On September 9, Dexter Tiff Roberts, nonresident senior fellow at the Asia Security Initiative and a veteran China journalist, spoke before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s hearing on “U.S.-China Relations in 2020: Enduring Problems and Emerging Challenges.” In his testimony, he discussed the state of the Chinese economy, particularly the prospects of the Chinese Communist Party’s economic modernization goals, ongoing policies in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, and impacts of the Belt and Road Initiative. Lastly, he proposed the United States strengthen its relations with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific while also mending “the tattered people-to-people exchanges with China which
can help counter that country’s leaders’ efforts to portray the U.S. as a threat to the Chinese people.”

This focus on building up a much more self-reliant economy does not mean abandoning national priorities like the Belt and Road Initiative. It will continue as China aims to extend its influence and find new markets in Southeast and Central Asia, Africa, and Latin America even as it tries to lessen its reliance on the U.S., European Union and Japan.