Security and US-China Relations: Differences, Dangers, and Dilemmas

CSCC 7th Annual Conference
May 2, 2019 - May 3, 2019 | Silverman Hall 240B, Penn Law School

Conference Papers Download Link

Following the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1979, US-China ties have been characterized by a mix of cooperation, competition, and conflict. During this period, most scholars, analysts, and policymakers have focused on the possibilities for, or the limits to, cooperation rather than the prospects for conflict. But in the past several years as an increasingly prosperous and powerful China has embraced a more ambitious international role, and as the United States has increasingly questioned the compatibility of Chinese and American interests, assessments of the relationship have taken a turn. In this context, the center of gravity of scholarly assessments and policy debate in both countries has shifted. The shift suggests the possibility that the bilateral relationship may be at a turning point after which China and the United States will view each other primarily as adversaries posing threats that each is determined to address. Our conference will examine that possibility. Is a fundamental change in the character of US-China relations underway? If so, why? If not, what explains the ominous tone of current assessments? To address such questions, the conference will combine insights from relevant theoretical literatures in international relations with an examination of concerns manifest across a set of issues where the two countries’ security interests are clearly engaged. The conference will include ten papers on “Security and US-China Relations” that address the topics listed on the agenda.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Morning Session 9:00-12:15

Welcome and introduction 9:00-9:15

Avery Goldstein (University of Pennsylvania)

Theoretical Foundations and Perspectives

Panel 1  (9:15-10:15)

1. Charles GLASER (George Washington University)

Discussant: Caitlin Talmadge (Georgetown)

Discussant: Michael Mastanduno (Dartmouth)

Discussant: David Kang (USC)

Coffee Break (10:15-10:30)

Panel 2 (10:30-12:00)

2. Jessica Chen WEISS (Cornell University)

Discussant: Keren Yarhi-Milo (Princeton)

Discussant: Todd Hall (Oxford)

3. Iain JOHNSTON (Harvard University)

Discussant: Keren Yarhi-Milo (Princeton)

Discussant: Todd Hall (Oxford)

Keynote speakers: (12:45-1:45)


Special Advisor on China and Asia at the U.S. Department of State. Until recently, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State, responsible for policy related to China, Mongolia, and Taiwan. Ms. Stone has served three tours in Beijing as well as tours in Bangkok, the Public Affairs Bureau, the Pentagon Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.


Special Envoy for North Korean Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. He served twice in Beijing, most recently as Chief of the Political Unit that managed U.S. political military affairs with China, supported the Six Party Talks aimed at North Korea denuclearization, and monitored China’s relations with Japan, the DPRK, and South Korea

Afternoon Session 1:45-5:00

Case Studies

Panel 3 (1:45-3:15)

4. Korean Peninsula: Victor CHA (Georgetown University)

Discussant: David Kang (USC)

Discussant: Sheena Greitens (University of Missouri)

5. Japan: Michael GREEN (Georgetown University)

Discussant Michael Mastanduno (Dartmouth)

Discussant: Fred Dickinson (Penn)

Coffee Break (3:15-3:30)

Panel 4 (3:30-5:00)

6. Taiwan Strait: Scott KASTNER (University of Maryland)

Discussant Ryan Hass (Brookings)

Discussant: Sheena Greitens (University of Missouri) 

7. South China Sea: Taylor FRAVEL & Kacie MIURA (MIT)

Discussant: Oriana Mastro (Georgetown)

Discussant Ryan Hass (Brookings)


Friday, May 3, 2019

Morning Session 9:00-12:15

Panel 5 (9:00-10:45)

8.   Military Modernization: Phillip SAUNDERS (National Defense University)

Discussant: Oriana Mastro (Georgetown)

Discussant: Caitlin Talmadge(Georgetown)

9. Technology transfer/innovation:

Elsa KANIA (Harvard University) & Adam SEGAL (Council on Foreign Relations)

Discussant: Graham Webster (New America)

Discussant: Michael Horowitz (Penn)

Discussant: Daniel Drezner (Tufts)

Coffee Break (10:45-11:00)

Panel 6 (11:00-11:45)

10. Belt and Road Initiative: James REILLY (University of Sydney)

Discussant: Graham Webster (New America)

Discussant: Daniel Drezner (Tufts)

Publication Planning (paper authors and discussants only)


Click here to download the conference agenda.