Understanding China’s Geoeconomic Influence

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This is a podcast episode titled, Understanding China’s Geoeconomic Influence. The summary for this episode is: <p>Claire Chu, Janes senior China analyst joins Harry Kemsley and Sean Corbett to discuss how China's economic activity projects influence globally and what she learnt as part of the recent US Congressional staff delegation to China.</p>
Geoeconomic statecraft
00:51 MIN

Speaker 1: Welcome to the World of Intelligence, a podcast for you to discover the latest analysis of global military and security trends within the open source defense intelligence community. Now onto the episode with your host, Harry Kemsley.

Harry: Hello and welcome to this edition of Janes World of Intelligence. Hello, Sean. Thanks for joining as always.

Sean: Hi again, Harry.

Harry: About a year ago, Sean, we introduced the concept of economic statecraft. We talked about the activities of countries like China and Russia, and how that economic statecraft can be used for furthering national interests in a variety of ways. And how we can interpret some of the activities that could be described as activities being conducted in plain sight, hiding in plain sight as being ways of actually driving outcomes that are supportive of their national interests. Now, when we did that we had Claire Chu, a real expert on this matter, and I'm delighted to invite her back. Hello, Claire.

Sean: Great to be back. Thanks for having me again.

Harry: Pleasure as always. Claire is a senior China analyst with Janes as part of the intel track team, which examines the economic statecraft activities of China and Russia. She specializes in the geopolitical and the national security implications of China's global economic activity. She launched a Belt and Road Monitor in 2017, which provides a comprehensive biweekly overview of China's overseas trade, investment activities and policy developments. She previously held research roles at Think Tanks, including the Mercator Institute of China Studies Studies in Berlin, the Project 2049 Institute in Arlington, and the Center for the National Interest in Washington DC. She's also worked on rule of law and governance issues at the Congressional Executive Commission on China, and at Human Rights Watch. Claire has also testified before the US House of Representatives, and her commentary has been featured in major media outlets in the United States, in Europe and Asia. Claire, welcome, it's great to have you here.

Claire Chu: Thanks again. Looking forward to it.

Harry: Claire, you recently were part of the US Congressional Staff Delegation to China, which I note coincided with the Third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. Really, really interested to know what you found out, what your insights were from your involvement in that really important session.

Sean: It was really fascinating. I was delighted to have the opportunity to travel to China in a delegation. I was with a group of congressional staffers, bipartisan for the United States, and this was the first such staff del in four years. So the Chinese side was I think very excited. The US side was also keen to see what had changed since the last visit. We were hosted by the International Department of the CCP, which is a unit that deals primarily party to party relations, so CCP with congressional entities as opposed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in China, which primarily deals state to state. And so the way that this group tends to coordinate these meetings, we were able to meet with folks at Ministry of Commerce, the folks at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, United Front Work Department, National Party Congress, and just a really interesting, really high level group of officials, senior officials, vice ministers, staffers who were primarily experts on North America, and they had just as many questions for us as we did for them.

Harry: So before we go on, what's the purpose of the visit, that staff delegation what is the actual aim of the visit from the US or indeed the Chinese perspective? What are they trying to get out of this delegation visit?

Sean: From the US side, I think, and the Chinese side as well, a lot of it educational. For the US side we've seen an increase in China related legislation coming out. There are a lot of staffers that are now focusing on China to some extent as part of their policy portfolio, whether that means trade, economics, national security, military or diplomacy, and human rights as well. And so for a lot of the staffers this is one of the only opportunities to travel to China, and to be able to meet with these entities, and to hear from them what their key concerns are, what are the key priorities on the Chinese side, and how do they view US policymaking, US perspectives. And from the Chinese side as well a lot of the folks that we met with had studied in the US, have traveled in the US, but they had a lot of questions about the US system, or about the Western systems. For example, how are elections going to work next year? Who is going to be president? And similarly, how are Taiwan's elections going to pan out? How much control does US have, so there are some assumptions being made, " Why did Nancy Pelosi go to Taiwan? Did you tell Nancy Pelosi go to Taiwan, or did Biden tell her to go to Taiwan? Why did she go?" And so again, there are a lot of narratives, there was a lot of messaging. We were traveling with our escorts, our liaisons from the departments, and we were very busy from morning to nights. And even though the sessions were controlled and the meetings were predetermined, we weren't really running around the cities of Beijing or Shanghai on our own. The way that these messages were delivered, the people that were selected to meet with us and the questions that we brought to the table were incredibly illuminatory, especially at a time when 2024 is looming, a quarter of the world's democracies are having elections. Taiwan will be having elections, Russia, some type of election. Ukraine will be having elections, and the United States as well. And China is very, very concerned about this. I think this came across in a lot of the meetings, they're very worried about ties worsening, they're very worried about unpredictability, they would rather have a stable relationship, whether it's a positive or negative one than an unpredictable one.

Harry: What about the fact that it coincided with the BRICS, the Belt and Road, how do you think that dynamic was working?

Sean: The day that we arrived in Beijing there were signs everywhere, there's a lot of excitement. It's a very, very big undertaking where dozens of state leaders and representatives from multilateral institutions, from even academia, nonprofits, everywhere come to China. And this is the first, or this is the third Belt and Road forum, it was the first one since COVID, the last one I think was 2019 or so, 2020. And so it was significant for China to be able to put this on again. With that said this year the turnout was lower than previous years, where we have seen a lot change during COVID. The Italian representatives were not here this year, and we saw a lot of Western European representatives also were present, on the other hand Putin was. And we also saw China extend in friendship towards some countries that one might not have expected to become a part of such a-

Harry: Such as?

Harry: Such as?

Sean: Afghanistan

Sean: is a country I think that will be joining or is interested in joining the Belt and Road. And I think this speaks to a broader trend with a lot of these economically driven initiatives and projects that China has going on, not just with the Belt and Road, which is again ostensibly a regional economic connectivity and trade project. Similar with BRICS, which was originally started as a way to bring rising economies together. And the recent invitation I think is about a month ago for six new BRICS members to join, included their applications, I think from 30 to 40 countries. And within those 34 countries, six received invitations. Three of those countries are in the Middle East, and then I think it was United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, those generally make sense when you're thinking about the economic conventions.

Harry: Economic.

Sean: There's also Argentina, Ethiopia, and Egypt. I think it might've been seven, six, there's also Iran.

Harry: Iran-

Sean: Iran-

Harry: ...that's interesting.

Sean: ...which is not known as an economic heavyweight.

Harry: So presumably that's got more about influence and politics than it has about economics.

Sean: Presumably, you would expect that there are countries in Pakistan, didn't receive an invite. There were Southeast Asian countries that had reportedly applied and did not receive invites, but Ethiopia did. And even though it's still a rising economy, Ethiopia is the home of the African Union. And Argentina similarly, rising economy is also the home of many Chinese satellites, then you start to ask questions. And I was able to ask a couple of academics when I was in China recently about this, and the general answer I received not an official answer is that Iran was included because China would rather keep Iran close. You would rather have a relationship than not, and you'd rather be having a line of communication and invite Iran to participate, and to share their thoughts and ideas and be able to predict future actions as opposed to have no communication at all.

Harry: Sean, I'm going to bring you in at this point. Thank you, Claire. There's a lot in there. How does the intelligence community look at a series of events like that, a series of conversations like that? What's the kind of things going on behind the Green Bay's wall as you called it before? What's going on inside the room?

Sean: As always there's a lot to unpack there, and I'd just like to address the initial thing first if I may in terms of the staff delegations, I always find there's three reasons to have these and that they're all equally as important. But the one that's upfront, which is basically information gathering is probably the lowest one of the lot because it's really all about influence, but it's also about diplomacy as well, of course. The fact that you're talking is always a good thing, certainly when I was in NATO headquarters, when we used to have the NATO Russian councils and NATO Korean councils then. The fact that we were all in the same room talking was always taken as a positive. So that's the macro political side of things, but-

Harry: Presumably there's no illusion that there is any real talking going.

Sean: Oh, so very little.

Harry: It's really about sending messages.

Sean: It's being in the room together. Now, to answer the second part of the question, there'll be clearly been an awful lot of we'll just call it information gathering. So it's almost sentiment analysis, but if you are with a group of people for a long time you can pick up things I was going to say subliminally, but it's not quite that subtle. But you pick up an awful lot just with how people are behaving, what they're showing you, for instance. So even your schedule, the fact that they kept you really, really busy would've been partly to keep you off balance, and make you so tiredly you thinking, " Hang on, what have I just seen there?" Okay, I'm a inaudible guy, so I'm always going to see the negative side of everything. But in terms of looking at the BRICS piece and the Belt and Road, I think what we're seeing there and the different countries that we're involved and invited is for me is probably one of the most interesting things. Because I think what we're seeing now with you want to call it the great game this time with China, it's like who do they think they need to influence and shape, and taking an opportunity in what we're seeing is in political void. So the fact that they're engaged in the Middle East is not an accident. Particularly, after the horrific events that have happened in Gaza and Israel. The fact that the new accords are probably on hold, China will just go straight in there as they did with Afghanistan of course. Now China have been involved in Afghanistan for a long, long time, but they've always been quite discreet and very focused on where they've been. So rare earth mineral mines, for example, they've been there forever. But if they can see the opportunity to both enhance their economic development, but also influence and even direct with these countries the ones that they want to, they will do so. Very interested in what you said about Iran because keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I'm not saying it's quite that much, but Iran does have a little influence with some nations, and we don't engage with them the same way that China would. And then the final thing I was going to say is on that one is that for China, for me, it's all transactional. Everyone says China are now allied with Russia, that's the standard one. China and Russia have been at each other's throats forever, and will continue to do so unless it suits both of them not to be, so there's so much to gain from that sort of thing.

Harry: All right, well, look, as ever with the World of Intelligence podcast we try to pivot the conversation into so what for open sources, and how we can derive intelligence from that. So Claire, you've been involved in this particular topic area for a long time, you are a genuine world- class expert on it. What is open source doing to help you understand what might actually be going on with China right now? Is it actually an inflection from the economic to diplomatic, is it both? And what are we seeing from open sources that might help you discern what's really going on here?

Claire Chu: Absolutely. We see countries like China when they're on the world stage, you have events like we've seen recently with the forum. There are a lot of big statements made, there are a lot of documents that are released. There is a lot of publicity, a lot of handshaking. And among those documents are lists of agreements. We signed 100 agreements, we reach this many agreements on tech sectors. We're going to do this much in agriculture, we're going to do this much in this region. We're going to invest billions of dollars in say Peru. And it's easy to read these headlines, and assume that there are certain strategic interests, or that China is leaning in a certain direction. But the way that I tend to look at these projects it's very transactional, it's very granular. We go and we look at the entities involved. We try to understand what the actual value is of the project, has the money actually been dispersed, where's the money actually is going back into the Chinese companies? And a lot of the times you also find that these forums are just platforms or venues for the announcement of these projects. Many of these have been signed months, even a year ago, they're continuations of several year long projects. It's really an exercise again in diplomacy and friend making. And also especially this year it was illustrative of some the bifurcations between China and a lot of western countries. Again, the lack of participation by key players in the past like Italy and Greece, that was particularly striking this year. But also participation of, again, countries like Afghanistan and Iran and these initiatives also very striking. So overall with Afghanistan too, when you're looking at the actual amount of investment, it's not particularly high. The number of projects, the types and range of projects it's not particularly high. I think that speaks to China's primary interest in Afghanistan, which is really more so stability, stability and order. China has 14 border countries. Afghanistan is one of them. If anything, I think China is interested in making sure that all of these regions, and all these neighbors, and all these friends are in a place so that there is no unrest that could spill over, that there is no additional geopolitical crisis. It might have to become involved just due to proximity.

Harry: How much of the information that you see in these events, these platforms as you described it can you validate in terms of the apparent intent, the statement that's coming out versus what they're actually doing? How much can you actually derive from the open source that helps you sift out the noise from the truth?

Claire Chu: There's quite a lot out there. When China is engaging economically overseas, the idea is that these are business transactions, these are commercial activities, this is not backroom side deals, these are not under the table deals, or at least they don't want you to think that.

Harry: So they're in plain sight.

Claire Chu: They are in plain sight. And even for the host governments, smaller governments are very, very proud to be signing these agreements, they're very excited to be at these gatherings. So the information is out there, it's just about where to look and how you verify the information, how you take this information integrate it with other things you know about the actors involved in their history and the context. And you start to get a pretty good picture of what is happening on the ground when you actually look at the movement of money, and what that says about state priorities, and where the resources are actually going.

Harry: I remember the last time we spoke about this, Sean, we looked at a couple of examples. I'm sure we talked about a port, a civilian port that had been configured in a way that probably could only be explained if you were going to use it for a military purpose. We talked about security forces being brought in from China to man certain aspects of certain facilities and so on. I think the point there is you could interpret what's going on that we can see in plain sight, you can interpret in different ways. I think probably the purpose of what we're trying to do here is demonstrate that there are multiple different ways to interpret it. It could be seen as I think you've just said Claire, it could be just seen as an explicit commercial transaction between a Chinese entity and a third party country entity. However, when you see what they've done elsewhere, when you see who else has been involved, the reputational issues perhaps, you begin to see alternative interpretations. Is that not really the point that from an open source intelligence perspective, Sean, we really want to get under.

Sean: It is very much, and I can't go through a podcast without mentioning the word tradecraft. And what you've both done actually is take validated information and financial transactions don't lie. People tend to get very focused when they're dealing with large amounts of money. So the fact is that a transaction has happened, yes, you can obfuscate it, but you can get to the ground truth there. The question then becomes, so that validates the information. So this is actually happening whether you're investing in a port in Sri Lanka or wherever it happens to be, that has happened. So that validates the information with that transaction. But then what you do is the analysis, what I always call the so what. Are you doing it purely for economic reasons, which you can work out by looking at transactions the other way, or are you doing it for influence? And that's the tricky bit, which is where experts like Claire comes in say, " Okay, what does this actually mean?" And that's where you bring in all the other elements of the open source intelligence domain of which there are many, including press reporting that will say, " Okay, it might be for good economic reasons, but actually what it's really all about is the influence." The fact is that the Chinese might be propping up an economy that's not doing very well, so why would they invest. And sometimes huge amounts of money thinking, " Well, that makes no sense economically." Well, there's reason for that. And then when you have a look at what the lease is, some of the leases for these ports are really scary if you happen to be the recipient country. And then before it's like, " Oh, we've signed ourselves up to this, am I'm going to be in debt to China forever?" So then there is an economic thing, but it's still about that influence and also power projection.

Harry: So to Claire, is the role really here to not pretend that we don't know there's a transaction happening, but to offer up alternative perspectives of that transaction to allow the third party country to use your example that signed a lease for 100 years for a port facility, to understand they may be giving away more than they understand. Is that really what we're trying to do here from this intelligence perspective?

Claire Chu: I think in a way some countries are receptive to this messaging. We saw not that long ago Fiji ended its police liaison program with China, and started moving away from a security point of view from China and its previous agreements. That doesn't the country is moving away economically, there are still strong trade ties and investments activities. But Fiji would be interested, and was interested in aligning the security perspective with the US and with countries like Australia, given that those overtures and given the efforts that have been made by the US for example, in the past year or so to engage. And so there are these two different two elements. It's the security relationship and then the diplomatic relationship, but also then again the economic, which a lot of countries can bifurcate very easily.

Harry: Especially in a world right now where the economy is such a big issue for everybody. Certainly, to have a few billion yen thrown at you at the moment when you need it most, it's going to have to be one of those things you're going to have to take seriously. If you're struggling economically you're going to think about that for sure.

Claire Chu: And for some countries it does feel like a luxury to care about this. Countries in the Middle East, for example, if you want to talk to certain leaders or certain entities or institutions about the risk of Chinese digital investment 50 years down the road, it's sticky, surveillance, this and that, it's very easy to say that, " Well, our problems are quite literally explosive." How are we going to care about this prospective issue 50 years down the road when tomorrow something could happen? And that's what we need to focus and that's where we need to put our resources. And so when you talk to countries again in for example, Pacific Islands, there might be other interests like governance and democracy building and/or even just social issues that they're focused on, and economics, it's just an extra piece of these relationships. And then my third point on that would be there are a lot of governments that are benefiting right now from both sides. You're seeing for Solomon Islands receiving a shipment of police equipment. I think it was police equipment from was it the Australian government, batons and vests and things like that. And then receiving a shipment of I think vehicles, police vehicles from China within a week. And it is hard to go and say, you should or should not do this when at present they're benefiting, and presumably making their own calculations about the risk benefits to engaging, and how much to engage with which party.

Harry: For sure. So Sean, in view of that one of the things that we've talked about in the past is the way the commercial open source intelligence environment is offering up a perspective. Maybe it's to triangulate what's being seen behind the vault door. Maybe it's being offered up as an indicator and warning, but how do you get to ground truth? If we've said that there are multiple interpretations of what might or might not be going on, is there enough going to be available in the open source environment do you think that will actually allow us to see what we could describe as being, " No, no, the intent actually is this."

Sean: I think there is, and I think particularly as I mentioned before in the economic world, because you see actual transactions. Now again, you can have fronts, you can use third parties and all the rest of it. But if you're forensic enough, and this is where as always the expertise comes in, as a layman you can't do it. And we see, and again going off track slightly here, but you see the politic service people, and the companies that are supposed to vet these people, it is shockingly vanilla-

Harry: Thin.

Sean: ...we'll just say, very, very thin, they don't do it properly. But that's where expertise comes in, you get really into the finances and even the accountancy side of things. Because there are front companies, there are front people that you've got to go into the second and third level of analysis before you actually get to that ground truth. But you can do it because ultimately money is physically moving from one place to another, and people are conducting those transactions.

Harry: But I'd still maintain though, Claire, that a third party country, particularly the examples you've given, which it's actually benefiting from this investment or this attention from China, what you said before from Russia as well previously. Surely at the end of the day they're going to interpret the situation differently, they're going to say, " I disagree with your interpretation. The interpretation you give suggests this is a very bad outcome. I don't see it that way." What I'm trying to get to is how do you demonstrate to them incontrovertibly that this is not going to be a good outcome for you because this can be very hard to do that, very hard to do that from an open source.

Claire Chu: It's difficult. And I think a lot of the efforts that have been made have really been just to strengthen engagement, and to be there if a country or a leader decides to take the country in a different direction. And we have seen a couple of nations do that. We have seen, for example, the Philippines has changed its policy when it comes to Chinese investment and increased engagement with China. And so I think a lot of western nations that are interested in being alternative, we don't necessarily have the existing infrastructure, or really have the state capacity to engage necessarily in the same way that China is. We don't have the same motivations or incentives or even political will to be as active as China in these ways. But we have to make sure that if the country decides that this is not sustainable for them, whether the debt's not sustainable or the strings attached, or they simply want to move closer to other regional partners that that is an option.

Harry: So before I come to you with the impossible question, which is coming shortly about where next? Where's this going? What's going to come around the corner? Sean, what are the questions being asked today in light of what we're seeing from the Third Belt and Road, the BRICS, the new invitations that Claire's mentioned, as well as whatever we've got out of this delegation visit? What are the kind of questions that will be asked inside the tri graph organizations, both sides of the Atlantic?

Sean: I think the macro question is to what extent, always a great way to start a question, to what extent is China seeking to influence all nations? And I will come back to that in a moment because we focused very much on third party, which might be a slightly western arrogance of us, but anyway. Influence versus control, and what does that mean therefore for their global aspirations and their regional aspirations? We know the regional aspirations, but how far are they prepared to go? And if they can do everything economically, which is basically what their strategy would appear to be, do they actually need to launch their blue water Navy, et cetera, et cetera. I see, because I'm an inaudible guy, dragons everywhere. But is it about influence, is it about technology transfer? And this is where I want to bring it back to... We talk about third party nations, and I'm going to be controversial now, but to what extent does the economy trump national security? Because it could be argued that China is all over the UK and the US right now in terms of not just influencing, but you look at certainly from the UK perspective the nuclear power industry. You look at water companies, you look at steel, they are heavy investors already in it. So at what extent do the political system think, " We know what they're up to here," and academic as well, the academia, big inaudible. " We know what they're up to here, but we can't do anything about it because we're so economically dependent, so we'll just deny it." And again, that's me being a bit cruel about politicians or not. Because we have that short term perspective, because every five years we get a new government. Whereas the Chinese sit there and go with their autocracy, " We can look at the long strategic game. So they can filter around at the edges, but we know what we're doing." So that's where the big economic question comes in, and which is where I think the real value about this economic tradecraft is that are we seeing strategic trends in sufficient detail to know what they're up to long term?

Harry: So let's talk then to the impossible question, Claire, so where next? Where does this go? You've been on a delegation visit, maybe there'll be more of those in the future. You've seen and talked amongst other things about the new invitations, the Belt and Road initiative. Where is this all heading? Where are we heading with this conversation? What do you think China is really up to in your professional and expert opinion?

Claire Chu: It's hard to say exactly where the world is going, which may be the backdrop for where China is going. But I think that China has been active in some multilateral institutions. China has also felt excluded from many others, for example, Quad, AUKUS, IPEF, and these are all in China's own backyard. So there really is this active effort, and it has been very, very active in the past two or three years to build this alternative set of multilateral institutions, and structures, and bodies where China can engage. China can seek some level of leadership and governance in these spaces. And also China has its own space in which the US, the UK, are not necessarily participants, and is able to shape certain narratives, and lead certain projects through those venues. And so I spoke earlier about this bifurcation, this movement towards a China led order, or China led institutions, and Western led institutions. And I do think that is the direction that we're seeing increasingly for China economic stability, and national security strategic objectives, much more important than commercial ones. And so if you look at the legal mechanisms and financial instruments that China has in place this is very, very clear whether these are data localization laws, cybersecurity laws, national intelligence laws, they all really put national security since Xi Jinping this concept of a comprehensive national security, all 16 elements above commercial development. And so I think with that in mind this is the way that China is conducting its affairs. It's no strings attached, it'd win- win for everybody. China has its partners and this is the way that we're doing things, and you can have loans. We're not going to ask about human rights. We're not going to ask about corruption or leadership, and that is appealing for a lot of countries. And so I think going forward, absolutely, I think it's important to understand how China is making these overtures, and understand some of these alignments. And where western countries could, as mentioned earlier engage more or remain present rather than leaving a void.

Harry: Yeah. Very good. So because time is now starting to inaudible, Sean, do you have any final thoughts before we go to your final takeaway?

Sean: Just to reiterate what Claire said, actually, I think we always need to look at China within the lens of their number one priority is internal political and economic security. And of course those two are hand in hand. Secondly, there is no question that they desire and not far off achieving regional hegemony. And then thirdly, and this is the big question is how much do they want to make that global, and how are they going to do it? Right now it suits them and it seems to be working pretty well, " We'll do it through the economy and that's fine." At what stage does the economic situation and the balance change their economy is flatlining right now. Relatively speaking, it's still okay compared to perhaps some of the western countries. But at what stage would the economy tip to an extent that now their internal unrest changes, and that's when people start looking overtly to try and distract attention, et cetera, et cetera, we're nowhere near yet there yet.

Harry: You mean in China?

Sean: In China, that's right. Or at what stage are they so confident that they've got the globe sewn up economically that they can do what they like, for example, to Taiwan?

Harry: Okay. So as ever to finish the podcast your thought to take away for the audience listening, Claire, I'll come to you first if you don't mind. If you had one thing you wanted the audience to take away, given this is the second time we've talked about geo- economic statecraft, the use of economic and perhaps now political influence for your own national interest, what would that one takeaway be?

Claire Chu: It's difficult to, I think, come up with a strategy when it comes to overall China. We're talking about so many different components of Chinese influence and Chinese engagement overseas. But again, I think it's really important just to focus also on our own backyards and then again, make sure that really quick example there are places like Basra, Iraq where China just opened a consulate general I think two or three weeks ago. Basra is I think the number two oil producing region in the country, major port there important for a number of reasons. And the US had an embassy that closed in 2019 and never reopened. And so you have all of these examples and there are more, where China is going into places that maybe seem a little bit risky, maybe they don't seem profitable just yet, maybe they're a little bit high conflict, very high conflict. But they're willing to be there and to stick it out in the hopes of becoming long- term friends or being there with that country, or those entities or those leaders need somebody. And again, just focusing I think on having those resources and building that capacity to provide support and to be an alternative. And I think to continue being a leader in the places where the west has historically excelled, I think is sufficient. Rather than trying to match China one- to- one, everything that's being done.

Harry: That long- term engagement and support perhaps before it was easy to do so, could be interpreted couldn't it as China being the long- term friend and partner that some countries desperately need. Sean, your takeaway?

Sean: I think it just underscores for me that economic statecraft is a really important issue right now. It always has been, but I think we've become lied to. And it's a really good example of where open source intelligence can and should get engaged, but we need to do much more of it.

Harry: I agree with that. I think for me the takeaway though is pretty much the same as it was the last time we spoke about this, and that is that there are things happening in plain sight that are absolutely interpretable in different ways. And we in the commercial open source intelligence world should be doing our best to make sure that those multiple perspectives are thought about and considered. Not everyone will believe them, some people will choose to disagree with us, but I think it's important we give them multiple perspectives. With that, Claire, thank you for coming back a second time. The annual event that is the geo- economic statecraft discussion maybe we'll do this again before a year has passed, but thank you once more for your time.

Claire Chu: Great, thank you, this was great.

Harry: Thanks Claire. Thank you, Sean.

Sean: Cheers Harry.

Speaker 1: Thanks for joining us this week on the World of Intelligence. Make sure to visit our website, janes. com/ podcast where you can subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts, so you'll never miss an episode.


Claire Chu, Janes senior China analyst joins Harry Kemsley and Sean Corbett to discuss how China's economic activity projects influence globally and what she learnt as part of the recent US Congressional staff delegation to China.

Today's Host

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Harry Kemsley

|President of Government & National Security, Janes

Today's Guests

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Claire Chu

|Senior China analyst, Janes
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Sean Corbett

|AVM (ret’d) Sean Corbett CB MBE MA, RAF