tv Wilson Center Discussion on U.S.- China Relations in 2018 CSPAN December 26, 2018 12:16pm-1:51pm EST
>> when the gavel comes down to open the 116th congress january 3, watch live coverage of the house on c-span and the senate on c-span2. new congress, new leaders. watch the process unfold on c-span. >> next, former u.s. ambassador to china j. stapleton roy talks about u.s.-china relations over the past year and china's political and economic influence over the years. from the wilson center this is one hour and a half. [inaudible conversations] >> good morning, everybody.
look into the wilson center. i want to thank you all for being with us come to her audience in the real, those of you watching the webcast live and in the future, which applicant includes my parents are watching this in scotland and to our c-span viewers who are joining us today. we are delighted at the wilson center ceo jane harman here with us. my name is katie stallard-blanchette. i may fellow at the wilson center. until for this year i was in beijing as asia correspondent for the british broadcaster sky news, so this boating is on the back of this room, from xi jinping and phone trump when the net in the great hall of the people last year. i've been fortunate to look at this from both sides of the relationship. before that is based in russia where my coverage was only by the ukraine crisis and were
recovered the maidan revolution, the annexation of crimea and the conflict in east ukraine. none of which was as daunting as they i knocked on the door of ambassador stapleton roy. [laughing] as a testament to the wilson center, this is the caliber of person you find a supportive alongside. i need not had worried. ambassador roy could not of been kinder more generous with his time and expertise. ambassador roy served on thess diplomatic front lines of the actual front, of the actual cold war with postings to beijing and moscow along a long and storied career before becoming the direct of the kissinger institute on china and the united states here at the wilson center where he is now a distinguished fellow and would honored to have with us on this panel today. at the far end of this, trended a stretch of the trend broken mcgoldrick asia program stimson center, an expert on chinese foreign policy and u.s.-china relations and an old friend of the kissinger institute. i believe this is your third
year in review today. welcome back. robert daly instruct of the kissinger institute and a leading authority on china-u.s. relations. robert has been very encouraging and supporting every person so want to thank you for welcoming me so warmly here to the wilson center. fun fact among his many impressive titles in the research, i discovered robert was once a producer for the chinese language version of sesame street. [laughing]pr meredith oyen as an associate of history and director of asian studies program at the university of maryland baltimore county where she specialized in the history of sino-american relations. professor oyen is the author of the diplomas and migration of transnational lives in the making of u.s.-chinese relations in the cold war and her current research is focus on asia chinese students, visas, visas and exchanges between the two countries. she is verbal place of us make sense of what's happening now. i said i would take a moment at the star to set out some context for our discussion pic so much
as happened in the last 12 months, frankly the last 12 days, that he can be easy to lose track. our conversation is to go beyond all of the noise to tease out the key moment over the last year, where we are now with u.s.-china relations and crucially where this is heading. i want to take you back to federal 25th of issue because for me this is one of those moments. i was working, a sunday in the beijing bureau of sky news what i was made to becoming the closing some of the winter olympics with a gote a short bulletin from the news agency, a white truck. it was very brief, , a couple of lines that said the communist party central committee was proposing to remove the two-term limitt of the presidency and ve presidency. i remember getting on the phone to the news desk and telling the editor this was the story we need to be covering, but this was the news event that would really matter in the long run because there have been signs as might happen. once a possible future leader had been arrested, there'd been no clear successor in the 19
party congress but now it was in black and white, this proposal to change the constitution to move the only form of virtue xi jinping staying are deadly. the following month i watched every delegate in the hall vote to do that international peoples caucus. i was up because i think firstly a tablet in chinese politics matters for u.s.-china relations is a background against which these wider discussions are taking place and we need to understand the point of view in beijing if we really want to understand this relationship. secondly because i wonder whether the sense i had that day, that feeling of this is actually happening, this is now real, is how arbor glen to come back to look on this year in 2018 in general as the of the start of the clear eyed reckoning will begin to understand where china under xi jinping was going, and with the heu.s.-china relations. this wasn't just another deviation. china was it just zigzagging, that
the china was on its own course. in the years since we've seen the start of the trade war with the united states, u.s. warships in the taiwan strait and a near miss in the south china sea and the emergence of question whether we are now in or this could become a new cold war. after mike pence speech in october russell mead called cold war two. former secretary hank paulson warned of an economic iron curtain. you had the foreign minister accusing u.s. of having a cold war mentality and the defense minister warning against repeating the coldd war. i want to turn first to professor oyen. it strikes me that we had seen arguably more serious tensions over the pastly decades. we have the belgrade embassy bombing, the ep three surveillancemb plane incident bt we were number talking to them about the new cold war. i wonder with your historical perspective is to -- if you could help usun understand whats different now and what we are talking about when we talk about a new cold war?
>> i mean, thank you, katie. i think i would preface this by saying that i'm not sure i except that we are talking about the new cold war except of course the case of this sort of headline making rhetoric. i don't necessarily accept the premise that this is a new cold war but i would say that what i think they're kind of .2 two, what feels different is their kind highlight an idea that there's something longer-term afoot, that we are looking at status quo competition or of an ongoing rivalry that they see lasting for decades, and not necessarily just for the next short time, during the next administration of the next leader. there is no longer a sense of ride up xi jinping's tenure in office after ten years or so then you move on to someone else. or just ride up president trump if there's a sense of their
something longer-term and more fundamental t happening and i think that's with regard to .2 with this talk of the cold war. that's what they're harking back to when looking at the rhetoric from the earlier, i think they're pointing to a soviet american still cold war and not really mimicking the previous cold war between the u.s. and china. >> anything on this, ambassador why? usurped during the actual coldie war. how would you describe what is happening at the moment? do you think new cold war is appropriate terminology to be using? >> i think using the term cold war is totally inappropriate. this spirit a u.s.-china relations, even when we are in sharp disagreement on issues, does not approximate the spirit of the types of negotiations that it was either participate in or on the sidelines of during the actual cold war.e
but there's a second reason why i fundamentally disagree with the term. i thought it was wrong to refer to the war on terror. krein is a part of the human condition, so is terrorism. the bible is full of examples of terrorism. you do not win fof or lose whenu are combating terrorism. it's like crime. you try to manage it to keep it at a level so that civilized societies can function properly. our relationship with china is marked by strategic rivalry, but strategic rivalry is part of the historical experience of all major countries did with other major countries. so managing this strategic rivalry is the essence of of managing u.s.-china relations under conditions where china now has an economy approximately the same in size and what is
military is rapidly modernizing in ways that erodes our traditional manner marriage to dominance in the western pacific. to put in terms offi work on its misleading on a variety of factors with the soviet union, for example, because of mutual assured destruction we were deterred from gettingng did into direct conflict with the soviet union. there's much cavalier talk about war with china. i'm sorry, the same mass mutual assured destruction considerations apply in u.s.-china relationship. we cannot get into an all-out war with china because neither party would be able to come out of such i a war in a way that would justify the costs of being in the war. we are both too powerful. that's not the right way to think about the issue. and the words you used to describe relationships actually affectional behavior. and, therefore, it seems to be the talking about a cold war mentality between china and the united states obscures the very
many areas where we have to cooperate with each other inasmuch as will cooperate with each other. >> i know you've traveled i think five times to china does you can most really in october. can you give us a sense of what is the perspective? to chinese officials believe them to be in or entering into a new cold war? >> share. i remember going to in june 2015 for conference, back then there was competition, cooperation and just try to get back into a chinese scholars talk about the new cold war energy between u.s. and china. the focal point back then was on south china sea and with the obama administration. so i would say that is rather important narrative for this almost hostile mentality as always existed. whenever there's any problem between u.s. and china there's always been problems. those narratives would emerge.
however, in china today i woulda say that, that of course everyone recognized trump administration china pulses pert child and it very difficult position. especially the trade war and almost impossibility to negotiate with the chinese as a reasonable deal out of this predicament. there's a lot of recognition of that but also on the issue of a new cold war, i think the chinese would like to remind people that it takes two sides to fight a war. and yes, indeed xi jinping administration has a strategic personality, but coming to practicality of really putting china in a collision course with the united states i think practical consideration in china was to draw the conclusion this was not a war china can really win. so given that precondition, i think as a lot of nuances to the interpretation as to whether new cold war has already begun. if the result of this
interaction really depends on how china reacts to the united states, how xi jinping reacts to the trump administration, i think there's a pretty good chance china will take a more conciliatory posture in order to de-escalate the tension because that would be conducive to the domestic stability for china and economic growth for china, and also is a pragmatic consideration. >> robert daly, i think it also reject the term cold war, but what should we call it? let me ask you is a danger wasn't any contingent getting there, that is what we would stumble into? >> i do recheck the cold warre framework for the reasons that stape has already articulate and all when we look at a new rubric for framework you to ask whatk, does help us to understand, what does a clarify as opposed to does it just grab headlines. in the case of cold war i don't think that helps us clarify u.s.-china relations at all. it misses the complexity in the
rapidly evolving nature of the relationship. one of the characteristics of the previous cold war, and i was not a cold warrior. i was a cold squire at most. i served briefly under presidents reagan and bush the first in beijing but it was at the very tail in. certainly any nation of the soviet union from the united states was one of the major features of the cold war, an american and chinese are not alienated from each other, even remotely. you can tell this by look at the trade relationship. you can tell by looking at the valley of students and scholars going back and forth, the cooperative relationship that wholly between beijing and washington but subnational in states and counties throughout the united states and china. one of the interesting data points for the past year was a positive use of china, a march gallup poll revealed that positive use among americans, top 50%, 53%, the highs since
before tiananmen, , who's been a recovery of american popular views were not telling it from each other in that way. nor are there blocks at the united states and china is setting up. there's worrisome signs each nation would like to set up that kind of sphere of influence of the but there's also been a great deal of pushback. neither china nor the united states has done very well with soft power development over the past year. there has been blowback internationally to both trumpism and xiism in the ways i helpful. we saw that tpp christy without the united states. we saw malaysian and mildest and sri lanka, extend to a degree which back on aspects of china's long-term strategy of developing influence their investment. this was done at the united states instigation. this wasn't foreign players. other nations, their interests are constraining us so we don't have blocks. what do i suggest is that of a cold war?
iy say we stick with u.s.-china relations. [laughing] perfectly served -- >> is not a very good headline. >> but it admits and complexity, it's balis, seems me that it is still a very useful phrase and it doesn't tie' into any framework. the last part of the question was are we heading there. could we get there? there's some worrisome signs coming from both capitals, one of which we saw just last week when the american administration announced a new africa policy. instead of frame it in terms of american inches these of the african nations or the needs of africa, it was phrased in terms of countering china in africa. i think this is first bad africa policy, and secondly it implies a desire to set up blocks. we also do see in chinese diplomacy a tendency to want to spread chinese influence which is counter to international best
practices, a desire to have nations that received chinese investment in less critical of china. and this requires nations to silence their own media, their own so society. so while it's true china unlike the soviet union isn't trying to spread and ideology in an evangelical way. the terms of trade with china in terms of receiving chinese investment often involve a degree of silence which overtime has effect of an ideology. i think there are worrisome trends and we haven't seen the bottom of this newly contentious relationship yet. we haven't reached it, neither side has defined it. so it might have different discussion a year from now but as of today let's stick with u.s.-china relations and forget about cold war. >> sorry, we do you all in your with the promise of cold war discussion but that's what are. >> if you would respond to rob a low because of no, you doing a
lot of research on the people to people such as his relationship we tend to focus on headline, top level but what this means in terms of chinese students come to the united states and vice versa. >> it's interesting that one of the foundations and reasons why we have this sort of manageable a a workable long-term relationship is this movement back and forth, this profound numbers of chinese tubes come to the unitedat states and exchangs interactions like that but there's a lot of development this year that are troubling along this score. alongside the trade war you have been the talk of stopping student visas for china students wholesale with stephen miller made a comment to that effect. that that is even a proposal is a little concerning. the shift for one year in the tech field is. >> caller: in a lot of ways and takes away a source of resources and intellectual
capacity and international exchange between an american universities and chinese universities and chinese students. there's a review of h-1b visas that we don't normally talk about with the context of china that is usually shut off into the india policy. china is the second largest recipient of h-1b1 visas and some of the ways the trump administrationru now is reconsidering a 21 visas could have long-term implications for how chinese students and scholars in the property at work in the united states the weather they still long-term, short-term for study, graduate and going back instead of choosing to stay and become part of the intellectual community and the united states. then there isd this other whole subcategory within university setting a a backlash against confucius institutes and concerns about the chinese students and scholars associations which have both come under increased scrutiny as sources of chinese influence in the united states, and that,
there's an important questions that be raised about the use of chinese dollars to support these activities and whether they are consulates for dictating actions of students, others also i think some of these concerns can get very easily overblown and i think you see some examples, the thoseeting out of concerns in the wilson center report this year on chinese influence from the working group. >> those are come your talk at two different things. >> right, no, but there's a section of this report on chinese floats, sections a talk about education but there's a section that talks about chinese market which i think is incredibly closely linked to the problems with visas and exchanges. the language in the report is incredibly problematic in terms of how it thinks about can use overseas chinese and chinese american sometimes interchangeably in ways that are concerning. >> quick point of information.
there are two things that the wilson center, the kissinger institute -- let me finish.we we did get a report. [laughing] >> you did a a panel and they d the report. >> no, no. we d actually did a report on issues related to chinese students and scholars association by one of our fellows over the past year the got a lot of attention. then there was a joint task force sponsored by bernard by the asia society and the hoover institute which was much broader which is you are also referring to. >> you also on. >> i was a member of that task was, that's right. >> right. i apologized on referring to the hoover institution report. my concern with this is use ricocheting out from these kinds of problems with visas and distances but chinese influence is that you see ways in which there can be new kind of suspicion of chinese in the united states, regardless of the
background. that's not going to do anything to support or bolster this sort of strong foundation necessary foundation and the sino-american relationship. >> just want to add something on that because of working out on november 29 at the hoover institute, and i think many ever characterizations of it are fair and reasonable critiques of that report. at the same time it also must be mentioned it was really xi jinping and the chinese government who repeated statements to come down oncee your chinesese are always chine, all chinese all of the world have an obligation to achieve the rejuvenation of the great chinese nation, combined with an increase in funding for the organizations within china including but not limited to the unitedf front. data for a sum of these concerns, as have the playing out of those methods in smaller, less powerful countries including within the five-new zealand and australia in particular but also the uk and
candidate. this i think is of a look back at 2015, it has become a future chinese relationship with the number of nations, this new concern about chinese communist party influence within communities and institutions abroad. i see these reports as being most about in the subject of the report promoting constructive vigilance, which is a major concern of american universities and colleges. but the danger of being overblown is clear. >> it's also an old concern. it's something that islam's historical roots and it was overblown in the 1950s window is a great deal of concern about chinese influence in chinese american community in u.s. my concern with some of the lynnwood in the report is that it conflates three groups of people. it conflates chinese living ines the united states essentially in diaspora. it conflates that with ethnicse
chinese of american nationality, maybe have close personal ties to china and immigrants. the language would necessarily include anybody has any effect chinese heritage who lives in the united states. that becomes too large. >> i don't think what you spent too much someone does but the report also goes to great pains to note this danger is her number statements at the report that say this is a problem. if you don't take the disclaimer seriously, you'll take the seriously, that there can be issue as well. >> let me ask what you when you're traveling to beijing one this, is there a sense that the unitedun states is becoming less welcoming place for a chinese student to come and study and live and work? >> yeah, i think especially for the families of chinese students or chinese students want to commit to the united states for study. i think it does create a concern because the talking or rumors about chinese students visa
being put on them or circulation -- more stringent review process and what it means for them for the family financial, for example, wishing that the prefix all those questions does create pressure in china about concerns come into the united states as a student. over all, if you compare the openness of the american academic environment or if you compare how the u.s. government has treated the chinese here in- this country, i am originally from china, studied at foreign affairs university in beijing which is really the foreign ministry. and you compare how, for example, foreign scholars are being treated in china, i would say the difference is pretty distinct. like i tell my chinese friends, i have from china, work in washington, d.c. i work in think tank, independent, but i'm able to be
in this community, to be a member of this community. can't imagine a white blue-eyed american in beijing -- >> hazel. [laughing] >> don't use that word. can't imagine a blue-eyed american being the head of, say, being the head of america studies institute at the china academy of social sciences. that's what the unthinkable. i think the distinction in terms of the openness is still there. but in terms of the competition between the two political ideals on the ideasee for this influen, the chinese would say that american attempt to influence the chinese hermetic policy has always been to. look at usaid, look at state department, look at the national endowment for democracy. their accusation of the united states from meddling in chinese internal affairs has been consistent and persistent. but what is change that is
really that china's model or as china's power rises, national powers increase, china is gathering the confidence and also the inspiration or the power for of the countries to replicate the china model. i think that's the difference compared maybe five years ago to now. the chinese, confident about the model and are more confident about applicability of the model in other countries. i am afraid this process reveals a lot of hypocrisy on both sides. we do believe if the u.s. is genuinely confident in the superiority of its political ideals, then they should recall that the repeal of euros political ideals like openness rather than its closeness. and if the chinese to believe that its covenant and development system were development model represent not only a viable also a desirable half for the b world, it shoulde
at the minimum comfortable to compete with the united states on a level playing field. so the contest of ideas between u.s. and china, regional or a political ideals are influencing over each other reduce a lack of confidence and sense of vulnerability and also hypocrisy of both great powers. >> ambassador roy, fair comment or not that america is meddling even and soft power way in china's internal affairs? >> that depends on how you define meddling. [laughing] >> does china have -- >> the short answer is, i recall i think secretary of state albright and think hillary clinton herself may also have referred to the u.s. desire that there be a more liberal representative form of governance in china.
i don't think you can suppress americans from expressing that type of an attitude. because we believe that representative governance, which requires an electoral process of some sort of which requires that the just powers of governance are derived from a consent of the government, the concept that power corrupts and jeff to check on power are the characteristics of all modern systems of governance. and china's system of government is birding model. if all in the same category as kings and sars and others who claim an absolute right to control all power in their own hands. that's the premodern form of governance. and so in many ways china's big contradiction is there modernizing the country that greeted created giant new middle-class, have expose both through studying abroad into the influence of people who study
abroad in china, and they altered the economic base of the country and they want to modernize the political system. so americans are going to speak out on such subjects and say we think it desirable that china have this. but in terms of promoting it, let's look atbu the examples. do we have good democratic governance in haiti? wide with so many refugees out and el salvador? it's right at our doorstep if we can simply wait a magic wand and bring in representative governance, why do we do in the areas where we are so close and have so much influence? the answer is, we are highly limited in terms of what we can do in terms of direct influence in changing the nature of governance in other countries, but when we set a standard of governance and her own country, that other countries see as better than their own, then you have an enormous impact. and i think we ought to pay more
attention to what's been going on in europe, although there's some backward movement now. we saw that it was an ability to influence political development in other countries because the eastern europeans who are eager to get into the european union couldn't do so in less than a certain standards of governance. and then they on their own began to change their domestic institutions in order to qualify entry into the european union here that is the most effective way of influencing other countries handle their own affairs. use the details to the countries themselves, but you set examples of how good governance can function and in others choose to try to emulate. and, quite frankly, we see the process underway in china right now. all we are seeing here in terms of reporting is there's ursa mr ssquick repression and china to try to suppress western ideas. how come they're trying to suppress western ideas? when i was in china back in the
'70s and '80s, western ideas had no purchase in china. and now have enormous influence, the way the chinese think about the own domestic political first. not that they want to emulate t the western lucas is in but they see the role of free press complete. a suitable independent judiciary can play and you don't have these in china. these are part of having what i would call modern governance and those forces in china are upwelling and we see a desire to hold down thosein forces because of a governance system that does not want to practice what i would call a moderate concepts of governance. so do we interfere in china? the answer is we express ideas that can be viewed in china as interference because we believe in these modern concepts of governance. but, in fact, we do very, very little to actually try to promote these ideas inside china
because we can't do it on our own doorstep. why do we think wee can do in china? >> and also because the chinese will not allow it. >> that's an additional factor. but yun they have allowed the penetration of western ideas for decades now the problem is they find that those ideas have become what is xi jinping and his work report refer to china has an ideological problem. he didn't develop the idea that he echoes acknowledged the chia problem of ideology. you can't interpret -- the problem is the subversive western ideas are subverting the ideology of china, and there is pressure back against it and we see that as repression. i see it as upwelling of the influence of western ideas. so in other words, it's, you've
got to look at both sides of the question. >> let me bring a couple of voices from outside the room because there is a danger to press all agree with each other on the stage. james palmer wrote italy takes one side to start the war and the ccp lease itself to be both an ideological and it you political contest with you with our worldwide. underbelly u.s. governments formalol position affects the wy see ccp leaders think much less than a better discussions normally considered an american cultural power and reach probably far more. long-term china observer academic orville shoal road about his sense of wistful sadness about being forced forced by realty to recognize that our treatment systematic convergence with china have been logic torpedoed by the new author turning, russian nationalism, hegemonic leninism, call it what you will. and if you were at a watershed moment. i wonder if anyone on the panel want to admit to having changed
their views over the last two, having changed her mind about where china is now heading? >> this has become a a major pt of the media and narrative about use china relations and you see in washington as well. that paragraph two of the notion that the goal of engagement was to make china like us to china is not more like this. there from their engagement filter i rejected that. all of us i think about china and the united states as was just china relations continue to change because of the relationship changed but this notion is just naïveté and disillusionment actually like your phrase clear eyed reckoning, but yes, my own use change but that's because back if also change. the direction china has taken under xi jinping certainly the direction the united states has taken under trump, this was not in the cards through the decades of engagement. this was in no way written or
foreseeable began in 1979. and up through 2010. yes, in retrospect you can find, you can see a gradual build but it was in no way clear this was coming. there then real changes. so yes, my views have changed but it wouldn't say it's because skills have fallen from ice tickets because the world turns and the world changes. i think we need to reject this notion of engagement as having been naïve, disillusioned, we still need to engage with china closely albeit in a different way and under different circumstances. i'm ato little leery of changed views narrative as it expressed popularly. that's that, of course our views havere changed. i don't want to speak for anybody on the panel but that would be my response. >> another a lot of attribution or lot of planes at the place a xi jinping and xi jinping of
education, this is his campaign and heew single-handedly turn china into a new direction. i also want to remind people that under -- they were brewing nationalism and demand in china for elevated or higher status of china internationally. to complain dash of i was living in beijing at the time, and the complaint was china with becoming rich china was not becoming more respected. respect. i would say that xi jinping also represents this domestic sentiment in china as china's power rises, china deserves more. so you could set xiha jinping, leave campaign always pushed by that of course in a chinese society. i would say old, fundamental reason is really china parts increased and we assume china will be like us i think china
has selectively identified with certain norms the we promote and also certain norms that they rejected. that chinamption would embrace everything that represent our norms may be erroneous, that china is different. >> ambassador roy, 1970s stapleton roy make of that situation now? >> i think yun has made some very important points. i would be stunned to see china today based on the china i live in in the 1970s, the rate of progress and i say modernize the country and everything except the institutional nature of its political system has been breathtaking. but even in terms of the
political system, there was enormous political change in china overer the last 40 40 ye. and now we're seeing some movement back. during the 1970s, especially during the cultural revolution, there was a total absence of personal freedom. total. you could only show certain revolutionary operas. you had access to anything except mao tse chen book of quotations that you could drop to one city or another when he went to the great wall it was empty of chinese because they didn't have the russians or food necessary to travel to north china and visit the great wall. and then the reforms of deng xiaoping intimated, the communist party got off the backs of the chinese people in a hole wide range of areas so that they began to have better access to outside ideas. they could read more freely, they could cryptography shoulde
freely, travel freely around the country over 100 million chinese leave the country every year and come back. all of this did not exist during the '70s '70s and early part oe '80s. so in other words, china was change in very important ways, but we make a mistake when we tried assume that there is a quick jump from here to there. it's what i call proving the grass doesn't grow. it's easy to prove the grass doesn't go because you can simply take the skeptic and taken at in your art sit there and have tea for a couple of hours a look, there's no growth in the grass. what's wrong? the timeframe for the change or trying to measure is wrong. that's the mistake a lot of the snake and looking at china. we do not see change because we're trying to measure change within a time of months, years, et cetera where as the process we areeq looking for change requires decades.
that's the mistake we are now making about china. that's why team to look at what other see repression, i see the repression, too, but i i see a struggle going on in china in terms of what the future will be like. and that process hasn't played itself out your so i don't know whether china is going to have a more representative form of government through your snout or 20 years from now but there's going to be a struggle overlap issue. the question is can we relate to china in the way that is conducive to the changes in china that would like to see happen? and i think this over emphasis on strategic rivalry and failure to understand the many, many common interest that we share with china and can work together on cooperatively is in many ways undermining our ability to promote our values which have to be done i would argue by setting a good example rather than by preaching to others.
>> if the u.s. is promoting that example and speak upht for individual rights, does it not have a responsibility to call it and draw attention to what is happening in china at the moment? >> lets apply that and personal relationships. do you like when people come up that's not a prettyha dress, you would ought to wear green? [laughing] there are people like that.pe i know some of them. i am fond of them, but i don't particularly like those characteristics. the reason why americans are outspoken on many of these issues is because from the very founding of our republic we can't do struggle with issues of slavery and the inferior position of women and other things like that. we didn't get votes to women in 1919 because we suddenly realize that women were human beings just like men. it took four years of suffrage and struggle in the united states. and same thing with slavery. we tried to deal with slavery over, what, 70 years to the political process and failed.
then we had to fight a a bloody civil and we had to 100 years of jim crow rules before got the civil rights legislation in the '60s. that's how you advance. so that i think, i think there's lots the possibilities for china to come as a becomes more prosperous and as -- it's a lot better educated now. this is an enormous change in china. the number of college educatedd people, people who completed high school is much greater. and chinace faces a fundamental contradiction and this is related to this cold war issue because the soviet union was a closed system. it was that theun ban on imports from outside the country. and it did not depend on foreign markets for its economic prosperity. china has to stay open enough to make it difficult to manage these intrusions from outside
ideas that is causing such a problem for xi jinping and trying to maintain the legitimacy of the communist party when china. china can't afford to close its borders because of its does it slows down its economic development. shouldn't we be beating up on china under the circumstances and saying we have to have cold war with china? to me that's exactly the wrong way. .. >> i have two points. one is that i never wear green. my second point, i think
relating to some of the american understanding and critique of china i think is currently undermined by our lack of -- it is a much more open society, but we have it feels like a lack of access for academic work. in the 14 years that i have been making research trips to china, the availability of archives, the availability of academic resources, of academic connections and ties, they varied a lot but the archives have been especially increasingly closed and inaccessible. so you know, at the same time, during the same -- in the last few years at least since 2013, there's been a steep drop-off in americans learning mandarin so i think we have sort of a danger going forward of a lack of americans who are sort of developing the kinds of understandings that we need in order to build those relationships and keep our eyes open and keep that kind of
engagement that i think you cite is very important in order to keep that alive. >> you have had two interesting discussions about moralism in china and america policy. one is we have this city on a hill desire to see all nations try to get people to flourish in accordance with our prescriptions but you are also cautioning us against hypocrisy, lack of self-awareness and preaching to china, which i agree with in general. at the same time, china as it gets more powerful, as it gets richer and as xi jinping has developed a more assertive foreign policy which in many ways is exactly what you would expect of any large country, china is trying to do what any nation wants to do which is to create an international atmosphere more conducive to its ends. in this case, to the ends of the ccp. which does raise real questions that often have a moral character for us. in the case of the reeducation
camps or china's development of surveillance state or its now worsening human rights record, china's preference would be it should be raised not at all. do we leave this entirely to debates within china? my experience has been that by raising these debates, you do over time have an impact on debates within china. when i first got to china, there was rarely a discussion of the phrase "human rights" at all except in reports about how the americans were once again arrogantly criticizing our so-called human rights record and this ends up introducing concept so what is the right balance given the difficulties that you phrase, and i would say the same thing with reference to what's broadly called the influence question in the united states. there's a real danger of framing it wrong, of disproportionality
but is there a danger of not pointing to this at all in light of what we know full well and can demonstrate about the party? what is the proper role? >> very quickly, we're americans. we cannot remain silent. >> we're that obnoxious. >> i don't advocate that we should ignore what we consider to be bad behavior elsewhere, but at the same time, i was ambassador in china when i had to go into the foreign ministry and tell them look, we're going to attach seven different types of human rights conditions to your ability to get most favored nation treatment, an action which had enormous implications for u.s./china trade. i had to persuade them this was a good idea. it wasn't easy. and i can't say that anything
particularly good came out of that, but it was instructive to me that after 9/11, every one of those areas of human rights that i was telling them was so good for china, we violated in the united states. we kept prisoners from the international committee of the red cross, we wouldn't tell people we were holding prisoners, et cetera, i could run through the list. so when we get scared, we behave in ways that are not consistent with our own values, and china's scar scared. they have upwelling nationalism on the part of a local population. we don't have these large concentrations of ethnic populations in their traditional homeland except in reservations. >> but this sounds a lot like something i used to hear a lot in russia which we called what aboutism, well, you criticize this but this aspect of your own country is not perfect. i think we cannot speaking out
while still acknowledging that there are areas -- >> yes. i think you could -- we are all intelligent people up here, hopefully, in some fashion. we can switch from moralistic mode to analytical mode. when i look, i can strike both positions. when i'm moralistic i criticize the way they're handling the question. i do the same thing, for example, looking at our border right now. is everybody satisfied at taking children from their mothers is the way to handle illegal immigrants on our border? yet that's what we have been doing. what should other countries be saying about that? well, actually it's helpful if some of our european friends, for example, were to speak out and say hey, guys, come on, there must be a better way to handle this. the problem is many of our european countries have the same problems in their own areas because illegal immigration has become a major issue now. syrian refugees flooding into europe and things like that create real political problems for the countries that are dealing with it and i think that's a problem we have here.
so we have both an analytical and a moralistic way but what bothers me is when the moralism denies you the ability to understand what's going on. i think when we look, we need to look at both aspects of this. the way that china is dealing with the problem the right way, my answer is clearly no. you don't want to put vast numbers of your population into reeducation camps. but on the other hand, why are they doing that? what is the problem? why is it that china can't find a better way of dealing with restive ethnic groups who exist within china? that's an important problem for us to understand also. because china is struggling with a real issue, not with a phony issue. >> you want to come back on that? >> no. no. let's move on. >> let me ask you about that huawei case. we have had the detention of two canadian citizens on
allegations, very serious allegations of endangering national security. robert, you have described this as hostage taking. >> yes. >> how concerned are you about how this could escalate? >> i think there are a couple different issues. in the case of the two canadians, it clearly is tit for tat hostage taking and i think there are cases where we don't necessarily need to be able to prove that in court to say that we know what we know, and this is one of these. it's a little bit like the argument over whether mbs ordered the killing of khashoggi and we have some people who want to say there's no smoking gun, i wasn't there, we can't say for sure. sometimes you have to make a call. this i think is clearly the case here. they have been taken hostage. on the other hand, we have -- the president has now declared that he might be willing to intervene in the case if we get a better deal on trade with china. this looks to me like ex post
facto hostage taking of a different sort. initially we had what looked like a judicial process that a decision was made to keep separate, but now we can be i think accused by folks in china who had regarded this as something of that kind from the beginning as also a form of hostage taking. i don't know where this goes. if we look to the previous case which was the arrest of the canadian couple, the garretts, who were evangelical christians who had a little coffee shop right on the river where they could see the bridge which carries chinese goods into north korea, and kevin garrett was detained for about two years, apparently in response to a case in which the united states had requested that canada extradite a chinese businessman who had beijing support to the united states. he was there for two years. in this case, we've got the two canadians, we know not what
circumstances for how long. miss meng is living in one of her vancouver mansions and is out on bail, and furthermore, we have a debate about the meaning of her case, and chinese in vancouver are perfectly free as they should be and as they did, to demonstrate in support for her and say free meng wan shou. i'm not suggesting a parallelism but there is hostage taking in both nations and this is a very bad sign on a number of fronts. it does seem to me that there's a way to make a point to huawei and let miss meng go and try to walk this back. >> you have concerns about how this could escalate and how the case is being seen in the general population in china. >> well, again, there's a lot of nationalism related to huawei because although the discussion here of course, everyone is thinking about a political
speculation, what is the implication, but at least here, the discussion of the arrest is based on iran sanctions so it's not about huawei being a technological rival to american companies or the power of 5g technology and the popularity of huawei's 5g technology. in china the narrative is very much focused on huawei being targeted because they are better than american companies. i think that's a very different narrative here and very different rhetoric over there. the focus is completely different. we focus on the u.s. sanction issue and they focus on whether this is just a part of american campaign to constrain china or confront china or suppress china's rights. but i think both governments look at the statements, look at the ongoing trade negotiations, i would posit that the priority of beijing and washington is to
have a successful negotiation over the trade dispute, over the trade war, and hopefully have a deescalation of tension and have a deal somewhere early next year so that the two economies will have some stability. so to what extent that either government is willing to let huawei interfere with the trade negotiation, i just don't see that happening. i think both governments are very much prioritizing the trade talks. >> do you think we almost need to put the trade talks in one bucket or is there a potential at this time next year, there being a deal on trade but it's undermining strategic rivalry and competition is still ongoing? do you think there are two separate issues to deal with? >> i recall the year-end review we had last year, and we were talking about this transaction mentality, the trump visit to china and the national security strategy that came out i think
on the day that we had the year-end review last year. and we talk about the trade dispute, but a year ago i don't think anyone was expecting or predicting that the trade war would escalate to where it is today. so i find the prediction where we will be on this trade war in another 12 months is very difficult to make. but i think one thing is relatively clear. the chinese debate over whether there is a bipartisan consensus here in the united states about this new cold war or about this hostile relationship that has been formed or has been forming, is being formed between u.s. and china, but i think the chinese and the policy community is gradually coming to the conclusion that this american attitude towards china, this hostile attitude, is not just a trump problem. it actually has broader support from the american society either based on the unfair trade
practice or based on the cumulative agreements where china goes its own way. i think that is to say that there is either going to be a deal over the trade issue, although i think a lot of people fail to see what that deal would look like, especially when it comes to the need for restructuring in the chinese economy, and whether china can really abandon not only rhetorically but also successfully made in china 2025, those are difficult or impossible questions to answer. but even if we have a temporary deal over the trade issue, i do think strategic rivalry will go on. >> we want to get to questions from our audience here. i want to maybe get some best case and worst case scenarios from our panelists because we have also had this morning the xi jinping speech, actually
mentioning markets five times and the reaction on social media is this is not going to get easier, the next year in u.s./china relations could well be much bumpier. could i ask for some optimistic, pessimistic, best case, worst case scenarios for the year ahead? want to take that first, ambassador roy? >> i have been through good times and bad times in u.s./china relations, and my sense is that the strategic rivalry between china and the united states is real, that we need to pursue a continued engagement strategy with china. i reject the concept engagement has failed. it is a totally phony concept
based on the fact that we justify many of our actions in terms of our values, but we actually do the things for national interest reasons. just to drive the point home, the difference between the first gulf war and the iraq war, the first gulf war was justified in terms of getting saddam hussein out of kuwait. it was carried out for that purpose and when we had accomplished the purpose, the war ended. the second iraq war, i think most of us would agree, was designed to complete what had not happened after the first gulf war which was to get rid of saddam hussein. but we needed a justification for it. so we came up with weapons of mass destruction, turned out they didn't exist, but we came up that they were colluding with al qaeda. our intelligence community never agreed that was taking place.
and we came up with the idea of bringing democracy to the middle east. okay. well, in fact, we did bring democracy to iraq and we put the shias in charge, whereas the sunnis had run iraq for hundreds of years, and we destabilized iraq, helped to create isis because the sunnis were disenfranchised. did we go into iraq because of the justification of bringing democracy? no. that was not the reason we went in. and people are telling -- i'm reading articles now, people say that clinton was justifying our policies toward china in terms of bringing democracy to china. well, how come i sat as president clinton's ambassador in china and i sat through three summit meetings between him and china and somehow he never
mentioned bringing democracy to china. think if he had mentioned it. i would have had a mandate to do it. essentially, i do not see problems with china that are any more difficult than the problems we have had with china in the past, if we use the full capabilities of the united states in order to try to engage with china in ways that defend our interests where they have to be defended and i think many of the trade issues we're dealing with china, there's broad support in the united states, and myself, for stronger tactics in order to deal with those issues, but we don't want them to neglect the areas where we need to cooperate with china. if we look at what's happened over the last year, two big things have happened. one is the trade war and one is the north korea issue. the north korea issue, we cannot handle effectively if we are not respecting the fact that china has major interests on north korea and we need to cooperate with china and take their
interests into account. so i am -- i'm pessimistic about the way we're handling china, but i'm optimistic about the ability to handle china if we are intelligent in understanding the pros and cons of different approaches. >> who wants to offer a worst case scenario? how could this go wrong? where are the trip wires? >> i definitely see one in the form of visas and access and this idea of cutting off all access, cutting off our ways of understanding each other. the stephen miller proposal hopefully doesn't get any more ground than it did when he first floated it this summer. but there's some dangers looming i think that are underappreciated in our visa and exchange policy here that could undermine the relationship. >> we had a russian delegation
in about a month ago and one of the russian interlocutors told a joke some of you may know. the pessimist says things can't possibly get worse. the optimist says yes, they can. i guess i'm an optimist. it's very hard to see these issues precede trump and xi and will go on beyond trump and xi. there are historical structurals as we have discussed on this stage many times. it is hard to see a fundamental change over the coming year for a number of reasons. again, it's not really the 90-day trade war. we have the 2017 national security strategy which you have mentioned which names china as the united states' greatest long-term security challenge. china sees the united states as its greatest security challenge as well. i'm going to focus on the american side but there are corresponding attitudes on the chinese side. the trump administration has called for defense supply chain
resilience, they take this extremely seriously and that would mean a restructuring of the american economy if they are serious about that. we already have the cfius reform bill which scared away a lot of investment and will look with greater skepticism at subsequent investment. we will probably see new rules on export control. we may be seeing rules limiting chinese student visas which would really be telling, with maybe the world's greatest talent pool, would harm our own ability to generate knowledge. we have withdrawn from the inf treaty primarily because of china. we are working on a free and open indo pacific and looking to strengthen the quad, opposing made in china 2025 and belt and road. it seems we are on the verge of making another announcement about chinese cyberintrusions. all these issues continue even if the chinese start buying the number of soybeans they were buying before we imposed sanctions. i don't see any deal that rolls
that back. i think we are looking at deeper mutual suspicion over the coming year but i do share long-term optimism that it is within our ken to manage this such that we avoid conflict and china is also within china's ken. i just don't know whether we will. >> i think it is very difficult to say what will be worse. of course, i think the cold war was definitely a very bad scenario but how many of us really believe that is going to happen between u.s. and china. it seems that we are looking that direction, that given the communications between the two countries, the level of exchanges, the key word today seems to be decouple, decouple the two economies, whether that's realistic and how it can be done, that remains to be a question. i think for the u.s., what the
u.s. might want to consider is proportionality of its reaction to china's problematic behaviors. china's policies have a lost problems. i think the chinese know that. there are also debates in china about what is the best strategy moving forward and i think it's also understandable that in u.s. society there has been accumulated grievance about china failing to fulfill their commitment, or failing to meet the international norms. but does that warrant a cold war? is that really the best answer that we can come up with? i do believe that where china has problematic behaviors, a more stringent reaction is warranted but does that mean that we are going to change how we define this relationship as throwing the baby out with the bath water? that seems to be the question the u.s. needs to answer. a question for china to answer is really, what is the best
strategy, what kind of power china really aspires to be. i was thinking this analogy when we were talking about the missionary mission and i was thinking a more comparable analogy is china believes it has been this isolated, this weak kid, this pariah kid in school that was never a part of the main school and china feels that throughout the years that it was bullied by everybody and there's some truth to it if you look at their narrative, but now china has become strong so what is really the proper, or what is the normal mentality for china to be a normal member of this community? is it a victim mentality that is either i win or you win, that either is my rights or your fault or actually, that's the same thing. this dichotomy, almost based on
the sense that china was victimized, therefore we need to get back at you, if we are going to rise to the top of the world, everybody else must be subjected to the terms that we dictate, i just don't think that's a normal mentality and i don't think that china will be able to join the international community as a normal member as long as it holds on to that mentality. i fear that for both countries, there are a lot of soul searching to be done. >> thank you. i want to make sure we get a chance for as many questions as possible. this is being broadcast live so if you can wait for the microphone to get to you, introduce yourself with your name and affiliation. if you can also keep your questions short and in the form of a question, in the interest of getting to as many people as possible. yeah, in the back there. >> michael davis, i'm a fellow here at the wilson center and also the kissinger institute. one of the things, we have been
sort of talking sort of immediately how china and the u.s. are dealing with each other and i just read a piece in "foreign affairs" which reflects a view that's widely shared that there's a kind of competition between them more broadly in the world. where china's belt and road is involved, where its trade relations with other countries, its financial support, then in that context, there's an argument that the trump administration, while i agree that both sides of the aisle in washington are sort of into getting tougher on china at the moment, but yet that the trump administration's way of doing it is heading in the opposite direction, wrong direction, that the u.s. strength is in the multilateral institutions and so on that the u.s. has its fingerprints all over. are we heading in the wrong direction in this broader global order? and are we in so doing, neglecting our partners, especially around china, in asia
in general, by that, making them nervous and do they finally just have to sit and wait until the trump administration is gone? is that the only solution for them if they are nervous about the u.s. direction at the moment? >> who wants to comment on that, are we heading in the wrong direction? >> i will be happy to weigh in quickly. there is competition in the world. all over the world. john bolton has talked about it in africa, but china, unlike the soviet union, is having a big impact globally because their economic relationships are global and huawei is an important part of that. we are concerned about it. but it's an unfair contest, because we are funding our military and we are totally not funding all of the other components of our comprehensive
national strength. they got virtually no money. so china can pour billions into an asian infrastructure investment bank and we can't buy our way in because we can't come up with a few hundred million dollars to pay our share of the way. we don't have the money. china is funding both their military modernization program and they are pouring money into the other components of their comprehensive national power and they are exercising this on a global basis. and we are getting upset because we have to use our military for every purpose. and we are discovering that there are not military solutions to a lot of issues. i recall when we had the ebola outbreak in africa last year, who did we send, the u.s. army medical corps. where was the u.s. public health service? they don't have funding to go to africa for such purposes. in other words, we have essentially kept our military budget up and cut everything
else. this is not a satisfactory approach to the type of comprehensive national competition -- international competition that we have to engage in with china. we have to think about that. do we have the economy capable of generating the resources necessary to engage in a vigorous competition with china globally. my answer is no, we don't. it's something we ought to be thinking about. >> to the side here? >> hi. brendan mulvaney. i want to tie that to the point robert daly made at the beginning and see if there's a link there. i agree the cold war construct is not only not helpful, i think it's harmful but it sells well. it sells here and it also sells in china rhetorically but it sells to defense contractors actually selling military weapons and it helps fund the pla as well. the question is, how do we frame
it and how do we look at this competition? you mentioned ideology at the beginning and said it's not really idealogical as it was with the soviet union but some of these trade components might have that flare to it. >> cumulative effect of ideology. >> right. there's a debate at least in the pentagon or some of the national security circles, how do we best frame this. do we see this as a cold war, is china out to eventually topple or supplant the united states, or is this just simply rivalry between great powers and it's a realistic approach but it doesn't have ideology, because i think when people in the national security realm look at it idealogically it's phariseesipharisees i far easier to sell the use of the military narrative and so is that constructive or is there just another way and/or evidence to say no, this is just great power relationship but it's not idealogical?
>> you didn't quite get to it but i took it to be part of your argument. there are indices of power in which china is gaining greatly and some in which it leads and overall china likes some of the trend lines but some of the indices in which we lead are soft power, big attractive ideas and our alliance system, and the link between those two things is diplomacy. so we need to be, you know, not only to have an economic answer, i mean, we pulled out of tpp but we really need to reinvigorate our diplomacy which i took to be a major implication state by what you just said to emphasize these strengths in the realm of ideas and to build up alliances which doesn't mean we don't fund anything in the military, but that's what i take to be one of our major ongoing missteps is neglecting diplomacy, which could emphasize those strengths. >> can i just add to that? i feel all this discussion about china exporting -- yes, when
looking at what the chinese government is doing, especially the aid agencies, there is a pretty big component of what the chinese call the exchange of experiences in governance. governance means political and development means economic, so there is a conscious push from the chinese government about promoting the china model. honestly, looking at it, the more countries that aspire to china's model, the more secure i think beijing feels about its legitimacy that western democracy is not universal value and the chinese system or chinese model tends to stay viable. i think that's got a logic to it. the key question is not whether china is promoting its ideology but why its ideology is appealing. i think that is a question that we don't really look here, that we criticize china for providing state financing to infrastructure projects in less
developed countries but what viable alternative that we are offering them, we tell them don't take chinese money beca e because -- well, variety of reasons. but will it satisfy their need of what infrastructure development in their country. i think the beauty of the soft power is inspiration, not imposition. i think that's a bigger question. what if the china model is appealing and inspiring in certain countries and our effort to promote our model has not got those countries where they want to be. that's a more essential question here. >> let's put it, just to clarify this issue. corrupt countries need fran structu infrastructure just as much as un-corrupt countries but our model doesn't enable us to deal
with infrastructure in corrupt countries and china is putting corruption aside and providing the infrastructure. which approach is better? i leave it to the audience to answer that question. >> the lady in the second row here. >> thank you. reporter from voice america. i have a question relate tod to jinping's speech in which he promised to press ahead with economic reform and opening up but also said china will maintain one party system. my question is, i'm wondering whether you guys think he can succeed in doing that. because it seems to me it's against the conventional wisdom. thank you. >> meredith? would you like to take that on? >> i really wouldn't.
>> i'll be happy to answer it but i don't want to dominate the answers here. the short answer is under the one-party system, china's reform and openness policies produced dramatic results. i don't see anything contradictory about having one party rule and having successful reform and openness. but the problem i have is why is reform and openness, particularly reform, which was set out so dramatically in the third plenum of 2013 after the 18th party congress, and here we are six years later and nothing has happened on the reform front. in fact, it has moved in the opposite direction to strengthening state-held enterprises. it takes more than xi jinping saying we are going to move ahead with reform and openness. what is changing in china that
will enable the reform and openness to move forward where, in fact, it has not moved forward over six years, even though you have reform and openness identified high officials close to xi jinping in positions of responsibility and still reform and openness has not moved forward. so we need to understand whether those factors are going to be changed. the xi speech indicates that he's going to give more support to reform and openness in ways that he hasn't over the last five years, and we can't answer that. we have to watch and see what happens. >> this is really a different discussion than we set out to have today. we would just note xi jinping has correctly identified a new era. there were no new ideas in yesterday's speech. >> next question? on the left. our left. >> thank you. [ inaudible ]
now the mic is on. former federal government, now wilson center. quick observation. when xi jinping talks about once chinese, always chinese, all chinese have an obligation and so on, that's directly contrary to the formulation created for chinese policy and law to get china to the conference in 1955. speaking personally, if i have to juxtapose lai as a strategist against xi jinping as a strategist, i will take lai. excuse me. but that is a quick aside. you asked for a pessimistic or worst case scenarios. we heard almost nothing about the south china sea and i
suspect everyone on this panel could very easily do a scenario in which a true naval war emerges even inadvertently in the south china sea within the next three hours. it could happen at any moment. if you are sitting at pacific command in honolulu, you have multiple scenarios that you're working through for precisely that development. so i simply note, i guess the question i would pose is can we imagine a real military conflict in the south china sea somehow being managed and contained within a broader trajectory of u.s./chinese engagement? >> thank you. you want to take this? >> sure. a couple years ago the two militaries reached i believe a preliminary agreement both in terms of air and naval. i think what that agreement does is if there is going to be a military conflict, the decision
was made much higher up that it would be a political decision, it would not just be a skirmish in the south china sea that escalates into a full-scale confrontation between the united states and china. so if that were to happen, i would say that the decision will have been made that a military conflict is inevitable and either u.s. or china is willing to take on that path. >> anyone else wants to come in? >> i want to come in on that question. there are no impediments to freedom of navigation in the south china sea. if a conflict occurs in the south china sea, it is a collapse of adequate command and control at the very top in both countries. i'm very blunt on that issue.
all the parties to the conflict down there have signed a declaration on the conduct of parties in the south china sea which provides for freedom of air, freedom of sea maneuver. sure, we crowd the chinese a little bit and they crowd us. these are not war fighting issues. if that is permitted to turn into a conflict, then there ought to be some high level court martials in both militaries. >> i want to get another three questions, then we will try to have very brief responses. three brief questions? the gentleman on the side there. >> richard coleman, retired custom and border protection. taiwan, when are the kids going to realize the parents aren't really legally wed, united states and taiwan have this illicit relationship, wink-wink,
nod-nod, and how inevitable since china has made their intentions very clear, you are talking about the buzzing and military flexing, how long do you think this pretense will survive? >> thank you. lady in the center here? >> just published last week in "foreign affairs" an article saying china's ambition for the following years are much narrower than the experts in foreign affairs in western society estimated. so there are always misunderstandings between the two sides. my question is for each panelist, what is the biggest misunderstanding that you think?
>> this gentleman here? >> thank you. i'm from george washington university. i think it's more important to keep communication and i think one good example is illustrated by ambassador stapleton roy when you criticized our critique on china's characteristics, you likened it to a horse so you drive it home quickly and elegantly. there's a generation shift in the state department when the old generation of diplomats are retiring and on to the stage comes a new generation. what are your suggestions for the new generation of diplomats? and are you considering writing a book? personally i'm looking forward to reading it.
thank you very much. >> i'm also campaigning for him to write his memoirs. quick thoughts on any of these two issues. taiwan, biggest misunderstanding that worries you the most, suggestion for new china hands? >> with respect to taiwan, i think the midterm elections have bought us a little bit of time because the success of that election has undermined the role of the president as the head of the dpp so that returns us to a little bit more of a previous status quo, where it's still very much an issue in flux, but there's a little bit of an easing of tensions as a result of that. i think she's a revisionist in terms of looking at the relationship. i think we can be hopeful the status quo will remain. >> with relation to the china hands question, it's related to what i said earlier about
diplomacy and it's very much related to what's going on in the academy with china studies. i'm concerned that because area studies including china studies have been out of vogue in the academy for so long, most china studies are conducted quite narrowly within disciplines which don't always speak very well to each other. now the honors college of maryland, it might be a little different but broadly speaking, i think a lot of young americans with real interest in china and talent in the language aren't getting a broad signological education so they don't bring to their study of china, their diplomacy, the kind of synthesis that we really need. you saw this in the older generation that is retiring now or had retired. they had a very broad background in china studies whereas now we have fairly narrow tech any cll competent, quantitatively very good specialists but we don't have generalists with a broad background that is needed for diplomacy.
>> biggest misunderstanding? >> i'll say the biggest misunderstanding on china's part is china believes americans will still believe everything china says. china's ambition is much less [ inaudible ] but we also hear xi jinping say we are aimed at building common destinies that covers the whole mankind. at most, what it says is there are different opinions in china and at least it could be, or at the minimum it could be one way to tone down what china's over assertion of its ambition, so i remember a couple years ago coming to the former taiwan president, that china will listen to his words and also observe his actions.
i think coming to how u.s. views china today, it's the same thing. it's not just about what china says. in the trade negotiation, china says a lot of things. but it's also about what china does in the end. >> final thoughts? >> i just want to make a very brief comment. taiwan is acutely sensitive issue in u.s./china relations. americans have a propensity to forget that every few years. then rediscover the hard way. we have done relatively well. we have a policy framework that removes it as an area of conflict. it's tinkering with the policy framework that could cause a problem. that's where a big misunderstanding could occur. the chinese like to think that because chinese interests and chinese views are so much more important with respect to taiwan that therefore, they can bluff
the americans down in a confrontation over taiwan because our interests are less compelling than theirs. i think that's a very dangerous way of thinking about the issue. finally, i think that the new crop of china hands who are emerging are very, very capable and i look forward to reading their memoirs at some point. [ applause ] >> robert, you have one more point to make? >> in the interest of balance, this question about misunderstandings, i'm afraid that we just in the past year have a new misunderstanding on the american side. we are speaking increasingly as if every aspect of china's rise is and always has been nefariously aimed at united states interests and this isn't true. china's rise in the main is about chinese flourishing and we also seem to increasingly have the idea that we can and should somehow staunch china's continued flourishing and i would want to balance what you said about the chinese side. i think that's probably our
biggest misunderstanding. >> i want to thank you all for your time. i want to thank the kissinger institute, very hard-working and still hard-working, ray young for organizing this. look forward to seeing you back in the new year. [ applause ] [ indistinct conversation ] >> today is day five of a government shutdown. funding ran out friday at midnight. negotiations continue on a bill that can pass both chambers of congress and get the approval of the president. watch live coverage of the house on c-span and the senate here on c-span 2. >> saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, conversations with three retiring members of congress. republicans peter roskum, john duncan and mike kaufmann all
discuss losing their re-election bids and reflect on their time in congress. >> we go on our apps, our devices, we want things quickly yet jefferson wrote this 14 years after he wrote the declaration of independence. he said the ground of liberty is to be gained by inches. we must be content or we can get from time to time and eternally press forward for what is yet to get. it takes time to persuade men even to do what is for their own good. so my point is that we culturally need to step back and say look, these things take time. we got to take small steps in order to get there. >> my big thing, to think that we have spent trillions now on these wars and that the war in afghanistan is now going on, you know, it's 18 years, i think it's just ridiculous and i think also that these wars and our foreign policy has caused us to have more enemies than we would have had. they have done more harm than good. >> in the congress of the united
states, i believe in the house of representatives, there's simply still even with the reforms that nancy pelosi has pledged to accept based on my counterparts and the caucus, i think there's too much power in too few hands with too little getting done for the american people and i fear that it's not going to change. >> watch conversations with retiring members of congress saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org and listen with the free c-span radio app. >> next, a look at china's infrastructure project to provide transportation across asia, europe and africa. it's called the belt and road initiative. panelists talked about the project and what it means for china at an event hosted by the heritage foundation. this is an hour and 40 minutes. >> good morning, everyone