Any attempt to look ahead at Sino-American relations in 2023 will uncover a landscape of uncertainties. There is not only the paramount strategic goal of maintaining peace across the Taiwan Strait, but also China’s often fraught relations with other powers such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, India and Europe, as well as its ties to wayward friends like Russia. And beyond these, there is the question of whether the Chinese economy lands safely or crashes in the year ahead.

China’s political economy

The work report delivered by President Xi Jinping at the Communist Party of China’s 20th National Congress in October makes clear that Chinese economic policymakers will emphasize the state-owned enterprise sector, party control, national economic self-sufficiency and a new emphasis on wealth redistribution in 2023 and beyond. This involves considerable policy correction from the emphasis on market forces, the private sector, and full international economic integration that we saw in previous decades under Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.