On December 15th, the US-China Education Trust and Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA) jointly held an online dialogue titled “The Future of US-China Relations from Differing Perspectives.” Wang Chao, President of CPIFA and former Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, made opening remarks followed by Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch, Founding President of USCET.
This productive dialogue took place as we reach a historic low point in US-China relations and highlighted how deeply both sides value the US-China bilateral relationship, yet can be prone to misunderstanding or speaking past one another. Dr. Robert A. Kapp, Special Advisor for USCET and former President of the US-China Business Council, moderated the open discussion portion of the program. Although limited by time, the open discussion allowed for an honest and unfiltered conversation between the two delegations, where they were able to ask questions and comment on each sides’ prepared remarks without reservation.
The American delegation included Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA), co-chair of the House of Representatives China Working Group, Susan Thornton, former Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State, and Jennifer Hillman, former Vice Chair of the International Trade Commission.
The Chinese delegation comprised Li Junru, former Vice President of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party School, Major General (ret.) Gong Xianfu, Vice President of the Institute of China International Strategy Studies, Dr. Chen Dongxiao, President of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, and Dr. Zhang Bin, Deputy Director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).
Julia Chang Bloch
Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch is the founder and president of the US-China Education Trust. She is the first Asian American Ambassador in U.S. history. Ambassador Bloch has had an extensive career in international affairs and government service, beginning in 1964 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sabah, Malaysia and culminating as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Nepal in 1989. Beginning in 1998, she shifted her focus to China, first becoming Visiting Professor at the Institute for International Relations and Executive Vice Chairman of the American Studies Center at Peking University, and subsequently affiliating with Fudan University in Shanghai, as well as the University of Maryland as Ambassador-in-Residence at the Institute for Global Chinese Affairs. A native of China who came to the U.S. at age nine, Ambassador Bloch grew up in San Francisco.
Jennifer A. Hillman
Jennifer A. Hillman is currently a professor of practice at the Georgetown University Law Center, teaching the lead courses in international business and international trade. She is also a senior fellow for trade and international political economy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), specializing in U.S. trade policy, the law and politics of the World Trade Organization (WTO), international organizations, and Brexit. Hillman has had a distinguished career in public service, both nationally and internationally. From 2007 to 2011, she served as one of seven judges on the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body. Prior to that, she served for nine years as a commissioner at the United States International Trade Commission (USITC).
Dr. Robert A. Kapp
Dr. Robert A. Kapp is president of Robert A. Kapp & Associates, Inc and former President of the US-China Business Council. Dr. Kapp is Special Advisor, Planning and Publication for the US-China Education Trust. Since 1977, he has been invited to visit mainland China frequently and has long been committed to promoting U.S.-China trade. Previously, he headed the Washington State China Relations Council and the Washington Council on International Trade, and served as president of the US-China Business Council for ten years, from 1994 to 2004.
Congressman Rick Larsen
Congressman Rick Larsen is the Representative for Washington state’s 2nd Congressional District and a member of the Democratic Party. Larsen is the co-chair of the bipartisan U.S.-China Working Group, which he co-founded in 2005 to educate Members of Congress about China and promote U.S.-China relations. The Working Group has led several trips to China for Members and also meets with Chinese officials visiting the United States. He also serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Armed Services Committee.
Susan A. Thornton
Susan A. Thornton is a retired career diplomat with almost 30 years of experience with the U.S. State Department in Eurasia and East Asia. She is currently a senior fellow and research scholar at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale University Law School and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution John L. Thornton China Center. From December 2017 until July 2018, Thornton was Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State. In previous State Department roles, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, where she was responsible for U.S. policy related to China, Mongolia, and Taiwan. She also served in leadership positions at U.S. embassies in Central Asia, Russia, the Caucasus, and China. She speaks Chinese and Russian.
Dr. Chen Dongxiao
Dr. Chen Dongxiao is the President of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS). He specializes in the studies of United Nations, China’s foreign policy, and US-China relations. He has led numerous research projects commissioned by China National Foundation of Social Sciences Studies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, and the Taiwan Affairs Office of State Council. Dr. Chen has published extensively on the UN reform and China’s multilateral diplomacy. He is the chief editor of China Quarterly of International Strategic Studies (CQISS), a flagship English journal on China’s diplomacy published by SIIS and World Scientific Publishing House (Singapore). He is also an adjunct professor at the Shanghai International Studies University and Vice Chair of China National Association of International Relations. Dr. Chen received his Ph.D. from Fudan University.
Gong Xianfu is Vice President of Institute of International Strategic Studies. He joined the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 1960 and served as an interpreter for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and for the Defense Attaché’s Office of the Chinese Embassy in France. He was a staff officer at the MND, deputy defense attaché of the Chinese Embassy in Iran, deputy chief of staff of an army division, deputy chief of division at the MND and the military, naval and air attaché of the Chinese Embassy in Iran. He also served as deputy director and director of bureau at the MND and the defense attaché of the Chinese Embassy in the United States. He Studied at the National Defense University (NDU) of the PLA and was promoted to Major General in 1996. In 2001, he retired and joined China Institute for International Strategic Studies (CIISS) as Vice Chairman. Since then, he has been engaged in research on international strategic issues, the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and major power relations, especially Sino-US relations.
Li Junru is Vice President of China Society for Human Rights Studies and former Vice President of the Central Party School of the Chinese Communist Party. Previously, Mr. Li was also Associate President of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), Director of the SASS Research Center of Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, Deputy Director of the Theoretical Studies Bureau of the CCCPC Publicity Department, and Deputy Director General of the CCCPC Party History Research Office. Having devoted himself to the study of the Sinicization of Marxism for years, Li Junru has written hundreds of dissertations and dozens of books.
Wang Chao is President of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA). He has previously served as Director-General of the Department of American and Oceanian Affairs at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), Director-General of the Department of International Trade and Economics at MOFCOM, and mayor of Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China’s Yunnan Province. In 2013, Wang became Vice Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in charge of European affairs, translation, archives and Party affairs until his recent appointment to CPIFA in 2019.
Zhang Bin is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.