tv Wilson Center Discussion on U.S.- China Relations in 2018 CSPAN December 23, 2018 2:38pm-4:12pm EST
institute -- be sure to watch c-span's washington journal live at 7 p.m. eastern on monday morning. join the discussion. >> monday night on the communicators, a fireman talks about his book, the fourth age about artificial intelligence and robots. >> we are at this point where we couple of new technologies and will change the trajectory. i think the interesting question is when you think and act for us, what do we do? >> monday night on the communicators at c-span2. u.s.xt, a session about
china relations over the last year and whether it's the beginning of the so-called cold war. the wilson center hosted this event. >> good morning, everybody. welcome to the wilson center. i want to thank you all for being with us. those watching live and in the future, which i believe includes my parents in scotland, and to our c-span viewers joining us today. we are delighted to have the wilson center ceo, congresswoman jane harman, here with us, who will hopefully have a comment later on. i'm thrilled to be a current fellow here at the wilson center. until earlier this year, i was based in beijing as the asian correspondent for sky news.
xi jinping and donald trump met 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, i covered the revolution in kiev, the annexation of crimea, and the conflict in ukraine, none of which was daunting as the day i walked and knocked on the door of ambassador j. stapleton roy. this is the caliber of person you find yourself working alongside here. ambassador roy could not have been kinder or more generous with his kindness and expertise. ambassador roy served on the diplomatic front lines of the actual cold war, among a long and storied career, before becoming the founding director
at the kissinger institute and we are honored to have him on this panel today. at the far end of the desk, yun sun is codirector of the east asia program. she is an expert on u.s. china relations and old friend of the kissinger institute. welcome back. robert daly is director of the kissinger institute and a leading authority on u.s.-china relations. i want to thank him for welcoming me to the wilson center. among his many impressive titles, i discovered that robert was once a producer for the chinese language version of sesame street. meredith is associate professor of history and director of the asia studies program at the university of maryland baltimore county, where she specializes in sino-american relations. she is the author of diplomacy
migration. her current research is focused on the issues of china's student visas and exchanges between the two countries. she is very well-placed to help us make sense of what is happening now. i said i would take a moment to set out some context. so much has happened in the last 12 months, the last 12 days, that it can be easy to lose track. we aim to go beyond the noise to tease out the key moments of the last year, where we are now, and where this is heading. i want to take you back to february 25 this year. it was a sunday in the beijing bureau of sky news where i was meant to be covering the closing ceremony of the olympics. we got a bulletin. it was very brief, just a couple lines. it said the communist party central committee was proposing to remove the two minute on the presidency and vice presidency.
i remember telling news editors this was the story we need to be covering, that this would really matter in the long run. there have been signs this might happen. a once possible future leader had been arrested. there had been no clear successor. now here it was in black and white. this proposal to change the constitution. the only formal barrier to xi jinping staying in power indefinitely. firstly, what happens in chinese domestic politics matters for u.s.-china relations. it is the background against which these discussions are taking life -- taking place and we need to understand beijing to understand this relationship. i wonder whether the sense that
i had today, the sense of this is actually happening, is how we are going to look back on this year in general, the year as the start of the clear i recommend -- the clear eyed reckoning. this wasn't just another deviation. china was in just zigzagging on the broader trajectory. china was on its own course. we've seen the start of the trade war with the united states, u.s. warships in the taiwan strait, and the emergence of questions about whether we are in a new cold war. american academic water russell read called in the cold war 2. the treasury secretary has warned of a new economic iron curtain. on the chinese side, you have the foreign ministry accusing the u.s. of having a cold war mentality. i want to turn to the professor. it strikes me that we have seen arguably more serious tensions
over the past decade. the belgrade embassy bombing. but we weren't really talking then about a new cold war. i wonder if you can help us to understand what is different now and what we are talking about. >> thank you, katie. i think i would preface this by saying i'm not sure we are talking about a new cold war, except the sort of headline making rhetoric. i don't necessarily accept the premise that his is a new cold war. i would say that what i think they are trying to point to is that they are trying to highlight an idea that there is
something longer-term, that we are looking at a status quo of competition for ongoing rivalry that they see lasting for decades and not necessarily just the next short time. there is no longer a sense you can ride out xi jinping's tenure in office. or just ride out president trump. there is a sense that there is something longer-term and more fundamental happening. that is what they are harkening back to when looking at this rhetoric. i think they are pointing to a soviet american style cold war and not really mimicking the previous cold war between the u.s. and china. mr. daly: katie: ambassador roy, how would you describe what is happening? do you think new cold war is appropriate terminology to be using? mr. roy: i think using the term cold war is totally inappropriate.
the spirit of u.s.-china relations, even when we are in sharp disagreement on issues, does not approximate the spirit of the types of negotiations that i was either participating in or on the sidelines of during the cold war. there is a second reason why i disagree with the term. i thought it was wrong to refer to the war on terror. crime is part of the human condition. so is terrorism. the bible is full of examples of terrorism. you do not win or lose when you are content terrorism.
it is 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 with strategic rivalry. strategic rivalry is part of the experience of all major countries dealing with other countries. managing the strategic rivalry is the essence of managing u.s.-china relations under conditions where china now has an economy approximating hours in size and where its military is rapidly modernizing in ways that erodes our traditional military dominance in the western pacific. to put it in terms of war is misleading on a variety of factors. with the soviet union, we were deterred from getting into direct conflict. there's too much cavalier talking about war with china. the same mutual assured destruction considerations apply in the u.s.-china relationship. neither party would be able to come out in such a war in a way that would justify the cost of being in the war.
that is not the right way to think about the issue. the words you use to describe relationships affect your behavior. it seems to me that talking about a cold war mentality of skewers the very many areas where we have to cooperate with each other and in my judgment will cooperate with each other. katie: you've traveled five times to china this year. can you give us a sense of what is the perspective there? do chinese officials believe themselves to be in or entering into a new cold war? ms. sun: i remember a conference, and back then it was competition or cooperation between the u.s. and china, and
there were scholars talking about a new cold war emerging. the focal point was the south china sea. i would say that this hostile mentality has always existed. there has always been problems. those narratives and those rhetoric would emerge. in china today, i would say that of course everybody recognizes the trump administration's policy has put china in a difficult position, especially the trade war and the almost impossibility to negotiate with the chinese. it seems there's a lot of recognition of that. 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. the xi jinping administration has demonstrated a personality,
but coming to practicality of really putting china in a collision course with the united states, we still draw the conclusion that this is not a war that china can win. given that precondition, that adds a lot of nuances to the interpretation as to whether a new cold war has begun. if the result of this interaction really depends on how china reacts to the united states, i think there's a pretty good chance that china will take a more conciliatory posture. that would be conducive to the domestic stability for china and economic growth for china. katie: robert daly, i think you also reject the term cold war, but what should we call it? is there a danger that that is what we stumble into? mr. daly: i do reject the cold war framework for the reasons already articulated.
whenever we are looking at a new framework, you have to ask, what does it clarify? in the case of cold war, i don't think it helps us clarify u.s.-china relations, and it misses the complexity and the rapidly evolving nature of the relationship. one of the characteristics of the previous cold war, and i was a cold squire at most, i served briefly under -- it was the tail end. but certainly, alienation was one of the major features of the cold war. americans and chinese are not alienated from each other. you can tell this if you look at the trade relationship, by looking at students and scholars going back and forth, at the cooperative relationship in
states and counties. one of the interesting data points of the past year was a positive views of china. a march gallup poll revealed positive views of china in americans were the highest since before -- there's been a recovery. we're not alienated in that way. nor there are blocks. there's some worrisome signs that each nation would like to set up that sphere of influence if they could, but there's also been a great deal of pushback. neither china nor the united states has done very well with soft power development. there has been blowback in ways that has been quite helpful. we saw the tpp proceed without the united states. we saw malaysia and sri lanka and pakistan to a degree
pushback on aspects of china's long-term strategy of developing influence through investment. this wasn't done at the united states' instigation. so we don't have blocks. what do i suggest? i say we stay with u.s.-china relations. [laughter] mr. daly: not a good headline, but it admits the infinite complexity. it seems to me that it is still a very useful phrase.
it doesn't tie us into any framework. are we heading there? could we get there? there's some worrisome signs a very useful phrase. coming from both capitals. one which we saw just last week when the american administration announced a new africa policy. instead of framing it in terms of american interest, it was phrased in terms of countering china in africa. i think this is first that africa policy and secondly it implies a desire to set up blocks. we also do see a tendency to want to spread chinese influence which is counter international best practices. a desire to have the nations that receive chinese investment be less critical of china. this requires nations to silence their own media, their own civil society. while it is true that china, unlike the soviet union, isn't trying to spread ideology in an evangelical way, the terms of trade with china often involve a degree of silence which over time has the effect of an ideology. there are worrisome trends. we haven't seen the bottom of this newly contentious
relationship yet. we might have a different discussion a year from now. as of today, let's stick with u.s.-china relations and forget about cold wars. sorry, we drew you in with the promise of a cold war discussion. katie: i know you are doing a lot of research on this relationship. we tend to focus about the headline, but what this means in terms of chinese students coming to the united states and vice versa. prof. oyen: it is interesting that one of the foundations and the reasons we have this long-term relationship is this movement back and forth, chinese students coming to the united states, exchanges and directions like that. there's a lot of developments this year that are troubling. alongside the trade war, you have the talk of stopping student visas for chinese students, which stephen miller
made a comment to that effect. that that is even a proposal is concerning. one year visas in tech fields, that is problematic in a lot of ways. it takes away a source of resources and intellectual capacity and exchange between universities and students. there's the review of h-1b visas that we don't talk about with the current context of china. china is the second largest recipient of h-1b visas. some of the ways the trump administration is considering visas could have long-term implications for how chinese students and scholars operate in the united states. and then there's this other subcategory within the university setting of backlash against confucian institutes and concerns about the chinese students and scholars
associations which have both, under increased scrutiny. there's important questions that can be raised about the use of chinese dollars to support these kinds of activities and whether there are counselors who are dictating actions to students, but some of these concerns can get overblown. i think you see some examples of the ricocheting out of those concerns in the wilson center report on chinese influence from the working group. >> you are talking about different things. ms. sun: prof. oyen: prof. oyen: there's a section of this report that talks about education, but there's a section that talks about chinese-americans which is
closely linked to the problems with visas and exchanges. the language in the report is incredibly problematic. my point -- >> there are two things. the wilson center and the kissinger institute -- we did do a report. prof. oyen: you did a panel. >> we actually did a report on issues related to the chinese students and scholars association by one of our fellows that got a lot of attention. then there was a joint task force which was much broader. prof. oyen: which you were also long. >> i was a member of that task force. prof. oyen: i apologize. i was referring to the hoover institution report.
my concern is the ricocheting out of these problems with visas and concern about chinese influence. you see ways in which there can be new kinds of suspicion of chinese in the united states, regardless of their background, that is not going to do anything to support a strong foundation in that relationship. out novembert came 29 at the hoover institute. many of your characterizations of it are fair and there are reasonable critiques of the report. it has be mentioned that it was xi jinping and the chinese government who repeated statements that once you are chinese, you are always chinese
and all of the chinese over the world have an obligation to achieve the great chinese nation combined with an increase in funding of the organizations , that have raised some of these concerns, and has the playing out of these methods within some of the smaller countries, including the five eyes. when you look back at 2018, it has become a feature of the chinese relationship with a number of nations, the concern of communist party influence within communities and institutions abroad. i see this as promoting constructive vigilance. that is a major concern of american universities and colleges. an old concern.\ it has long historical roots and
it was overblown in the 19 50's when there was a great deal of influence. my concern with some of the language in the report is that it conflates three groups of people, chinese people living in the united states in diaspora, with ethnic chinese of american be recenty, who may immigrants, in the language could include anybody who has any ethnic chinese heritage within the united states. great report also goes to lengths to note this danger. there are a number of reports that say, this is the problem that say if you don't take the disclaimer seriously, there can be an issue as well.
>> [inaudible] >> especially for the family of students who want to come here to study, that is of greater concern. rumors about the chinese student visas being put on a more stringent review process, and what it means for .hem and for their family that does create pressure in china about concerns coming to student.d states as a the openers of the american academic environment, or if you compare how the u.s. government has treated the chinese in this fromry -- i am originally
china. when you compare how foreign inolars are being treated china, i would see the difference is pretty distinct. china, but i am able to be in this community, to be a member of this community. being a blue-i'd america -- american, can you imagine being the head of studies at -- that is something couple. the openness is still there.
the competition between the political ideas of influence, the chinese would say that the americans attempt to influence the world has always been there. accusation from meddling in the chinese affairs has been consistent and persistent. as china's power rises the comprehensive national powers increase and china is gathering -- other countries replicate the chinese model. they are more confident about their model and about the applicability of their model and other countries.
we believe that the u.s. is generally confident in the superiority of its ideals, we should call the appeal of u.s. political ideals. believehinese truly --t the system would represent a desirable path for the world it should be comfortable to compete with the united states on a level playing field. i'm afraid it reveals a lack of confidence and vulnerability and hypocrisy. a fair't know if it is comment or not that america is meddling in china even in a soft way in china is sick internal affairs.
-- china's internal affairs. >> that depends on how you define meddling. [laughter] i think it was secretary of state albright, and hillary clinton herself may have referred to the u.s. desire that there be a more liberal representative of foreign governance in china. suppresshink you can americans from expressing that type of attitude. this idea that power corrupts and you have to balance power are absent from china's systems of governments.
they fall into the same category as the kings and czars and others who want absolute power in their own hands. bigany ways, china's contradiction is that they are modernizing the country, heavily exposed through studying abroad of through the influence people studying abroad and have alter the economic base of the country. americans are going to speak out on such subjects. they'll say, we think it is desirable that china have this, it, doterms of promoting we have good democratic governance in haiti? why do we have some a refugees from el salvador on our doorstep? if we can wave a magic wand to affect governance, why don't we
do it with those who are so close? the answer is that we are highly limited in what we can do in terms of direct governance. when we set a standard of governance in our own country that others see as better than our own, then you have an enormous impact. we should pay more attention to what is going on in europe, although there is some backward movement now. we saw that there was the -- the to produce eastern europeans couldn't get himo the european union and their own, they began to change their domestic institutions to qualify for entry into the european union. that is the most effective way hownfluencing how others --
to influence other country's affairs. you show how good governance can function and then others choose to emulate. process underway in china right now. always see is a movement within china to suppress western ideas. when i was in china in the , western ideas's had no purchase in china and now .hey have enormous influence they see the role that the press can play and you don't have this in china. these are parts of what i would call modern governance. we see a desire to hold down those forces because of the
governance system that does not want to introduce modern systems of governance. do we interfere in china? is we express ideas it could be viewed as interference because we believe in these modern concepts of governance. we do very little to try to promote these ideas , if wechina because can't do it on our own doorstep, why do we think we can do it in china? >> and also because the chinese don't allow it. [laughter] >> that is additional factor, but they have allowed the infiltration of western ideas for decades but now the problem is what find the idea president xi jinping and his communist already refer to as an ideological problem. he ignored that china has a
problem of ideology. you can interpret quite easily that the problem is these subversive western ideas are subverting the western ideas in china and we see that as repression. words, you have to look at both sides of the question. can the limited bring in a voice from outside the room. -- palmer wrote that it always -- it only takes one side to start a war. fundamentally i think that u.s. government's formal vision affects the way that leaders think more than our discussions consider and we should probably form more. a longtime observer wrote about
sadness -- that the dream of china has been largely -- i feel we are in a watershed moment. does anyone on the panel admit ?o having changed their views >> this has become a major part of the media narrative, the paragraph notion that the goal of engagement is to make china more like us and they are not like us so engagement failed. i reject that. this notion that it is just disillusionment, i
like your phrase, clear eyed reckoning, my own views have changed. direction that china has taken ther xi jinping and direction the united states has taken under trump -- this was .ot in the cards this was in no way written or foreseeable beginning in 1979. and up through 2010. in retrospect of course you can find antecedents and you can see a gradual build but it was in no way clear this is what was coming. there have been real changes. so yes my views have changed but i wouldn't say it is because scales have fallen on my eyes, it's because the world turns and changes. i think we need to reject this notion of engagement as having been naive and disillusioned. we still need to engage with china closely albeit in a different way and different circumstances.
i'm a little wary of the changed views narrative as its express ed popularly, that said, of course, our views changed. katie: do you want to come back on that? ms. sun: sure. i know there are a lot of attribution or blame being placed on xi jinping and the administration. this is his campaign and he is turning china into a new direction. i also want to remind people there were also brewing nationalism and demand in china for elevated or higher status of chinese nationally. the complaint, i remember i was living in beijing at the time and the complaint was that china was becoming rich but it wasn't becoming more respected. so i would say that xi jinping also represents this sentiment in china that as china's power rises, they deserve more.
you can say xi jinping leads that campaign or was pushed by that in the chinese society, i would say this both. and the fund mental reason is china's power is increased. we assume china will be like us but i think china has selectively identified with certain ones we promote and also certain norms they rejected. so the assumption that china would embrace everything that represents our norms may be erroneous and china is different. katie: what would 1970 stapleton roy make of the situation now? mr. roy: i think yun has made some very good points.
especially during the cultural revolution, there was a total absence of personal freedom. you could only show certain revolutionary operas, or you had no access to anything except the redbook of mao quotations. you couldn't travel from one city to another. when you went to the great wall it was completely empty of chinese because they didn't have the rations for food that necessitated travel to north china and visit the great wall. under the reforms implemented, the communist party got off the backs of the chinese people and a whole wide range of areas so that they began to have better access to outside ideas, they were free, they could talk about issues more clearly and travel freely around the country. over 100 million chinese leave the country every year and then come back. all of this did not exist during the 70's and a great part of the 80's. so in other words china was changing an important way. but we make a mistake when we tried to assume there is a quick jump from here to there. it is what i call proving the grass doesn't grow. you can simply take the skeptic in your yard and sit for a couple hours.
you can look at the yard and there is no growth in the ground. the timeframe for the change we're trying to measure is wrong. and that is the mistake a lot of us make in looking at china. we do not see change because we are trying to measure change within a period of months and years where the process we are looking for change requires decades. that is a mistake we are now making about china. you see that is why tend to look at where others see repression, too, but i see struggle. in terms of what their future will be like and that process hasn't played itself out. so i do not know whether china will have a more representative form of governance 30 years from now, but there will be a
struggle over that issue and the question is can we relate to china in a way that is conducive to the changes in china we would like to see happen. i think this overemphasis on strategic rivalry and failure to understand the many common interests we share with china and can work together on cooperatively is in many ways undermining our ability to promote our values which has to be done by setting a good example rather than by preaching. katie: if the u.s. is promoting that example and speaking up for individual rights, does not have a responsibility to call out and draw attention to what is is happening in china at the moment? mr. roy: let's apply that in personal relationships. do you like when people come around and say that is not a pretty dress. you ought to wear green? there are people like that, i know some 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 have had to struggle with issues of slavery and the inferior position of women in other things like that. we didn't give votes to women in 1919 because we suddenly realize that women were human beings like men -- it took 40 years of suffragette struggle in the united states. same thing with slavery. we tried to deal with it over 70 years through the political process and failed and then we had to fight a bloody civil war and have 100 years of jim crow rules before we got the civil rights legislation in the 60's. that is how you advance. i think there are a lot of possibilities for china to, as it becomes more prosperous and as it -- it is a lot better educated now. this is an enormous change. the number of college-educated people, people who have completed high school is much
greater. and china faces a fundamental contradiction and this is related to the cold war issue because the soviet union was a closed system, it was not dependent on imports 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 in trying to maintain the legitimacy of party rule in china. and china cannot afford to close its doors because of it does it slows down its economic development. so should we be beating up on china under the circumstances and saying we should affect a cold war with china? to me that is exactly the wrong way. but i come from a missionary background. missionaries try to get heathens
into the church but there are other christians who think heathens should be kept out of the church. so it depends on whether you and believe that good influences can influence how other people behave. it seems to me the united states in this country can do better in that respect. prof. oyen: have two points. one is that i never wear green. [laughter] prof. oyen: my second point relating to some of the american understanding and critique of china i think is currently undermined by our lack of -- it is a more open society but it feels like a lack of access for
academic work. the 14 years i've been making research trips to china, the availability of archives and academic resources and connections, they varied a lot. the archives have been increasingly closed and inaccessible. at the same time during the last few years since 2013 there's been a steep drop off in americans learning mandarin. we have a danger going forward of the lack of americans who are sort of developing the kinds of understandings we need. and keep that kind of engagement i think you cited is very important. >> you had two interesting discussions about moralism in american china policy. one is we do have the city on a
hill desire to see all nations try to get the people to flourish in accordance with our prescriptions, but you are also cautioning us against hypocrisy and a lack of self-awareness and preaching to china which i agree with in general. at the same time, china as it gets more powerful it gets richer. as xi jinping has evolved more assertive foreign policy which in many ways is exactly what you expect, china is trying to do with any nation wants to do which is to create international
atmosphere that is more conducive to its ends. in this case, 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 should be raise not at all. someone should raise this, should they not? my experience has been by raising these debates you do over time have an impact on debates within china. when i first got there there was very little discussion of this phrase human rights at all except in reports about how the americans were arrogantly criticizing her so-called human rights record and this ends up introducing concepts. so what is the right balance given the difficulty you phrase and i would say the same thing with reference to what is broadly called the influence question in the united states. there is a real danger of framing it wrong, of
disproportionality. but is it not also a danger of not -- at all avenue we know full well can demonstrate. so what is the proper role? mr. roy: we are americans. we cannot remain silent on certain questions. 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 in when we were going to attach seven different types of conditions to get your most favored nations treaty. the action had enormous impact on china trade. and i had to persuade them this is a good idea. it wasn't easy. and i can't say anything particular good came out of that but it was instructive to me that after 9/11, everyone of those that i was telling them was so good for china, we violated in the united states. we hid prisoners on the international committee of the red cross, we denied habeas corpus, we wouldn't tell people we were holding prisoners. so when we get scared, we behave in ways that are not consistent with our own values and china is scared. they have upwelling nationalism on the part of a local population. we don't have these large concentrations of ethnic
populations in their homeland except in indian reservations. katie: this sounds a lot i used to hear in russia which we called what about-ism well you criticize this, but this aspect of your own country is not perfect. i think can we not speak out while still acknowledging that there are areas? mr. roy: i think we are all intelligent people here hopefully in some fashion. we can switch from moralistic mode to analytical mode. when i look at that i can strike both positions. when i'm moralistic, i criticize the way they are handling the question. i do the same thing looking at our border right now. everybody satisfied taking children from their mothers the way to handle illegal immigrants at our border?
what should other countries be saying about that? actually it is helpful if some of our european friends for example were to speak out and say hey guys, there must be a better way to handle this. the problem is european countries of the same problem in their own areas because illegal immigration has become a major issue now. syrian refugees flooding in europe create real political problems and i think that's a problem we have here. we have an analytical and a moralistic way. what bothers me is when the moralism denies you the ability to understand what's going on. i think when we look at chin jong we need to look at both aspects is the way the chinese dealing with her the right way, the clear answer is 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 the china can't find a better way of dealing with ethnic groups who exist within
china? that is an important problem for us to understand also. china is struggling with a real issue. katie: robert, you look like you want to come back on that. mr. daly: no, let's move on. [laughter] katie: two weeks ago we had the arrest in canada of the cfo. we have since had the detention of canadian citizens on allegations of endangering national security. you've described this as hostagetaking. how concerned are you about how this could escalate? mr. daly: i think there are a couple of different issues. in the case of the canadians it is clearly 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 we know what we know and this is one of these. do you like the argument over
whether mbs ordered the killing of khashoggi? sometimes you have to make a call and this i think is clearly the case here. they've been taken hostage. the president has declared that he might be willing to intervene if we get a better deal on trade with china. like ipso facto hostagetaking of another sort, we know a decision was made to keep separate, but a -- we could be accused by folks in china that something like that is a form of hostagetaking. if we look at the previous case, the canadian couple, they were evangelical christians with a 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 and in this case, we've got the canadians under we know not what circumstances or for how long. one woman is living in one of her mansions and is out on bail. for the moment, we have a debate about a case in the chinese in vancouver are free to, as they should be, to demonstrate and say to free her, so i'm not suggesting there's a parallel between the two but i think we do see different kinds of hostagetaking in both nations and this is a very bad sign on a
>> again, there is a lot of nationalism related to this because although the discussion here or what is the intervention, but at least here, the discussion about the arrest is based on the iran sanction, so it is not about huawei being a technological rivalry to american companies. it's not about the technology and the potential popularity of their technology, but i think in china, the narrative is very much on huawei being targeted, because it is better than american companies. i think that is the very different narrative here and a very different rhetoric over there. the focus is completely different. we focus on the sanction issue, and they focus on whether this is a part of the campaign to confront china or to suppress china's rights. i think for both governments if you look at the statements, the progress for the ongoing trade negotiations, i would posit that the priority of both beijing and washington is to have a successful negotiation over the trade dispute, over the trade war, and, hopefully, have a de-escalation of tensions and have a deal somewhere early next year so that the two economies will have some sense of civility. so to what extent that either government is willing to allow to interfere with the trade negotiation, i just don't see that happening. i think both governments are very much prioritizing the trade talks. >> putting the trade talks in one bucket, is there potential at this
time next year to see a deal on trade but its underlying strategic rivalry and competition is still ongoing? do you think they are essentially two separate issues to deal with? >> if i recall the year-end review we had last year, and we were talking that this transaction mentality, trump' is visit to china, and i think on the day that we had the year-end review last year, we talked about the trade dispute, and one year ago, i do not think anyone was expecting or predicting that the trade war would be where it is today, so i find the prediction of where we will be on the trade war in the next 12 months is very difficult to make, but i think one thing is relatively clear. whether the chinese debate if there is a bipartisan consensus here in the united states about the new cold war or about this hostile relationship that has been formed or has been forming, is being formed between the u.s. and china, i think the chinese in the policy community is gradually coming to the conclusion that this american attitude towards china is not just a trump problem. it actually has broader consensus and support from the american society based on the grievances about lobbing china to change and china goes its own way. i think there is going to be a deal on the trade issue, or a
lot of people fail to see what the deal would look like especially coming to the need for restructure in the chinese economy. and whether china can really abandon not only rhetoric, china 2025, but also i think those are very difficult or impossible questions to answer. even if we have a temporary deal for the trade issue, a few things will go on. >> we want to get to questions from our audience. just need to get some best case and worst-case scenarios from our panelists because we had the xi jinping speech. this morning the reaction of seen on social media to that is this is not going to get easier. that the next year in u.s. china relations could be much bumpier. could ask for some optimistic, pessimistic scenarios in the year ahead? >> i've 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 that engagement has failed. it's 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
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 her don hussein saddam hussein. but we need a for it, so we came -- but we needed a justification for it, so we came up with weapons of mass destruction, turned out they didn't exist. we came up they were colluding with al qaeda.
our intelligence treating never agreed that was taking place and we came up with the idea of bringing democracy to the middle east. ok, well, in fact, we did bring democracy to iraq and we put the shias in charge, and we destabilized iraq, helped 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 am reading articles now. people are saying clinton was justifying a policy towards china in terms of bringing democracy to china. well, how come i sat as president clinton's ambassador to china, and i sat through three summit meetings between him and another, and somehow we never mentioned to me that i should be bringing democracy to china? i mean, think of what might had happened if he had mentioned it to me. i would have had a mandate. [laughter] so, essentially, i do not see problems with china that are anymore different than the problems we have 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 are dealing with with china, there is broad support in the
united states, for stronger tactics to deal with the issues, but we don't want them to drag 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 the other 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 in north korea and we need to cooperate with china and take their interests into account. so i am pessimistic about the way we are handling china but i am optimistic about the ability to handle china if we are intelligent and understanding the pros and cons of different approaches. >> who wants to offer a worst-case scenario? how could this go wrong? where are the tripwires? >> i'm an optimist. [laughter] >> i definitely see one in the form of visas and access. this idea of cutting off all access of exchanges of cutting off all of our ways of understanding each other.
i mean, the stephen miller proposal hopefully does not get any more ground than it did when he first proposed it this summer, but there is some dangers brewing that are sort of under appreciated 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 an old russian joke that some of you may know. he said the pessimist says things can't possibly get worse. the optimist says yes, they can. [laughter] so i guess i'm an optimist. it is very hard to see these issues will go on beyond trump and xi. it's a historical struggle. it is hard to see a fundamental change over coming here for a
-- change over the coming year for a number of reasons and it's not really the 90 day trade war. we have the 2017 national security strategy which names china as the united states's greatest long-term security challenge. china sees the u.s. the same way, as well. there are corresponding attitudes on the chinese side. i am just going to talk about this. the trump administration is called for defense supply chain resilience, they're taking this i am just going to talk about very seriously, and that would mean a restructuring of the american economy if they are serious. we already have the reform bill which has scared away a lot of chinese investment and we look with greater skepticism and subsequent investment. we will see new rules on export control. we may be seeing rules limiting chinese student visas which would really be telling may be the world's greatest talent pool that they are despised in the united states, and i think our
own ability. we have withdrawn from a treaty, in terms of china, and we are working i'm trying to strengthen the quad. we are opposing the made in china 2025. the cyber intrusions. all of 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 do not think we are looking at deeper mutual suspicion over the coming year, but i do think it is within our "can" to manage this to avoid conflict, and it is also within china's "can," i just don't know if we will. >> i think it is very difficult to say what will be worse. of course, the cold war was a very bad scenario, but how many of us really believe it's going to happen between the u.s. and china?
the thing we are looking at, even the communication between the countries, the level of exchanges, the keyword today seems to be decoupled. decoupling the two economies. whether that's really realistic and how it can be done is the question. i think for the u.s. what they might want to consider is proportionality of its reaction to china's problematic behaviors. chinese policies have a lot of problems, and i think even the chinese know that. there are also debates in china about what is the fast best strategy moving forward. i think it is understandable that in the u.s. society there is been an accumulated grievance about china failing to fill their commitments or failing to meet the international norms.
but does that warrant a cold war? is that really the best answer we can come up with? i do believe where china has problematic behaviors, apart stringent reaction is warranted, but does that mean we will change how we can define this relationship and throw the baby out with the bathwater? that seems to be the question the u.s. needs to answer. and a question for china to answer is what is the best strategy, what kind of power does china aspire to be, and i was thinking of this when you were talking about the missionary mission and i'm thinking maybe be a more comparable analogy is that china sees itself or believes it has been isolated, this weak in school, this pariah that was never a part of the main school popular kids. and china feels that throughout the years it was bullied by everybody and there is some truth to it if you look at their narrative. now, china has become strong, so what is really the proper or
normal mentality for china to be a normal member of this community. is it a victim mentality that it's either i win or you win? either it is my rights or your fault? actually, that is the same thing. this dichotomy almost says that they have revenge, that china was victimized so therefore we need to get back at you. if we're going to ride to the top of the world, then everybody else must be secondary. everybody else must be subject to the terms we dictate. i don't think that's a normal mentality and i don't think china will be able to join the international community as a normal member as long as they hold onto that mentality. so i feel that for both countries there is a lot of soul-searching to be done. >> i want to make sure we get a chance for as many questions as possible.
this is being broadcast life, so if you can wait for the microphone to get to you, introduce yourself with your name and affiliation and if you could keep your questions short and in the form of a question in the interest of getting to as many people as possible. yes, in the back. >> michael davis, a fellow at the wilson center and also attached to the kissinger institute. one of the things we've been talking immediately how china and the u.s. are dealing with each other, and i just read a piece in foreign affairs which reflects the view that's widely shared, that there is a kind of competition between them more broadly in the world where china belt and road is involved, where it's trade relations with each other countries, financial support, and then in that context there is 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, yet the trump administration's way of doing it is heading in the wrong
direction, that the u.s. strength is in the multilateral institutions and so on the u.s. has its fingerprints all over. are we heading in the wrong direction in this broader global order? and in so doing, are we neglecting our partners, especially around china and in asia, in general, by making them nervous and do they finally have to sit and wait until trump is gone? is that the only solution if they are nervous about the u.s. direction? >> who wants to come in on that? >> i will be happy to weigh in quickly. there is competition in the world, all over the world. john bolton has talked about in africa, but china unlike the soviet union is having a big impact globally because their economic relationships are global.
and huawei is a part of that, and we are concerned about it, but it is an unfair context. -- contest. because we are funding our military and we are totally not funding all of the other components of our comprehensive national strength. they get 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 remember when we had the ebola outbreak last year. who did we send? the army medical corps. the u.s. health service doesn't have the funding. in other words, we have essentially kept our military budget up and cut everything else and this is not a satisfactory approach to the type of comprehensive national competition, international competition we have to engage in with china, and we have to think about that. do we have an economy capable of generating the resources necessary to engage in a vigorous competition with china globally? my answer is no, we don't, and that is something we ought to be thinking about. >> to this side, here. >> hi, brendan mulvaney. i want to tie in that point to the point that robert daly made
in the beginning and see if there is a link there. i agree the cold war construct is not only not helpful, but i think it is harmful, but it sells well, and also sells here in china rhetorically, but to your point, it sells here to the defense contractors selling weapons and helps fund the pla, as well. so the question is how do we frame it and how do we look at this competition? you mentioned ideology at the beginning and you said it's not really ideological as it was with the soviet union but some of these trade components might have that flair to it. so there is a debate at least in the pentagon or in some national security circles of how do we best frame this? do we see it as a cold war? is china planning to topple or supplant the u.s., or is it simply a rivalry, great powers,
-- rivalry between great powers, and a realistic approach that doesn't have ideology? i think when people in the national security realm look at it ideologically, it is easier for them to sell the cold war, more weapons, more use of the military narrative, and so, is that constructive, or is there another way and/or evidence to say that this is just a great power relationship, but it is not ideological? >> something you did not quite get to, but i took it to be part of your argument, there are indices of power in which china is gaining greatly, and it leads in overall trend lines. some of the indices in which we lead are soft power. there are the big, attractive ideas, and there is our alliance system, and the link between those two things is diplomacy, and we really need to reinvigorate our diplomacy, and
which i took to be a major impolication of what you just said, to emphasize these strengths in the realm of ideas and to build up alliances, which does not mean we do not find anything in the military, but that is what i take it. one of our major, ongoing missteps is neglecting diplomacy which could emphasize those strengths. >> i feel all this discussion about china exporting ideology. yes, while looking at what the chinese government is doing, especially with the aid agencies, i think there is a pretty big component of what the chinese call the exchange of experience in governance and development. governance means political. there is a push from the chinese government about promoting that, and, obviously, looking at it, the more countries aspire to china's model, the more secure i think beijing feels about it.
the currency is not of universal value, and the chinese system with the chinese model tends to stay and is filed. i think the key question is not whether china is promoting its i think the key question is not whether china is promoting its ideology but why the ideology is appealing. i think that is a question that we do not really look or hear. we criticize china for providing state financing to state infrastructure projects of other countries, but what viable opportunity are we offering to them? we tell them, "don't take chinese money," but are we giving them the alternative financing source that will satisfy their need for infrastructure development in their country? so i think the beauty of the soft power lies in its inspiration, not imposition. i think that is the bigger question. what is the china model doing? and it is inspiring in certain countries.
our effort to promote our model has not gotten those countries where they want to be. i think that's more the essential question here. >> let's put it -- just to clarify this issue, corrupt countries need infrastructure just as much as uncorrupt countries, but our model does not enable us to deal with the problem of infrastructure in corrupt countries, and china is putting corruption aside and providing the infrastructure. which approach is better? i will leave it to the audience to answer the question. [laughter] >> down in front. the lady in the front in the second row here. >> from voice of america. i have a question related to xi jinping's speech in which he promised china will press ahead with economic reform and opening up, but he also said china will maintain a one party system. so my question is, i'm wondering
whether you guys think he can succeed in doing that because it seems to me it is against the conventional wisdom. thank you. [laughter] >> meredith, would you like to take that on? >> i really wouldn't. [laughter] >> i will be happy to answer, but i do not want to dominate the answers here. the short answer is under the one party system, the chinese reform and open policy has produced dramatically positive results in terms of rapid develop it, so i do not think i see anything inherently contradictory with having one party rule and successful reform and openness, but the problem i have is why is reform and openness and 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 into state owned enterprises. so it takes more than xi jinping saying that 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 it has, in fact, not moved forward over six years, even though you have reform and openness identified by high officials close to xi jinping, in positions of responsibility, and, still, reform and openness has not been implemented. -- has not moved forward. so we need to understand whether those factors will be changed. does his speech indicate that he is going to get more support to reform in ways he has not over the last five years, and we cannot answer that.
we have to watch and see what happens. >> it's really a different discussion than sought to have. i think xi jinping has correctly identified a new era. there were no new ideas in yesterday's speech. >> this side here, on our left. >> thank you. [inaudible] now the mic is on. quick observation, xi jinping, talks about once chinese, always chinese, all chinese have an obligation, and so on, but it is contradictory to what was created for chinese policy and law to get china an invitation to the conference in 1955.
speaking personally, if i have to juxtapose the strategist against xi jinping as a strategist, i will take him. but that is a quick aside. you asked for a pessimistic or worst-case scenarios. i heard almost nothing about the south china sea, and i, and i suspect everyone on this panel, could very easily to 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, and if you're sitting at pacific command in honolulu you have multiple scenarios you are 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
be managed and contained within a broader trajectory of the u.s.-chinese engagement? >> thank you. would you like to take that? >> a couple of years ago the militaries reached a preliminary agreement over the encounters and terms of air and naval. what that agreement does is if there is going to be military conflict, the decision was made much higher up that it would be a political issue and not just a skirmish in the south china sea that escalates into a full-scale confrontation between the united states and china, so if that is what happens, i would say a decision will have been made that a military conflict is inevitable, and either u.s. or china is willing to take on that path. >> more questions? >> 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 am very blunt on that issue. all the parties to the conflict down there have signed the declaration on the conduct of the south china sea, which allows from the freedom of the air, freedom of sea maneuver. we run freedom of navigation operations there. sure, we crowd them and they crowd us, but those are not war issues. if those are permitted to turn into a conflict there should be high level court marshals in both armies. -- in both militaries. >> i want to collect another three questions, and we will try to have very brief responses, so three brief questions.
gentleman, on the side there. >> richard coleman. retired from border protection. taiwan. when are the kids going to realize the parents aren't really legally wed? the united states and taiwan have this illicit relationship pretend, wink, wink, nod, nod, and how inevitable since china has made its intentions very clear talking about the buzzing and military flexing, how long do you think this pretense will survive? >> thank you. lady in the center here. >> from a chinese news agency. there was an issue published last week in foreign affairs saying actually, china's ambition for the following years our way much narrower than
experts in western societies estimated, so there is always misunderstandings between the two sides, so my question is for each panelist, what is the biggest misunderstanding that you worry the most for the bilateral ties? thank you. >> the side of the room. gentleman here. >> thank you. i am from george washington university, and i think under the current circumstances, it is more important to keep the communication, and i think one good example is illustrated by ambassador stapleton roy. when you critique the chinese characteristic, you drive home the point immediately. and more importantly, elegantly. at the current stage, there is a generation shift in the state
department, when the old generation of diplomats are retiring from the stage and on the stage comes a new generation. what are your suggestions for the new generation of diplomats and are you considering writing a book? because i am personally looking forward to reading it. thank you very much. >> i am also campaigning for the ambassador to write his memoirs. any quick thoughts on these big issues. taiwan, biggest misunderstanding and suggestions for new china hands? >> with respect to taiwan i think the midterm elections have bought us a little bit of time because the success in that election has undermined the role of the president or as the head of the dpp, and so that returns us to a little bit more of a previous status quo where it is still an issue in flux.
but there is a little bit of an easing of tensions as a result of that. i think she is not a revisionist. i don't think she is a revisionist in terms of looking at the relationship. we can behold full that the status quo will remain. >> with relation to the china hands question, related to what i said earlier about diplomacy and what is going on with the academy with china studies, and i'm concerned because area studies have been out of vogue in the academy for so long, most china studies are conducted quite narrowly within disciplines which do not always speak very well to each other. the honors college of maryland, it could be different, but broadly speaking, i think a lot of young americans with real interest in china and talent in the language are not getting a road sign a logical --
sinalogical education, and so they do not bring to their study of china, their diplomacy, the kind of synthesis that we really need. and you saw this in the older generation that is retiring now or that had retired. they had a broad background in china studies, whereas, we have fairly narrow, technically competent, quantitatively very good specialists, but we do not have people with a broad background that i think is needed for diplomacy. >> biggest misunderstanding? >> a misunderstanding, the biggest is that china or the chinese believe americans believe everything china says. [laughter] so, yes. china's ambition is much less significant. we hear xi jinping saying while we are aimed at building an investment that covers all of mankind, so it most, what is says is there are different things in china, and it least it could be, or at a minimum, there
could be one way to tone down or moderate what china's over assertion of its ambition, and coming to the issue of taiwan, the president, that he will listen to his words and also observe his actions. i think coming to how the u.s. views china today is the same thing. it is not just about what china says, because in the trade negotiation, china said a lot of bad things, but it is about what china delivers in the end. >> i just want to make a very brief comment. taiwan is an acutely sensitive issue in u.s.-china relations. americans have a propensity to forget that every few years and then rediscover it the hard way. we have done relatively well. we have a policy framework that removes it as an area of conflict.
it is tinkering with policy framework that could cause a problem. that is 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 is a very dangerous way of thinking about the issue. finally, i think the new crop of china hands emerging are very , very capable, and i look forward to reading their memoirs at some point. [laughter] [applause] >> in the interest of balance, the question about the misunderstanding, i'm afraid we in the past year have a new misunderstanding on the american side. we are speaking increasingly as if every broad aspect of china's rise is and
always has been nefariously aimed at the united states interests. this is not true. china's rise in the main is about chinese flourishing and we seem to increasingly have the idea that we can and should staunch china's continuing flourishing. and i want to balance what you said. i think that is probably our biggest misunderstanding. >> i want to thank you for your time. i want to thank the kissinger institute, very hard-working. personll hard-working for organizing. thank you to our panelists. we look forward to seeing you back here in the new year. [applause] [indistinct conversations] government shutdown will continue past the christmas holiday as the house and senate have ended their sessions. no legislative business is
scheduled in either body until next thursday. as always, watch live house coverage on c-span and the senate on c-span2. here is a look at russian president vladimir putin's annual year-end news conference in moscow. during this portion, he responded to the u.s. syria,wing troops from exit negotiations in the u.k., protests in france, the threat of nuclear arms race with the u.s., and the situation in afghanistan. sorry but i promised him from that channel. in our soviet childhood we were all afraid of a nuclear war. we heard songs about that. afraid now. 40 years have passed since then and now major