Meet the Author with John Delury

John Delury (left) and H.E. William Paterson (right)
John Delury (left) and H.E. William Paterson (right)

SEOUL, February 26, 2015 — The Asia Society Korea Center hosted the first book party of 2015 by welcoming John Delury to talk about, and answer questions on his new book, “Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the Twenty-first Century”. Dr. Delury is a renowned Chinese and North Korean historian and expert, current professor at Yonsei University in Seoul, and a fellow of the Asia Society’s Center for U.S.-China Relations. The book party was moderated by the Australian ambassador to Korea, H.E. William Paterson, a big supporter of the Korea Center. Pierre’s Bar, on the 35th floor of the Lotte Hotel Seoul, was the fitting venue for the event in which a number of dignitaries and members were in attendance.

Ambassador Paterson kicked off the evening by talking about how he was so compelled by Dr. Delury’s talk at last year’s monthly luncheon event that he actually went and purchased the book on the way home that day. H.E Paterson summed up the central thesis of the book by explaining how the wealth and power has been the central guiding purpose of China for more than 2500 years and is still guiding policy today. He also talked about how China looms large for his own country Australia by being its biggest trading partner, largest source of immigrants and tourists, and Australia’s principle strategic focus as it seeks to understand Chinese intentions in the region. 

Dr. Delury took up the next part of the event by explaining how the framework of wealth and power, although developed by the authors, was structured around the readings of Chinese history from key intellectual and political people of the 19th and 20th century, all who kept on using this refrain of wealth and power. Although wealth was historically the more important of the two, power is quickly catching up; economic power over time naturally translates into military power, diplomatic influence, financial influence and structural influence. Although Xi Jinping is enjoying this paradigm shift, Dr. Delury believes that China is not looking for territorial expansion but is more focused on consolidating the territory that is currently held. This pivotal shift from wealth to power under Xi Jinping is interesting to both commentators within China as well as internationally with many asking the question of what the implications are for the future of one of the most powerful countries and economies in the world. 

Following Dr. Delury’s short talk, the floor was opened up for discussion in which a lot of compelling and interesting conversation followed with both dignitaries and journalists engaging with Dr. Delury on a number of issues. The evening was a resounding success and all in attendance left with signed copies of the book that they were able to purchase at a reduced price through being members of the Asia Society Korea Center.