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February 02, 2024
Focus This Week
A community space to discuss the China-U.S. relationship and beyond.

Dear Focus Reader,

This week marked the inaugural meeting of the first counternarcotics working group between China and the U.S. in Beijing. The gathering aimed to follow up to the Woodside summit between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping in November, where they agreed to step up efforts in the fight against illicit drugs.

Fentanyl, a highly addictive synthetic opioid, was a primary focus of the two-day meeting. Washington believes China is the main source of the chemicals used to make fentanyl by drug cartels in Mexico, though China has denied these claims. With this, the U.S. wants China to increase curbs on the export of these chemicals.

The inter-agency U.S. delegation was led by Deputy Homeland Security Adviser Jen Daskal, who emphasized that "synthetic drugs are killing so many thousands of people" and the "significant" delegation sent by the Biden administration underscores "the importance of this issue to the American people."

Additionally, Chinese Public Security Minister Wang Xiaohong said the two sides had in-depth and pragmatic talks. "We reached common understanding on the work plan for the working group," he noted.

Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan elaborated on the Biden Administration's China strategy in an address this week and said they will continue to maintain their approach of de-risking, intensive interaction, and building stability into the world's most consequential relationship. He also expressed the U.S.'s intent to deepen crisis communication mechanisms with the PRC to reduce the risk of conflict, and coordinate on areas of shared bilateral and global concern.

Sullivan's remarks followed his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Bangkok last weekend, where the two officials agreed that there is "no substitute for leader-to-leader conversation," and that they hope to arrange a phone call for Xi and Biden in the near future.

Stay up to date on the latest China-U.S. developments by catching up on our latest Focus content, including topics on China's naval power, the impacts of the U.S. electoral system on bilateral relations, and the Taiwan elections.

Focus Insights
Quote of the Week
"'The United States vs. Itself is the year's top risk,' according to the 2024 top risks report by Eurasia Group, a New York-based consulting firm. When American democracy itself is confronted with severe challenges, Taiwan's regional election seems to inject a stimulant into Washington."
Shao Yuqun
Director, Institute for Taiwan, HK and Macau Studies, SIIS

Read More

Notable Number

The percentage of decrease in two-way trade compared to 2022, marking the sharpest decline since 2019 when unilateral tariffs were imposed by the United States, according to trade data released by China Customs.

Read more in "Soft Landing vs. Ballast Retreat," by He Weiwen, a senior fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, CCG.

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

U.S.-China Solar Cooperation | Kyle Obermann

Watch Video
In this interview, Kyle Obermann, Nature Contributor for The China Current, engages in a conversation with the founder of a U.S. solar company that utilizes solar panels manufactured in China, highlighting collaborative efforts between the two countries in the clean energy sector.
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Question of the Week:

In our Focus Insights section, we featured an article by NYU Adjunct Professor James H. Nolt, in which he examines the limitations on China's potential as a sea power, emphasizing geographical constraints, and providing an alternative perspective on China's naval capabilities.

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How would you assess the current military dynamics between the U.S. and China? To what extent do you think geographical factors play a role in restricting China's ability to project military power?

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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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