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Indo-Pacific

U.S. translation project opens window on China's ambitions, fears

CSIS think tank's archive aims to enhance understanding, avoid 'escalation spiral'

Analysts hope the CSIS database of translated Chinese documents on the country's strategic position may clear up misunderstandings between the U.S. and China.   © Getty Images

TOKYO -- The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, has quietly built up an archive of 200 translations of recent Chinese speeches, academic papers and government documents in hopes of offering a better understanding of Beijing's ambitions, fears and how it sees its own capabilities.

The "Interpret: China" project models itself after how the U.S. sought a laserlike understanding of the Soviet leadership during the Cold War. "All too often we're relying on what others are saying about China, but we want to stop and listen to the discussion, the dialogue, the discourse that's happening within the country," the project's co-director, Jude Blanchette, CSIS Freeman Chair in China Studies, explains on the website.

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