US-China Relations Forum

Monday, May 9, 2016
Assembly Hall

Monday, May 9, 2016


Assembly Hall

In a speech given one year ago at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry described the U.S.-China relations as “the most consequential in the world today”. However, with China entering transition period, the already capricious relationship between the two powers have become increasingly intriguing. With tougher diplomatic stance and increased involvement in international affairs, China is speculated to possess the potential to create new world order that might run parallel to that created by the U.S., thus threatening its position as the global hegemon. The downward economic pressure on the world’s largest exporter and trading nation also creates turbulence in the global economy.  Nevertheless, more global cooperation between the two powers is testified, as in the case of anti-terrorism, combating climate change, and Korean denuclearization. The key to properly handling U.S.-China relations lies in how the two countries could avoid strategic rivalry between an emerging power and an existing power.

One key step towards this goal is to foster mutual understanding between students of the two nations. As Madame Fu Ying, former Vice Minister of the Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China, remarked, “While China has very much grown, the knowledge and understanding of China in the outside world, especially in Western countries, hasn’t quite kept up.” The same problem exists for the Chinese conceptions of U.S. On the one hand, China’s foreign policy transition has triggered the formation of “China Threat” theories, economic transition has caused mistrust in Chinese market, and environmental transition has received widespread doubt. On the other hand, the U.S. foreign policies are widely perceived as plotted containments by Chinese students and scholars. This one-day forum invites scholars, policy makers, and professionals worldwide who are engaged in U.S.-China interaction to analyze, evaluate, and predict U.S.-China relations in a critical transition period.

This one-day forum aims at taking the ongoing dialogue on U.S.-China relations to the next level and engaging students with leaders in policy, business, and academia.  Henry Paulson, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, will deliver the keynote address, “Dealing with a China in Transition.”

The forum will feature three panels: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, and Economy and Finance.  These panels will be followed by a reception where attendees will have the opportunity to interact face-to-face with guest speakers and panelists.

About the Panels

Foreign Policy: The Rise of China and U.S. Asian Pacific Policy

John Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor, Political Science, University of Chicago

Recently, China as a nation and its foreign policies have undergone substantive changes. The increasing involvement in international affairs, the promotion of international cooperation such as the Belt and Road strategy, and a firmer stance on the South China Sea dispute have all increased the presence of China in the international stage. Such transitions also accompany a series of U.S. foreign policy modification, such as creation of Asia-Pacific Rebalance strategy and Trans Pacific Partnership. The panel on foreign policy will focus on the discussion of China’s incentives and prospects of foreign policy changes, and the U.S.’s response.  Two experts on foreign policy, one from China and one from the U.S. will explore the issue.

The Challenge of Climate Change

Dali Yang, William Claude Reavis Professor, Political Science, University of Chicago

David Archer, Professor, Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago

Elisabeth Moyer, Associate Professor, Atmospheric Science, University of Chicago

As the threat of climate change becomes more pressing, the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters, have both worked to alleviate such problems. On one hand, agreements were reached on the 2014 APEC Conference and the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. On the other hand, the tradeoff between economic growth and carbon emission restraints countries’ cooperative initiatives, creating a prisoner’s dilemma.  Scholars, representatives from relevant NGOs, and attendees of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris will discuss will discuss the collective goals of and conflicting objectives between China and the U.S. on climate change.

The Future of Two Giants: Pressures, Opportunities, and Challenges in Economy and Finance

CK (Changguang) Zheng, Managing Director at Credit Suisse

Chang-Tai Hsieh, Phyllis and Irwin Winkelried Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Charles Wu, International Partner at Locke Lord LLP

Ever since the Reform and Opening Up, many of the world’s most prestigious observers have predicted the imminent collapse of Chinese economy, and recently, the consecutive turmoil it might cast on the U.S. market. The past six months have seen alarming signals. In response to the stock market crash, economic growth slowdown, and vicious debt cycle, London based Haitong Research group voiced a widespread concern: “So far, China in 2016 appears to be everyone’s worst nightmare come true.” Nevertheless, with the establishment of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the internationalization of the RMB, China is steadily emerging as a major player in the world financial industry. In this panel, business leaders will discuss the economic and financial challenges that China faces during its economic transition, and the influence of these issues on the U.S. economy and financial services industry.

Free and open to the public with registration.  Register here.

Sponsored by the Global Voices Conference Series, UChicago Student Government, the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago, and the University of Chicago Chinese Students and Scholars Association.

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