Over the last two decades, China has become more engaged internationally, including in conflict zones and fragile states of strategic interest to the United States. From civil wars in neighboring countries, such as Afghanistan and Burma, to more distant conflicts in Africa, China has a substantial influence on local, regional, and international efforts to reduce violent conflict. Meanwhile, a shifting international order and the return of competition among powerful states has raised the potential for geopolitical rivalries to exacerbate conflicts—or, with the right frameworks, serve as areas of constructive cooperation between Washington and Beijing.

Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on The Current Situation in China.

Featured  Publications

China’s Security Force Posture in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia

China’s Security Force Posture in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

By: John Bradford

China’s geo-economic influence is empowering the expansion of its security force posture in the Lower Mekong region, which should be of concern to both maritime Southeast Asia and the United States. While Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia—the geographic core of mainland Southeast Asia—are demonstrating resilience and sustaining some strategic autonomy, several trends indicate that their options may be increasingly limited. This report looks at China’s security force posture in these nations, the possible ramifications of that posture, and considerations for balancing U.S. policy and outreach. 

Type: Special Report

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

U.S. Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing Olympics: No Longer 'Business as Usual'

U.S. Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing Olympics: No Longer 'Business as Usual'

Thursday, December 9, 2021

By: Lauren Baillie;  Mirna Galic;  Rachel Vandenbrink

On Monday the Biden administration announced it would not send an official United States delegation to the Beijing Winter Olympic Games as a statement against China's "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang," as well as other human rights abuses such as in Hong Kong. U.S. athletes will still be allowed to compete in the Games, which start in February. USIP’s Lauren Baillie, Mirna Galic and Rachel Vandenbrink discuss the rationale behind the decision, how the boycott fits into the U.S. strategy surrounding the Uyghur crisis and how China and U.S. allies are responding.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyHuman Rights

Neither Summit, nor Sidebar: Assessing the Biden-Xi ‘Virtual Meeting’

Neither Summit, nor Sidebar: Assessing the Biden-Xi ‘Virtual Meeting’

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

By: Carla Freeman, Ph.D.;  Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.;  Jennifer Staats, Ph.D.

To address growing tensions between the United States and China, particularly over Taiwan, President Joe Biden and General Secretary Xi Jinping met virtually on Monday night (Tuesday morning in Beijing) for a three-hour discussion that covered a wide array of contentious issues. Both sides downplayed expectations for the session beforehand and have been relatively subdued albeit somewhat positive in their respective post-meeting statements and spins. Less formal than a summit and more structured than a sidebar, what if anything did the extended virtual top-level bilateral discussion achieve?

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

View All

Current  Projects

China Senior Study Group

China Senior Study Group

Over the last decade, China has become more engaged internationally, including in conflict zones and fragile states of strategic interest to the United States. From civil wars in neighboring countries, such as Afghanistan and Myanmar, to more distant conflicts in Africa, China is becoming an increasingly important player in regional and international efforts to mitigate conflict. In countries where China exerts a strong influence, its engagement can have a substantial impact on local and international efforts to curb violence and extremism.

View All