Five years before the COVID-19 global pandemic and the subsequent economic destruction it unleashed, the Chinese Communist Party launched its “Made in China 2025” industrial technology strategy. The goal was to achieve economic, manufacturing and processing independence from U.S. suppliers, on the road to Chinese global trade dominance in breakthrough technologies such as: robotics, aerospace, semiconductors, rare earth materials and biopharma.

After two decades of ascension to a global economic powerhouse, accelerated by its premature membership into the World Trade Organization in 2001, China’s open pronouncement was its first public declaration of its intention to strategically disengage from the United States.

China’s open pronouncement was its first public declaration of its intention to strategically disengage from the United States.

After years of high-stakes trade disputes, growing political and diplomatic mistrust between Beijing and Washington, and the uneasy sense that the Chinese government had deliberately facilitated the spread of COVID-19 around the world, the strategic disengagement of the world’s two largest economies—economically, politically, and diplomatically—is acquiring velocity, with the potential for a Sinocentric bloc of nations competing against a U.S.-led system by 2030.

Since General Secretary Xi Jinping ascended to power in 2012, the Chinese government has openly proclaimed its determined strategy to overtake the U.S. as the world’s dominant power in every major field by 2049—the centennial of China’s Communist Party rule. Many U.S. and European political leaders, corporate executives, and investment managers chose to sidestep the pronouncements, trusting that the advantages of integration into multilateral arrangements and institutions would persuade Chinese officials to reject Leninist doctrine and adopt the Western model as a leading “responsible stakeholder.”

John Sitilides and Trilogy Advisors are not affiliated with New York Life Investment Management LLC. 

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