Identifying and Countering China’s Global Digital Strategy (Seoul)

On March 22, 2022, the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) and the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS) partnered for a joint event to discuss China’s digital strategy, the security implications of China’s growing digital influence, and what Korea and other likeminded partners can do to address these challenges.

NBR recently released a new report entitled “China’s Digital Ambitions: A Global Strategy to Supplant the Liberal Order.” The report argues China has diagnosed that the emergence of data as a factor of production is catalyzing a new industrial revolution, which Chinese policymakers view as a competitive opportunity to leapfrog to leadership of the international system. It analyzes how they move from this diagnosis to the implementation of a comprehensive global strategy seeking to increase China’s control of and influence over the global digital environment. This strategy seeks to replace the current liberal and decentralized digital architecture with a China-dominated, state-centric one that will create the foundation for a new type of geopolitical power and enhance China’s global influence.

This event discussed the report’s findings as well as the impact of China’s growing digital influence on Korea.



Joonkoo Yoo, Research Professor, Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security

REPORT OVERVIEW: Understanding China’s Digital Ambitions

Emily de la Bruyère, Non-resident Fellow, The National Bureau of Asian Research

PANEL 1: China’s Digital Strategy


Karen Sutter, Senior Analyst, U.S.-China trade, investment, and economic issues
HyoYoung Lee, Assistant Professor, Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security

PANEL 2: Responding to the Risks of China’s Digital Influence


JinBaek Choi, Research Professor, Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security
Nigel Cory, Associate Director, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation


Alison Szalwinski, Vice President of Research, The National Bureau of Asian Research

About the speakers

Emily de La Bruyère is a Nonresident Fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research and Co-founder of Horizon Advisory, a consulting firm focusing on the implications of China’s competitive approach to geopolitics. She has extensive Chinese language research experience and has pioneered novel data collection and analysis tools tailored to Beijing’s strategic and institutional structures. Her work is at the cutting edge of U.S. analysis on China’s military-civil fusion strategy and platform geopolitics, as well as their implications for global security and the economic order.

Jinbaek Choi is a Research Professor at the Center for Chinese Studies, Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, Korea National Diplomatic Academy. He received his Ph.D in political science from the University of Chicago and his research area covers China’s domestic politics and labor issues.

Nigel Cory is Associate Director at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, where he focuses on cross-border data flows, data governance, intellectual property, and how they each relate to digital trade and the broader digital economy. He has provided in-person testimony and written submissions and has published reports and op-eds relating to these issues in the United States, the European Union, Australia, China, India, and New Zealand, among other countries and regions, and has completed research projects for international bodies such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and the World Trade Organization. He previously worked for eight years in Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Hyo-young Lee is Assistant Professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA), where she teaches International Trade & Diplomacy. Previously, she worked as a research fellow at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) Division of International Trade and as assistant secretary for Trade, Industry and Energy at the Presidential Office. Her research focuses on international trade, trade rules on industrial subsidy policies, digital trade, trade and national security, trade and climate change. Her recent reports have included Evolution and Evaluation of International Rules on Digital Trade (2021), Current Trends and Prospects for Asia Regional Economic Integration: RCEP and CPTPP (2021), Regulation of Subsidies and U.S.-China Strategic Competition (2020). Dr. Lee obtained her Ph.D. in International Studies at Seoul National University, South Korea, majoring in international trade law and policy.

Karen Sutter is a Specialist in Asian Trade and Finance at the Congressional Research Service. She previously worked at the U.S. Department of Treasury, the CIA, the U.S.-China Business Council, and the Atlantic Council, and has over 30 years of experience working on U.S.-Asia policy issues and crosscutting economic, political, technological, and national security issues in government, business, and the think tank community.

Alison Szalwinski is Vice President of Research at NBR. Ms. Szalwinski provides executive leadership to NBR’s policy research agenda and oversees research teams in Seattle and Washington, D.C. She is the author of numerous articles and reports and co-editor of the Strategic Asia series along with Ashley J. Tellis and Michael Wills. Her research interests include U.S. alliance relationships, U.S.-China relations, and the implications of great-power competition for U.S. alliances in the region. She holds a BA in Foreign Affairs and History from the University of Virginia and an MA in Asian Studies from Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

JoonKoo Yoo is a Research Professor at the Center for International Law, Korea National Diplomat Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and concurrently serves as a visiting professor at Sungkyunkwan University. He has served on advisory committees for the Ministry of Science, Information and Technology, the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy, and the Defense Acquisition Program Agency. He currently specializes in international public domain laws focusing on cyberspace and outer space, and has served as chief legal adviser for the 5th United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (2016-17). Professor Yoo also served as Deputy Director of the Presidential Committee for the G20 Seoul Summit. Before teaching, Dr. Yoo was a legal adviser specializing in International Trade and Defense Acquisition with Aitken, Berlin & Brooman in Washington D.C.