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 2015 PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
As we look ahead to 2016, I am reminded of how important the work the U.S.-China Foundation does truly is. China is expanding its global influence and increasing its role on the international stage. The U.S. and China have been working together on certain key issues such as the environment while simultaneously facing increased pressure in other areas. Notable examples include concerns over cyber security and increased conflict and disagreements in the South China Sea region. In addition to these strategic considerations, economic transactions and interdependence between the countries are only growing, as are cultural and educational exchanges. The U.S. is also getting ready for a presidential election, the outcome of which will shape future policy toward the Asia Pacific. The U.S.-China relationship is not one we can afford to ignore, and it is my hope the U.S.-China Policy Foundation can, in some small way, improve mutual understanding between these countries and help pave the way for constructive dialogue and exchange.
The U.S.-China Policy Foundation is pleased to have celebrated our milestone 20th Anniversary this past year. The events, programs, and other accomplishments in 2015 serve as examples of the work we have done over the past two decades striving toward our goal of improving U.S.-China ties and mutual understanding.
To celebrate this special anniversary, we held our annual gala dinner on November 18. During the dinner, we honored Secretary Elaine L. Chao and the Chao family for their outstanding achievement in philanthropy andAdmiral William J. Fallon for his outstanding achievement in improving U.S.-China military relations. They both shared remarks, as did Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA), who is the co-chair of the bipartisan U.S.-China Working Group. The gala co-chairs for the evening were Ambassador James Sasser and Ambassador Richard Solomon. More information about the gala dinner, including photos and video footage, can be found here.
Earlier this year, USCPF also helped welcome President Xi Jinping to the U.S. as an in-cooperation organization at the banquet and reception for him in Seattle. Following President Xi’s September visit, we hosted a panel discussion titled “President Xi in the U.S.: Takeaways from Xi Jinping’s Recent Visit.” The speakers discussed various aspects of Xi Jinping’s visit as well as the overall relationship between the U.S. and China.
USCPF holds panel discussions and events on issues relevant to U.S.-China relations. In addition to the panel following Xi Jinping’s visit, we hosted a discussion titled “Tigers and Flies: Xi Jinping’s Anti-Corruption Campaign,” exchanged views on U.S.-China military relations with a visiting delegation from The Chinese Institute for International Strategic Studies (CIISS), met with members of the All-China Youth Federation who were participating in a program organized by Yale University, and continued to film episodes of our weekly television program, China Forum. These dialogues help create a wider understanding around important issues and encourage open discussion and exchange of viewpoints.
Another way USCPF encourages dialogue and fosters mutual understanding is through the yearly Congressional staff delegations we take to China. This year we led two delegations to China. Our Spring trip to Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai highlighted China’s history, commerce, and development. The August delegation to Beijing, Shenyang, and Dalian included visits to several WWII related historical sites and museums.
Images and stories are excellent ways to convey the history of U.S.-China relations, which is an important element of understanding China today. With this in mind, USCPF presented a photo exhibit titled “The U.S.-China WWII Alliance,” displaying images commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII and remembering the U.S.-China wartime alliance. Ambassador Chas Freeman and Lt. Gen. John Fairfield shared thoughts on the importance of this cooperation. We also held a photo exhibit sharing photos highlighting President Xi’s past engagement with the U.S. ahead of his September visit to the U.S.
This year some of my personal Chinese art collection was displayed in an art exhibit titled “Ageless Chinese Art: A Virginia Scholar’s Collection of Chinese Calligraphy and Paintings” that was held at George Mason University. I also published my most recent book, “Obama’s Challenge to China: The Pivot to Asia” and participated in a book discussion at Johns Hopkins SAIS.
The work of the U.S.-China Policy Foundation is very close to my heart. I am proud of our accomplishments and thankful for the dedication and passion of our Board Members and staff. Our work would not be possible without their efforts or the generous support of our sponsors. As a non-profit organization, the donations we receive are essential to our ability to organize programs and plan events. If you are interested in helping the U.S.-China Policy Foundation in any way, whether it is by lending your expertise to one of our discussions or by donating money, please let us know. Any level of contribution is greatly appreciated.
I wish you all the best for the holiday season and for a prosperous new year.
Chi Wang, PhD
President and Chair
U.S.-China Policy Foundation