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April 12, 2024
Focus This Week
A community space to discuss the China-U.S. relationship and beyond.

Dear Focus Reader,

On Thursday, China dispatched its highest-level delegation to North Korea in five years, signaling the start of a "friendship year" commemorating 75 years of diplomatic ties. Led by Zhao Leji, China's third-highest-ranking official, the delegation expressed intentions to bolster "strategic coordination" and "deepen high-level exchanges" throughout the year.

While Pyongyang is seemingly strengthening relations with both Beijing and Moscow, the visit comes amid growing coordination between its neighbors and the United States, who have growing concerns over North Korea's escalating rhetoric and continued weapons testing.

Simultaneously, China and North Korea are increasingly wary of what they perceive as a hostile regional environment, particularly with heightened security coordination between the U.S., Japan, and South Korea. Just this week, President Joe Biden, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. convened in Washington for a trilateral meeting to discuss coordinated responses to China in the South China Sea.

Prior to the meeting, Biden and Kishida also unveiled enhanced bilateral defense and security cooperation aimed at deterring potential conflicts in the Indo-Pacific. These collaborative efforts include the development of a new air missile network system with Australia, upcoming joint military exercises in the Indo-Pacific involving U.K. forces, and plans for advancing U.S.-Japan co-production of advanced air defense missiles.

However, Biden emphasized that the expansion of these defense ties isn't aimed at any particular nation or intended to threaten the region.

Stay in the know on international affairs by keeping up with our latest Focus content, including topics on the American middle class, Central Asia and China, and China's evolving economy.

Focus Insights
Quote of the Week
"Until recently, Japan and the Philippines have been reluctant to host new American capabilities, to avoid becoming an immediate target of the Chinese military in a crisis. As economic challenges are mounting in both countries, things are changing…The consequent massive rearmament has the potential to split Southeast Asia and bury the Asian Century. In this effort of friction, division and decline, the Philippines is now the key actor and one that carries the greatest risks."
Dan Steinbock
Founder, Difference Group

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Notable Number

The percentage of the middle class out of the total population in the U.S., which has stayed roughly the same since 2001, as opposed to China, whose middle class has grown nearly 10 times.

Learn more in "The Hollowing-out of America's Middle Class and Parallel Increases in Anti-China Sentiment," by Mallie Prytherch, a Researcher at Centre on Contemporary China and the World, University of Hong Kong.

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

Art Basel | Fostering Cultural Exchange

Watch Video

Art Basel has come to Hong Kong for its 11th year. We sat down with Hong Kong Director, Angelle Siyang-Le, to talk about bridging the east and west with art.

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Question of the Week:

In our Focus Insights section, we shared an article by Yu Xiang, a Senior Fellow at the China Construction Bank Research Institute, where he discusses the impact of U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's recent visit to China on China-US economic relations.

We want to hear from you:

How would you define a healthy economic relationship between the U.S. and China, and what steps do you think should be taken to achieve it?

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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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