The U.S.-China rivalry, Taiwan and Hong Kong | 60 Minutes Full Episodes

The U.S.-China rivalry, Taiwan and Hong Kong | 60 Minutes Full Episodes

An American in China (Part 1) (00:00:11)

  • The U.S.-China relationship is strained due to China's aggressive actions and the recent balloon spy incident.
  • China's economy is facing challenges such as slowing export growth, rising debt, and high youth unemployment, leading to a decline in foreign investment.
  • American companies in China are concerned about intellectual property theft, raids, and the new counter-espionage law amendment that could accuse them of espionage for legal business practices.
  • President Xi Jinping's policies, including the reversal of market reforms, contribute to China's economic slowdown.
  • The fundamental rivalry and mistrust between the US and China have shaken business confidence and pushed the relationship to its lowest point in half a century.
  • China is the US's most significant competitor and third-largest trade partner, with 750,000 American jobs at stake in the agriculture sector alone.

An American in China (Part 2) (00:12:37)

  • China's population is four times that of the US, and it overlooks the Taiwan Strait, a crucial trade route.
  • Despite economic challenges, the US is thriving compared to China, which faces a long-term demographic decline and a shrinking population.
  • China abruptly ended its strict zero-COVID policy in December 2022, causing social volatility and widespread infections, with an estimated 1.4 million deaths.
  • China's real estate sector is in crisis, with unfinished apartments, known as ghost cities, due to excessive borrowing and a government crackdown.
  • Millions of Chinese citizens who bought apartments before they were built are left in limbo due to the financial struggles of major developers.
  • China has a strong manufacturing base and is a world leader in the production of solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles.
  • China is developing a humanoid robot industry and plans to mass-produce humanoids by 2025.
  • The US and China are competing for military supremacy in the Indo-Pacific region, with tensions rising over issues such as the South China Sea, Taiwan, and the recent spy balloon incident.
  • The rivalry between the United States and China is not just a military or economic competition, but also a battle of ideas between American democracy and human freedom, and Chinese communism.

The State of the Navy (Part 1) (00:26:37)

  • The US Navy is concerned about China's rapidly expanding navy and its potential threat to Taiwan, an important American ally.
  • China has threatened to use its navy to invade Taiwan, prompting the US Navy to prepare for the possibility of war and deploy more ships to the Western Pacific.
  • President Biden has declared that the US military would defend Taiwan if it is invaded.
  • China's military has become increasingly aggressive in the Western Pacific, engaging in unsafe intercepts of aircraft and building bases in the South China Sea.
  • China views Taiwan as a strategic key to unlocking direct access to the Pacific and the sea lanes where 50% of the world's commerce is transported.
  • The US Navy is committed to maintaining its presence in the South China Sea and the Western Pacific to deter a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
  • The US has a head start and retains a deep advantage over China in submarine technology.
  • Several sources within the Pentagon believe that if China invaded Taiwan, it could start with both sides targeting each other's satellites, followed by cyber attacks on American cities and sabotage of ports on the US mainland.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping is preparing for a state visit to Russia to strengthen their alliance.

The State of the Navy (Part 2) (00:41:57)

  • The US Navy is concerned about its size and readiness compared to the rapidly growing Chinese Navy, which has become the world's largest in terms of the number of ships.
  • The US Navy's current plan projects a reduction in its fleet to 280 ships by 2027, coinciding with China's potential capability to take Taiwan by force.
  • The Navy has faced challenges in recent decades, including costly and unsuccessful investments in ship programs like the Zumwalt destroyers and the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), leading to delays and budget overruns.
  • China's military expansion includes conventional forces, strategic nuclear forces, cyber capabilities, and space capabilities, which it uses to assert control in areas like the South China Sea.
  • The US Navy is learning from past shipbuilding challenges and working to improve its ability to build ships on time and within budget.
  • China is rapidly expanding its naval capabilities, aiming to have 440 ships by 2030, outpacing the US in terms of production speed.
  • The US Navy's advantage lies in its skilled sailors, and the goal is to modernize the fleet and incorporate unmanned vessels, with a focus on developing highly capable underwater drones.
  • The Navy's budget request for fiscal year 2024 has increased significantly, with a focus on countering China's growing military power.
  • China views the US defense posture as aggressive, particularly the collaboration with other navies to maintain freedom and openness in international waters.

Taiwan (00:53:38)

  • Taiwan, a thriving democracy, is considered by China to be an integral part of its territory.
  • The US maintains a special relationship with Taiwan and has pledged to protect it, leading to increased military pressure from China, including military drills and cyberattacks.
  • Despite the threat from China, life in Taiwan continues uninterrupted, although Taiwan's military is shrinking and lacks the necessary weapons to defend itself.
  • China is attempting to defeat Taiwan without military action through cyber warfare, economic sabotage, and political intimidation, impacting Taiwan's farmers and fishermen through export bans.
  • Taiwan's global leadership in semiconductor manufacturing, particularly through TSMC's production of advanced microchips, acts as a potential deterrent to Chinese military action due to the economic consequences it could cause.
  • China's interest in acquiring TSMC and Taiwan's chip technology is driven by its desire to become a global superpower in the semiconductor industry.
  • Concerns about the erosion of democratic rights in Taiwan have arisen due to China's actions in Hong Kong, leading some Taiwanese citizens to consider civil defense training and the creation of a volunteer force to resist Chinese aggression.
  • There is a growing sentiment in Taiwan to strengthen its defense capabilities and maintain its democratic way of life, with little appetite for surrender or compromise.

Hong Kong (01:07:07)

  • Hong Kong, after 150 years as a British colony, returned to Chinese control in 1997 with a promise of partial autonomy for 50 years. However, Hong Kongers are demanding full democracy and the right to elect their own leaders without interference from Beijing.
  • The Chinese government is seen as eroding Hong Kong's limited freedoms, leading to protests and demands for greater autonomy. Protesters view their struggle as part of a new Cold War between the US and China, aligning their values with the West and contrasting them with the lack of democracy and freedoms in mainland China.
  • Despite pressure from the Chinese government, individuals like Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong media mogul and pro-democracy activist, continue to speak out against Beijing's influence.
  • Protesters, mostly young, middle-class, and highly educated, are willing to risk their futures and even their lives to fight for Hong Kong's democracy, seeing it as a battle for the city's survival.
  • Tensions between protesters and police have escalated, with accusations of violence and excessive force from both sides. Protesters are demanding full democracy, an independent judiciary, and the withdrawal of the proposed extradition law, which they fear would undermine Hong Kong's autonomy and legal system.
  • The Chinese government views the protests as a national security threat due to slogans calling for Hong Kong's liberation and the involvement of foreign flags. China has quietly doubled the size of its Hong Kong Garrison, seen as a potential threat by some.
  • The Hong Kong government has withdrawn the extradition bill, but protesters' demands have expanded to include full democracy.
  • Dissident media mogul Jimmy Lai refuses to be intimidated by threats from mainland China and continues to criticize the government.
  • Despite government intimidation tactics, more people are joining the protests due to police brutality, with some protesters believing that violence may be necessary.
  • Jimmy Lai believes that the young protesters are Hong Kong's last chance for freedom and criticizes his generation for failing to secure their children's freedom.

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