For more context, background and additional information on the subject and themes of the conference, please refer to the following list of articles, authored by a selection of our panelists. Click the article title to access the article, or the [+] to view the abstract.
By Jing-dong Yuan, Monterey Institute for International Studies: Beijing's highly charged, unequivocally strong responses to United States foreign policy actions in recent months have gone beyond past practices of mere rhetoric, setting the scene for more trouble when disputes over trade, currency and the pending Iran sanctions issue are added to the mix.
By Jing-dong Yuan, Monterey Institute for International Studies: With China and the United States marking 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, unprecedented high-level exchanges in 2009 increased cooperation on global and regional issues, from energy conservation to financial stability and helped in the continued search to maintain a stable relationship as the balance of power shifts.
By Richard Rosecrance, Harvard University: Both China and the United States are now emerging from the slumps of the 2008–2009 "Great Recession." But neither country has done much to address the imbalances that helped to precipitate the crisis. China has already succeeded with the stimulus of its own economy. The United States is continuing to provide stimulus and also very low interest rates. China's success, however, means greater inflation, which will have to be checked by higher interest rates. If interest rates go up (and capital remains mobile), the Renminbi must rise as well. This suggests that the recent link between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollar must be attenuated or broken. A higher Renminbi will have two advantages: for the United States, it will help to equilibrate the past trade imbalance; for China, it will stimulate consumption (and enhance imports). It will therefore help China switch from a purely exporting strategy to one that maintains domestic growth through internal consumption. The goods that were to be sent abroad can now be consumed by an increasingly middle class nation at home. These steps will bring China and the United States closer economically and increase international stability. However, unless the military-security relations of the two countries improve, this will not be a sufficient remedy for the two nations' long term problems.
By Richard Rosecrance, Harvard University: After World War II, "trading states" seemed to be charting a new path forward. But small was not beautiful. Even great powers found themselves negotiating larger markets through economic associations with others. It's time the United States became such a power.
By Jing-dong Yuan, Monterey Institute for International Studies: Beijing responded to North Korea's latest nuclear test on Monday with a strong statement decrying Pyongyang's disregard for the common goals of the international community and making clear the Chinese government's "resolute opposition" to the test.
By Jing-dong Yuan, Monterey Institute for International Studies: The author traces the evolution of China-ASEAN relations since the early 1990s and examines some of the key factors that have contributed to the positive developments in bilateral ties. He describes and analyzes how China and ASEAN have managed the territorial disputes through negotiation and compromises; looks at the expanding economic ties between China and ASEAN member states and examines the politico-strategic, as well as economic rationales for establishing a free trade area; and evaluates the emerging yet still limited defense and security ties between the two. He also assesses the implications of the growing China-ASEAN ties for U.S. interests in the region.
By David Lake, UCSD: This brief essay sketches a view of international politics as a realm of variegated hierarchy and highlights the importance of authority in the conduct of hegemonic foreign policies. After developing a conception of hierarchy in international relations, the framework is applied to the future East–West relations. Conflict with rising powers, especially China, is not foreordained, but is a function in part of the policy choices made by the United States. In the long run, China will overtake the United States in some aggregate measures of international power. If current trends continue, and the United States attempts to counter this challenge on its own, it will slowly but inexorably lose its supremacy. On the other hand, by building authority, the United States can, at a minimum, face a future Chinese superpower with strong subordinates who benefit from its leadership. At a maximum, it might even succeed in locking China into an American-dominated international order.
By David Lake, UCSD: By definition there is no easy solution to America’s imperial dilemma. Order is necessary in world affairs, but it provokes resistance that cannot in a global age ever be thoroughly defeated. The new administration’s current effort in Afghanistan may well work, but without any long term effect. Instead, the United States must radically rethink its imperial ambitions and develop a global counter-insurgency strategy to win the hearts and minds of moderates around the world.
By Nicholas Lardy, Peterson Institute for International Economics: China faces major challenges in sustaining its economic growth in a period of weak global recovery, particularly in Europe. In 2009 China's net exports of goods and services dropped precipitously, resulting in a substantial drag on economic growth. To overcome this drag, China launched a massive stimulus program, financed largely with bank credit. While it is now widely understood that China was the first globally significant economy to begin to recover from the crisis, critics nonetheless increasingly charge that the stimulus program has substantial flaws and that China's early economic recovery cannot be sustained. One prominent critic has gone so far as to suggest that the stimulus has created a debt-fueled bubble that will collapse, causing China's growth to plunge to only 2 percent. Nicholas Lardy suggests these criticisms are exaggerated.
By Julian Wong, Center for American Progress: The United States and China announced on Tuesday a package of cooperative agreements on clean energy and climate change that are remarkable in both breadth and ambition. The cluster of seven initiatives, partnerships, action plans, and research centers covers a range of low-carbon energy strategies from electric cars to energy efficiency technologies.
By Julian Wong, John Podesta, and Andrew Light, Center for American Progress: The United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen is less than 35 days away. Nations will negotiate a framework for a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. Any successful outcome at Copenhagen will require a commitment from the world’s major economies, not least of which are China and the United States, the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases and two largest consumers of energy. The Center for American Progress launches today a new report with the Asia Society, “A Roadmap for U.S.-China Collaboration on Carbon Capture and Sequestration,” which sets out a detailed plan for how these two countries can mutually benefit from working together to achieve greater emissions reductions than they can alone.
By Julian Wong, Center for American Progress: The 60-year history of the People’s Republic saw a move from an era of revolution to one of pragmatism. The country’s low-carbon future, writes Julian L Wong, requires both approaches.
By Julian Wong, and Andrew Light, Center for American Progress: A common refrain from climate action naysayers is that, “China is building two coal-fired power plants a week!” They insist that the United States should wait until this major emitter takes on binding commitments to climate change mitigation before it decides to adopt global warming pollution reduction policies in the American Climate and Energy Security Act (H.R. 2454). They further claim that if such a bill became law, the United States would be transferring its jobs to countries such as China and India that are doing nothing to curb emissions. But that thinking is exactly wrong.
By Elizabeth Economy, and Adam Segal, Council on Foreign Relations: A heightened bilateral relationship may not be possible for China and the United States, as the two countries have mismatched interests and values. Washington should embrace a more flexible and multilateral approach.
By Nicholas Lardy, Peterson Institute for International Economics: The Chinese banking system has improved significantly over the past decade, but in one critical respect, it appears to have regressed. The People's Bank of China controls interest rates in a way that has led to significant financial repression—low and now negative real return on deposits—as inflation has risen in recent years. This distorted interest rate structure is a significant obstacle to further reform of the financial system and to sustaining China's rapid economic growth. Financial repression costs Chinese households about 255 billion renminbi (US$36 billion), 4.1 percent of China's GDP, and a fifth of it goes to corporations, one-quarter to banks, and the government assumes the rest.
By Elizabeth Economy, Council on Foreign Relations: China's environmental woes are mounting, and the country is fast becoming one of the leading polluters in the world. The situation continues to deteriorate because even when Beijing sets ambitious targets to protect the environment, local officials generally ignore them, preferring to concentrate on further advancing economic growth. Really improving the environment in China will require revolutionary bottom-up political and economic reforms.
By Nicholas Lardy, Peterson Institute for International Economics: China’s decision to transition away from growth driven by investment and a growing global trade surplus toward one more dependent on domestic consumption is laudable. But to date China’s initiatives have been too modest to change its underlying growth dynamic. China’s external surplus continues to balloon and, short of a US recession, seems likely to expand further in 2007. Household consumption as a share of GDP continued to decline in the first half of 2006. Despite much lip service to increasing budget outlays on social services, little evidence of a fundamental shift in government spending has emerged. So Chinese households’ precautionary saving persists. There is little evidence of a more flexible exchange rate and increased independence of monetary policy that would allow higher domestic interest rates. These and other factors suggest that China’s transition toward more consumption-driven growth is likely to be substantially delayed.
By Barry Naughton, UCSD: During the 1980s, economic think tanks played a key role as centers of expertise, with distinctive philosophies and approaches to economic transition. Although they were all government-sponsored, they served as important alternatives to the policies and advice available within the formal government bureaucracy. In the 1990s, think tanks continued to play an important role but lost some of their distinctive personality. Expertise was absorbed into the bureaucracy, but at the same time independent think tanks emerged. Think tanks were knit into a web of policy debate and advice which Premier Zhu Rongji, in particular, uses as a source of ideas and analysis. The total network of advisers has become more important, while think tanks have become less distinctive nodes of that network.
By Barry Naughton, UCSD: China’s economic reform and its opening to the outside world have resulted in the phenomenal growth of its output and international trade. Manufactured export growth took off after 1984, and GDP growth accelerated as well. Between 1984 and 1995, real GDP grew by 10.2 percent annually, according to official Chinese statistics. The nominal value of exports grew by 17 percent annually, while manufactured exports grew by 22 percent per year. The rapid growth of exports, combined with devaluation of the yuan, the Chinese currency, pushed the ratio of foreign trade (exports plus imports) to GDP from 10 percent in 1978 to 17 percent in 1984 and to 44 percent in 1994. In 1978, China accounted for only 0.75 percent of total world exports, but by 1995, it accounted for 3.0 percent. Together, these numbers indicate the extent of China’s emergence as a trading nation.
By Barry Naughton, UCSD: Is macroeconomic stability the Achilles heel of the Chinese economy? Recurrent bouts of inflationary disorder lead some observers to worry that the Chinese government is unable to control the economy. Macroeconomic difficulties show up in a pattern of repeated boom and bust cycles, in which each boom is accompanied by an acute inflationary phase and significant disruption. Moreover, since the reform era began, the peak annual inflation rate of each successive cycle has been higher than that of the preceding one. The most recent attempts to cool off the economy have only led to additional questions. An austerity policy was decreed at the end of June 1993, yet inflation actually accelerated in 1994, and it was not until mid-1995 that it dropped to the levels of mid-1993. The Chinese government was engaged in a quest for an economic “soft landing” for two years without a net reduction in the inflation rate!
By Barry Naughton, Theodore Groves, Yongmiao Hong, and John McMillan, UCSD: Recent reforms of Chinese state-owned enterprises strengthened a nascent managerial labor market by incorporating incentives suggestive of competitive Western labor markets. Poorly performing firms were more likely to have a new manager selected by auction, to be required to post a higher security deposit, and to be subject to more frequent review of the manager’s contract. Managers could be, and were, fired for poor performance. Managerial pay was linked to the firm’s sales and profits, and reform strengthened the profit link and weakened the sales link. Thus the economic reforms helped develop an improved system of managerial resource allocation responsive to market forces.
Panel 3: What Can the US Do to Shape China's Engagement?
By Daniel Drezner, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University: Both the Guardian and the New York Times have stories today suggesting that the Sino-American relationship is on the mend. Last night Barack Obama and Hu Jintao spoke on the phone for, like, a whole hour. It was such a good chat that Air Force One sat on the tarmac at Andrew Air Force base for ten minutes so Obama could finish the call.
By Daniel Drezner, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University: There's been a spate of stories over the past few days suggesting that China is about to shift its policy on the yuan, allowing the currency to appreciate against the dollar. Keith Bradsher's latest in the New York Times has the most detail, so let's look at his story.
By Susan Shirk, UCSD: Washington’s half-hearted embrace of multilateralism in East Asia reflects an enduring suspicion that its goal is to undermine American alliances and leadership in the region. But if the US were to play a more active role in promoting and building multilateral arrangements in East Asia, it might be surprised by how effective multilateralism could be in tackling even sensitive foreign policy and security issues, writes US international relations expert Susan Shirk.
By Daniel Drezner, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University: I see I was not the only blogger to point out the Paul Krugman = neoconservative argument -- see Ryan Avent's recent posts over at Free Exchange, which also challenge Krugman on the question of whether an appreciating yuan would actually reduce macroeconomic imbalances. It's safe to say that the neocon meme got Krugman and his supporters a wee bit snippy.
By Daniel Drezner, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University: The article seeks to explain the growing rift between the Sino-Chinese relations and the vast similarities seen from the old rivalry during the cold war(US vs. USSR). The article mentions the friendly Sino-Chinese relations during Barack Obama’s earlier days in office, to a worsening relationship between the two countries after issues with Google, Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama and the US’s weapon arms sales to Taiwan. This article seeks to illustrate the parallels faced today in Sino-Chinese relations with the previous relations with the US vs. USSR.
By Nina Hachigian, Center for American Progress: The Obama administration, however, faces a new kind of challenge: how to secure the most cooperation from China on global threats. Never before in history has a pivotal power emerged in such an interdependent world in which international institutions, rules and norms blanket every area of global interaction. Throughout history, the central preoccupation of rising powers was to amass enough military might to topple the reigning power of the day in a head-to-head confrontation, and the central concern of established powers was how to head this off. Today, though, the United States and China are both caught in the vortex of globalization where global warming, lethal viruses, economic imbalances and nuclear proliferation threaten the world’s big powers, whether established or emerging. The United States and China need to cooperate with each other and the rest of the world to successfully manage these complex and interrelated threats.
By Daniel Drezner, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University: Commentators and policymakers have articulated growing concerns about U.S. dependence on China and other authoritarian capitalist states as a source of credit to fund the United States’ trade and budget deficits. What are the security implications of China’s creditor status? If Beijing or another sovereign creditor were to flex its financial muscles, would Washington buckle? The answer can be drawn from the existing literature on economic statecraft. An appraisal of the ability of creditor states to convert their financial power into political power suggests that the power of credit has been moderately exaggerated in policy circles. To use the argot of security studies, China’s financial power increases its deterrent capabilities, but it has little effect on its compellence capabilities. China can use its financial power to resist U.S. entreaties, but it cannot coerce the United States into changing its policies. Financial power works best when a concert of creditors (or debtors) can be maintained. Two case studies—the contestation over regulating sovereign wealth funds and the protection of Chinese financial investments in the United States—demonstrate the constraints on China’s financial power. (Alternate link)
By Susan Shirk, UCSD: Ever since 1989, Chinese leaders have been haunted by the fear that their days in power are numbered. The regime was shaken to its roots by six weeks of student protests in more than 130 cities and the divisions within the Communist Party leadership over how to handle them. The regime remained standing only because the military followed Deng Xiaoping's order to use force to disperse the demonstrators.
By Susan Shirk, UCSD: China's economy has apparently bounced back from the horror of the fourth quarter of 2008, when broad swathes of industry stuttered to a sudden halt. The hills are now alive with the sound of even more building than usual. Indeed, some have called it the most successful stimulus package in history.
Recognizing that energy and environmental challenges represent two important issues facing our two countries, the United States and the People's Republic of China signed the Ten Year Framework on Energy and Environment Cooperation in Annapolis, Maryland during SED IV on June 18, 2008.
By Jeffrey Bader and Richard Bush: The Beijing Olympics coincide with our party conventions heralding the countdown to November’s presidential election. With the world’s media spotlight on China and the United States, both presidential candidates will undoubtedly be tested by unforeseen developments.
By Barry Bosworth, Joanna Lewis, Kenneth Lieberthal, and Anthony Saich: After two years weathering several major internal and external events, The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has come through in remarkably strong condition. Since early 2008, China has dealt with challenges including the Wenchuan earthquake, the 2008 Olympic Games, unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang, and the global economic and financial crises. The Chinese government has also coped with a series of sensitive anniversaries, including the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. During this same period, China’s global role and stature have grown significantly, expanding the standing of the PRC beyond that of a regional player. This has created new expectations of China’s diplomacy in areas as diverse as climate change, nuclear proliferation and the restructuring of global financial institutions.
By Deborah Brautigam, School of International Service, American University: Just as China promoted domestic growth by combining state intervention with private investment, it is now applying this same policy strategy to countries across Africa. The results have been impressive, and the United States and others would do well to start paying attention.
By Chris Buckley and Jeff Mason, : President Barack Obama urged his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao to help ratchet up pressure on Iran over its nuclear activities, but Hu did not openly commit to new sanctions on Tehran, according to official reports on Friday.
By Kerry Dumbaugh: The bilateral relationship between the U.S. and the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) is vitally important, touching on a wide range of areas including, among others, economic policy, security, foreign relations, and human rights. U.S. interests with China are bound together much more closely now than even a few years ago. These extensive inter-linkages have made it increasingly difficult for either government to take unilateral actions without inviting far-reaching, unintended consequences. The George W. Bush Administration addressed these increasing inter-linkages by engaging with China, regularizing bilateral contacts and cooperation, and minimizing differences. The Administration of President Barack Obama has inherited not only more extensive policy mechanisms for pursuing U.S.-China policy, but a more complex and multifaceted U.S.-China relationship where the stakes are higher and where U.S. action may increasingly be constrained.
By Stephen Dunaway, Council on Foreign Relations: Last year was good for China. The country managed to maintain relatively fast economic growth, became the leading exporting nation, and at the end of the year stood on the brink of becoming the second largest economy in the world. China's status in key world economic forums rose substantially, to the point that commentaries frequently talked of a new G2--China and the United States--playing the dominant role in international economic policymaking in the years to come.
By Evan A. Feigenbaum, Council on Foreign Relations: My friends’ punch line seems to be this: If you’ve been around long enough, you’ve seen worse in U.S.-China relations. Much worse. Maybe even catastrophically worse. And by their logic, this, too, shall pass. Maybe they have a point. But I think they’re missing three very significant changes that could make this a tipping point in the up-and-down cycles that have characterized U.S.-China relations in the past.
By Kelly Sims Gallagher, Tufts University and Belfer Center: This paper outlines the current situation regarding advanced coal and carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the United States and China. The strategic interest in cooperation on coal and CCS is explored, and then three options for collaboration are identified and discussed. None of the options are mutually exclusive. Remaining questions for discussion are provided at the end.
By Jeffrey Garten, Yale School of Management: As Obama meets with the Dalai Lama at the White House today, Jeffrey E. Garten says it’s just a sideshow—and explains how to fix the fundamental flaw in U.S. policy toward Beijing.
By John Ikenberry: China's rise will inevitably bring the United States' unipolar moment to an end. But that does not necessarily mean a violent power struggle or the overthrow of the Western system. The U.S.-led international order can remain dominant even while integrating a more powerful China -- but only if Washington sets about strengthening that liberal order now.
By Robert Kaplan: Thanks to the countrys favorable location on the map, China's inﬂuence is expanding on land and at sea, from Central Asia to the South China Sea and from the Russian Far East to the Indian Ocean.
By Andrew Bingham Kennedy, Harvard University: While few Chinese observers currently suspect that Washington seeks formal Taiwanese independence, a sizable majority believes the United States is striving to preserve Taiwan’s de facto separation to check China’s rise. This view is both unduly pessimistic and destabilizing. Accordingly, Washington
By Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt and Andrew Small: Beijing has recently stepped back from its unconditional support for pariah states, such as Burma, North Korea, and Sudan. This means China may now be more likely to help the West manage the problems such states pose -- but only up to a point, because at heart China still favors nonintervention as a general policy.
By Charles Kupchan, Georgetown University and CFR: A worrisome confrontation is escalating between the United States and China. Washington charges that Beijing is unfairly bolstering Chinese exports by keeping its currency artificially low and is troubled by Beijing’s dispute with Google over Internet censorship. Beijing is telling the United States to mind its own business and is chafing over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and President Obama’s recent meeting with the Dalai Lama.
By Deborah Welch Larson and Alexei Shevchenko: The United States needs support from other states to carry out global governance, particularly from rising powers such as China and Russia. Securing cooperation from China and Russia poses special problems, however, because neither state is part of the liberal Western community, ruling out appeals to common values and norms. Nevertheless, an alternative approach that is rooted in appreciation of China's and Russia's heightened status concerns may be viable. Since the end of the Cold War, Chinese and Russian foreign policy has been shaped by the goal of restoring both countries' great power status, which received major blows after China's Tiananmen Square repression and the Soviet Union's breakup and loss of empire. This desire for status can be explained by social identity theory, which argues that social groups strive for a distinctive, positive identity. Social identity theory provides a typology of strategies that states may use to enhance their relative status and suggests appropriate responses to status concerns of rising powers. Redirecting scholarly attention to status considerations and incentives could contribute to a diplomatic strategy for engaging rising powers.
By Kenneth Lieberthal, Brookings Institute: President Obama's first State of the Union address was a pivotal moment for Obama's presidency, where he articulated policies and initiatives that will define his first term. Scholars from around the halls of Brookings offer their thoughts on what the speech means for U.S. foreign policy, and how it is likely to be received in other parts of the world.
By Kenneth Lieberthal, Brookings Institute: Since the Obama administration took office, U.S.-China cooperation on clean energy and climate change has become one of the major issues that is shaping the evolution of U.S.-China relations. This change reflects internal developments in both countries, along with the looming prospect of the Copenhagen Conference in December 2009.
By Ying Ma: In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many Americans began to ask the question Why do they hate us? Today, those who hate us have greatly expanded in number. They range from Muslim fanatics who wish to kill Americans, to numerous citizens of France, Germany, Spain, South Korea, Canada and elsewhere who see the United States as a bigger threat than the global terrorists it seeks to eliminate.
By Minxin Pei, Carnegie Endowment: China's economic boom has dazzled investors and captivated the world. But beyond the new high-rises and churning factories lie rampant corruption, vast waste, and an elite with little interest in making things better. Forget political reform. China's future will be decay, not democracy.
By Dennis Wilder, Brookings Institute: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is taking advantage of Beijing’s desire for stability on the Korean peninsula by engaging in provocative actions that could permanently alter the north-east Asian security situation. Mr Kim’s moves are calculated – they are designed to help secure a dynastic succession and North Korea’s status as a nuclear weapons power. Fearful of a flood of refugees should Mr Kim’s regime implode, China has responded cautiously. Beijing apparently still believes that its national interests are best served by a weak North Korean regime that is dependent on China.
By Wing Thye Woo, Brookings Institute: As the economies of the U.S. and China both struggle under the global recession, what is the future of the U.S.-China economic relationship and how will both countries respond to invigorate economic growth? In testimony to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Wing Thye Woo details challenges for both economies and proposes effective policy responses.
By Fareed Zakaria: Despite the recent squall in U.S.-Chinese relations, both countries have powerful reasons to cooperate with one another. These have grown over the past two decades, a progression that both countries seem to recognize.
Richard Baum is a professor of political science and past director of the UCLA Center for China Studies. China continues to be the focus of his research, and he shares his expert knowledge as a media commentator on CNN International, the BBC, NPR and other outlets. In this video he talks about his most recent book, China Watcher: Confessions of a Peking Tom.
Burkle Center for International Relations • 11353 Bunche Hall • Box 951487 • Los Angeles, CA 90095-1487 Campus Mail Code: 148703 • Tel: (310) 206-6365 • Fax: (310) 206-3555 • Email: email@example.com