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2 Jul, 2023 08:58

Decoupling from China is ‘foolish’ – CIA chief

Washington should instead focus on diversifying supply chains, William Burns believes
Decoupling from China is ‘foolish’ – CIA chief

Severing ties with China would be unwise for the US given the deep economic interdependence between the two countries, CIA Director William Burns warned in a lecture to Britain’s Ditchley Foundation in Oxfordshire on Saturday.

According to Burns, China is the only country in the world “with both the intent to reshape the international order and increasingly the economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to do so.” He suggests that instead of decoupling from Beijing, Washington should instead focus on diversifying its supply chains:

In today’s world, no country wants to find itself at the mercy of a ‘cartel of one’ for critical minerals and technologies… The answer to that is not to decouple from an economy like China’s, which would be foolish, but to sensibly de-risk and diversify by securing resilient supply chains, protecting our technological edge and investing in industrial capacity.

US-China relations have been strained due to the barrage of economic sanctions Washington placed on Beijing in a bid to stall its technological advancement. Over the past several months, the US has imposed export controls on China’s semiconductor industry and blacklisted Chinese companies for allegedly supplying military technology to Russia.

This week, reports emerged that Washington is mulling more restrictions on the sale of the semiconductors used to develop artificial intelligence in China and is also preparing to issue an executive order on screening China-bound investment.

Beijing, which has long chafed at Washington’s restrictions it views as a violation of international trade rules, earlier this week passed a foreign relations law granting the government power “to take necessary countermeasures” against Western acts that “endanger China’s sovereignty, security and development interests in violation of international law and fundamental norms governing international relations.”

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