Monday, July 13, 2020

Leading U.S. and Chinese Experts Exchange Views in Candid Dialogue

With U.S.-China relations beset by a wide range of complex challenges, the Paul Tsai China Center has been actively engaged in organizing and participating in a variety of Track 2 and Track 1.5 dialogues focusing on critical issues in the bilateral relationship. As part of a broader series of interactions, on June 30, the China Center joined with the Grandview Institution, an international relations think tank based in Beijing, to host an intimate dialogue among leading American and Chinese scholars and practitioners. The experts exchanged candid perspectives on the nature of U.S.-China competition, the aptness of Cold War historical comparisons, the likely consequences of China’s new Hong Kong national security law, accountability and coordination in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, and more.

The proceedings were co-chaired by Robert Williams, Executive Director of the Paul Tsai China Center, and Capt. (ret’d) Tian Shichen, Vice President of the Grandview Institution and Director of the Center for the International Law of Military Operations. Core participants included John Bellinger, Partner at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP and former Legal Adviser to the U.S. Department of State and to the National Security Council (NSC); Paul Heer, Distinguished Fellow at the Center for the National Interest and former National Intelligence Officer for East Asia; Susan Thornton, Senior Fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center and former acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs; Huang Jing, Chief Strategist and Vice Chairman of the Grandview Institution’s Academic Committee and Academic Dean of the National and Regional Academy of the Beijing Language and Culture University; Jia Qingguo, Professor and Director of the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding at Peking University; and Simon Young, Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law.

The participants’ wide-ranging discussion delved into the evolving power dynamics between the United States and China, domestic political factors in both countries, and possible trajectories for U.S.-China relations over the short, medium, and long term. Participants agreed that frequent and candid people-to-people exchanges can serve as important channels for helping to clarify mutual perceptions and avoid crises in a time of fragile and deteriorating relations between the two countries.