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Monday, July 25, 2016
Tsai Center Paper: Roy on the Changing Geopolitics of East Asia
The United States is facing a new set of challenges in East Asia. China’s rapid economic development over the last three and a half decades has transformed its position in East Asia and the world. Its growing economic strength, military capabilities, and political influence are giving the United States a run for its money in a region of the world where we have been the dominant power for the last seventy years. In the past our dominance was sorely tested by wars in Korea and Vietnam. More recently, it has been an important factor underpinning the stability in East Asia that has permitted most of the countries of the region to focus on economic development rather than military buildups. That era may be ending as China continues to expand its military footprint in the western Pacific.
Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy is a Distinguished Scholar and Founding Director Emeritus of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. Roy was born in China and spent much of his youth there during the upheavals of World War II and the communist revolution, where he watched the battle for Shanghai from the roof of the Shanghai American School. He joined the US Foreign Service immediately after graduating from Princeton in 1956, retiring 45 years later with the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the Foreign Service. In 1978 he participated in the secret negotiations that led to the establishment of US-PRC diplomatic relations. During a career focused on East Asia and the Soviet Union, Roy was the U.S. Ambassador to China, to Indonesia, and to Singapore. His final post with the State Department was as Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research. On retirement he joined Kissinger Associates, Inc., a strategic consulting firm, before joining the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in September 2008 to head the newly created Kissinger Institute. In 2001 he received Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson Award for Distinguished Public Service.