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December 15, 2023
Focus This Week
A community space to discuss the China-U.S. relationship and beyond.

Dear Focus Reader,

China's Central Economic Work Conference wrapped up this week, where top government leaders, including President Xi Jinping, convened to review China's economic performance 2023 and set the course for 2024. The primary theme of this year's conference was economic development and high-quality growth.

In a speech delivered by Xi, he underscored China's progress amid ongoing challenges, citing COVID-19 recovery, reform, innovation, and social welfare advancements.

Looking ahead, policymakers may target GDP growth at "4.5-5%," said Larry Hu, Macquarie Group's chief China economist. However, doubts among some analysts linger regarding achieving this target without measures to stimulate consumer demand—a factor not addressed in discussions.

Meanwhile, top EU officials, including European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, traveled to Beijing last week to meet with Xi at the first in-person EU-China summit since 2019.

While discussions emphasized mutual economic cooperation, von der Leyen voiced EU dissatisfaction over trade imbalances and unfair competition, cautioning against undermining European industries. Despite President Xi's positive outlook and emphasis on partnership, the summit concluded without concrete commitments from China, leaving leaders questioning the progress made.

Learn more by staying up to date on our latest Focus content, including topics on China-U.S. cooperation, Washington's China policy, and China's climate efforts.

Focus Insights
Quote of the Week
"As a newly-arrived global power, China is tempted to focus on its relationship with the U.S. and to assert its strength and interests. But China must attend to the foundations of its success."
Brantly Womack
Professor, University of Virginia

Read More

Notable Number

The number of years China committed to partner with Qatar on liquified natural gas (LNG) last month, in efforts to solve its own energy trilemma— the balance between security, sustainability, and affordability.

Read more in "Is China Outpacing the U.S. in its Energy Transition?," by Kathryn Neville, a Masters student at Johns Hopkins University SAIS.

Discover More
A look into cultural stories from our affiliate platform, The China Current.

Eco-bridges | Hong Kong Stories

Watch Video
Anyone who's been to Hong Kong in the summer knows that it's hot and humid. So steamy you could become a human dim sum. Even winters are relatively mild. China Current Nature Contributor Kyle Obermann shares how the reason behind this lies in one of China's newly planned national parks.
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​Question of the Week:

In our Focus Insights section, we shared an article by Harvard University Professor Joseph Nye in which he underscores the intricate "cooperative rivalry" relationship between the U.S. and China.

We want to hear from you:

How would you characterize the U.S.-China relationship based on Joseph Nye's concept of "cooperative rivalry"? Do you think it is feasible for the U.S. to reduce its economic ties with China without causing significant damage to both countries' economies?

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About Focus This Week

Prepared by China-US Focus editorial teams in Hong Kong and New York, this weekly newsletter offers you snap shots of latest trends and developments emerging from China and the U.S. every week. It is a community space to exchange thoughts and ideas about the China-U.S. relationship and beyond.

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