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How Should the U.S. Approach China? Bipartisan Report Launch

How Should the U.S. Approach China? Bipartisan Report Launch

Feb. 13, 2017

With a new administration in the White House, maintaining what is perhaps the country’s most crucial bilateral relationship remains a critical issue. Members of a high-level Task Force on U.S.-China Policy, organized by the 21st Century China Center at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy and Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations, discussed their expert recommendations for the Trump administration.


Winston LordWinston Lord was U.S. Ambassador to China 1985-89 under President Reagan. He served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs 1993-97 under President Clinton. In the 1970s he was Special Assistant to National Security Advisor Kissinger and then Director of the State Department Policy Planning Staff. During this period, he was on every China trip and attended every meeting that Presidents Nixon and Ford and Dr. Kissinger had with Mao, Zhou and Deng, and was one of two American drafters of the Shanghai Communique. Outside of government his service has included President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Co-Chairman of the International Rescue Committee and Chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy.

Orville Schell Orville Schell is the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society. He is a former professor and dean at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Schell is the author of 15 books, ten of them about China, and a contributor to numerous edited volumes, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Nation and The New York Review of Books. His most recent book is "Wealth and Power, China’s Long March to the 21st Century" with John Delury (Random House, 2013). Schell worked for the Ford Foundation in Indonesia, covered the war in Indochina as a journalist and has traveled widely in China since the mid-70s.

Susan ShirkSusan L. Shirk is Chair of the 21st Century China Center and Research Professor at UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. She previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (1997-2000) where she was responsible for U.S. policy toward China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia. She founded and continues to lead the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue, an unofficial forum for discussions of security issues. Her book "China: Fragile Superpower" helped frame the policy debate on China policy in the U.S. and other countries. Her most recent book "Changing Media, Changing China" was published in 2010 by Oxford University Press.

Task Force Report

The Task Force comprises a group of 20 prominent China specialists that include former U.S. government officials, scholars, and think tank researchers, many of whom served under both political parties and every U.S. president since the Nixon administration. The goal has been to reflect on how the U.S.-China relationship has evolved and to draft a set of recommendations for the incoming presidential administration on how the United States can best advance U.S. interests given the current political climate. We hope this report can provide the starting point for a public conversation on these vitally important questions.

Executive Summary (PDF)

Full Report (PDF)

Task Force Co-Authors

Charlene Barshefksy, Senior International Partner at WilmerHale

Kurt M. Campbell, Chairman and CEO of The Asia Group, LLC

Thomas J. Christensen, William P. Boswell Professor of World Politics of Peace and War and Director of the China and World program at Princeton University

Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations

Karl Eikenberry, Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow and Director of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative at Stanford University’s Asia-Pacific Research Center

M. Taylor Fravel, Associate Professor of Political Science and Member of the Security Studies program at MIT

Melanie Hart, Senior Fellow and Director of China Policy at Center for American Progress

Winston Lord, Former U.S. Ambassador to China and Former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs

Evan S. Medeiros, Head of Eurasia Group’s Asia-Pacific Research and Former Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council

Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University

Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society

David Shambaugh, Professor of Political Science & International Affairs and Director of the China Policy Program at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University

Susan L. Shirk, Chair of the 21st Century China Center and Research Professor at UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy

James B. Steinberg, University Professor of Social Science, International Affairs, and Law and former Dean of the Maxwell School at Syracuse University

Task Force co-authors endorse the overall findings of the report, with individual dissents included at the end of the report. They participate in their individual, not institutional, capacities.

Press Coverage

Press Coverage (English)

Turning Point with China [UC San Diego News]

US panel warns Trump change on one China policy 'dangerous' [Associated Press]

Former Obama adviser: China anxious about Trump [CNN]

Task Force Urges Better U.S. Engagement with China [New York Times]

How Trump could put U.S.-China relations on the right track [Washington Post]

Donald Trump and China on dangerous collision course, say experts [The Guardian]

The Future of the U.S.-China Relationship [PRI / WNYC]

China Expert Says Mattis Reaffirmed Alliances in Asia [Bloomberg TV]

Experts back Trump’s tough line on China trade [Financial Times]

Report warns of dire consequences, war if US cannot better engage China [Today]

Task force report highlights ‘precarious’ Sino-U.S. ties, urges visit to Japan, China to help repair relations [Japan Times]

US China Experts Give Trump Contradictory Advice on How to 'Deal With' Beijing [Sputnik News]

Any US shift away from one-China policy would by ‘exceedingly dangerous’, experts warn [South China Morning Post]

Trump urged to push Beijing on Hong Kong’s autonomy [South China Morning Post]

US-China ties could deteriorate to a military conflict: experts [The News]

China-U.S. Relations Out of Balance, Schell Says [Bloomberg Radio]

US Panel Warns Trump Change on One China Policy 'Dangerous' [Associated Press]

Former Obama adviser: China anxious about Trump [CNN Amanpour]

Trump breaks silence with China after administration softens rhetoric [The Globe and Mail]

Trump advised on China policy [China Daily]

Wang Yi's remark seen as signal to ease tension [China International Publishing]

Task force urges US to work with China on North Korean threat [Nikkei Asian Review]

Task Force Gives Recommendations for a U.S.-China Relationship at 'a Crossroads' [Asia Society]

Why the U.S. Can't Solve the North Korea Crisis Without China's Help [Asia Society]

How Should the U.S. Approach China? [Asia Society]

Trump Administration Must Reassess US Policy Towards China [Asia Society]

Press Coverage (Chinese)

美学者:中国崛起与美国利益可以“兼容” [Caixin]

美重量级学者谏言特朗普对华政策 强调对华应建立良好关系  [Global Times]

美部分专家力挺特朗普对华采取强硬贸易立场 [Financial Times Chinese]

中国问题专家呼吁特朗普认真对待中美关系 [New York Times Chinese]

美专家建言川普:对华强硬但坚守一中政策 [Voice of America Chinese]

?财经观察:美国“知华派”建言新政府勿改对华基本战略 [Xinhua]

中美两国元首近期是否有通电话安排? 外交部回应 [China News]