“China has become more wealthy. And like all big continental powers that get wealthy, it has also grown its military, and it wants to shape its environment to suit its
“China has become more wealthy. And like all big continental powers that get wealthy, it has also grown its military, and it wants to shape its environment to suit its needs.” – Director Robert Daly of the Kissinger Institute on China and the U.S. discussing the U.S./China relationship on NPR just before the Trump Administration took office.
To examine the growing global issue that is China, the Council has engaged Robert Daly for a timely autumn program – he’ll be speaking as key government changes made in the National Congress of the Communist Party of China become apparent. Daley has a reputation for spot-on knowledge and understanding of the Peoples’ Republic and its motivations.
The Economist reported earlier this year that Chinese Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping had been “busy arranging a huge reshuffle” of the Politburo.
Some of the sensitive American involvement with China is decades old, i.e., the concept of “One China” that keeps some people on edge about the fate of Taiwan.
Other American concerns are relatively new, i.e., China creating islands in the South China Sea and the resulting Chinese territorial claim that has been described as “all of the South China Sea, all of the western Pacific.”
Last year, the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague declared that China had no territorial standing because of man-made islands. China rejected the court’s opinion.
In June, 2017, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative in Washington said these islands in the South China Sea are becoming military facilities. The AMTI even has satellite photographs in the “Island Tracker” feature on its website.
In his NPR interview Daley said that China is behaving as if the islands are “territory,” creating a “challenge to international law which the United States has had a major role in upholding since World War II.”
It is this world of island-building, military implications, economic uncertainty, U.S./China trade issues and political change in China — combined with political change in the United States — that inspired the Council to invite Director Daley to illuminate what’s at stake and how it may be playing out.
Daly has been described as “one of the most articulate and concise interpreters of modern China to the western world.” He’s been director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the U.S. at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars since 2013.
Prior to taking his Kissinger position, Daly was at the Maryland China Initiative at the University of Maryland and the American Director of the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing.
His wide-ranging career includes government service in several China-related assignments. His biography notes that he “began work in U.S.-China relations as a diplomat, serving as Cultural Exchanges Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in the late 80s and early 90s. After leaving the Foreign Service, he taught Chinese at Cornell University, worked on television and theater projects in China as a host, actor, and writer, and helped produce Chinese-language versions of Sesame Street and other Children’s Television Workshop program.”
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