- The growth of China over the past five years has been nothing short of extraordinary.
- Whether any of the activities China took with respect to the COVID outbreak were malign or not, the actions and decisions they made negatively impacted the world.
- Post-pandemic, the US and its allies must shift supply chains away from China to more trustworthy nations while semi-conductor shortages have driven costs to record highs.
- How the world chooses to react now will likely determine China’s future actions.
The past five years have seen great change in the Asia Pacific.
The growth of China has been nothing short of extraordinary. Most China-watchers had already recognised China as a peer to near-peer, but things changed in November 2018.
The COVID pandemic swept the world. It doesn’t matter whether you believe the virus was engineered in a lab or jumped from an unidentified animal at a wet market.
The cover-up, delayed reaction/notification, and their actions since have significantly altered everyone’s ideas of where and how China would fit into both their own shoes as a potential world power and the conventional western world order.
Freedom of navigation, island building/militarisation in the South China Sea, and Taiwan re-unification is where the attention of most of the US government and its allies in the regions were focused pre-pandemic.
Post-pandemic those items have not changed, however now the US and its allies must contend with supply chain issues that China was able to exacerbate by siphoning goods purchased by countries around the world to their own population once there was a shortage.
Like minded nations will need to shift supply chains away from China to more trustworthy nations.
There will be a cost to this that needs to be paid now, so China can’t disrupt the world again whenever it decides. India and Indonesia are two countries that can benefit from this shift while keeping costs lower than the US, Australia, or their allies.
China continues to dominate the world’s share of critical minerals. Numbers vary based on the mineral, but somewhere between 85-95% of minerals on the US Critical Minerals list are controlled by China.
China has translated this to get around 10% of the world’s semi-conductor market and could almost double that in the next two years. This makes the Taiwan re-unification issue even more important.
Taiwan has 20% of the global industry, but Taiwanese companies account for about 50% of the market. If China were to re-take Taiwan it stands to gain most of the world’s semi-conductor production. This is not something to be taken lightly.
The re-unification of Taiwan has been a priority of Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for many years.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has been watched closely by the CCP to help them determine timing, strategy, and possible ramifications of re-taking Taiwan by force.
Allied nations must determine an inclusive policy to discourage Beijing from taking these actions. By aligning themselves with Russia it is obvious to anyone watching that China’s arguments for taking Taiwan will be based off the lessons they learn from Russia’s “re-unification” of Ukraine. Only united can the world deter China.
Whether any of the activities China took with respect to the COVID outbreak were malign or not, the actions and decisions they made negatively impacted the world.
Worldwide 7 million people are dead, hundreds of millions more were negatively impacted health wise or monetarily.
The supply chain has been stood on its head and semi-conductor shortages have driven costs to record highs. How the world chooses to react now will likely determine China’s future actions.