in the context of certain bilateral relationships we see the chinese government and actors also pressured to adjust the strategy. in malaysia, for example, we have seen huge controversy over over the east coast rail link where the major project was suspended under the newly absentinged government after the elections last year. china underwent a renegotiation process where the same railroad project is now moving forward with improved terms for malaysia. reduced scale and cost something that makes sense for malaysia's
economy as well. and in the example as in myanmar, where again the government renegotiated a port contract with the help of the u.s. state department and leaders have publicly stated the importance of having brn, chinese investment be able to win over the support of the local people and local populations and what are the implications perhaps for how u.s. and countries should think about china's belt and road initiative? i think first china hasn't been as effective as buying political influence. i've seen a lot of skepticism about bri. and so in erms it of if you are thinking about bri as the increase the prominence of gain good will around the world for mcthat hasn't succeeded as of now. and so for the u.s., i think it's really important to think about economic state craft as a component of grand strategy not just in terms of how china
operates but how the u.s. should respond and the international order today we see increasing importance of economic and non-military tools and the efforts to gain -- and geopolitical competition, efforts to gain political nuns. so we need a more comprehensive and strategic way of thinking about integrating national security and economic bureaucracies and thinking of this -- thinking about the security of economic activity. >> tell us more what would the comprehensive approach look like? and rush you have written about how the u.s. should respond to belt and road as well. perhaps you could join in as well. >> sure. >> sure, well i think the u.s. by and large in terms of national security strategy has had tended to favor think about military options. i think that's a very important tool. but i think there needs to be better coordination across different bureaucracies in the united states government to
thinking about, for example, the u.s. state department organized by geographic regions but i think if you want to think about understand the belt and road initiative and efforts at economic strait craft we need to overcome to the bro bureaucratic stai lows and look at mc's approach and strategy in different regions of the world at the same time. >> sure let me say a few things about belt and road quickly. this is a great example of continuity. i think in chinese strategy. and i say that because although the bet and road was announced by xi jinping there was a 2009 speech by president hu where we adjusted the strategic giends where he adjusted the grand strategy strategy. proposed interoperable network infrastructure and tying countries to china. that's in his speech in 2009 many years before the belt and road was announced. that that in turn was preceded which mc's going out initiative making to soe excessive interpretationly invest in infrastructure, et cetera.
there is a longer term history to some of the efforts that was only formallily institutionalized and elevated under president xi. why do i mention that? i mention that because that means that this is something that is not completely about branding. it's not completely random. it's not completery about vested interests. there is average laer rationale that's been there a republican time and explicit mri zribld in key party documents. when people say the belt and road is kparm of failed grand strategy or incoherence and backlashes is that they are facing challenges. i say two things they see it as something they've been doing a long time. and second i would argue that there is a belief in china but also outside of china that the belt and road is actually quite resilient. we've heard about backlash sri lanka, malusi. take sri lanka, the case where china had to turn over a port. or sri lanka had to turn over a port to china. sri lanka swent back for for a $1.0 billion loan for from mcfor
highway construction. audrye mentioned the cases where mcwas dapable. malszia, myanmar renegotiated terms. nepal there was one political group omnibused to some infrastructure groups. and and other group won. they restarted the probability and pushed forward a new rail line connecting nepal to china. there are examples of where it's sort of the resistance to belt and road is on display. the reason i ms. henning that for u.s. policy is because the belt and road is more resilient than we thought it's not enough to wait for it to collapse under its wait weights the u.s. thoos provide alternatives that's something the united states is doing. opec is a part of that. other countries are cooperating with the united states. that's part one. but part two this goes again to what audrye was talking about is making sure that people are aware of the problem that is belt and road has with respect to governance. so there are extensive examples of some of the s.o.e.s from china involved well documented examples all the way from latin
america and ecuador all the way to pakistan, to parts of africa where vice president's children in some countries were getting payoffs to sri lanka. and to sri lanka with payoffs to direct family. on and on it goes. when that information comes out it can shape the politics of the countries. the question is will it come out? there is the informational kpoel li component to combatting the belt and road which is asmrkle. i shouldn't say combatting because it's not bad. lots can be good all of the infrastructure is needed but it should be done in ways consistent with standards for governance a and consistent with strategic maneuver ability for the countries. and the tweaks to the require u.s. alternative and better informational strategies. >> cheng. >> i will add a fau things based on that. we need to ask whether china as a region the power and increasing global power has its own legitimate national interest
to develop and belt and road nishltive, number one. number two, and see predetermined on the chinese leadership power. particularly xi's party try to use the belt to undermine or challenge or kick u.s. out of thes asia region? is that the predetermined evil plan? certainly i'm cynical about that but it's possible if our policy continue to contain china it will be like this. but ultimately it depends how we look at international system and world view. and finally, whether china could improve belt and road because all the problem challenges. my answer is yes and that it can continue. i think this is the three things i just add to the discussion by my colleagues. >> jamie wants to come back in. >> from a legal point of view everybody is studying belt and road. it's the full employment initiative for the world these days. i look at it from the legal and
governance point of view. and a couple of things. one the problems they run into initially too i don't think is because china had this plan to go out there and subvert established procedures and engage in corruption, et cetera. it's a very messy non-institutionalized project. a lot of what the pressure on china now is to try and impose more institutionalization on it. and at the belt and road for number april there was an intent to start talking about having a clean bri as well as a green bri. transparency is a hunl issue. from the point of view of of american companies engineering consultants, even our lawyers, they would like tosz an open procurement system put in place. there is a lot of pressure. we could partner with the eu also putting resign pressure on china to open up the procurement on all levels as well. so i think in addition to having counterstrategies i we should,
we ought to find ways to support and cooperate sometimes often with our other allies but also directly with china on making the belt and road really be a much better initiative. >> i'll just jump back in by saying the belt and road isn't always bad. and there are ways it can be leveraged to do good things for the rest the of the reason appear that's important. but the belt and road is also not one thing. it's many different projects ant appropriate end of analysis is not the overall program it's the specific prompts. if you look at specific projects, many of them long preside the announcement of belt and road. some of those projects, including in sri lanka, and the ones in myanmar and the ones in bangladesh. and in pakistan are about a particular kind of strategy, a belief that certain ports have a lot of value, that belief is not uniquely chinese. every power aspired to indian ocean influence dating back to the partingings recognize that
matters. and you find extensive chinese investment. don't take my word for it take the head of the state oceanic kmrpgs who yoet in a paper and said in a speech twice that he thought those ports could be useful access opportunities for the people's liberation army. that's an official source. the president xi jinping talked about the militarization of the belt and road. there is a discourse seeing it as good for agia. and it's a public good. the chinese talk about a public good. take them at their word on some of projects. but some of the project not the roads in vile but ports in other cases some of projects have strategic rationale. it's important not to paint to with too broad a stroke. xi jinping talks about the brush strokes. he says in the first phase of the project. he is now in the second face are phase that didn't happen at the second forum that was announced the year before the belt and road forum in the fifth anniversary of the belt and road in 2018. in that speech he says time to face two -- what was phase two going to be in phase one we
focused on big brush strokes, big probabilities. phase two is smaller. as jamie mentioned fwreener, leaner, cleaner. more likely to directly benefit individuals and easier to talk about in whiches less controversial. to jamie's point problems with belt and road aren't always a nefarious chinese plan. many are development to the nature of doing financing abroad. some are endemic to the chinese political economy, which is different. both have to be taken into account. the point is the belt and road is changing, adaptable. and much is good but we have to focus on the areas of the specific strategic challenge. >> how much should we be concerned about the convergence of the export of surveillance technology and belt and road? david dahler mentioned the sbabia project focused on facial recognition. how much is this intertwined. >> i think there is a big component of the belt and road talked about the digital belt and road, the silicon component to it. i don't know that china is
explicitly deliberately exporting its system. i don't quite buy that. i don't think it has a reason to do that. i'm not sure there are buyers for it it's hard it pull off. i think the way it works it is more implicit. tourn you wrote about some of this as well. i should plug our moderators paper on the subject, suggesting that some of the ways thiskind of dissemination of china's system will take place will be through channels not always evangelical. >> you away is actually involved in helping one country censor its internet that's useful for the country. buttis not because china wants to make the world more ill liberal. it's because of opportunity there. there are other ways in which seen china export facial recognition college to sbab. it's hard to pull off. a long time before they get there. but it's important to watch the space. this is a key question will the rise of china to global power status, peer competitor to the
united states mean that liberal values will be attenuated or persist? and the question is not knowable right now. it's something we see. to my colleague's point, something we can shape with good cooperative policy. >> audrye. >> sure, just on a couple of points. i completely agree bri is messy project. involving a broad range of actors with competing interests. and i think that has -- dsh but because i think for a lot of audiences outside of china they see chinese firms acting as eighths of the chinese state. whether that's true or not i think this feeds the way china officer offers inducements often corrupt. that give view into chinese intentions and what they are trying to achieve and effects china could have on domestic political processes in the receiving countries. and feeding on the points about u.s. providing alternative i think that's important. working with allies protoning multilateral institutions to provide alternative for 1990s
because it's not credible for the united states to criticize a lot of dsh did dsh the dwefrmg or receiving dwelts to say you can't take chinese money. but that's not credible if you're not providing alternatives. and injury but at the same time i think it's hard for completely peer competition in chinese financing because of the ability to chinese state to martial resources there are cost effective ways to not only working with allies and multilateral strougss but reforming and stream lining processes of approval with multilateral sources. that would be alternative to financing. and one way to the u.s. to share technical sporns fop know how to receiving countries so that they on the ground both the elites in the government as well as public opinion are more aware what's going on with the kinds of investments that china offers and i think that's a cost effective strategy of, you know, ensuring that -- publicing china
to ensure it adheres to governance standards. >> let's open it up to questions of the audience. scarlet has the mic. let's start here with in gentleman in the fourth row. let's take both the questions in the fourth row together. >> i'm peter humphrey, intel analyst and former diplomat. i look at china's military build up in particular. and marvel at it because nobody is thinking about attacking china. and so the purpose of the military build up is nothing more than supporting the communist party. and when you look at mc's grand steak strategy, isn't it really just making the world safe for autocracy? because the more auto kratz there are the better the chances the party can survive against democrat pressures? >> and if you are -- our photographer asked if you wouldn't mind standing when you ask questions so we can capture. >> you mikemy settic pbs news
line hour. >> how much much in is driven by internal dynamics versus assessment of the vulnerabilities and strengths of other countries? in other words, do the chinese look right now on what's going on in washington as a short-term gift or part of a longer narrative and atlantof decline withdrawal? and to what extent in the leadership is there serious discussion and debate about the long-term strength and weaknesses of countries like the zbluns two great questions about the chinese grand strategy. >> i'll start. on the military question i don't think the purpose of the military moerndization over what i would say the last 30 years has been primarily about just the party itself. the first phase of military modernization -- let's go back. 1980s the mcwas thinking about
building the platforms that would be in important in winning a conflict with its neighbors in the south china sea for example. they were thinking more about aircraft ka carriers for example there were books showing in the mid-80s the full structure they were dreaming of in the year 2000. it didn't happen. it didn't because of three years. 1989, 1990, 1991. '89 tiananmen the gulf war. 1991 the continued disillusion of the soviet union and a larger satellite states. those three led them thoink the united states was the primary adversary and the method of wore rowe war would be based on with what they saw in the gulf war. that meant not baying vulnerable platforms like surface vessels and large quantities or aircraft carry ys but instead asymmetric capabilities not because they wanted territory but because they wanted the deny of the ability to have veen in the region that gives rise to what he with he ante the axis areas. but many capabilities were again not useful for taking anything. they were useful for denying things. that changes.
in the last 15 years we have seen a shift away from that asymmetric strategy to what you skaul more symmetric. building and acquiring the platforms they delayed. aircraft carriers, surface vessels, amphibious platform vehicles, right? l the p. d.s for example they want to use to actually take and hold territory to be able to use in amphibious operation. that's a change from defensive you could think of more defensive strategy to more offensive not because they want to conquer the world but because they equities and important national interests close to home. that's hopefully an answer useful on the military side. on the grand steak side. i think that question was really very useful. how much of chinese grand strategy is exterminally driven versus internally? that's a key question. i happen to believe that a lot of chinese grand strategy is externally driven. a lot of domestic behavior and politics website might be more domestically driven. but key strategic projects i think are more externally driven. i say that for a few reasons. one is and we talked about the
party sits above the state pen traits every level of the state. and together that means it has the ability to override parochial interests. for example, when going back to the military case, the navy and li wau chinning was heavy on aircraft contrary questioner. he is on the standing committee. but he was shot down time and time again because it wasn't the time rietmann tor aircraftier they did. that's the example of pursuing parochial interests for a larger grand strategy. the second reap. people talk about nationalism and public opinion being a powerful force in constrange. it retained ability to arrest national i was when they are out of line. there is that. there is not the clear path that domestic politics can work. the last question was about how much of it is shaped by the external factor sns here is the case for what external factors matter. i think the primary factor that drives chinese grand strategy is
assessment of the united states because the united states is the biggest challenge to its core interests and the most important release for economic development. it is the thousand pound gorilla has to pay attention to the united states that's been true a long time opinion. en a the way that china strategy changes -- because strategy is tough to jaufrt like an oil tanker hard to u-turn. but the way it happens for strategy. that's where the metaphor breaks down is when there is a sharp discontinuous changing perception of the united states. when has that happened? 1989 from quasi allies during the acquire cold war to quasi adversaries 2009, the financial crisis chr went from rink ink thinking the united states was extraordinarily powerful to recognize it has weaknesses. and now potentially 2016 to 2018 where we see that the election of president trump brexit and the crisis of the west in western democracy z and liberalism suggest that is again the u.s. is less threatening and maybe there is opportunity for more am goldfishes bishs global agenda. none of it is bullet proof or
air tight. but this is how i see it right now. and i'm also writing a book making the argument more clearly. >> well i see this two questions really linked together. for the military one china now has money. and they want to spend money in the military. and you look at china's map from the that perspective, they can see a lot of flash spots. not only talking about the northern part of china but also look at the coast, north korea, core korean peninsula. east china sea and south china sea, particularly the taiwan issue that's very much in chinese visual mind. this goes to your excellent question about the -- which part is more important. i will say they are linked but at the same time i think domestic concern -- internal concern is probably the primary driver because without which the other one for top leadership
becomes irrelevant. because you do need to consolidate your power for your very survival or success. it's larnlly determined whether you can defend the so-called china national interest. any leader would be in big trouble if you see taiwan dins dependence or china has been too soft with the united states. that's the -- you know the dahms we -- we get involved. so of course this is sometimes in certain issue areas it's different picture. but also that because of mcbecoming powerful, because china does bring in the foreign market and foreign resources that the military is also -- is part of that process. and but of course this is also reaction dynamic spiral. sometimes we also feel that our united states our interests our global power is weakened by china's challenge, especially's
china military budget increasing dramatically in the coming years. that's the period we are entering. in many ways it's a very, very dangerous that we enter. >> and just to come back to one -- the last part of the question is, what is the debate look like about how to take advantage of this moment where in the united states we have a lot of domestic turmoil, there is a crisis of confidence in democratic capitalism? how would you describe that debate right now? >> let me -- i think it's an excellent question. i think that the -- our country probably will experience a lot of vicious infightings. and i -- actually my expertise about chinese politics particularly affecting politics i do not see at the moment thats in a vicious power struggle going on. i think under the pressure china has a tendency united together does not mean that they have disagreements or different views. they have the potential, you know kind of powerful aspiration.
but at the moment they were united together. we enter this kind of dynamic. so i think as american we do need to think about the challenge for us and chinese nationalism on rise. our nationalism also on the rise. but that can clash if our leadership is, you know, continues like remain that kind of things. we enter the election season but china take advantage of this will accelerate some of the programs and so that will be the to china's advantage. >> sure i'll jump in real quickly. i completely agree with everything that cheng li said. it's true the exterm and internal dimensions are linked. and the key questions whether for whether or not china is able to accomplish external the object he was the reason it's relevant is for internal object he was. if you fail on taiwan, the stakes are existential. because of those stakes, though, i see a disproportionate focuses on foreign policy on the ups united states. i'll make it a little bit more tangible and concrete.
we have all heard about the frieze high capabilities buy time. this phrase. in many chinese documents that phrase is always tied to china's perception of what they call international balance of power. or the -- and that linkage is about the united states. that's a textual linkage you see. that doesn't mean the chinese leader is not thinking about internal politics and waltrip this they hughes taiwan the rival outmaneuvers. it just means thinking about text ernl connections the united states is the primary variable pan that links to tourn's question how do they bumping about think about the whemt moment when the west is struggle and if any linked the grand strategy to perceptions of the united states what does that mean right now? i don't have a good answer. i don't have -- i don't have compelling evidence one way or the other because we don't vermont documents. but what i have seen is a few things. one mts as i mentioned there is an emphasis on global government in think tanks.
greater funding for that as priority of of the leadership that's something people talk about in the chinese system and we see more research along those lines. second we're probably -- we're seeing interesting phrases in certain party documents. xi jinping used in one phrase a number of times which is a once in a century opportunity. including in his discussion of belt and road. i haven't been able to completely unpack what creates that once in a century opportunity but there is indication among he could secondary commentary that it's relatesed to the united states. and finally the assessment of the international system and in 19th congress report and other documents. it's more positive for china. there is more inability? the balance of power and opportunity as well. on global governance especially we see far more references in those documents than we did under president hu. that's an interesting shift from president hu. >> two more. yeah. >> this gentleman here. and then here. yes snp.
>> thank you. chinese news agency of hong kong. several weapons were displayed in today's beijing military parade, such as dong fong 17, donningening fong 5 b and dong fong 41. what kinds of message would you like to read from this kinds of display? for mr. rush and mr. cheng li. >> okay and then this gentleman as well. >> thank you. distinguished panelists for come here today. my name is jim roshel from policy bot using machine learning to anltz two had computation alpolicy intelligence. my question for you guys today is about how brookings is analyzing global -- china- how china is using the global
influence to -- on the -- on the digital platform to influence other countries? for example, the way in the liberal western democracy how we use digital platform is now increasingly to disinformant dis -- to disorder how we think about who who how do we vote. but in the authoritarian countries like chinese they use censorships on the dlnl platform to influence people how people think, so quite recently dr. howard phillip from the oi. oxford institute the internet institute has published a article on how china is using digital means to influence the image of hong kong protests in the western world. so for the first time you have in propaganda computation alpropaganda. my question for the brookings
institute researchers are how are you analyzing that at the moment? >> okay. >> so on the military parade, i thought he were you were going to ask me which was my favorite donning pg fong missile. i don't have a favorite they're so hard to choose from helm i remember the question very well. and on the -- just a small joke. on the message, i didn't think of it as that -- maybe this is contrarian perspective i wasn't worried i didn't think there was a strong message. the military parades rpt new in the prc. he much granted they had more missiles they have more missiles than it did in the past. i didn't think of the message. if there was a message sent i don't think it was particularly concerning. and i didn't view the parade with undue concern. i thought it was fine if that's what they wanted to do and display the military technology. that's fine. i'm more concerned about what happens within region or what the capabilities can do.
but with he know that they exist. the parade is irrelevant. the other question was about data. under the our china -- our china work under cheng li is increasingly taking chinese documents and dij advertising them and putting them in a data set and using putting them in a data set and sort of using that data sent to do quantitative analysis. some of the stuff i talked to you today comes from the digitation of documents. and to get traction on authoritarian questions. >> let me ask, how many people watch live broadcasting, tv coverage, about parade? you can see, not many. so it's not symmetrical, the information. you know, i assume that in china, you know, so many people watch and show china's muscle. china's coming of age. maritime organization. but in this country, first, it's not well informed, but here,
this is not my point. my point is as just said, if we, united states and china, engage in war, this is a war, there will be no winner. we should not be considered to fight if there is no winner. so i think that assistant secretary early on in his keynote speech, he did talk about u.s./china despite all these tensions. we still need to cooperate with each other. we still need dialogue. it's very, very important. i think that in modern warfare, you have no idea how it will be fought and what timeframe. it's even not like -- certainly not like a -- i mean, this is 2,000 years ago, i mean, you know, in greece. athens. now we have economic revitalization, nuclear weapon, 5g we have artificial intelligence. we have a lot of things unknown.
so, i mean, again, we should avoid basically looking at a 21st-century world used with a 20th century, 19th century mindset. that's the fight. aga again, it's not so much military strengths, per se, but rather should find a way to prevent this from happening. i also see from this audience, i mean, it's really very few people watch it, i mean, so they gave us perspective. we do need to communicate much, much better through dialogue. this is also related with the iss issues, about the trade negotiation that the vice premier liu ha is coming to down in a matter of few days.
on the one hand, the chaina isse isn't as important as tech war, certainly as the security issues but the same time, united states and china should continue to engage economically. if we do not do that, there's not much left. so think about that kind of things. so i perceive that way. so we do need to continue to promote a cooperation with educational culture, certainly we have a lot of tensions. your questions certainly raise that about different ideology, different political system and different methods. now, sounds like i'm protecting china, but actually i'm quite critical about a lot of things going on in china, in the media censorship, the legal system in many ways, there's a lot of cynicism within china, probably even stronger from outside world. and my friend, a leadi ining scholar, law professor, i actually published a book of him a few years ago. now he's completely censor forever. right? but at the same time, i did a
research about a chinese legal profession, marlparticularly focusing on shanghai because my book is about shanghai. i looked at the top ten private legal firms. i found like half of these partners, actually, more than half, top law firms, are western educated. and they come from the elite schools. harvard, columbia, stanford and duke law school, berkeley. name it. but also interestingly, 70%, 75%, i should say, those partners that actually got, passed the new york bar exam. 75% of western american-trained lawyers that work in china. that provide you some hope. at least on the economic front. eventually, you know, can spread. so that's the dynamic we should see. it's, again, a paradox. on the one hand, the legal profession is not contained but at the same time, you see dynamic changes in society and even in the legal process. also xi jinping, himself, is
also contradiction. actually under his watch, he devoted a one-party plan on reform, but there's backlash, as richard said, particularly the term limits. so, again, that perspective. >> i don't know if you have a view on this, the social media question, more broadly on political influence, how much do you see efforts to kind of shape public opinion on chinese engagement with china economically as an element of china's statecraft? is that something we should expect to see more of? >> sure, i think china ramped up its efforts. i was in malaysia this summer, people were telling me, oh, we see these videos of, you know, a malay woman, malay lady and chinese lady singing together, chinese and malay, the benefits
of cooperation, how good relations can bring benefits to all parties. i think china's realizing it really needs to work more on that and improve its image. whether that's going be fairly successful will have to go hand in hand with how china actually in practice conducts incidents. >> to the point about what brookings is doing, i think you'll see more about this in the forthcoming set of papers on east asia, there will be discussion in the context of hong kong and taiwan as well. two time questions. yes. one here. >> thank you. i'm sure we've all heard the phrase, "let a thousand flowers bloom." that phrase comes to mind as i listen to you this afternoon. the question i have is to what extent is the chinese culture embedded in the design and implementation of economic statecraft, and what would be
those aspect of culture that we could identify as specifically affecting how these policy initiatives emerge? >> one final question in the back corner. yeah, in the very back. yeah. >> thank you. thank you for your time. you mentioned a lot about the grand strategy. i wanted to ask specifically about the economic grand strategy. as we see china -- made in china 2025 and things like that, are creating a lot of decoupling between the u.s. and china and economic terms. i think dr. li touched a bit on this but one of the main reasons we say u.s. and china would not have a conflict is because of the economic benefits that we both gain. so as we see more decoupling happening, what are some of the main things we can do to bring u.s. and china together
especially when there's a lot of amplifying on issues like south china sea and other things that bring a lot of tensions? >> all right. culture and decoupling. we have two minutes. why don't we start with cheng and go back down the row? >> as i observed national leadership no longer use the term, made in china 2025. they realize it's really kind of an embarrassment if you want this industrial, china occupies 70%, 80%, 90%, how does it work to business? so that makes china be sensitive in this area. but does not mean that china will abandon the industrial policies. for the broader strategic, cooperations in other areas, kind of spills over. with those things going on, i think we will see some opportunity for american company, you know, market access, intellectual property
rights and early on, my, you know, my views about legal professions is real. i say can we publish a little more -- these kind of western-trained lawyers will probably play an important role in legal development, respective role, economic front and yornbe. this is why i think the economic cooperation should continue and create a moment. now the culture things, i don't want to comment to much because for so long, particularly in the first 30 years of prc, chinese economy not really doing well so that tells you it's not just about culture. sometimes political system, government policy, entrepreneurship, et cetera, all important, especially when china open up, then you really see later on, you see the economic miracle. so it's a relatively speaking less to do with culture. so i will not emphasize too much on that regard.
>> so i'll just say i worried about law, too, in talking about cooperation and keeping the doors open. china still looks to the u.s. also as one of the primary grounds of experience and law when they're thinking about reforming the legal system. people don't realize because of the reporting what the judicial reforms that the have gone on under xi jinping, for example, and the areas i work in, open government, adopt notice and comment rulemakeing from basically us as well as ideas of transparency. they have a freedom of information act, which, again, they sent people here to study and continued to look at our experience with it, too. xi jinping speaks against western-style constitutionalism, you know, judicial independence, et cetera, but he wants everybody to continue to learn the beneficial experience from the west and it is still true they look primarily to the u.s. because we still have the most dynamic economy and they look to our negative experience as well as the positive one. so i also have seen the normal
legal system continue to progress both in terms of substantive laws, you know, anti-domestic violence, sexual harassment has begun to be explored now even though politically it's still sensitive in china. a whole range of issues. mental health. et cetera. they continue to look to us as well as, you know, europe and other countries, too. so i would hope not just the western-trained lawyers but at many levels, the judges, the prosecutors, the police. we brought police from china, the public security people, to meet with counterparts at seminars in florida, for example, to discuss how do you handle domestic violence issues et cetera? all of this kind of exchange continues today and i would hope it doesn't cease. this talk of decoupling is very concerning on many, many levels, but certainly in the legal area as well, even though there are a lot of contradictions in china and a lot of things we care
about, are very concerned about, there's still a lot of progress and development going on. it's not a finished story yet. >> i just want to echo both those points. i completely agree. it would be a real shame if we saw less interaction, people-to-people exchange, and especially exchange in legal areas between united states and china as competition intensifies. it's an american and chinese interest. we have a colleague, jamie and i have a colleague, who works on some of the issues relating -- we've had people from china who work on issues related to gender discrimination and law. there's a lot of interest at high levels of the party on getting that issue right for the and they're learning from the united states. so there are areas where we can cooperate and advance values we have in china. on the main china 2025 question, i never thought the initiative was important, but i thought it got more attention than it deserved because so much of what was happening in that initiative
happened way before that. tech transferred through investment vehicles, through theft, cyber espionage, through students sometimes. a lot of that was longstanding. that was a particularly poor branding choice by china because it sort of gave a coherent target for all of it. as cheng li mentioned, it's no longer visible. a think tank has done a quantitative analysis showing it disappeared from china. just gone. which tells you that they kind of realized they messed up. it's not out there. the point you raised about decoupling remains serious. that would be a shame in some ways, but it's inevitable. on the cultural point, i very much agree with my colleagues. i'm not an expert on the implications of culture for economics. i think institutions matter a lot more so i didn't want to get too far into it. but others hopefully can give you more information. there's a rich discourse on how you can quantify certain aspects of culture that can be used
for -- >> yeah, maybe, ma'am. >> sure. definitely echo the sentiments on promoting economic cooperation, interdependence. i think efforts to weaponize independence on the part of the united states is going to excel the divergence between the united states and the trajectory of the two economies and two political systems. culture, i don't work in culture specifically. if you think about economic statecraft, this is not a cultural argument by any means but i think the way china's conducted its overseas economic activities does reflect to an ex-tempt as mentioned earlier about the political economy and state market relations and state and state business relations and chinese relates proclivity to use government-to-government re relations. this is a reflection of the political system and institutions and it's not a culturalist argument.
i guess we could see some trends in how china is conducting china's statecraft. >> one final plug in addition to paper, please also look out for a podcast series that's hosted by our lindsay ford every day. she's putting out a new one with some authors in the group of papers. i hope you'll stay tuned for more events. more papers in the series. thank you for being here, and see you again soon.
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