Mon, Feb 25, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Walter Lohman On Taiwan: The problem with decoupling

Lumping all the challenges together and pursuing broad decoupling only confuses things, and will confuse the Chinese. So, for example, why has the Justice Department charged Huawei (華為) with bank fraud and conspiracy? Not because of China’s attack on religious freedom or the threat to freedom of navigation, or because of great power geopolitical struggle, but because of specific violations of US law which will now be decided by the courts. If what the US wants is for the Chinese to address its concerns, Beijing should be made to understand that enforcing US law has nothing to do with geostrategy. If the US doesn’t want the world to attribute its concerns about 5G to its disadvantageous commercial position, best not to couch it in a strategy of global competition with China.

Policy development is difficult. The US has a real problem protecting critical technology from Chinese actors. It will find ways to address this problem, not in the grand unifying theory of decoupling, but in its intelligence networks, in the expertise of its bureaucracy and industry, in its legal system, and in cooperation with allies.

Walter Lohman is director of the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center.

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