With New Crackdown, Biden Wages Global Campaign on Chinese Technology – The New York Times

WASHINGTON — In conversations with American executives this spring, top officials in the Biden administration revealed an aggressive plan to counter the Chinese military’s rapid technological advances.

China was using supercomputing and artificial intelligence to develop stealth and hypersonic weapons systems, and to try to crack the U.S. government’s most encrypted messaging, according to intelligence reports. For months, administration officials debated what they could do to hobble the country’s progress.

They saw a path: The Biden administration would use U.S. influence over global technology and supply chains to try to choke off China’s access to advanced chips and chip production tools needed to power those abilities. The goal was to keep Chinese entities that contributed to potential threats far behind their competitors in the United States and in allied nations.

The effort, no less than what the Americans had carried out against Soviet industries during the Cold War, gained momentum this year as the United States tested powerful economic tools against Russia as punishment for its invasion of Ukraine, and as China broke barriers in technological development. The Russian offensive and Beijing’s military actions also made the possibility of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan seem more real to U.S. officials.

The administration’s concerns about China’s tech ambitions culminated last week in the unveiling of the most stringent controls by the U.S. government on technology exports to the country in decades — an opening salvo that would ripple through global commerce and could frustrate other governments and companies outside China.

In a speech on Wednesday on the administration’s national security strategy, Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, talked about a “small yard, high fence” for critical technologies.

“Choke points for foundational technologies have to be inside that yard, and the fence has to be high because these competitors should not be able to exploit American and allied technologies to undermine American and allied security,” he said.

This account of how President Biden and his aides decided to wage a new global campaign against China, which contains previously unreported details, is based on interviews with two dozen current and former officials and industry executives. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss deliberations.

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Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/13/us/politics/biden-china-technology-semiconductors.html

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