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Foreign Policy

It may be politically risky for Xi to engage with President Biden without certainty that he can get something from Biden. He may calculate that it is safer to only have interactions in this period at lower levels. But there is also the Covid factor, and we don’t know how much weight to attach to that.

There is a shared understanding that we need to strengthen deterrence and actually be prepared to fight a conflict if one occurs. It reflects growing concern about Chinese military capabilities and intentions.

Beijing will be happy to dangle promises and engage in talks on the BRI and CPEC extensions, but will not move ahead with anything on the ground until they are confident of political and security conditions.

Democratic Decline

China is now seeing all of this as intertwined and part of a more adverse shift in the Pakistan and Afghanistan context.

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