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The Asia Pacific in 2014 - Rebalancing, Cross-strait Ties, and Regional Economic Integration

The world's largest economies border the Pacific, but territorial claims, trade disputes, military moves, and other issues have many worried. At USC on Feb. 7, expert observers discussed the policies and practices of key actors, how those are perceived, and the current and potential role of multilateral organizations in reducing tension, mediating disputes and promoting stability. A keynote address by Taiwan's former Defense Minister Andrew Yang opened the discussion.

February 20, 2014

Former Defense Minister Andrew Yang argued that the Taiwan Relations Act, adopted in 1979, is a powerful example of America's commitment to peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region. Yang believes that Taiwan has an important role to play in America's ongoing efforts to enhance regional security and prosperity. He called for greater Taiwan-U.S. engagement and priority-setting at the policy level, at the service or departmental level, and at the working or operational level. Through this communication, cooperative efforts could address shared and regional needs. He endorsed Taiwan's participation in regional economic pacts, includng the TransPacific Partnership. He expressed optimism and described the current situation as one rich in opportunities for positive action.

In the follow-up presentations, Saori Katada reviewed the current state of regional cooperation through existing organizations and the prospects for new partnerships. Vincent Wang looked at U.S./Taiwan/China ties, noting the American policy of strategic ambiguity on what it would do if China or Taiwan acted unilaterally to upset the status quo. He discussed ongoing cross-strait negotiations, on the eve of the first government to government discussions in Nanjing. Stanley Rosen examined China - Taiwan policies and collaboration in film production. He noted that the Taiwan hit film, Cape No. 7, attracted large audiences on the mainland, but that Chinese authorities had blocked Taiwan's participation in the Tokyo International Film Festival. Even though the move was part of China's ongoing tensions with Japan, it was Taiwan that suffered. Both Taiwan and China see their films as an important industries and as a key component of their respective "soft power." Etel Solingen drew parallels between the state of ties in East Asia today and Europe in 1914. She highlighted the corrosive impact of nationalist rhetoric and actions in Japan and China, but argued that the forces for international engagement and cooperation remained powerful in both countries.

Generous support for the symposium came from the Taiwan Benevolent Association of America and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office.

Keynote Speaker

Andrew Yang 楊念祖

A veteran Taiwan defense strategist, Mr. Yang served as Minister and Deputy Minister of National Defense from 2009 to 2013. Prior to this he taught at National Sun Yatsen University and worked at research centers there and in Taipei. Prior to his appointment as deputy minister of defense, Mr. Yang served as an advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Mainland Affairs Council, and the Ministry of National Defense. An influential thinker, Mr. Yang was educated at Fu-jen University and at the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Andrew Yang was interviewed for the second part of The Thaw, the USC U.S.-China Institute’s documentary on cross-straits relations.  Click here to watch it (or here on YouTube).

Click here to watch the keynote address.


Saori Katada
Prof. Katada teaches international relations at USC. She is the author of Banking on Stability: Japan and the Cross-Pacific Dynamics of International Financial Crisis Management which was recognized with the Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Book Award in 2002. She also co-edited three books: Global Governance: Germany and Japan in International System (2004), Cross Regional Trade Agreements: Understanding Permeated Regionalism in East Asia (2008), and Competitive Regionalism: FTA Diffusion in the Pacific Rim (2009) and has published many articles on regional integration, foreign aid policy, financial politics and free trade agreements. 

Click here to watch Professor Katada's presentation.

Vincent Wang
Prof. Wang teaches political science and serves as associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Richmond. A prolific researcher, Prof. Wang has written journal articles and book chapters on topics including Taiwan’s domestic politics, its ties with China, regional associations and international organizations, globalization and economic development, industrial policy, security issues, and soft power. He’s also written on U.S. political affairs. His work has appeared in journals such as Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Asian Affairs, Asian Perspective, Journal of National Development Studies, American Journal of Chinese Studies, Tamkang Journal of International Affairs, Journal of International Security Affairs, in think tank publications, and in popular U.S. and Asian periodicals.

Click here to watch Professor Wang's presentation.

Stanley Rosen
Stanley Rosen has taught political science at USC since 1979. He's headed the East Asian Studies Center and is a member of the US-China Institute's executive committee. His courses range from Chinese politics and Chinese film to socio-political change in East Asian societies. He's published numerous books and articles, including Chinese Politics: State, Society and the Market (co-edited with Peter Hays Gries) and Art, Politics and Commerce in Chinese Cinema (co-edited with Ying Zhu). Other works look the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese legal system, public opinion, youth, gender, and human rights. He is co-editor of Chinese Education and Society.

Click here to watch Professor Rosen's presentation.

Etel Solingen
Prof. Solingen holds the Thomas T. and Elizabeth C. Tierney Chair in Peace Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She has previously been a Chancellor’s Professor and is the immediate past president of the International Studies Association. The author of numerous works, her Nuclear Logics: Contrasting Paths in East Asia and the Middle East received the APSA’s Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award for best book and the APSA's Robert Jervis and Paul Schroeder Award. Other works include Regional Orders at Century's Dawn: Global and Domestic Influences on Grand Strategy

Click here to watch Professor Solingen's presentation.

Some of the press coverage of the event:

Central News Agency via Yahoo

World Journal

Central Daily


Radio Taiwan International

Chinese Daily


The Epoch Times (a second story)