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Security and US-China Relations: Differences, Dangers, and Dilemmas

The University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Study of Contemporary China hosts its 7th annual conference; this time focusing on security issues between the U.S. and China.

May 2, 2019 9:00am to May 3, 2019 12:15pm

Following the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1979, US-China ties have been characterized by a mix of cooperation, competition, and conflict. During this period, most scholars, analysts, and policymakers have focused on the possibilities for, or the limits to, cooperation rather than the prospects for conflict. But in the past several years as an increasingly prosperous and powerful China has embraced a more ambitious international role, and as the United States has increasingly questioned the compatibility of Chinese and American interests, assessments of the relationship have taken a turn. In this context, the center of gravity of scholarly assessments and policy debate in both countries has shifted. The shift suggests the possibility that the bilateral relationship may be at a turning point after which China and the United States will view each other primarily as adversaries posing threats that each is determined to address. Our conference will examine that possibility. Is a fundamental change in the character of US-China relations underway? If so, why? If not, what explains the ominous tone of current assessments? To address such questions, the conference will combine insights from relevant theoretical literatures in international relations with an examination of concerns manifest across a set of issues where the two countries’ security interests are clearly engaged. The conference will include twelve papers on “Security and US-China Relations” that address the topics listed on the agenda.

Thursday May 2, 2019

Morning Session 9:00-12:15

Theoretical Foundations and Perspectives

Panel 1  (9:00-10:30)

1. Charles GLASER (George Washington University)

Discussant: Caitlin Talmadge (Georgetown)

Discussant: Michael Mastanduno (Dartmouth)

2. Dong WANG (Peking University)

Discussant: David Kang (USC)

Discussant Alex Weisiger (Penn)

Coffee Break  (10:30-10:45)

Panel 2 (10:45-12:15)

3. Jessica Chen WEISS (Cornell University)

Discussant: Keren Yarhi-Milo (Princeton)

Discussant: Todd Hall (Oxford)

4. Iain JOHNSTON (Harvard University)

Discussant: Keren Yarhi-Milo (Princeton)

Discussant: Todd Hall (Oxford)

12:45-1:45  Keynote speaker: Susan Thornton (Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center)

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, (March 9, 2017– July 2018)

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (June 2014 – July 2018)

Afternoon Session 1:45-5:00 Case Studies

Panel 3 (1:45-3:15)

5. Korean Peninsula: Victor CHA (Georgetown University)

Discussant: David Kang (USC)

Discussant: Sheena Greitens (University of Missouri)

6. Japan: Michael GREEN (Georgetown University)

Discussant Michael Mastanduno (Dartmouth)

Discussant: Fred Dickinson (Penn)

Coffee Break (3:15-3:30)

Panel 4 (3:30-5:00)

7. Taiwan Strait: Scott KASTNER (University of Maryland)

Discussant Ryan Haas (Brookings)

Discussant: Sheena Greitens (University of Missouri) 

8. South China Sea: Taylor FRAVEL & Kacie MIURA (MIT)

Discussant: Oriana Mastro (Georgetown)

Discussant Ryan Haas (Brookings)

Friday, May 3, 2019

Morning Session 9:00-12:15

Panel 5 (9:00-10:30)

9.   Military Modernization: Phillip SAUNDERS (National Defense University)

Discussant: Oriana Mastro (Georgetown)

Discussant: Caitlin Talmadge(Georgetown)

10. Technology transfer/innovation:

Elsa KANIA (Harvard University) & Adam SEGAL (Council on Foreign Relations)

Discussant: Samm Sacks (New America)

Discussant: Michael Horowitz (Penn)

Coffee Break (10:30-10:45)

Panel 6 (10:45-12:15)

11. Economics and Security: Jennifer LIND (Dartmouth College)

Discussant: Daniel Drezner (Tufts)

Discussant Deborah Seligsohn (Villanova)

12. Belt and Road Initiative: James REILLY (University of Sydney)

Discussant: Samm Sacks (New America)

Discussant: Daniel Drezner (Tufts)


Text from the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Study of Contemporary China