Harvard Kennedy School Conference Reflects on 35 years of U.S.-China Diplomatic Relations

March 27, 2014
By Ash Center Communications

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School recently hosted the China Public Policy Forum on the current and future state of U.S.-China relations.

The forum, co-hosted by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, was a rare opportunity for the academic community, policy makers, and others to discuss key topics on the future of the U.S.-China relationship in an open and productive manner. Participants took part in a number of discussions, including those focusing on the role of the United States and China in shaping the future global architecture, trade and financial relationships – including an overview of differing regulator regimes and global trade frictions between Washington and Beijing, and the energy and environmental challenges confronting both nations.

“I think the important takeaway from the conference was that the United States and China, for much of the bluster that often accompanies discussion of the bilateral relationship, face strikingly similar challenges on the global security, financial, and environmental fronts. The future architecture of the global community will have a large imprint from Beijing, and I think it wise that we work to find common solutions to many of these challenges facing us in the future,” said Anthony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs and Director of the Ash Center.

“It was an honor to co-host this conference with the Ash Center and to mark the 35th anniversary of normalized U.S.-China relations with our Chinese colleagues,” said Belfer Center Director Graham Allison. “In addition to discussing challenges facing both countries, this was an excellent opportunity to explore opportunities for collaboration on issues ranging from security to energy and the environment.”

Among those from China attending the forum were Li Xiaolin, President, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries; Zhao Qizheng, former Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference; Sun Zhe, Deputy Director, Center on US-China Relations, Tsinghua University; and Zhang Xinsheng, President of China Education Association for International Exchange, and President of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In addition to Professors Saich and Allison, Forum attendees also heard remarks from Harvard University President Drew Faust; Lawrence Summers, President Emeritus and the Charles W. Eliot University Professor of Harvard University, and Lt. Gen. (ret) Karl Eikenberry, William J. Perry Fellow in International Security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and a faculty member of the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University.

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Anthony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs and Director of the Ash Center; Li Xiaolin, President, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries; and Graham Allison, Belfer Center Director.

(From L to R) Anthony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs and Director of the Ash Center; Li Xiaolin, President, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries; and Graham Allison, Belfer Center Director.

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart

“I think the important takeaway from the conference was that the United States and China, for much of the bluster that often accompanies discussion of the bilateral relationship, face strikingly similar challenges on the global security, financial, and environmental fronts, " said Anthony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs and Director of the Ash Center.