How Should the U.S. Approach China? Policy Recommendations for a New Administration


Report Launch & Press Briefing: Task Force on U.S.-China Policy

NEW YORK, February 8, 2017 — Authors of the new report U.S. Policy Toward China: Recommendations for a New Administration share the key challenges they identified in the U.S.-China relationship, and how President Donald Trump's administration should approach them. The panel includes Orville Schell, Susan Shirk, Winston Lord, Elizabeth Economy, Charlene Barshefsky, and James B. Steinberg. (1 hr., 10 min.)

With a new administration in the White House, maintaining what is perhaps the country’s most crucial bilateral relationship remains a critical issue. Members of a high-level Task Force on U.S.-China Policy, organized by Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations and the University of California San Diego’s 21st Century China Center, will discuss their expert recommendations for the Trump administration.

8:30 am Registration and Breakfast

9:00 am Program



The Task Force comprises a group of 20 prominent China specialists that include former U.S. government officials, scholars, and think tank researchers, many of whom served under both political parties and every U.S. president since the Nixon administration. The goal has been to reflect on how the U.S.-China relationship has evolved and to draft a set of recommendations for the incoming presidential administration on how the United States can best advance U.S. interests given the current political climate. We hope this report can provide the starting point for a public conversation on these vitally important questions.

The report will be published and available on the Asia Society website February 7, 2017.


Charlene Barshefsky is Senior International Partner at WilmerHale. She joined the firm after serving as the U.S. Trade Representative—the chief trade negotiator and principal trade policymaker for the United States—from 1997 to 2001, and acting as deputy USTR from 1993 to 1996. As the USTR and a member of the President's Cabinet, she was responsible for the negotiation of hundreds of complex market access, regulatory and investment agreements with virtually every major country in the world. She is best known internationally as the architect and chief negotiator of China's historic WTO agreement, as well as global agreements in financial services, telecommunications, intellectual property rights, high-technology products and cyberspace.

Elizabeth C. Economy is the C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Economy has published widely on both Chinese domestic and foreign policy. Her most recent book, with Michael Levi, is By All Means Necessary: How China's Resource Quest is Changing the World. She is the author of The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China's Future, which won the 2005 International Convention on Asia Scholars Award for the best social sciences book published on Asia, and was listed as one of the top ten books of 2004 by the Globalist. Dr. Economy received her AM from Stanford University, and her PhD from the University of Michigan.

Winston Lord was U.S. Ambassador to China 1985-89 under President Reagan. He served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs 1993-97 under President Clinton. In the 1970s he was Special Assistant to National Security Advisor Kissinger and then Director of the State Department Policy Planning Staff. During this period he was on every China trip and attended every meeting that Presidents Nixon and Ford and Dr. Kissinger had with Mao, Zhou, and Deng, and was one of two American drafters of the Shanghai Communique. Outside of government his service has included President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Co-Chairman of the International Rescue Committee, and Chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy. 

Orville Schell is the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society. He is a former professor and dean at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Schell is the author of 15 books, ten of them about China, and a contributor to numerous edited volumes, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Nation, and The New York Review of Books. His most recent book is Wealth and Power, China’s Long March to the 21st Century with John Delury (Random House, 2013). Schell worked for the Ford Foundation in Indonesia, covered the war in Indochina as a journalist, and has traveled widely in China since the mid-70s. 

Susan L. Shirk is Chair of the 21st Century China Center and Research Professor at UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. She previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (1997-2000) where she was responsible for US policy toward China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Mongolia. She founded and continues to lead the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue, an unofficial forum for discussions of security issues. Her book China: Fragile Superpower helped frame the policy debate on China policy in the US and other countries. Her most recent book Changing Media, Changing China was published in 2010 by Oxford University Press.

James B. Steinberg is University Professor of social science, international affairs, and law; and former dean of the Maxwell School at Syracuse University from July 2011 until June 2016. Prior to that, he served as Deputy Secretary of State, serving as the principal Deputy to Secretary Clinton. From 2005-2008 Steinberg was dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. From 2001 to 2005, he was vice president and director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he supervised a wide-ranging research program on US foreign policy. Steinberg’s most recent book is Strategic Reassurance and Resolve: US-China Relations in the 21st Century with Michael O’Hanlon (Princeton University Press, 2014).



Charlene Barshefksy, Senior International Partner at WilmerHale

Kurt M. Campbell, Chairman and CEO of The Asia Group, LLC

Thomas J. Christensen, William P. Boswell Professor of World Politics of Peace and War and Director of the China and World program at Princeton University

Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations

Karl Eikenberry, Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow and Director of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative at Stanford University’s Asia-Pacific Research Center

M. Taylor Fravel, Associate Professor of Political Science and Member of the Security Studies program at MIT

Melanie Hart, Senior Fellow and Director of China Policy at Center for American Progress

Winston Lord, Former U.S. Ambassador to China and Former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs

Evan S. Medeiros, Managing Director, Asia at Eurasia Group and Former Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council

Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University

Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society

David Shambaugh, Professor of Political Science & International Affairs and Director of the China Policy Program at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University

Susan L. Shirk, Chair of the 21st Century China Center and Research Professor at UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy

James B. Steinberg, University Professor of Social Science, International Affairs, and Law and former Dean of the Maxwell School at Syracuse University

Task Force co-authors endorse the overall findings of the report, with individual dissents included at the end of the report. They participate in their individual, not institutional, capacities.






This project was made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, with additional support from The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, Henry Luce Foundation, Janet and Arthur Ross Foundation, and Harold and Ruth Newman.


Event Details

Wed 08 Feb 2017
8:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Asia Society 725 Park Ave. New York, NY, 10021

Buy Tickets
$10 for members, $8 for students/seniors, $12 for non-members
Add to Calendar 20170208T133000 20170208T153000 UTC Asia Society: How Should the U.S. Approach China? Policy Recommendations for a New Administration Asia Society 725 Park Ave. New York, NY, 10021
If you bought tickets, tell your friends on Facebook!