Contemporary US-China Relations: Trump and the Assertive Middle Kingdom
Henning Glaser, Director, German-Southeast Asian Center of Excellence for Public Policy and Good Governance (CPG), Faculty of Law, Thammasat University
Prof. Klaus Larres, Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Trump and China”
Jan Kliem, German-Southeast Asian Center of Excellence for Public Policy and good Governance (CPG), Faculty of Law, Thammasat University
“The US and a Growingly Assertive Middle Kingdom”
On October 24, 2017 CPG organised an international seminar on “Contemporary US-China Relations: Trump and the Assertive Middle Kingdom”. As speakers, CPG was pleased to welcome Richard M. Krasno Distinguished Professor at University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill, Prof. Klaus W. Larres, and CPG Program Officer Jan Kliem. Prof. Larres gave a detailed presentation on US President Donald Trump’s relationship with China and embedded his remarks in the underlying geopolitical as well as historical realities that inform both Chinese and US foreign policy today. Crucially, he argued against the likelihood of the “Thucydides-Trap”, which suggests near-inevitability of conflict between an established and a rising power. After thoroughly exploring the cornerstones of the relation between President Trump and China, he went on to also share some insights on the relationship between Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and China. Jan Kliem in his presentation explored some possible motivations behind China’s increasingly assertive posture in International Relations with a particular focus on Chinese island-building efforts in the South China Sea. He then elaborated on factors dominating the US foreign policy discourse and explained both more and less hawkish approaches that are discussed regularly. Jan offered some insights into aspects of the discourse that are less discussed, such as the practicality of UNCLOS in the South China Sea or some historic comparisons with the US foreign policy of the 19th century which feature little in most of the discourse. Both presentation were followed by engaging discussions with the audience, reflecting both the interest in and relevance of the event.