On May 24, 2017, National Academy of Development and Strategy (NADS) at Renmin University of China (RUC) successfully held an national high-end think tanks serial lecture themed “Trends and Challenges of China-US Relations after The Xi-Trump Summit” at Run Run Shaw Conference Center of RUC. Professor Cheng Li, the Director of John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution was invited to make keynote speech. Professor Yuanchun Liu, Vice President of RUC and Executive Dean of NADS was present to deliver an address. This lecture was presided over by Lili Wang, Deputy Dean of NADS and member of Expert Committee of Science and Technology Commission under Central Military Commission of CPC.
Professor Liu extended a sincere welcome to Professor Li and expressed deep regards to his commitment to fostering a positive tie between China and US and promoting think tank cooperation through researches and thought exchanges. He said that China should learn experience of the Brookings Institution and other international advanced think tanks in think tank construction and make efforts to cultivate more experts with profound thoughts, broad visions and in-depth knowledge, so as to play the key role of think tanks in advising the government and educating the public.
At the start, Professor Li made a brief review over “The Xi-Trump Summit” held in April in the United States. He pointed out that the Summit helps China and US make significant breakthroughs in personnel relationship between leaders, China-US strategic relationship, general working mechanism and core problems. He said he is very optimistic about the overall development of China-US relations in a moderately long period in the future, because the two countries are highly complementary with each other and their leaders are similar in personality and political will. However, he also indicated that US government is undergoing political divisions, the sudden rise of Trump is too weak to overwhelm the political turmoil in the United States, which means China-US relations will face unprecedented risks and challenges in the next few years. The reasons can be concluded as follows. Firstly, Trump and his team's policy towards China may be landed in an awkward predicament of achieving nothing without support under the cross-fire from various forces in his country; secondly, the business circle of the United States will continue to lobby US government to impose tighter control on trades with China in the name of “trade protectionism”; and thirdly, both think tanks and polling data in the United States show negative views on China.
As for the development prospect of China-US relations in the new era, Professor Li said that China-US relation is at a critical node. Global politic and economic climate is experiencing ongoing turbulence and the strategic pattern is undergoing reconstruction, under which circumstance China and the United States have to face different domestic contradictions and challenges. Given this, we should on the one hand remain optimistic about China-US relations and on the other hand carry out pragmatic cooperation in various fields for the sake of common interests. At the interactive link, Professor Li answered questions from audiences about follow-up implementation of “Xi-Trump Summit” outcomes, nuclear issues in DPPK and the Middle East, mission of United States Ambassador to China, people-to-people exchange and Trump’s visit to China in the second half of 2017.
In the end, Researcher Wang made a concluding remark for the lecture and pointed out that the Xi-Trump Summit convened in April lays a good foundation for the development of China-US relations. Despite a series of problems, China-US relations will move towards win-win cooperation. The two countries will position the bilateral ties more comprehensively and rationally, and the great possibilities for cooperation between the two countries are good for global interest as well as the interests and pursuit of happy life of the people of the two countries. She said China and the United States should enhance dialogues and communications in various fields and at all levels. Think tanks from the two countries should play the channeling role of “Thought Engine” and “Track II Diplomacy”.
Professor Cheng Li, a famous specialist in Chinese politics and China-US relations, with a doctorate degree in political science from Princeton University, now serves as the Director of John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings Institution as well as a member of National Committee on United States-China Relations. He mainly focuses on researches of China-US relations, Chinese leaders, China’s middle class and China’s development of science and technology, etc. He has been committed to studying the evolution of Chinese politics and China-US relations for years, in great efforts to push forward China-US relations. He has published a series of academic works with global influence in recent years, e.g. The Power of Ideas and Chinese Politics in the Era of Xi Jinping.
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