Why China Will Play It Safe Xi Would Prefer Détente—Not War—With America

Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, October 2022
Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, October 2022
Tingshu Wang / Reuters

At a time of growing tension between Beijing and Washington, China’s 20th Party Congress in October unsettled many outside observers. During the proceedings, not only did Chinese President Xi Jinping stack China’s all-important Politburo Standing Committee with loyalists and secure a third term in office; he also painted his darkest picture yet of China’s external threats. Xi called for further increasing the quantity and quality of China’s already accelerating defense production. And he appointed a mix of protégés and skilled technocrats to the full Politburo to oversee China’s response to the challenge.



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