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Dr. Wu Shicun Attended the Annual Meeting of the Institute for China-America Studies

2020-12-05 22:03:53       source:NISCSS

The Institute for China-America Studies (ICAS) 2020 Annual Conference was held on Thursday, 3 December 2020. The event was hosted by ICAS and co-sponsored by the National Institute for South China Sea Studies (NISCSS), China Institute of the University of Alberta and Carter Center.


The one-day event comprised of a keynote bilateral dialogue and two sessions dedicated to debating the outlook on U.S.-China engagement and strategic rivalry following the U.S. presidential election. It was available to the public through Virtual access.

Dr. Wu Shicun, President of NISCSS, delivered opening remarks. The Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai and Dr. Graham Allison of Harvard University attended as Keynote Dialogue speakers. Keynote dialogue was moderated by Stephen Orlins, President of the National Committee on United States–China Relations. Over 20 eminent scholars from both China and U.S. join the discussion in the following sessions.


In his speech, Dr. Wu pointed out that return to the normal track of dialogue and cooperation is the only option for China and the United States to maximize their interests, which also serves the interests of all the other countries in the world. China and the United States have more shared interests than differences in global economic recovery, fight against Covid-19, global governance, climate change and regional security challenges. This means huge potential and space for cooperation between the two countries on bilateral, regional and global issues. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1979, China and the U.S. have experienced quite a few crises. However, as long as the two sides could rebuild mutual trust and build a bilateral relationship based on dialogue, cooperation, and mutual benefit, China and the United States, more often than not, have seized new opportunities for development after a major crisis. Although the U.S.-China relationship “cannot go back to the past”, the two countries can work together to create a more bright future.


Ambassador Cui Tiankai pointed out that 2020 is an unusual year. Global governance needs sound and stable relationship between China and the U.S. to remain effective under the pandemic and economy challenges. China and the U.S. stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the only right choice for both countries. Reflection leads to shared vision to keep the relation on a constructive track. Sufficient mutual respect and mutual understanding enables management of the relationship. The first and foremost thing we have to do to be on the right side of history is to reject the outdated mindset. The zero-sum game is anachronistic. Attempts to incite distrust and even hatred among different nations and civilizations are extremely irresponsible. Instead, we should, based on a clear understanding of the new realities of today's world, join hands to build a new type of international relations and a community of mankind for a shared future.


Mr. Graham Allison stated that the U.S. and China are locked in a classic Thucydides rivalry and if it is allowed to develop, it will bring disastrous consequences. What matters is how we decide to play with this reality. Confrontation between great powers is not inevitable as long as China can constrain its pulse to assertively “displace” the U.S. as it grows into its position as what would be the largest economy in the world. On the other hand, if the U.S. cannot be wise enough to cope with and coexist with a rising China, this would also turn out tragically. Both countries need to work together to seek for a way to cooperate but to compete at the same time.