June 22 "U.S.-China Relations" with Thomas Robinson, President, American
Asian Research Enterprise.
Dr. Robinson discussed the determinants of China’s domestic and foreign
policy as well as the direction of Sino-U.S. relations during the
past half-century. He explained how domestic priorities have shifted
from a political and ideological orientation under Mao Zedong’s leadership
towards a pragmatic focus on economic development and stability under
Deng Xiaoping’s leadership. Under these leaders, China’s interests
and power projection in the international realm have evolved from
focus on military affairs, to economic development, and then to both
military affairs and economic development. Characterizing Sino-U.S.
relations, Robinson explained that both countries?interests in the
other have been based on a mutual pursuit of economic, security, and
ideological goals. He went on to cover a series of trends and issues
driving bilateral relations in recent years, many of which are responsible
for causing a deterioration of ties: increase of Chinese power (political,
economic, and military) and nationalism; the end of the Cold War and
America’s sole superpower status; tension over the Taiwan issue; the
1989 Tiananmen Square incident; WTO and trade; human rights; Tibet;
and China’s 2008 Olympic bid. Robinson predicts that China will be
increasingly bold in pursuit of its interests as it gains domestic
and international power. If the U.S. government and policymakers maintain
constant efforts in bettering bilateral understanding in these areas,
they will be able to successfully promote U.S. interests and goals.