Patrick Schaefer – a top member of Joe Biden’s transition review team – praised the Chinese Communist Party’s ‘One Belt and One Road’ initiative while suggesting the U.S. assist with the endeavor in addition to partnering with a Chinese military-linked think tank, The National Pulse can reveal.
Schaefer – who serves on the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative review team which also oversees the International Trade Commission and the Trade and Development Agency – previously served as an Eisenhower Zhi-Xing Fellow.
The fellowship is funded by VIPKid, an online learning service that enjoys an undisclosed amount of funding from Tencent, a Chinese Communist Party-linked technology firm flagged by the U.S. State Department as lacking the “ability to tell the Chinese Communist Party ‘no’ if officials decide to ask for their assistance.”
As part of the fellowship, Schaefer produced a video where he appeared to offer substantive advice to the Chinese government’s One Belt and One Road Initiative.
Schaefer leveraged his Chinese Communist Party connections from his Eisenhower fellowship to partner with a Chinese state-run think tank with extensive ties to the People’s Liberation Army.
According to the Eisenhower site:
Patrick Schaefer (USA/Zhi-Xing ’18) forged a partnership with China’s premier government think tank, the Shanghai International Shipping Institute.
Schaefer produced research for the group which, used by “local, state and federal decision-makers” in the U.S. and China:
“Patrick’s center — the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness at the University of Texas, El Paso — produced research for the Shipping Institute that put the bi-national Paso del Norte region (which includes Texas, New Mexico and northern regions in Mexico) on the map as a major influential trade hub that is significantly impacted by recent trade wars between China and the U.S. The data will be used by local, state and federal decision-makers who are at the helm of opening opportunities that will strengthen economic growth in the U.S. and China.”
The Shanghai International Shipping Institute, however, retains many ties to the Chinese military and navy.
Its Deputy Director, Ge Jizhong, boasts about his “long military life” in his biography, as well as his service in China’s Ministry of Defense.
The institute also lists COSCO Container Lines Co. Ltd as one of the entities chairing its “founders council”.
COSCO Shipping is a controversial, Shanghai-based logistics company labeled as a “thinly veiled arm of the Chinese military” by a task force of the U.S. House of Representatives. Eleven of its 13 executives boast of high-level Chinese Communist Party affiliations on COSCO’s website.
A host of other Chinese Communist Party-linked entities such as the Ministry of Transport and Hongkou District People’s Government also lead the institute.
Influence and Access.
The Belt and Road initiative has been described by the U.S. government China’s attempt to “reshape international norms, standards, and networks to advance Beijing’s global interests and vision, while also serving China’s domestic economic requirements.”
“Through One Belt and One Road and other initiatives, China is expanding the use of Chinese industrial standards in key technology sectors, part of an effort to strengthen its own companies’ position in the global marketplace at the expense of non-Chinese firms. […] Given Beijing’s increasing use of economic leverage to extract political concessions from or exact retribution against other countries, the United States judges that Beijing will attempt to convert One Belt and One Road projects into undue political influence and military access.”
Schaefer, who’s latest employment is an Assistant District Attorney in New Mexico, praised the “aspiration” of the Belt and Road Initiative in a video produced for the Eisenhower Institute:
“I think first of all the aspiration of One Belt and One Road is another example of what I just mentioned where an idea or a proposal takes on a physical reality. As I was visiting Xiamen I saw a lot of actors and institutions and organization and businesses that were existing around that aspiration, that initiation of One Belt One Road. So for example, one thing that I found particularly interesting was these rail connections that are being built between coastal China and the heart of Europe. There’s a train that goes from Xiamen to Germany. So whether you’re looking at the maritime connectivity whether you’re looking at terrestrial connectivity what I think again you’re seeing is first comes an idea then comes some kind of cooperative structure and then comes the actual tracks.”
“So that has been really interesting to see in China how those two things are working together: the idea and then the material reality,” he adds.
Schaefer also describes the initiative as an “open-door opportunity,” insisting that the interests of the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party would “converge”:
China’s official position is that all countries are welcome to participate in the One Belt One Road Initiative, that it’s sort of an open-door opportunity. And I think if you view it in that way and if you view the traditional disposition of the United States and North American countries to reach out and build trade and investment networks around the world I think it’s inevitable that these two interests and these two inclinations will converge. I think it’s important for our leaders our diplomats and our policy officials to really meet each other with open minds and find out ways that both can work together.
He suggests the Belt and Road Initiative contains “a lot of opportunities for the US to partner with China,” insisting more collaboration would be a “very positive thing”:
There’s a lot of infrastructure needs by part of this One Belt One Road Initiative whether that’s with capital goods or advanced technology. So I think there’s a lot of opportunities for the US to partner with China, so the more that all of us can build roads, whether it’s an actual physical road or whether it’s an interpersonal road and connection that we can build with our neighbors I think it’s a very positive thing because the more prosperity that all of us bring to our neighbors and to our communities I think the safer and more stable and more well being all of us will enjoy.
These revelations will raise further questions about Biden’s fealty to the Chinese Communist Party, as he continues to claim he won the 2020 election. The election is still contested.