As the clock ticks down to a crucial deadline, the fate of the decades-old China-US Science and Technology Agreement hangs in the balance, with operational technology security concerns taking center stage in the deliberations.
Operational Security Technology Front and Center as China-US Science Accord Deadline Approaches
Signed in 1979 by then US President Jimmy Carter and Chinese paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, the US-China Science and Technology Agreement established a landmark foundation for government-to-government collaboration in the realm of science and technology. However, the impending deadline of August 27 has triggered a fervent debate on the operational technology security within the US political landscape. Some lawmakers have raised alarm bells about the potential risks on the operational technology security posed by extending the agreement, citing concerns over operational technology security, such as intellectual property theft and the unintended advancement of the Chinese military’s capabilities. Congressman Mike Gallagher, chair of the House select committee on the Chinese Communist Party, argued against renewal, cautioning operational technology security that China could exploit civilian research partnerships for military purposes. Operational technology security concerns are further amplified by the evolving landscape of global technology competition. China’s rapid rise as a scientific superpower has transformed the flow of knowledge, necessitating a nuanced approach that reflects the realities of the 21st century. The US State Department, responsible for implementing the agreement from the American side, has remained tight-lipped about its intentions.
Beijing has indicated its willingness to renew and potentially revise the long-standing cooperation. Chinese embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu highlighted China’s desire to engage in discussions on the “content and form” of the renewed agreement, based on principles of equality and mutual benefit. Operational technology security remains a pivotal consideration as both nations explore potential areas of cooperation. Richard Suttmeier, an expert on US-China science and tech cooperation at the University of Oregon, emphasized that operational technology security concerns must be addressed to ensure productive collaboration on global challenges. As the deadline draws nearer, the decision-makers in Washington face the complex task of striking a balance between historical cooperation and the imperative to protect operational technology security. The path ahead requires careful navigation to ensure that the bilateral relationship between the United States and China remains resilient in the face of evolving technological dynamics.