August 1, 2005
USCPF Panel Discussion at the National Press Club:
“Can the US Come to Grips with a Growing China?”
The U.S. China Policy Foundation hosted a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, DC to explore the question: “Can the US Come to Grips with a Growing China?” In light of recent events in US-Sino relations, the Foundation organized a panel of four distinguished scholars to shed some light on the outlook for future relations. The panelists were: Former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Chas W. Freeman, Jr.; Rear Admiral Eric A. McVadon, Director of Asia-Pacific Studies for IFPA; Former Ambassador to China and Senator from Tennessee, The Honorable James R. Sasser; and Former Ambassador to China, J. Stapleton Roy.
The panelists were greeted by a number of individuals from the business, academic and media fields. The panelists focused the discussion on China’s rise as an international superpower and its implications on American security, politics and the world order. Ambassador Freeman gave the introduction and segued into each panelist’s discussion topic. Admiral McVadon spoke about the security implications that a growing China has on the United States. His remarks were based on analysis of the Department of Defense’s 2004 report on the military capabilities of China. Ambassador Sasser spoke about the political implications that a growing China has on the United States and as it relates to the balance of power in the region. Ambassador Sasser was quick to point out that it is important for the Chinese leaders to address political change at their own pace. It would be far too dangerous to the region if China were to experience a radical shift in political ideology. The panelists agreed that China was moving toward more political freedom. More specifically, as political reform relates to the U.S., Ambassador Roy explained that the United States has a duty to approach China with sound policies and that as long as both the U.S. and China have sensible leaders; our countries will continue to have constructive relationships. As far as the U.S. is concerned with China’s political systems and human rights status, China is in the very beginning stages of reform and change, and thus social and political change cannot happen overnight.
The panelists argued that in order to achieve optimal relations there needs to be consistency between the U.S. government’s perception of China and how it exercises its policies. The panel explained that Americans need better awareness and understanding about the modernization of China. In order to avoid a conflict that would be felt throughout the world, the panelists agreed that the U.S. and China should continue a dialogue and work to change the perception that either side is an aggressor or a threat.
For the full trancript of the event, please click here.