Dealing with the Dragon: China as a Transatlantic Challenge
A Joint Project of the Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations, the Bertelsmann Stiftung, and George Washington University’s China Policy Program
The world is confronting unique changes in relations among the United States, Europe, and China, which have now been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time as transatlantic relations have grown increasingly tense, China’s party-state has become considerably more assertive in a number of domains, including an aggressive “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy, mercantilist trade behavior, and intensifying domestic social repression. These trends have significantly altered American and European perceptions of and interactions with China. What do these changes mean for the transatlantic relationship? How can governments, experts, and civil society members on both sides of the Atlantic forge a closer consensus on the challenges posed by China?
The Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations, the Bertelsmann Stiftung, and the George Washington University China Policy Program are jointly launching a new report on the changing U.S. and European views of, and relations with, China. The report “Dealing with the Dragon: China as a Transatlantic Challenge” is the outgrowth of a symposium that brought together 43 of America’s and Europe’s top China experts to identify areas of common interest and divergence across the Atlantic. These findings were divided into the following seven sections.: 1) Trade & Investment Concerns 2) The China Technology Challenge 3) Connectivity: Dealing with the Belt & Road 4) Human Rights in China 5) China’s Influence Activities 6) China and Global Governance 7) Challenges in the Security Arena
The report identifies several overarching trends underway both in the United States and Europe.:
- Despite growing transatlantic tensions, U.S. and European views on China—both its behavior and policy responses—overwhelmingly converge. American and European relations with China share much more in common than they diverge over.
- China’s party-state that the United States and Europe now face is a very different one than the one that both sought to work with in partnership over the past four decades. China has been increasingly assertive in a number of domains, including, but not limited to, an aggressive “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy, mercantilist trade behavior, and intensifying domestic social repression.
- While respective U.S. and European interests and perspectives on China continue to substantially overlap, the Trump administration’s (and President Trump’s own) behavior towards European allies and partners has substantially eroded transatlantic trust. Europeans are concerned about a lack of predictability and stability on the part of the United States under Trump and increasingly feel “on their own” when facing China and other international challenges. Shared concerns about China could be a catalyst for repairing transatlantic ties.
- “Engagement” can no longer be the sole paradigm for framing policies toward China. Americans now routinely call China a “strategic competitor” and the EU has officially designated China as simultaneously a partner, competitor, and “systemic rival.” For both U.S. and European policymakers, the balance between cooperation and competition has shifted starkly in favor of the latter.
The report finds that there is an urgent need to strengthen exchanges on China between Europe and the United States. Transatlantic dialogues on China should be regularized - not only at the “Track 2” level among academic and think tank experts and “Track 1.5” (mixed official/unofficial), but also better institutionalizing Track 1 governmental interactions.
The report was released on June 29, 2020.
Download the Report:
To learn more about our June 29, 2020 launch event go here.
The Symposium Participants:
Craig Allen, President, U.S.-China Business Council
Kurt M. Campbell, Chairman & CEO, The Asia Group
Stephen J. Del Rosso, Program Director, Peace & Security Program, Carnegie Corporation of New York
Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
M. Taylor Fravel, Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science & Director of the Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Paul Gewirtz, Potter Stuart Professor of Constitutional Law and Director of the Paul Tsai China Center, Yale University School of Law
Melanie Hart, Senior Fellow & Director for China Policy, Center for American Progress
Michael Laha, Program Officer, Center on U.S.-China Relations, Asia Society
Anja Manuel, Partner, RiceHadleyGates LLC & Director of the Aspen Strategy Forum
Evan S. Medeiros, Penner Family Chair in Asian Studies & Cling Family Distinguished Fellow in U.S.-China Relations, Georgetown University
Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director, Center on U.S.-China Relations, Asia Society
David Shambaugh, Director, China Policy Program, and Gaston Sigur Professor of Asian Studies, Political Science & International Affairs, George Washington University
Bruce Stokes, Executive Director, Transatlantic Task Force, German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the United States
Franco Algieri, Associate Professor and Head, International Relations Department, Webster Vienna Private University
Noah Barkin, Senior Visiting Fellow, Asia Program, German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF)
Bernhard Bartsch, Senior Expert China & Asia Pacific, Bertelsmann Stiftung
Reinhard Bütikofer, Member of the European Parliament (Greens/EFA)
Mathieu Duchâtel, Director, Asia Program, Institut Montaigne
Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford & Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution
François Godement, Senior Advisor for Asia, Institut Montaigne
Martin Hála, Lecturer, Department of Sinology, Charles University & Director of Sinopsis
Benjamin Hartmann, Legal and Policy Officer, I.D.E.A., European Commission
Sebastian Heilmann, Professor Government and Political Economy of China, University of Trier
Mikko Huotari, Director, Mercator Institute of China Studies (MERICS)
Ivana Karásková, China Research Fellow, Association of International Affairs (Prague), Founding Director of MapInfluenCE, Founder and Head of China Observers in Central and Eastern Europe, CHOICE
Katrin Kinzelbach, Professor International Politics of Human Rights, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)
Agatha Kratz, Associate Director, Rhodium Group (European Office)
Anika Laudien, Project Manager, Germany & Asia Program, Bertelsmann Stiftung
Franziska Luettge, Program Coordinator, Asia Program, German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF)
Rana Mitter, Professor of the History of Modern China & Director of the China Center, University of Oxford
Janka Oertel, Director, Asia Program, European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
Malin Oud, Director (Stockholm office), Raoul Wallenberg Institute
Ana Palacio, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain
Charles Parton, Senior Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)
Angela Stanzel, Research Associate, Asia Division, German Institute for International & Security Affairs (SWP)
Volker Stanzel, Fellow, German Institute for International & Security Affairs (SWP) and former German Ambassador to China and Japan
Sabine Stricker-Kellerer, Senior Partner, SSK Law
Ágnes Szunomár, Head, Research Group on Development Economics, Institute of World Economics & Associate Professor, Corvinus University, Hungary
Didi Kirsten Tatlow, Senior Fellow & Asia Program Director, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
Plamen Tonchev, Head of Asia Unit, Institute of International Economic Relations, Greece
Stephan Vopel, Director, Bertelsmann Stiftung
Jörg Wuttke, Vice President and Chief Representative, BASF China, President of European Chamber of Commerce in China
This transatlantic symposium is affiliated with the Task Force on U.S.-China Policy. The Task Force is a project of Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations and the University of California San Diego’s 21st Century China Center.