US Looks to Extend Scientific Research Agreement with China

    US Looks to Extend Scientific Research Agreement with China
    Last updated Aug 24, 2023
    Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


    • On Wednesday, the US State Dept. announced its intention to pursue a six-month extension of a longstanding science and technology agreement with China that would allow for negotiations with Beijing to "strengthen" the deal.
    • The Science and Technology Agreement (STA) — which allows the two nations to cooperate across the scientific and technological fields — was established in 1979 and has since been renewed every five years.
    • If the agreement lapses, it will impede government-to-government collaboration in areas such as climate change and public health and disrupt academic cooperation between the two nations.
    • The Biden admin. has said the brief extension allows negotiations with China to amend and strengthen the agreement without committing the US to a long-term deal.
    • Amid concerns from the US House Select Committee, a group of GOP lawmakers have introduced a bill that would see congressional supervision on any science and technology deals between the world's two leading economies.
    • Meanwhile, Beijing has signaled its openness to renewing the deal, with Chinese embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu having previously said the nation is "ready to discuss with the US on the basis of equality and mutual benefit."


    Narrative A

    Beijing has used the STA to advance its military objectives. China exploits civilian research partnerships for military purposes by using academic researchers, industrial espionage, and forced technology transfers to steal information that they can use against the US. The US must stop fueling its own destruction, and a good first step would be to let the STA expire.

    Narrative B

    The China hawks are wrong. China has become a scientific powerhouse, hosting advanced facilities found nowhere else. The US arguably stands to gain more from collaboration with China now than ever before. Working with China will provide more benefits than risks from the joint research that the landmark agreement enables.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our newsletter!