Over the last decade, China has become more engaged internationally, including in conflict zones and fragile states of strategic interest to the United States. The U.S. Institute of Peace convened a series of bipartisan Senior Study Groups (SSGs) to examine China’s influence on conflict dynamics around the world. This report, the third in the SSG series, examines China’s presence and impact in the Red Sea arena—with a focus on the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #ChinaRedSea.

On April 28, USIP hosted members of the SSG for an in-depth look at this report, featuring discussions on how China’s growing presence has brought infrastructure and economic opportunities to the region, while raising concerns about the sustainability, transparency, and long-term impacts of its engagement on countries in the Horn and the Gulf. The panel discussed recommendations advanced in the report on how Washington should respond to Beijing’s growing economic, diplomatic, and military footprint in the Red Sea arena, and address possibilities for cooperation in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic in the region.


Jennifer Staats, introductory remarks
Director of East and Southeast Asia Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace
Johnnie Carsonintroductory remarks
Senior Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace
Member, USIP China-Red Sea Senior Study Group; Member, USIP Peace and Security in the Red Sea Senior Study Group

Susan Thorntonmoderator
Senior Fellow, Paul Tsai China Center, Yale Law School; Co-Chair, USIP China-Red Sea Senior Study Group

Deborah Brautigam
Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of Political Economy and Director of the China Africa Research Initiative, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies; Member, USIP China-Red Sea Senior Study Group
Patricia Kim
Senior Policy Analyst, China Program, U.S. Institute of Peace; Project Director, USIP China-Red Sea Senior Study Group
Maria Repnikova
Assistant Professor, Georgia State University; Member, USIP China-Red Sea Senior Study Group
David Shinn
Adjunct Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University; Member, USIP China-Red Sea Senior Study Group

Joel Wuthnow
Research Fellow, Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs, U.S. National Defense University; Member, USIP China-Red Sea Senior Study Group

Payton Knopf
Advisor to Africa Program, U.S. Institute of Peace

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