LIVE – Oxford Debate: Should Europe Side with the U.S. on China?VIEW EVENT DETAILS
With Noah Barkin, Simona Grano, Philippe Le Corre, and Marina Rudyak
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As relations between China and the U.S. continue to deteriorate, the debate over Europe's positioning in the conflict has intensified. In a 2019 European Union strategy paper, China was labeled a "partner, economic competitor, and systemic rival" – a significant departure from a decades-long approach that prioritized closer trade and investment ties. In the spring of 2023, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for a "de-risking" (though not a decoupling) from China. Some European leaders, however, continue to shy away from an approach that would reduce economic and technological engagement between Europe and China. French President Emmanuel Macron, for example, has warned against blindly following Washington down a path of economic containment or isolation of China.
Is it crucial for Europe to develop "strategic autonomy" and carve out its own path amid intensifying great power competition? Or should Europe prioritize the transatlantic alliance and its political, economic, and cultural ties, siding with the U.S. on China? And what will the ramifications of such a decision be for European countries, including Switzerland?
Join us for a crucial Oxford Debate on these pressing questions facing Europe as we discuss the motion "Europe should side with the U.S. on China". For the first time, we will bring together four European China experts to debate in-person: Noah Barkin (Berlin), Philippe Le Corre (Paris), Simona Grano (Zurich), and Marina Rudyak (Heidelberg).
About Oxford Debates
The Oxford Debates at Asia Society Switzerland are a format to address ‘big’ questions that have no one answer or solution but invite many conflicting views. Four renowned experts in the field form teams of two, one team arguing for the motion, the other against it.
The Oxford-style format is broken down into four sections: opening remarks, rebuttals, a moderated question-and-answer session, and closing remarks. Before and after the debate the audience is polled whether they agree with the motion or not. The voting breakdown is not shared publicly until the end of the debate. The greater percentage change between the first and second votes determines the debate’s winning team.
Disclaimer: Positions presented in the debate do not necessarily represent the speakers’ views
Motion: Europe should side with the U.S. on China
Arguing for the motion:
Noah Barkin is a Senior Advisor in Rhodium Group’s China practice, based in Berlin, where he focuses on Europe-China relations and transatlantic China policy. He is also a Visiting Senior Fellow in the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and creator of the popular "Watching China in Europe" newsletter. Previously he worked as a bureau chief, regional editor and Europe correspondent for Reuters, based in Berlin, Paris, London and New York. He has also written for The Atlantic, The New York Times, Foreign Policy and Politico, and been quoted in publications including The Economist, Financial Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Noah is a regular speaker and moderator on European foreign policy issues and the author of a book on the euro. He has been a visiting fellow at the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin and the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies in Washington. A native Californian, he has a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and French from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master's degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.
Simona Grano is Senior Lecturer at the University of Zurich and Director of the Taiwan Studies Project at the same institution. She completed her Ph.D. in Chinese Studies at Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy in 2008. Since then she has held research positions and taught China Studies and Taiwan Studies at her alma mater, at the University of Zurich in Switzerland and at National Cheng'chi University in Taiwan. She is a research fellow of the European Research Center on Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT), in Tübingen, Germany and a research associate of SOAS, London.
Simona is the author of Environmental Governance in Taiwan: a new generation of activists and stakeholders, published in 2015 by Routledge. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Civil Society, Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, China Information, Asiatische Studien, Taiwan in Comparative Perspective, Orizzonte Cina. Her latest edited volume: China-US Competition: Impact on Small and Middle Powers' Strategic Choices, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in December 2022.
Arguing against the motion:
Philippe Le Corre is Senior Fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute’s Center for China Analysis and a Senior Advisor on Geopolitics to Asia Society France. He is also a Visiting Professor at ESSEC Business School and a Lecturer at the French Military Academy of Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan, also affiliated with the French Institute for East Asia (IFRAE-Inalco). Since 2017, he has been a Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, focusing on China-Europe relations, Chinese overseas investment and transatlantic relations. He is a former Fellow with The Brookings Institution and The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Philippe previously served as Special Advisor to the French Defense Minister and has also worked as a journalist in East Asia for many years. He is the author of several books including China’s Offensive in Europe (Brookings Press, 2016), Quand la Chine va au marché and Après Hong Kong. He is a contributor to The China Questions 2 (Harvard University Press, 2022) and to various other edited volumes.
Marina Rudyak is an assistant professor at the Institute of Chinese Studies at Heidelberg University and currently an interim professor for Chinese Society and Economy at the University of Göttingen. Her research focuses on China's international development cooperation, China’s relations with Russia and Central Asia, and the international discourse system of the Chinese Communist Party. Previously, she was a programme manager for the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Beijing and Bishkek. She is a co-founder of the Decoding China Dictionary (www.decodingchina.eu), which analyses how key terms of international cooperation are understood differently in the Western and the official Chinese discourse. She studied Chinese Studies and Law in Heidelberg and Shanghai and received her Dr. Phil. on China's foreign aid from Heidelberg University.
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