Wednesday September 20, 2017

Although relations between the United States and China during the 20th and 21st centuries have varied from respect and praise to disenchantment and censure, the people of both nations have maintained a high regard for one another. America has great respect for China’s civilization, history, and culture, while China has admired the optimism, growth, and energy of American society.

Allied during the two world wars, the United States and China drifted apart during the Cold War. Since the reestablishment of relations in 1972, disagreements have continued to cause occasional friction. Unfortunately, these disputes have been exacerbated by misunderstandings and misconceptions that stem from different cultural and political histories.

SEEKING TO PROMOTE UNDERSTANDING

In response to these misunderstandings, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation (USCPF) was founded in 1995 to ensure the continued improvement of U.S.-China relations. Although other organizations in the United States strive to further the understanding of China, this is the first public educational organization devoted exclusively to the betterment of U.S.-China policy. The Foundation works closely with scholars, policymakers, and the general public all over the world to achieve a deeper level of communication, understanding, and friendship.

USCPF 2016 PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

Dear Friends,

With another year over, it is a good time to reflect on the work the U.S.-China Policy Foundation has done, as well as the state of U.S.-China relations.

I have followed U.S.-China relations for decades, and have seen it through the Cold War, rapprochement, and the after effects of the Tiananmen Incident. There have been many hurdles the U.S.-China relationship has had to overcome and, during this period, China has grown and changed in fundamental ways that affect how it is now willing to interact with the rest of the world. The United States, too, has undergone changes, specifically in its foreign policy goals and strategies toward China.

We are at the end of a presidential administration and beginning a new one. Over the last eight years, a key Obama foreign policy strategy was the “Pivot to Asia.” The Pivot set the tone for a United States that is more actively involved in the Asia Pacific, one that is fortifying allies and working to ensure continued influence in the region. This move was faced by a China that is stronger than it had been during previous U.S. administrations, a China that was less willing to accept U.S. actions with which they disagreed. Instead, we have a more assertive China that is fostering its own alliances. We are left with a U.S.-China relationship where mistrust is at an all time high and misunderstanding abounds.

With these types of interactions taking center stage, and a new U.S. president taking office, it is easy to overlook the more subtle soft power diplomacy. When other aspects of bilateral relations deteriorate or are uncertain, however, a strong foundation of Track II diplomacy, personal relationships, and mutual understanding is the surest way to maintain communication and dialogue and work to find a way forward together.

As the Trump administration shapes its new China policy and Xi responds, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation will continue its efforts to promote dialogue and improve mutual understanding. If policies shift and there is confusion and uncertainty in the relationship, the work we do will be even more vital. China and the U.S. are both too big and too important to ignore.

In 2016, USCPF continued to work towards its mission of improving U.S.-China mutual understanding. We held panel discussions, took congressional staff delegations to China, released publications, and hosted meetings and dialogues. We will do everything we can to continue our work and keep communication and people-to people exchanges open. We hope you will join us in our efforts.

Looking forward, U.S.-China trade concerns will be one of the key issue areas facing the relationship. American companies are raising concerns about fair trade and access to markets, Chinese companies are increasing their investments in the United States, and American CEOs are meeting with Chinese leadership in hopes of expanding their businesses.

Bilateral business ties are a vital factor in ensuring the continued development of U.S.-China relations. It is important to have both American and Chinese companies support improved mutual understanding and overall bilateral relations. And, of course, we would not be able to continue with our programs and events without the support of our corporate sponsors. We would also like to thank our dedicated Board Members, friends, and individual supporters who continue to make valuable contributions to the success of USCPF.

 

Warmest regards,

Chi Wang, PhD
President and Chair
U.S.-China Policy Foundation