Indian flag with text overlay of series name

09/09/2020: Envisioning India: Fiscal Dominance

Indian flag with text overlay of series name

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM EDT

Webex

This is the first forum in the “Envisioning India” Series organized by IIEP Director James Foster and Distinguished Visiting Scholar Ajay Chhibber. The series is co-sponsored by the Institute for International Economic Policy. The first talk in the Envisioning India Series is “Fiscal Dominance: A Theory of Everything in India” and will feature Viral V. Acharya of NYU-Stern.

Financial stability is perhaps the most important prerequisite for stable growth. It is surprisingly also the most compromised one. Encouraging cheap credit and rapid balance-sheet growth in the financial sector is a temptation that many governments find hard to resist to register well on the short-run growth scorecard. Post-1991 reforms, India undertook an upward and onward march in economic progress for close to two decades. Since then, the lack of financial stability has emerged as its Achilles’ heel. The reasons for this are many, but a first and foremost contributor has been the increasing dominance of banking and financial sector regulation by the unyielding deficit situation of the consolidated government balance sheet. Reining in this fiscal dominance requires not just a strengthening of the institutional framework of financial sector regulation, but also the right balance between the role played by the government, the central bank, the markets, and the private sector in the economy.

About the Speaker:
Viral V. Acharya is the C.V. Starr Professor of Economics in the Department of Finance at New York University Stern School of Business (NYU-Stern) and an Academic Advisor to the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Philadelphia. Viral was a Deputy Governor at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from 23rd January 2017 to 23rd July 2019 and in charge of Monetary Policy, Financial Markets, Financial Stability, and Research. His speeches while at the RBI were released at the end of July 2020 as Quest for Restoring Financial Stability in India (SAGE Publications India), with a new introductory chapter “Fiscal Dominance: A Theory of Everything in India.” Viral completed a Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai in 1995, and Ph.D. in Finance from NYU-Stern in 2001. Prior to joining Stern, he was at London Business School (2001-2008), the Academic Director of the Coller Institute of Private Equity at LBS (2007-09), and a Senior Houblon-Normal Research Fellow at the Bank of England (Summer 2008). Viral’s primary research interest is in theoretical and empirical analysis of systemic risk of the financial sector, its regulation, and its genesis in government-induced distortions, an inquiry that cuts across several other strands of research – credit risk and liquidity risk, their interactions, and agency-theoretic foundations, as well as their general equilibrium consequences. He has published articles in the American Economic Review, Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, Review of Finance, Journal of Business, Journal of Financial Intermediation, Rand Journal of Economics, Journal of Monetary Economics, Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, and Financial Analysts Journal. He is currently associate editor of the Review of Corporate Finance Studies (2011-) and Review of Finance (2006-), and was an editor of the Journal of Financial Intermediation (2009-12) and associate editor of the Journal of Finance (2011-14).

About the Discussants:
Liaquat Ahamed is the author of the critically acclaimed best-seller, Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World, about central bankers during the Great Depression of 1929-1932. The book won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for History, the 2010 Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Gold Medal, and the 2009 Financial Times-Goldman Sachs Best Business Book of the Year Award. Ahamed was a professional investment manager for twenty-five years. He has worked at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., and the New York-based partnership of Fischer Francis Trees and Watts, where he served as chief executive. He is currently a director of the Putnam Funds. He is on the board of trustees of the Journal of Philosophy, the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference, and a former trustee of the Brookings Institution and the New America Foundation. He has degrees in economics from Harvard and Cambridge.

Rakesh Mohan is one of India’s senior-most economic policymakers and an expert on central banking, monetary policy, infrastructure, and urban affairs. Most recently he was executive director at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., representing India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, and chairman of India’s National Transport Development Policy Committee, in the rank of a Minister of State. He is also a former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India. As deputy governor, he was in charge of monetary policy, financial markets, economic research, and statistics. In addition to serving in various posts for the Indian government, including representing India in a variety of international forums, such as Basel and G20, Mohan has worked for the World Bank and headed prestigious research institutes. He is also Senior Advisor to the McKinsey Global Institute and Distinguished Fellow of Brookings India. Mohan has written extensively on urban economics, urban development, Indian economic policy reforms, monetary policy, and central banking.

This event is on the record and open to the public.

Blue square with Korean War memorial statue, Korean peninsula, and text

09/10-11/2020: The 70th Anniversary: Korean War Conference

Logos of GWIKS, Sigur, and KDI

Thursday, September 10 – 11, 2020

3 sessions

Zoom

Blue square with Korean War memorial statue, Korean peninsula, and text

In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Korean War, the GW Institute of Korean Studies, Sigur Center for Asian Studies, and KDI School of Public Policy and Management will be hosting a virtual international conference, The Korean War as Lived Experience: New Approaches to the Conflict after 70 Years. The conference will bring together recognized experts from around the globe from organizations, such as Women Cross DMZ, Seoul National University, University of Manitoba, York University, Langara University, University of British Columbia, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, University of Georgia, and Rutgers University. The conference will highlight new approaches to the international and social history of the war. Presenters will explore both Great Power decision making and the local impacts of the war with the goal of understanding the complex and multifaceted influence of the war. His Excellency, Soo Hyuck Lee, South Korean Ambassador to the US, will deliver the keynote speech.

This event is on the record and open to the public.

Logos of Sigur and GEIA

09/14/2020: Human Security and the Gendered War in Kashmir

Logos of Sigur and GEIA

Monday, September 14, 2020

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM EDT

WebEx

The Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies invites you to join our panel discussion on human security in conflict, the experiences of Kashmiri refugees, the gendered nature of Kashmir’s conflict, and several books on Kashmir by panelist Farhana Qazi. 

GEIA Director Shirley Graham will moderate the conversation with panelists: Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, retired FSO, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and U.S. Ambassador to the Republics of Kenya and Guatemala; Dr. Imtiaz Khan, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at GW; Todd Shea, CEO and Founder of Comprehensive Disaster Response Services; and Farhana Qazi, Professor of Women and Terrorism at GW.

This webinar is free.

The UN flag with text overlay

09/10/2020: Multilaterals and Taiwan’s Role: How is Cooperation on Security, Health, and Travel Evolving Amidst a Pandemic?

Conference room with text overlay "Taiwan Roundtable" and Sigur logo

Thursday, September 10, 2020

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EDT

Webex Events

 

The UN flag with text overlay

Taiwan’s success story in the pandemic is bringing it unprecedented international attention. Against the backdrop of the upcoming UN General Assembly, the Sigur Center for Asian Studies‘ Taiwan Roundtable will consider how Taiwan’s international role may be played out more broadly in critical areas of international policing, travel, and health — all of which demand multilateral cooperation to be effective, even as Taiwan is shut out of key organizations. 

Opening Remarks: Benjamin D. Hopkins, Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies

Expert Panel:

  • COVID-19 and Taiwan’s International Prospects: Vincent Wang, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Adelphi University
  • International Security and Multilateral Participation: Jessica Graham, President, JG Global Advisory LLC
  • Discussant: Shannon Tiezzi, Editor-in-Chief, The Diplomat
  • Moderator: Deepa M. Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies

Q&A

Registered guests will receive a confirmation email with details for joining the WebEx event 24 hours prior to the event. Guests will be able to join the event via a web browser, using the WebEx computer or mobile app, or by calling in. Please follow the instructions on the confirmation email for more details. Registration closes at 11am EDT on September 9.

This event is on the record, open to the public, and will be recorded. Questions can be sent in advance to gsigur@gwu.edu with subject “Taiwan Roundtable Q&A.”

Media inquiries must be sent to Jason Shevrin, jshevrin@gwu.edu. Accessibility requests must be sent to gsigur@gwu.edu at least 3 business days in advance.

 

Orange cover with superimposed images of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

08/20/2020: Modi and The Reinvention of Indian Foreign Policy with author Ian Hall

Thursday, August 20, 2020

7:00 PM – 8:15 PM EDT

Live book launch via WebEx

Orange cover with superimposed images of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In the third edition of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies‘ latest series, New Books in Asian Studies, we will host Griffith Asia Institute (Australia)’s Deputy Director of Research Ian Hall to discuss Modi and The Reinvention of Indian Foreign Policy with Director of the Rising Powers Initiative Deepa M. Ollapally.

In the campaign that led to his landslide victory in India’s 2014 general election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi scarcely mentioned his foreign policy ideas. Once in power, however, Modi moved rapidly to boost India’s reputation as a significant actor in global affairs and to assert his leadership with a frenetic bout of personal diplomacy. In this book, Ian Hall reveals the major changes made by Modi’s government, from strengthening relations with other South Asian states in addition to the United States, Israel, and Japan to taking stronger action against Pakistani-sponsored militancy and adopting a more robust stance towards China. Hall examines how Modi and his supporters have also tried to supply new intellectual underpinnings for Indian foreign policy, aiming to change how the world sees India. He compares Modi’s attempted reinvention with the postcolonial policy of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, tracing the evolution of Hindu nationalist thinking on international relations and locating Modi’s thought within that tradition.

Hall will present on his book for 20 min before we launch into a moderated discussion and audience Q&A for the rest of the event.

For this month’s book giveaway: Attend with the name you registered as, submit a question for Q&A, and a winner will be randomly selected from attendees who sent a question. The Sigur Center will purchase the book from a local DC bookstore and pay for shipping. The contest is open to US addresses only. Advance questions can be sent to gsigur@gwu.edu with subject “NBAS: Ian Hall” or directly posted in the live Q&A. 1 entry per person.

This event is free, open to the public, and will be recorded. Registered guests will receive a confirmation email with details for joining the WebEx event 24 hours prior to the event. Guests will be able to join the event via the web, using the WebEx app, or by calling in. Please follow the instructions on the confirmation email for more details. Registration closes at 7pm EDT on August 19. Media inquiries must be sent to Jason Shevrin, jshevrin@gwu.edu.​
Red textile image with text overlay "Imagining Afghanistan"

07/23/2020: Imagining Afghanistan with author Nivi Manchanda

Thursday, July 23, 2020

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT

Live book launch via WebEx

In the second edition of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies‘ latest series, New Books in Asian Studies, we will host Queen Mary, University of London Professor Nivi Manchanda for the US book launch of Imagining Afghanistan: The History and Politics of Imperial Knowledge. Over time and across different genres, Afghanistan has been presented to the world as a potential ally, dangerous enemy, gendered space, and mysterious locale. These powerful, if competing, visions seek to make sense of Afghanistan and to render it legible. Nivi Manchanda and Sigur Center Director Benjamin D. Hopkins will lead a lively discussion and Q&A on Manchanda’s innovative postcolonial theory that is grounded in the empirically rich ‘case’ of Afghanistan.

 

In this book, Manchanda argues that Afghanistan occupies a distinctive place in the imperial imagination that is over-determined and under-theorized, owing largely to the particular history of imperial intervention in the region. She shares a new narrative and removes the myths surrounding the study of Afghanistan by focusing on representations of gender, state, and tribes, while providing a sustained critique of colonial forms of knowing. Manchanda utilizes a methodologically diverse toolkit to demonstrate how the development of pervasive tropes in Western conceptions of Afghanistan has enabled Western intervention, invasion, and bombing in the region from the nineteenth century to the present. Overall, the book provides an interdisciplinary framework through which to study modern Afghanistan. 

We are pleased to announce a book giveaway to send a free English copy of the book to an attendee. Simply register for an Eventbrite ticket, attend with the name you registered as, subscribe to the Sigur Center’s weekly Asia on E Street Digest (webinar, job, fellowships & grants, etc), and a winner will be randomly selected from attendees who subscribed to the Digest. The Sigur Center will purchase the book from a local DC bookstore and pay for shipping. The contest is open to US addresses only.

 

This event is free, open to the public, and will be recorded. Registered guests will receive a confirmation email with details for joining the WebEx event 24 hours prior to the event. Guests will be able to join the event via the web, using the WebEx app, or by calling in. Please follow the instructions on the confirmation email for more details. Registration closes at 2pm EDT on Wednesday, July 22. Advance questions can be sent to gsigur@gwu.edu with subject “NBAS: Nivi Manchanda” or directly posted in the live event’s Q&A box. Media inquiries must be sent to Jason Shevrin, jshevrin@gwu.edu.​
Gray map with text overlay "Pandemic Politics in Southeast Asia"

07/09/2020: Pandemic Politics in Southeast Asia

Thursday, July 9, 2020

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM EDT

via WebEx

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies, East Asia National Resource Center, and the Elliott School of International Affairs’ Research Department will host Sigur non-resident scholar, Julia Lau, as she analyzes the present situation in each of these Southeast Asian nation-states and discusses how this crisis might lead to political change in the region in the coming years.
 
 
 
The global pandemic and governments’ ensuing public health and other policy responses have shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of pre-existing leadership, socio-economic infrastructure, and public policy within all regions. In Southeast Asia, the media spotlight has variously shone on how Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia’s current governments have dealt with the health, economic, political, and social fallout of COVID-19’s unrelenting spread. Each country has taken a slightly different approach to the crisis, with uneven results. In some cases, unforeseen repercussions spreading far beyond the public health domain are now causing citizens to question their leadership or demonstrate their opposition to certain policy decisions in interesting or unprecedented ways.

 

Advance registration required. This event is part of the East Asia NRC’s Current Issues in East Asia series.

 
 
 
This event is free, open to the public, and will be recorded. Registered guests will receive a confirmation email with details for joining the WebEx event 24 hours prior to the event. Guests will be able to join the event via the web, using the WebEx app, or by calling in. Please follow the instructions on the confirmation email for more details. Registration closes at 12:30pm EDT on July 8. This event is on the record, open to the public, and will be recorded. Advance questions can be sent to gsigur@gwu.edu with subject “Julia Lau Q&A” or directly entered into Webex during the event. Media inquiries must be sent to Jason Shevrin, jshevrin@gwu.edu. If you need specific accommodations, please contact gsigur@gwu.edu with at least 3 business days’ notice.
Red cover of book with text overlay "The Myth of Chinese Capitalism"

06/25/2020: The Myth of Chinese Capitalism with author Dexter T. Roberts

Thursday, May 25, 2020

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT

Live book launch via WebEx

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies is launching its latest series, New Books in Asian Studies, with award-winning journalist Dexter Tiff Roberts for the inaugural book launch. The Myth of Chinese Capitalism: The Worker, the Factory, and the Future of the World is the untold story of how restrictive policies are preventing China from becoming the world’s largest economy by focusing on the people in a Guizhou village and a Guangzhou factory town. It explores the reality behind today’s financially-ascendant China and pulls the curtain back on how the Chinese manufacturing machine is actually powered. The lively book launch and Q&A will be moderated by GW Law Professor and Chinese specialist Donald Clarke. Advance registration required.
 
This event is free, open to the public, and will be recorded. Registered guests will receive a confirmation email with details for joining the WebEx event 24 hours prior to the event. Guests will be able to join the event via the web, using the WebEx app, or by calling in. Please follow the instructions on the confirmation email for more details. Registration closes at 2pm EDT on Wednesday, June 24. Advance questions can be sent to gsigur@gwu.edu with subject “NBAS: Dexter Tiff Roberts” or directly posted in the live event’s Q&A box. Media inquiries must be sent to Jason Shevrin, jshevrin@gwu.edu.​
Taiwanese and World Health Organization flags under a text tile with event title and co-sponsors

05/14/2020: COVID-19 & Taiwan’s International Space Reimagined

Thursday, May 14, 2020

8:00 PM – 9:30 PM EDT

Live Roundtable via WebEx

In this time of world-wide pandemic, Taiwan’s continued exclusion from the World Health Organization is being hotly debated. Ahead of the upcoming World Health Assembly meetings on May 18-23, the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the East Asia National Resource Center are hosting a webinar with leading experts to discuss the politics and diplomacy over China’s blocking of Taiwan from the World Health Organization, and how the unprecedented global health crisis may be changing Taiwan’s future.
 

Opening Remarks: Benjamin D. Hopkins, Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies

Expert Panel:

  • The World Health Organization and New Pandemic Politics in Play: Jacques deLisle, Professor of Law and Political Science, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
  • Seeing Taiwan’s International Status Today in Historical Perspective: James M. Lin, Assistant Professor, University of Washington
  • Taiwan’s Health Diplomacy and New International Soft Power: I-Chung Lai, President, Prospect Foundation
  • Discussant: Robert Sutter, Professor of Practice of International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs
  • Moderator: Deepa M. Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies

Q&A

 

Speakers will discuss political controversies spotlighted by the pandemic as well as the historical circumstances of Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations under resolution 2758 and how it is shaping current prospects for inclusion in the WHO and other international organizations.

Registered guests will receive a confirmation email with details for joining the WebEx event 24 hours prior to the event. Guests will be able to join the event via the web, using the WebEx app, or by calling in. Please follow the instructions on the confirmation email for more details. Registration closes at 8pm EDT on May 13.

This event is on the record, open to the public, and will be recorded. Questions can be sent in advance to gsigur@gwu.edu with subject “Taiwan Roundtable Q&A.”

Media inquiries must be sent to Jason Shevrin, jshevrin@gwu.edu.​

05/05/2016: The 21st Annual Gaston Sigur Memorial Lecture: China’s Rise and the Challenge to East Asian Security with Professor Thomas J. Christensen

Thursday, May 5, 2016

5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Harry Harding Auditorium – Room 213

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

About the Event

Concerns that a rising China will attempt to drive America from East Asia or even become a global superpower rival of the United States are both common and misplaced. But China is already powerful enough to destabilize a region of great importance to the United States and the world. China’s impressive growth in military power projection capability and its ability to put at greater risk forward deployed U.S. forces and bases in Asia pose complex challenges for the United States and its allies and security partners. The situation is not as severe or as dangerous as the Cold War. China is not an adversary of the United States. But a combination of geography, psychology, domestic politics, and military technologies renders coercive diplomacy in 21st century EastAsia even more complicated than it was between the superpower camps in the last three decades of the Cold War. The United States and its regional partners face significant and growing difficulties in dissuading China from attempting to solve its many sovereignty disputes through coercion or the use of force. A successful strategy will require a strong U.S. regional presence combined with assurances that the purpose of that presence is not to prevent China’s continued rise to prominence on the international stage.

Thomas J. Christensen is William P. Boswell Professor of World Politics of Peace and War and Director of the China and the World Program at Princeton University. At Princeton he is also faculty director of the Masters of Public Policy Program and the Truman Scholars Program. From 2006-2008 he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs with responsibility for relations with China, Taiwan, and Mongolia. His research and teaching focus on China’s foreign relations, the international relations of East Asia, and international security. His most recent book, The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power (W.W. Norton, 2015) was an editors’ choice at the New York Times Book Review and was selected as “Book of the Week” on CNN”s Fareed Zakaria GPS. Christensen received his B.A. with honors in History from Haverford College, M.A. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University. He is currently the Chair of the Editorial Board of the Nancy B. Tucker and Warren I. Cohen Book Series on the United States in Asia at Columbia University Press. He is a member of the Academic Advisory Board for the Schwarzman Scholars Program. Professor Christensen is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Non-Resident Senior Scholar at the Brookings Institution. In 2002 he was presented with a Distinguished Public Service Award by the United States Department of State.

DicksonTranscript

Bruce Dickson:
I learned that 15, 20 minutes ago. With that we were expecting to have more people but given the fire in the Metro, people who tried to get here may not be able to get here. It’s been a great season for Metro hasn’t it. There was one fire and one delay after another. My name is Bruce Dixon. I’m director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. This evening’s event is our annual event remembering Gaston Sigur, both his contribution to GW as well as his involvement in US public service. Gaston Sigur received his PhD in history from the University of Michigan. After which he worked for the Asia Foundation in different locales around the world. He came to GW in 1972 both to teach and to direct, what at that time was the Institute for Sino-Soviet Studies. He was in that role for about 10 years when he was chosen by President Ronald Reagan to become the Senior Director of Asian Affairs on the National Security Council and later became Special Assistant to the President for Asian Affairs.

Bruce Dickson:
He was out of government briefly. Returned to the GW and then went back into government, both as a senior advisor but also Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. While he had that position in the mid ’80s during the Reagan administration, was credited with major achievements in promoting the US Japan relationship as well as having a significant impact on democratization in South Korea. After the 1988 election, when the first Bush administration came into being, President George H. W. Bush appointed him to continue serving as Assistant Secretary of State.

Bruce Dickson:
He finally retired from public service in 1989 and returned to GW. Although 1989, remember at the time the world was changing. What used to be the Sino-Soviet Institute quickly was no longer appropriate, given the change of times. What had been the Sino-Soviet Institute was split into two. One half what is now the Institute for European Russian Eurasian studies, the Soviet half of the Institute. Then the Sigur Center evolved on what had been the Sino half of the Institute. It was originally from the beginning named in honor of Gaston Sigur. The original name was the Gaston Sigur Center for East Asian Studies and was later shortened to simply to the Sigur Center for Asian Studies to be more encompassing, not just an East Asia but South and Southeast Asia as well.

Bruce Dickson:
This event is meant to both memorialize his achievements and his contributions as well as a way of in doing so, having a speaker who had similar profile as Gaston Sigur did in terms of having a bigger role in public service as well as a strong academic background. Before introducing our speaker today, I want to introduce and highlight a few other people who have been a prominent part in the study of Asian studies here at GW. First of all, in the lobby of our center, we have a much larger version of this photograph. Which is with Gaston Sigur meeting in the oval office with President Reagan at that time, Vice President Bush and Secretary of State, George Shultz. We’ve got a much larger version in our lobby, but we want to provide this copy of it to his family. We’re fortunate tonight to have Gaston’s wife, Mrs. Estelle Sigur here, son Paul Sigur. I’d like to share this photo and give it to you for your taking. I also want to recognize Bill Johnson who was the original Associate Director of the Sigur Center. He had been himself a long time professor here at GW and was involved both in the founding of the center and its development in its early years. Bill, thank you for being here. Thank you for your contribution over the years.

Bruce Dickson:
We’re fortunate tonight to have as a speaker, Thomas Christensen. Tom is professor. A William P Boswell professor of Rural politics of Peace and War in Princeton University and also Director of Princeton’s China in the World Program. Also Director of the Masters of Public Policy program and the Truman Scholars program. One of the longest business cards probably you can have. From 2006 to 2008 he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the second Bush administration. With particular responsibility for relations with China, Taiwan, and Mongolia. His most recent book was entitled the China Challenge, Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power, which came out last year. It was an editor’s choice at the New York Times book review. Selected as book of the week on CNN’s GPS with Fareed Zakaria. Tom is a life member of Accounts on Foreign Relations and a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution. Presented in 2002 with a distinguished public service award by the US Department of State. It’s hard to imagine anyone who sort of exhibits the characteristics of Gaston Sigur that we are here to celebrate. So with that, Tom Christensen.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Thanks so much, Bruce for your overly kind introduction. I’m really honored to give this talk here because of the person that it honors. I’m very honored by the presence of the Sigur family. Somebody who made an enormous impact on US foreign policy towards Asia and was a true scholar academic leader. A role model for me in my career, and it’s great to be here in the Harriet Harding auditorium because Harriet Harding was a role model for me as an academic. To see David Shambaugh here, I think he shares that with me, that Harriet was someone who exhibited the way it should be done when you studying US China relations as a scholar. It’s a tremendous honor for me to be here. Before I start, I have to say I still work for the state department as a part time advisor. I have to give a disclaimer because this is being recorded, that all the views are my own and not those of the state department or the U S government. My wife always jokes that anybody who knows your views would know that they don’t represent anybody else’s.

Thomas J. Christensen:
I have to say that. Now it’s done. These are my views. Today what I’m going to talk about is the the regional security environment in Asia, particularly for the United States, its allies and its security partners. which is a large group of nations when you include all of those. How does the rise of China pose challenges for regional stability for all of those actors? I think the real regional security challenge is trying to discourage China, dissuade China from settling its many disputes with its neighbors through coercion and the use of force and thereby destabilizing the region.

Thomas J. Christensen:
That’s very important to the United States and obviously to its regional allies and partners. I think that this challenge is somewhat different than the challenge you’ll read about in the media. The challenge that you’ll read about in punditry circles and sometimes even in academia. What you’ll often read about, is a concerted effort by China to drive the United States out of East Asia entirely, on the one hand, or an effort or a reality where China will become a global challenge or superpower challenger to US leadership around the world and will become a problem for the United States and regions everywhere.

Thomas J. Christensen:
I don’t see either of those challenges as particularly pressing for the next couple of decades. I think that this other challenge is real and present and it’s going to get more intense over the next several years. The reason I say that is I see no persistent evidence that China has as a doctrine or a strategy to drive the United States out of East Asia entirely, in the near term. I don’t see any capabilities that China has, if you do a full net assessment of China’s capabilities that would allow China to become a global challenger to US security interests around the world in the next couple of decades, even if China were so inclined. When you do a net assessment, I can talk about in the Q and A if you like, of military power, economic power, and particularly diplomatic power, where the United States has 60 plus allies and China has North Korea. It doesn’t look like China’s poised to have that kind of global competitive power, even if it were so to choose.

Thomas J. Christensen:
That’s where the good news ends because China doesn’t need to be a peer competitor of the United States to pose a challenge to the U S interests and who in the military sense for deployed U S forces. It is already powerful enough to destabilize East Asia today. That power is only going to grow over the next several years. I think that what the United States and its allies need to do is to dissuade China from using that capacity to try to settle its many disputes with its neighbors in a way that would destabilize this region. That is important, not just to the United States and its regional allies, but the whole world.

Thomas J. Christensen:
The world is highly integrated in a way it’s never been before. When real scholars talk about pre-World Rwanda, Europe, and they said there was a lot of trade interdependence and it didn’t prevent conflict. They’re really exaggerating the analogies to today, because today the world is much more interdependent. So, if East Asia goes in a bad direction, the global economy and the global stakes will be very negatively effected.

Thomas J. Christensen:
What we have in East Asia today is a rising China that you know about from the economic sphere? In the military sphere, it’s rather dramatic as well. China has had a fast growth in its economy since 1978, but it’s had a very fast growth in its military capacity since particularly 1999. It’s a key year in China’s military modernization. What was traditionally a military that was based on two things, a land army that had its dual purpose. I want you to focus on the dual purpose. The protection of the Chinese communist party against domestic and international enemies, right? It’s a party army. It’s not a national army. It’s designed to protect the Chinese communist party against domestic and international enemies. That’s the traditional army and that is supplemented with a relatively rudimentary nuclear deterrent against nuclear powers in the day. By public reports, a couple of dozen liquid fuel, intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach targets like the United States or the former Soviet Union.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Again, according to public reports, with warheads that were separated from those missiles. they would have a long response time as a kind of minimum deterrent against a nuclear attack against the PRC. That’s the traditional military. What’s happened particularly since the late 1990s is China is able to get off shore with military power into the East China sea, in the South China sea in a way that it couldn’t. It has developed these power protection capabilities with its Navy, it’s Air Force, it’s road mobile, accurately tipped ballistic missiles, conventionally tipped ballistic missiles. I’ll talk in a moment about the nuclear tipped missiles.

Thomas J. Christensen:
It continues to modernize its nuclear force and it’s using a solid road mobile missiles now, instead of those liquid fueled ones. Which would have a much shorter response time in a crisis. Therefore provide a much more robust nuclear deterrent against actors who might try to use conventional or nuclear forces to denude China’s nuclear deterrent. China is able to get off shore with these forces, with these Air Forces, with these Navy forces and with the now strategic rocket force, formerly the second artillery to raise costs to superior military forces of the United States in conjunction with its allies.

Thomas J. Christensen:
These are asymmetric capabilities according to China’s own doctrinal writings. Chinese doctrinal writers recognize that the most likely great power adversary that China will face. They don’t use word the United States usually, but it’s pretty clear who they’re talking about, has superior power to the Chinese military. What they’re trying to do is design asymmetric strategies to leverage a weaker military force to achieve political goals against that superior. I say that because a lot of American writings will talk about China closing the gap with the United States overall and maybe keeping the United States from operating at all in the East Asia region under terms like anti-access area denial, which is the Pentagon’s A2/AD phrase. I think some of those phrases exaggerate contemporary Chinese military power in a way that actually provides China more coercive power than it has earned.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Because China’s goal is to make the United States think twice about projecting power to the region by raising costs and by calling it anti access area denial. It kind of implies that China has the capability to physically prevent the United States from projecting power in the region. I don’t think that’s true. The Chinese doctrinal writings don’t portray it that way. They talk about deterring, delaying American intervention and reversing the American decision to intervene if it so chooses, which is consequential enough. I’m not downplaying the importance of those capabilities and doctrines. That’s consequential enough. We don’t need to come up with more dramatic terms to describe it.

Thomas J. Christensen:
The way that China has developed these capabilities is to develop relatively high tech systems in certain areas that pose challenges to the superior US forces. I talked before about accurate conventionally tipped ballistic missiles, road mobile systems, including according to public reports in recent years, the ability to attack moving targets at sea with a ballistic missile. Because the ballistic missile when it reenters the atmosphere is able to do terminal guidance toward a target.

Thomas J. Christensen:
This is important because one of the US advantages around the world is the ability to project Naval aviation power on aircraft carriers to distant places. And if those aircraft carriers are at greater risk, that might give a future U S president pause about putting those carriers in those places to project power. Another capability is submarines. Not quite as high tech, but quite effective. China has imported and reverse engineered various Russian diesel electric submarine technologies that pose challenges to forward deployed US Navy forces. Which again are superior. But now are challenged and the costs of deployment of projecting US power in that region is greater.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Obviously when you’re talking about an ally like Japan, it’s a direct problem for their Navy when China has these submarine capabilities. Those submarines can launch various weapon systems that are quite sophisticated. They can launch submarine launched cruise missiles, some relatively sophisticated ones, especially in recent years. That can pose challenges to forward deployed forces. They have a fairly sophisticated torpedoes and they can lay fairly sophisticated sea mines in a kind of blockade scenario for say a Taiwan conflict that could pose real challenges for what would again otherwise be superior US forces.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Then there are cruise missiles on boats, some fast boats that the Chinese have developed. They can travel in large numbers and those cruise missiles can pose challenges as well. Advanced aircraft, fourth generation aircraft that can again get off the coast into the waters around China and air defenses which I think are underappreciated. China has first imported and then reverse engineered some very sophisticated air defense systems that basically put a kind of umbrella off the Chinese coast and make it more difficult and more costly potentially for advanced air forces to operate in the area around China. Anti-satellite weapons which reduce potentially one of the great advantages of the United States has. Which is what’s called a C4ISR, a fancy term acronym, which basically means the ability to see the battle space and control forces within it from space based assets. If China can attack those lower orbit satellites in a way that denudes that capability, it can reduce US advantages. Cyber attacks, a lot of cyber attacks are talked about in the commercial realm. There are military, imported cyber capabilities that could potentially put at risk US response time.

Thomas J. Christensen:
My colleague James Mulvenna has written about this publicly and he has talked about the fact that while US combat systems are on secure networks that are harder for adversaries to penetrate some of the logistics capabilities of the U S military still rely on unclassified cyber spines that could be attacked in ways that could slow down the US response to a problem. Then there’s the nuclear piece. I want to focus on this for a moment. You’ll see why a little bit later in the talk. China is modernizing its nuclear force to include a larger number of road mobile nuclear tipped, solid fuel missiles that would have shorter response times. They’re supplementing that with submarine based nuclear forces for the first time according to public reports. They will be able to, or they are able to put out to sea nuclear weapons on submarines as a kind of second leg of a dyad, a nuclear dyad.

Thomas J. Christensen:
All of this is a setup for why this force, which is not a pure competitor of the United States poses huge strategic challenges for the United States and its allies. My basic bottom line on this is that in the post cold war era, the United States has become accustomed to dealing with regional conflicts against potential or real adversaries in the following fashion. Putting at risk those target’s ability to put at risk for deployed US forces early on in a conflict. Either as a deterrent or as an actual war fighting strategy to basically take out the capabilities of the other side to hurt US forward deployed forces and raise costs for the United States. That takes the form of taking out air defenses, taking out command and control of adversaries very early on in rather robust attacks. When people say, “Oh, we just need a no fly zone over country X.” If country X is a sophisticated country, that’s a relatively violent operation. Because what you’re doing is you’re taking out all the radar systems and all the air defenses of that country.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Because what you’re doing is you’re taking out all the radar systems and all the air defenses of that country. So there’s going to be a very violent initial set of actions by the United States to set up that no fly zone. So that’s how the United States has gotten used to operating. The problem is that many of the assets that I describe are based on the mainland of China, or are stealthy in the form of submarines, so the temptation would be for a U.S. President or commander to take the fight deep into China early on, to protect the four deployed forces operating out here from potential attack from assets on the mainland. That would make sense from a forced protection point of view, which is the job of a commander and a President is going to be concerned about that as well.

Thomas J. Christensen:
The problem is we’ve never done that type of operation. The United States never has, to a nuclear power. Never taken the fight deep into the homeland of a nuclear power, especially early in a conflict. The idea of doing that, it could be escalatory, and what makes matters worse is that the Chinese conventional course of capability, described in some detail and I did it for a reason, is overlapping in dangerous ways with China’s modernized nuclear force. So that a lot of the conventional course of capacity of China has been built on road mobile, solid fueled, conventionally tipped ballistic missiles, and the new nuclear force is on road mobile, solid fuel, nuclear tipped missiles. Under the same command leadership, the strategic rocket force now, formerly the second artillery. And China has based its naval coercive capability largely on submarines, and now it has introduced nuclear submarines into the mix. Why is this important? If the U.S. carries out its standard relatively offensive way of protecting four deployed forces, it may try to get at early on in the conflict, at the command and control systems in the rocket forces or in the submarine forces.

Thomas J. Christensen:
That might be tempting to do. I’m not saying anything about the U.S. is or isn’t planning to do. I’m just saying it’s logical that the commander might want to take out those forces. The problem with that is, given this overlap a future U.S. President might have to consider whether the Chinese leadership would see such an action as a way of denuding the Chinese nuclear deterrent with potential escalatory implications, because they wouldn’t be able to communicate with the other submarines or a nuclear submarine might be hit in an anti-submarine operation directly, or the command and control for a nuclear force may be compromised when a conventional missile force command and control is compromised. So that makes the problem even more complicated.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Some people take heart in the idea that China has a no first use doctrine for nuclear weapons, so no amount of American conventional strike on the Chinese mainland would ever lead to nuclear escalation because China has a no first use doctrine for nuclear weapons. I’ve done research on Chinese doctrinal writings on nuclear weapons that I found, not from my government work but from scholarly research, that on materials that are not supposed to be read by people outside the Chinese military that have gotten out of China. And it seems like no first use is a serious principle in Chinese doctrinal writings. It’s just something they take very seriously. You wouldn’t dismiss it as a term. If they were to abolish no first use, it would get our attention.

Thomas J. Christensen:
But even in that world, it seems more like a guideline than a rule. There are in the doctrinal writings exceptional circumstances under which Chinese rocketeers at least, they’re not the ones who are going to make the decision, are considering instances in which what they say the threshold of deterrence would be lowered. And that doesn’t give one much confidence that a very robust conventional conflict between the United States and China would necessarily stay at the conventional level. So that’s a concern as well.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Okay. So what does this all mean from a strategic point of view? It means that a China that’s not a peer competitor to the United States has coercive power that American leadership will have to consider, and it makes a strategic environment for the United States, its allies, and strategic partners more difficult than it might appear if you just do a net assessment of the relative military power of the two actors.

Thomas J. Christensen:
And China is a rising nation that’s rubbing up against its neighbors in new ways. And lest I seem like I’m criticizing China directly, and on a cultural level I am not, because when countries rise, they rub up against their neighbors in new ways and the big question will be, are they well equipped or is the situation well structured to encourage that rising power to act in moderate ways as opposed to immoderate ways in handling those new frictions.

Thomas J. Christensen:
So I’m not picking on China, because in 2000 I published an article with my colleague at Columbia University, Richard Betts, in which we said if China handles its rise in its region as badly as the United States handled its rise in its own region in the late 19th century, we’re in really big trouble. Because the United States ended up in totally avoidable war with Spain in the late 19th century, which was followed by a large counterinsurgency war in the Philippines, largely because of domestic politics and jingoism in the United States driving the United States in a bad direction. China has all of that in spades today for reasons related to domestic politics, and one could imagine those types of dynamics playing out in a way that makes China’s ability to respond moderately to the new frictions with its neighbors reduced in probability.

Thomas J. Christensen:
China has unfortunately many points of friction. So if we look around China’s periphery, China has maritime disputes with many of its neighbors. It has what it calls the nine-dash line, which looks something like this on the map. And that claim, which is abstract and vague, it’s not really clear exactly what is included in it. Is it all the waters, is it all the rocks and reefs or all the islands? It’s expansive under any definition, and it overlaps with the claims of other actors.

Thomas J. Christensen:
So if we go around the table, the Philippines now has a rectangular claim around the Philippines that’s consistent with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. That’s a relatively new phenomenon. Then you have Malaysia, which has claims that overlap with the Chinese. They come up like this. Vietnam’s claims go way out into the Filipino claims and way into the Chinese claims out at sea. Brunei has a tight little rectangle that sticks out to sea that overlaps with the Chinese claims.

Thomas J. Christensen:
So you have multiple claimants and these claims overlap. And then if you go up to Taiwan, there’s a sovereignty dispute there, of a different sort. It has to do with the sovereign identity of Taiwan as an island and its relations with the mainland, and it takes different forms with different parties in Taiwan. But all Taiwan political parties have a dispute with the sovereign nature of Taiwan, vis-a-vis the mainland that doesn’t agree with the Beijing’s interpretation of that sovereign status with Taiwan. So you have that, and then you have the East China Sea where you have the dispute between Japan and China over what the Chinese call the Diaoyu Islands and what the Japanese call the Senkaku Islands.

Thomas J. Christensen:
So you have all these disputes, and these disputes are really important in the following sense. We’re not in a cold war with China. The United States is not in a cold war with China. The Cold War was terrible. So I want to just preface my comments on that. The Cold War was terrible. It was dangerous. I’m glad the United States fought it. I’m glad the United States won. But it was an extremely unpleasant, nasty, and dangerous experience and people like Gaston Sigur are heroes for helping our country survive that experience intact and prevail it.

Thomas J. Christensen:
So I’m not trying to say anything about the nostalgic days of the Cold War, but I am going to say something that might startle you after saying that, and that is that in many ways the course of diplomatic challenges of the United States and its allies in East Asia with a rising China, are more complicated and harder to manage than the Cold War was in many ways, in the following sense.

Thomas J. Christensen:
After the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, for the rest of the Cold War, for the most part the lines between the two camps, the communist camp and the anticommunist camp, were relatively clear. The geographic lines. People on both sides of those lines knew what aggression would look like, particularly in places like Central Europe. The Warsaw Pact going into West Germany, that was looking at aggression, plain and simple. NATO going into Eastern Europe with conventional forces, that was, there were exceptions like West Berlin and they were important exceptions. It’s not a coincidence that that’s where a lot of the crises where early on.

Thomas J. Christensen:
But in general there were fairly clear lines. Why is that important? We know from human psychology studies, the Nobel prize winning work of Tversky and Kahneman, that the vast majority of human beings, whatever culture they come from, whatever gender they are, whatever generation they were in, tend to pay higher costs and take bigger risks to defend what they believe is legitimate status quo or what is legitimately theirs than they do to get new stuff.

Thomas J. Christensen:
There’s a temptation to get new stuff, but the degree of risk taking and the degree of costs that countries are willing to pay is much, much higher in the same way that it is for individual to defend what you believe is rightfully yours, as opposed to getting new stuff. There’s still that danger of opportunism and trying to get new things. In the cold war this was a stabilizing fact, because we knew where the lines were. We knew what aggression would look like and both sides knew that the other side would be more likely to stand firm protecting what they already had, and that was a stabilizing factor. What we lack in East Asia because of these disputes that I described is exactly that. There is no accepted legitimate status quo in East Asia. I’ve talked to diplomats in the South China sea disputes from every country except Brunei, I’ve never talked to a diplomat from Bernai about this. And I get the very strong impression that all of those diplomats sincerely believe that their claims are legitimate.

Thomas J. Christensen:
That counts the Chinese. So some people say China’s revisionist in the South China sea, is China sees all this new stuff. And I think to myself, I wish that were the case. My fear is that they actually see themselves as securing something they’ve claimed since the 1930s back to the KMT regimes of Chiang Kai Shek in the 47 Republican China consultation. And then it’s actually theirs, and then others have moved in on their territory. And I have talked to the Vietnamese about it, and they say, this nine dash line is outrageous. It runs right down our coast. It was drawn at a time when we were a French colony and had no voice in international politics. So it’s totally unjust. And the Malaysians had their own post-colonial national story, for why they should have a special rights off their own coast, the Filipinos the same way.

Thomas J. Christensen:
And they all have domestic politics that are tied up in these issues that make them even harder for them to back down on. And in that sense, the diplomatic challenge is much greater than it was during the Cold War. And I would say the same thing for the Diaoyu Senkaku dispute. Japanese people really believe the Senkaku islands are theirs. And many, many Chinese people I’ve talked to really believed the Diaoyu islands are Chinese.

Thomas J. Christensen:
That’s not a happy situation. It’d be much better if some of them were lying because it’d be easier to deter them, but they all really believe it. So that worries me. Adding to the problem is domestic political challenges in various countries, but especially since I study China I’ll focus in China, and it’s my strong impression that since the financial crisis of late 2008, that China is in the worst place domestically for the challenges that I just described. And I put it in the following nutshell. I say China is more confident abroad since the financial crisis and more afraid at home at the same time. So the Chinese communist party feels like it has more leverage on the international stage because the United States had lost a lot of prestige and power in the financial crisis.

Thomas J. Christensen:
China weather that storm relatively well economically it was the sole engine of growth within the world for a few years, at least in the early part of the crisis, gained a lot of power and prestige. So the sense is that China doesn’t need to take the slights of its neighbors or the United States like it used to, because we’re stronger now in a hurry.

Thomas J. Christensen:
That has obviously negative implications for a country that has these historic claims that it’s trying to fulfill. And then of course Taiwan as well, which I’d be happy to talk more about. And then at the same time, the financial crisis made the Chinese communist party more concerned about maintaining stability at home, because it called into question some of the sustainability of the economic growth models that were in place and the need to restructure economy faster than they had already known. They needed to restructure the economy on a faster basis to restructure that economy, so as to continue to produce growth and growth being one of the two major pillars of the Chinese communist party regime in this post ’78 period.

Thomas J. Christensen:
One of them being economic performance, the other being nationalism and protection of China’s national honor on the international stage in a postcolonial nationalist narrative that said China’s been bullied since the opium war and China needs to have a greater place on the international stage than it’s had in the past. So that puts a premium on being relatively tough in these maritime disputes, either because China has an opportunity now because it’s stronger to secure territories that it couldn’t secure in the past, or because China has an incentive to react extremely neurologically or emotionally or tough to the provocations of others. And China is not the only actor in this drama. The other disputants take actions to which China reacts. So both things are true. It’s not either or. And that makes the situation even more complicated and more concerning.

Thomas J. Christensen:
I would say on the domestic political front and I think as I said before that I’ve mentioned why the PLA, we need to recognize that the PLA is a party army, not a national army. National security in China is not national security. In Chinese the terms are very ambiguous and the term guójiā which is often seen as nation is really state. It’s state security, it’s party security. And my impression, I’ve been going to China since 1987 almost every year. The only year I wasn’t there was ’89 because I had June 16th plane tickets. But I was there in ’90 to ’91 at Peking university.

Thomas J. Christensen:
The only period in the times that I’ve been going to China where the Chinese government seems more concerned about maintaining domestic stability than now, was the period just after tenement. We exclude that period. China’s government seems more concerned about maintaining domestic stability than any other period. And that’s not a force for stability in this situation. So I would say if you looked at that two by two table China is in the place where it’s more confident abroad and more nervous at home, the place where the United States and its allies and partners would like to see China, is China to more humble abroad and more confident at home for the purpose of this Concourse and Diplomatic Exchange.

Thomas J. Christensen:
This is not a new cold war. The cold war, as I said, was nasty, China’s not an adversary of the United States. It’s a potential adversary, not a real one. If it becomes that, there’ll be a lot of failure in our diplomacy, but it’s a very complicated challenge all the same. Fortunately there were some positive features. I don’t want to make it too grim and too depressing, and one of them is that that regional interdependence. People talk about trade deficits between the United States and China in hamfisted ways, particularly in a political season. They talk about trade in general in a hamfisted way, particularly in a political season, but trade and financial investment in Asia is a major force for peace because products aren’t made in individual country’s anymore. And that’s what’s really different between world war one and the present in terms of interdependence.

Thomas J. Christensen:
You have transnational investment, you have transnational production where parts of products are made all through this region brought to China, assembled, sent back out to the region, sent to Europe, sent to the United States, and things that aren’t so much made in China as they are assembled in China in many cases.

Thomas J. Christensen:
And that’s a major force for peace because if China were to go on a regional rampage in the way that not only Hitler’s Germany did, but that Wilhelm Germany went on before world war one, then China would be really not just shooting itself in the foot economically, it would be shooting itself in the head economically because it would disrupt this incredibly delicate transnational production chain that requires on time delivery of products from multiple places. So it is fragile by its very nature. So that’s a force for peace. There is more institutional infrastructure in Asia than there was in the early post cold war period, when my colleague Aaron Freedberg write his excellent article, right for rivalry. I think the way you put it, if I can quote it directly is, “the rich alphabet soup of institutions in Western Europe, in Asia are a thin gruel indeed”. I think that’s a direct quote. But actually there’s a much more rich alphabet soup now in East Asia that could serve a purpose of confidence building.

Thomas J. Christensen:
I think that a very strong U.S presence in East Asia, a very strong alliance system is a very strong force for stability and peace in the region, but it needs to be accompanied by assurances that the purpose of that presence and those relationships is not to contain China the way we contain the Soviet union. Basically prevent China from gaining any kind of diplomatic power and prestige or economic wherewithal. That would be counterproductive in spades in East Asia and could lead to massive instability if those assurances weren’t accompanying the credibility of American presence. And at the end of the day some kind of credible threat of response if China were to become extremely coercive and aggressive. And I think we’ve been successful in the past on a couple of occasions along these lines, it can be done. There are certain things I don’t like about recent policy. I don’t like a lot of the rhetoric that has been used to describe our policy, which I think is counterproductive.

Thomas J. Christensen:
I mean the Nike sneaker camp that we should just do it. We should have a strong presence. We should have strong alliance relationships and we shouldn’t put fancy labels on it. I don’t like the term the pivot, because the pivots suggests that we’re pulling forces out of other regions and aiming them at China. We should just say we need a strong presence in Asia to stabilize the region. But I do like the details that happened underneath the pivot, bolstering those diplomatic relations. A lot of the military details of the pivot were actually in training before the Obama administration came into office. So it’s an inaccurate description, but whatever you call it, it’s a good idea that we’re bolstering our military presence in East Asia. And I think it’s a good idea that we seize the opportunity of some of China’s more assertive behavior towards its neighbors to strengthen the American military relationships with countries like the Philippines, with Malaysia, and even most recently with Vietnam.

Thomas J. Christensen:
With Malaysia and even most recently with Vietnam. And there are successes in this story where a strong position has been accompanied by assurances in ways that created stability. And one of them was the administration I served, the Bush administration in 2007, 2008 where the United States signaled that use of force against Taiwan was unacceptable. Sold lots of weapons to Taiwan, but at the same time when the Taiwan leadership was pursuing provocative initiatives that seem like efforts to unilaterally change the status quo and cross street relations, the administration criticized first privately and then publicly those initiatives in a way that helped maintain stability. And I think the Obama administration has done a fairly good job of managing a very volatile situation in the East China city with the government reiterating it’s not the first time and it’s not part of the pivot. Reiterating the longstanding US position that unlike the other maritime disputes in which the United States takes no position on sovereignty at the Senkaku is are special in the following sense.

Thomas J. Christensen:
In the case of the Senkaku is the United States takes no position on sovereignty. But it does recognize Japanese administrative control over the islands and therefore the alliance applies to them. This was stated by the secretary of state and then it was very pointedly, and I think appropriately, stated by the president in Tokyo in 2014. And at the same time, according to all public reports, the administration has discouraged Japan from taking provocative actions in and around the islands that would poke Chinese nationals in the eye and lead to a reaction. And I think that’s the right mix. And the situation isn’t totally stable now, but it’s much more stable than it was in the 2012, 2014 period as a result.

Thomas J. Christensen:
So this can be done. It’s not science fiction, it’s hard work. It takes good diplomats like your fine husband ma’am, who can handle this type of portfolio. But it is possible to do this and I am confident that it can be done in the future. I can talk about the South China sea and the Q and A or now, and I’ll leave it up to Bruce whether I should just take questions or that the South China sea as a kind of detailed problem. I have a lot of views on it. I know it’s the pressing problem of the day, but I’m sure people will ask about it. If you prefer, I would just let-

Speaker 2:
Go ahead and open up the chair.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Okay, well it’s not trying to see the very complicated situation. The US has no position on the sovereignty of any of the reefs, islands or rocks in that area. It does have an alliance with one of the disputes, the Philippines, but it doesn’t recognize the Philippines claims. It does recognize however, a commitment as an ally to the Philippines of public ships, which includes coast guard and Navy ships for the Philippines at sea.

Thomas J. Christensen:
And it’s quite possible that Filipino ships could come under pressure or attack in the future in these disputes. So that’s a direct problem for the United States as part of the alliance system. And the Philippines had one ship, it’s beached off of Palawan. It’s the Sierra Madre. It was beached there intentionally by the Filipinos from all judgments of what happened in 1999. A couple of weeks after the US accidentally blew up the embassy in Belgrade and Yugoslavia. And in that, both had one of the worst military billets and peacetime around the world. Which is there are eight Marines who are stationed permanently on a Navy ship, which the Philippines claims is a active commission ship of the Filipino Navy. It’s one of their most mighty Navy ships.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Unfortunately from American perspective, because the Filipino Navy unfortunately, from the US perspective, is quite weak. And that poses a challenge. It’s a huge area because it’s inside the nine dash line. It’s also in the Philippines and that’s a real problem. US policy in the region has been, US demands peaceful resolution of the disputes, takes no position on the sovereignty. To me, it’s freedom of navigation, which is often misunderstood in the press. There’s a lot of talk about all the trade that goes through the South China sea and why it’s so important to keep navigation. I think this is kind of a smokescreen by my own country. So I’ll be critical of my own country on this score.

Thomas J. Christensen:
China has absolutely no incentive to block trade through the South China sea. The biggest victim of such a blockage would be China if there’s blocking trade from the South China sea. So I don’t expect China to go that route. Where the freedom of navigation is really important however, is for the US military to be able to operate in the South China sea. And if China were to use one of its more expansive interpretations of the UN convention of the law of the sea and try to prevent the US military from operating in the South China sea, that would have huge implications for US military power projection around the world. And it would have huge implications for US credibility with its regional allies.

Thomas J. Christensen:
So that’s really what that struggle with freedom of navigation operations is about. It’s about military freedom of navigation and making sure that not only the Chinese, but US allies know that regardless of artificial Island building by the Chinese and regardless of interpretation of UN convention law of the sea, the US military can and will operate in that region. The United States is also called the clear claims consistent with international law, and that’s being called into question by the Philippines at the international tribunal of the law of the sea, that this nine dash line cannot possibly be fully compliant with UN convention law of the sea, which China is a signatory of. So that’s one of the positions with the Philippines.

Thomas J. Christensen:
The other position is that China is taking illegal actions that are inconsistent with the UN convention law of the sea. In fact, in places like Scarborough Shoal where a lagoon has been sealed off by the Chinese coast guard to prevent Filipino fishermen from fishing in what is the Filipino [inaudible 00:06:20]. What is not being raised in that case is sovereignty. And the Philippines was very clever not to raise sovereignty because that court would never arbitrate sovereignty unless all the disputants were willing to be involved and China clearly wasn’t. So the Filipino case is actually very smart and it may have implications for future US policy.

Thomas J. Christensen:
There has been the sealing of that lagoon in 2012, which I’ve got a lot of a region upset. There was trying to block resupply of the Sierra Madre off of on second time to show off of a Palo. There has been oil rig activity around here that upset the Vietnamese and ended up leading to a Vietnamese reaction and riots in Vietnam that targeted ethnic Chinese and the kind of extremely nasty way and actually the victims were from Taiwan. So I guess rioters have a one China policy and they went after these poor souls. We invested from Taiwan, Vietnam. People were killed. It was serious business.

Thomas J. Christensen:
There’s been the Island building campaign in various places in the Spratlys which has been seen as very provocative by the neighbors. And harassment of fishermen from various countries including Indonesia, which is not in dispute, they’ve been harassed by Maritain law enforcement ships. And basically what this has done is provided a tense atmosphere in the South China sea that I think is largely unnecessary. And it has led various countries to cooperate more robustly with the United States. Which I think the Obama administration has appropriately taken the advantage of to improve relations with the Philippines in terms of [inaudible 00:52:10] access, improve relationships with Malaysia in terms of airstrip access for surveillance planes. Improved relations with Vietnam on the defense of it.

Thomas J. Christensen:
So I support a lot of the things the Obama administration has done in the South China sea, including the freedom of navigation operations. I wish those freedom of navigation operations however, were more quiet. They should have happened earlier. They should happen more frequently than they have and they shouldn’t be on the front page of the newspapers. Because the whole point of freedom of navigation operations is to say this is normal activity. You could build a sand pile, we’ll complain about it diplomatically, but it’s not going to prevent us from sailing right by the sand pile, which has no status. Right? So that’s what you do quietly. And China will notice, the US Navy is operating. They will notice. You can tell the allies if the allies don’t notice. It doesn’t have to be in the front page. Because when it’s in the front page, you’re calling out the Chinese government. And I tried to describe before why that isn’t an optimally good idea. Because that just adds tension where it’s not necessary. There’ll be enough tension over the existence of the U S Navy. So just do it.

Thomas J. Christensen:
And then we do these general operations in the South China sea, like the aircraft carrier Stennis was about here and secretary of defense flew out there and the Filipino defense minister flew out there and this and that. That’s all fine. I think it’s a little melodramatic. I think it’s great to have the carriers go through there on occasion. I think it’s a little melodramatic to have the Sec. Def. visit the carrier while it’s out there and make a big public relations. Because it unnecessarily again, calls out countries nationalists reactions.

Thomas J. Christensen:
But the bigger problem is this, I’ll conclude with this. The bigger problem is a lot of the struggles in the South China sea are not struggles where aircraft carriers are the most appropriate tools of diplomacy. Those aircraft carriers are designed to fight major States with major capabilities. Right? And what we’re dealing with in the South China sea increasingly is China increasing its presence through the use of what are called white hulls Coast Guard ships, not Navy ships. Dredgers that dig up sand and produce artificial islands. And increasingly what’s called the Maritime Militia.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Fishermen are tough people to begin with. But a bunch of tough fishermen in China have signed up for military service. And they carry rifles and small arms and they go out to these disputed areas and they coerce and intimidate fishermen from other countries and they establish a Chinese presence. Are you really going to use an aircraft carrier against them? Right? So it’s not so much that I want to abolish the aircraft carrier as a tool of U S diplomacy. It’s just that it’s not always the proper tool. And what I would rather see is the United States go on a very robust initiative to increase the Maritime awareness and the law enforcement and Naval capability of China’s neighbors. Because they’re the ones who actually have the claims. They’re the ones who have the dogs in the fight. And just make it more costly for China to try to bully its way to getting all of the claims, the disputed claims.

Thomas J. Christensen:
And in that process, the US isn’t taking sides. US isn’t saying we agree with the Filipino claims or the Malaysian claims. Just saying you can’t get all of the claimed islands through aggression and bullying without a high cost. And that seems like an inappropriate strategy. And at the end of the day it’s their fight, not the US fight. And sometimes I worry that some of the disputants wanted to fight to the last American. And that’s not a desirable outcome from the United States. So the United States can help. And one of the things the US can do is to provide situational awareness.

Thomas J. Christensen:
And in the process the United States should continue to take its position on the sovereignty the way it has, stick to international law, stick to international law, stick to international law. It will be mightily helpful if the US Congress would pass ratify the UN convention law of the sea. Very difficult to do. Going back to the Reagan administration, but it would it be mightily helpful for the US strategy if it was based on a law that the US had ratified? But we do follow it so we can still follow up without having been ratified. But then we have to be consistent. And there’s a Japanese claim way out here in Okinotorishima, which is a bunch of rocks with a bunch of sand. And it’s not an Island in the Japanese claim. Easy around it. They’re our allies. We don’t want to call the Japanese out on that and my understanding is that there’s places way out of the Pacific where the US does the same thing but we should stop doing it.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Let’s be consistent because peace and stability in East Asia is so important to the United States and the world. It’s worth giving up a couple of fisheries so that we can have a strategy built on principle that we can follow. And the goal again isn’t to deprive China or any given reefer rock or Island. It’s to prevent the Island disputes from being settled through coordinating force and keeping the region stent. Let it be negotiating, encourage negotiation. And it should be able to be worked out and then everyone will benefit. China will benefit. The United States will benefit.

Thomas J. Christensen:
And I’ll just close with this, it’s not a zero sum game. It’s not a cold war and it’s not a zero sum game. It’s just really complicated. It’s potentially really dangerous and it has to be managed well. And again, I’m tremendously honored to speak here and the Harry Harding auditorium at the Gaston Sigur memorial lecture because those two people for me, they’re my heroes. So thanks.

Speaker 2:
Tom’s is going to take Q and A for a bit.

Thomas J. Christensen:
For as long as you like.

Speaker 2:
So as he calls on you-

Thomas J. Christensen:
I like my job [crosstalk 00:14:27].

Speaker 2:
Please identify yourself before you start. But I get the first one. Whether intentional or not you’re now you made a point of not referring to specific leaders in specific countries, and this is really about the national interest, but about growing trends in the region. Leaving aside the specific headaches in the United States or whether Xi Jinping remains president. How much of this is influenced by administrations or your leaders or how much sort of basic differences between how the patients are perceiving their interest in the region?

Thomas J. Christensen:
Well, I think public diplomacy is really important. And public diplomacy is often the first victim of domestic politics in every country. So in this time complex environment, the signals that countries send are important. I agree with a lot of the policies that the Obama administration has raised in East Asia, but I really think the pivot language was incredibly unfortunate and consequential. Because it signals something that was unnecessarily confrontational, fed into domestic debates in China into about what the United States was and wasn’t about and it fueled the types of people in those debates that we don’t want to see win the debates. And it made it very hard for the people that we’d like to see win debates in China win.

Thomas J. Christensen:
So again, you know that’s it consequentially. I think that was driven largely by US domestic politics by a new administration that wanted to say we’re withdrawing from two Wars, but we’re still very muscular in international security affairs, so we’re pivoting to Asia. And the dependent has problems in many different ways. One of them being that it makes the United States seem like it has strategic ADHD and that they can only do one thing at once. Which means even, you’re trying to, I see my student here who’s heard me say this before. For instance… Good to see you. It is designed to reassure the Asian allies and partners that were there in a robust way, but it has to be in the back of their mind. If you pivot it in, you could pivot out so it doesn’t even check that box. And then every other ally and friend around the world thinks, why are you getting away from us?

Thomas J. Christensen:
So it’s just not a good structure. And to the Obama administration’s credit, they stopped saying it themselves. So it’s not just me who was critical apparently, it was an internal discussion. So I think that’s important. If you look at Xi Jinping as opposed to who didn’t Hu Jintao, I do think it makes a difference, but I think the result is largely the same. But the process is different. This is just my interpretation. It’s very hard to tell. The Chinese system is not particularly transparent. But my sense on the Hu Jintao era after the financial crisis, there was a kind of group leadership and people watching each other’s backs on nationalist issues in the transition process to try to make sure that you looked sufficiently robust, the defensive about China’s expensive sovereignty claims in the region and that had a negative influence.

Thomas J. Christensen:
I think since she’s Xi Jinping took over there’s a different dynamic which is Xi Jinping wants to restructure the economy. He wants to clean up the party in dramatic ways and to do those things. He believes he needs to portray himself as a great leader who gets things done and takes no flack. Which is a very different dynamic than Hu Jintao era, but it plays out the same on these sovereignty disputes. A leader who gets things done secures China’s long held plains. A leader that takes no flack pushes back hard when there’s a challenge from the Philippines or there’s a challenge from Japan or there’s a challenge from the Unites States. So you’re still in the same cell, the two by two, even though the process is different. So I do, I do think it matters. And domestic politics is a big part of all this. One of the problems is all these countries save Japan, had post-colonial nationals narratives as domestic legitimizing. Whether it’s a democracy or not democracy in East Asia.

Thomas J. Christensen:
So that complicates these disputes. In a hundred years, historians are writing that the United States and China fought a war over a beached ship at the second Scarborough Shoal. An intentionally beached ship, which was declared a Navy ship. That would be a disaster. But it doesn’t take a tremendous amount of imagination to get there. That’s the scary thing about these disputes. It doesn’t take a tremendous amount of imagination to get there. You don’t have to be true science fiction authors to write that chapter of the history book from 2,125. And that’s something that we got to be able to deal with. Or fishing rights in some lagoon. Marco?

Marco:
If you were-

Thomas J. Christensen:
Nice to see you, Marco.

Marco:
Good to see you. If you were going to super impose economic diplomacy and trade diplomacy in the South China sea, what picture would you get? Would it be possible that either trade or economic disputes would actually exacerbate problems of jurisdiction regarding the islands [crosstalk 00:01:04:01]?

Thomas J. Christensen:
Well, certainly economic disputes could because if some of these regions, the Blue Dragon Region in the Southern part of Vietnam, Reed bank, which is close to that beached ship, actually have natural resources that are exploitable. The question is how many. And you understand economics. So this is Marco, we worked in the government together. He was posted in Beijing. I think Spelman is here. I have a lot of my colleagues here. So you have areas that have economic benefit for the people controlling it. So that’s a problem. And then you have fisheries. And fisheries are important. I mean it doesn’t sound like a world peace issue, but fisheries in Asia are very important economic assets. So controlling that lagoon and keeping the Filipino fishermen out is important to a lot of people in the Philippines and they vote and it’s a democracy.

Thomas J. Christensen:
So that’s a potential source of that. But I think that broader thing I described where Malaysia is producing lots of microchips that are going into computers in the Shun Jun area that are funded from Taiwan using Japanese parts, that’s a force for peace. It would be insane to break those chains over rocks and reefs. Right? So you can’t prove that because as a counterfactual, it’s the dogs that don’t bark. But I believe that this region would already be in conflict if it weren’t for that economic independence. You know, because these things are very emotional issues. And if cost weren’t very high to assert your claims more robustly, they probably already would have been asserted. And the Japan’s… There’s problems with Japan going back to 2010 over Senkaku islands. The Japanese investment patterns has not recovered to this day towards China. And that produces a lot of jobs in China. So there are real costs to these disputes.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Yes, ma’am. Oh, she’s goi-

Thomas J. Christensen:
Yes, ma’am. Oh, she didn’t tape me. Okay. I’m being taped all the time, I think.

Nadia:
Welcome back. Nadia Tsao, the Liberty Times.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Yeah.

Nadia:
You mentioned Taiwan, when you were serving in the government, now with the inauguration of the President again-

Thomas J. Christensen:
Yeah.

Nadia:
Do you see a different dynamic? Some people predict that based on Xi Jinping actions in South China Sea, East China Sea he’s a more aggressive leader. Do you believe that he will exercise, put pressure on Taiwan to make the President Tsai.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Wow, thanks. You know, there’s nothing like a Taiwan question that turns me back into my official government load. Right. I will not answer a hypothetical incident. It’s just, it’s just the nature of the question. Like it’s an instinct that I developed over two years system, but now I’m going to say nothing. Right. It’s a good question. I don’t know the answer, because I don’t know president Xi Jinping personally, and I spent 45 minutes in a room with him when I was Deputy Assistant Secretary. He was Vice President. I was impressed with his intelligence. I watched what’s happened in the South China Sea.

Thomas J. Christensen:
It doesn’t give me a lot of optimism about how moderately he’ll respond to perceived challenges from Taiwan. I’ve known President Tsai, I have met her many times over the years. I have tremendous respect for her. I think she’s smart. I expect her to adopt modern policies. Whether they will be satisfactory to the mainland, and the mainland will not push against her, remains to be seen. But, I really believe in the current era, the most likely cause of tension in Cross-Strait relations will be mainland disappointment. And that’s unfortunate. This idea that somehow Taiwan should parrot various phrases that previous Taiwan leaders have stated publicly, like the 1992 consensus. In order to set, maintain or create or whatever verb you want to use, a foundation for stable Cross-Strait relations. I don’t think that that should be necessary for stable Cross-Strait relations. And I hope that the two sides can find a way to work around these types of differences.

Thomas J. Christensen:
I don’t expect President Tsai to parrot those phrases. That’s not what her party’s about. But I don’t see conflict across the Taiwan cities anything but avoidable. It should be avoided. It would be a disaster, and cooler heads should prevail. So, that’s what I hope for. Hope isn’t a strategy. There’s things that countries can do to maximize the chance that that happens. But I think the big thing is I’ve been concerned and a little bit worried about some of the media reporting in China. In the official media, about expectations for future Taiwan leaders to repeat things like the 1992 consensus, which I think are unrealistic expectations. So, the question is how when those unrealistic expectations are not met, how does the mainland respond? I don’t have an answer. One would hope that someone who’s as smart as Xi Jinping would not do something counterproductive, but I can’t guarantee that that’s the case. I know that’s an unsatisfactory answer, but I don’t think it was only Yogi Berra but Yogi Berra said the future, it’s hard to do predictions, particularly about the future.

Speaker 3:
That’s great.

Speaker 4:
Tom, thanks very much for this presentation of the problem that we’re facing in the South China Sea. A lot of the measures that you suggested, I think you’re aware, these are already underway, doing a lot of these things are in our time awareness and capacity building region and so forth.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Yeah, I don’t know how much, it’s hard to tell and I haven’t gotten [crosstalk 01:10:15].

Speaker 4:
Get the Chinese to stop and so the debate is full of frustrated people here and-

Thomas J. Christensen:
Get the Chinese to stop what though?

Speaker 4:
Stop the expansion we’re seeing in the South China Sea-

Thomas J. Christensen:
You mean the building of islands.

Speaker 4:
[crosstalk 01:10:29] using intimidating, coercive mechanisms.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Yeah.

Speaker 4:
[inaudible 01:10:35] But let me-

Thomas J. Christensen:
Yeah. Okay.

Speaker 4:
Because I think that the [inaudible 01:10:38] is now reaching Washington is reaching to looking at the United States’ style of dealing with this issue as part of the problem. And I wanted to get your reaction to this and let me explain what I’m saying.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Yeah, sure.

Speaker 4:
One second.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Yeah, I’m trying to figure it out.

Speaker 4:
Obama is very cautious, incremental, transparent, predictable. He doesn’t let the issues spill over from one to the other, and he doesn’t let them get in the way of progress in important issues like climate change and things like that. And that makes it a situation with the opponent, it’s easier to read the United States, and it’s easy to see that what if they do expand some more, the so called salami slicing is not going to lead to much of a reaction.

Speaker 4:
And so there’s more attention being devoted to this and the discussions right now saying well jeepers, maybe the United States is a bit of an enabler in this situation.

Speaker 4:
The style of policy and action is such that an opponent like China in this case. It can read it easily. Okay. Expand easily and the consequences of Obama.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Okay. I’m not so sure it’s an accurate description of the reality. I’m not here to praise the Obama administration or criticize it. I think the United States has done some things that have gotten the attention of China that were relatively surprising. Various activities with aircraft for example, in various areas. Some of them big, honking aircraft like B-52’s in the East China Sea, the South China Sea. So, I don’t think it’s the case that, actors in the region, whether it be China or the other actors are always predicting exactly what the United States would do.

Thomas J. Christensen:
I do think that complaining about the island building of China undisputed and disputed waters, reefs, islands, rocks, whatever it is, and complaining that it’s provocative and taking advantage of those provocations to strengthen the U.S. military position in the region is something that’s likely to get their attention. And it goes back to what I described before, which is China’s strategy of developing asymmetric capabilities that can raise the cost of foreign deployed U.S. forces. It’s incredibly important when the United States is able to set up multiple new basins in a place like the Philippines, not just for the South China Sea, but for broad contingencies, because that increases the number of targets for Chinese missile leaders and others in the potential conflict. Incredibly important for regional awareness, which is a big part of American military advantage to be able to operate these new P-8 aircraft out of Malaysia.

Thomas J. Christensen:
None of that would’ve been possible likely given the post-colonial nationalist countries will often run against the U.S. if China weren’t seen as being assertive, aggressive. I don’t want to even say, aggressive I think of the use of force, so I’ll say assertive instead of aggressive. I haven’t seen Chinese influence. So, here in these regions, China is building these islands, I think we should complain about them. They’re not the first to build islands and not being a defense lawyer for China here. The Vietnamese built islands, the Filipinos built islands. Chinese are the last to do it, but they do it in a big way because they’re China. So they built a lot of them, and it’s undeniably destabilizing and you complain about it. But, really the most important thing from a U.S. perspective, I believe, is how these things are used.

Thomas J. Christensen:
So, the fact that they put airstrips on them is concerning. And it’s not concerning for the reasons that many people often state. It’s not concerning because those airstrips can be used against the United States. That would be extremely stupid for an adversary to use airstrips on isolated sand piles against the U.S. military. It would be a very bad place to be, as a soldier or an airman from a foreign country, if that sand pile is being used against the U.S. military. But, where it is quite dangerous, is you have these other claims from other disputants. If China started to use those artificial islands as launching pads for offenses against the holdings of other states, that would be something that would be extremely destabilizing for the region, and would run against stated U.S. policy, which is that the disputes be handled peacefully, and that would provide an opportunity for a more direct to U.S. approach toward the artificial islands than has been provided by China or the other disputants to date, it seems to me.

Thomas J. Christensen:
And that, I think, can be determined and I think that’s really the destabilizing aspect of those islands to begin with. So, if you can deter that kind of use of the islands, then you’ve done a lot. And then there’s the issue of this ITLOS case, and that’s supposed to come to a head as you know Bob, I’m really talking to the rest of the room, because I know you’re an expert on this stuff, but the ITLOS case is likely to come to pass in the next several weeks and there’s a very good chance that one of the disputed areas, Scarborough Shoal, will be decided in a way that creates a challenge for U.S. policy in the region. If the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea says that China’s activities in the Filipino exclusive economic zone are inconsistent, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and that it is illegal for China to block that lagoon, and the Filipino send fishermen there with coastguards, then there’s going to be a real issue for the United States. Because the international court, the viewer strategy again, is based on international law.

Thomas J. Christensen:
International law would be challenged by the Chinese if they challenge the Filipino ships and Filipino ships, not the reef itself, are part of the U.S.-Philippine Alliance. And then there’s a real challenge, and I think that sort of dynamic can be presented to the Chinese in ways that could alter the behavior. Will it stop them from increasing the presence in the South China Sea altogether? I don’t think so. I think there are certain outcomes from U.S. Strategic policy that are really unattainable, but shouldn’t be seen as the standard of success or failure. China is getting bigger and has more capacity. It has these claims for a long time. There are going to be more Chinese boats in the South China Sea over time, there’s going to be more Chinese activity in the South China Sea too. The question is, how destabilizing will that activity be? How violent will it be, and how much will it harm the interests of the region, the world and the United States in the process?

Thomas J. Christensen:
So, I don’t say United States has failed to deter China from building artificial islands. I don’t think that’s a standard of success or failure in that the United States should be held to. I think it is destabilizing of China to build it. I think it’s been counterproductive for China’s own national security, in getting the neighbors upset about China. China’s diplomacy in Southeast Asia was fantastically successful, I outlined this in my book, from 1997 to 2008, reassuring its neighbors that China’s rise was going to be something that was good for everybody in the region, and China has largely scrapped that since 2009, so it’s not good for China either. This is not a zero sum game. We’ve all lost, in a sense, from these provocative activities, and China has lost the most I would say.

Thomas J. Christensen:
So, knowing the book from which some of these comments were derived, I try not to make scorecards that the Obama administration did well, that the Bush administration did well. My confession is I’m a lifelong independent, of sometimes say, I’m like Groucho Marx. I would never join a party that would have me as a member. So a Groucho Marxist maybe. But, the goal is really to prescribe, proudly served in a Republican administration, but the goal is to try to learn the lessons of what’s worked and not worked in the past, so that whoever’s elected in the future will have a better playbook. And that’s really the goal. So I don’t want to beat up the Obama administration and will point out things that I think we did wrong. Thanks. It’s a long answer to a very big question. Yes, sir.

Speaker 5:
[inaudible 01:19:46] with the [inaudible 01:19:47] problems. …………But, somewhere in the middle, you talked about Philippine strategy, even attacking China. I lived in this country from 1917, before Nixon’s visit to China there were a lot of right-wing nuts who used to ask me since I was from India, if the United States might nuke China, confused me, I said that would be barbaric if it did. So given, I mean, with American involvement in the Palestinian issue, Afghanistan, and Iraq, we’ve got so much terrorism that says America is strong, Europe is high-strength. If you ever gotten into conflict, a military conflict with China, the amount of terrorism would multiply 100-1,000 from what it is now, so shouldn’t the United States think of those kinds of things. [inaudible 01:20:45]

Thomas J. Christensen:
Could the United States think? [crosstalk 01:20:45] Okay. [crosstalk 01:20:47] I would say it was very dangerous if the United States didn’t think of these kind of things. If they came [crosstalk 01:20:52] to the conclusion that a nuclear exchange between China and the United States is a very bad thing that would be a good conclusion to draw. But, you would have to think about it first, before you came to that conclusion.

Speaker 5:
You’re right.

Thomas J. Christensen:
So I think the United States is obliged, with its Alliance system in Asia, and with its interest in East Asia, to think about what may or may not cause a conflict with China and how it would be prosecuted.

Thomas J. Christensen:
And what would concern me is if their thought process was relatively shallow, where some of those normal reactions of the U.S. military were to be employed. And I was, what I’m trying to suggest is that the United States needs to have more things like active defense of foreign deployed forces, rather than relying on robust attacks into the mainland, so that a President would have more realistic and more serious options if push were to come to shove. And I don’t think push needs to come to shove, so I don’t want to come across. But you can’t, this idea that you get peace by avoiding talking about war I think is just, it’s just fantastic and unrealistic. [crosstalk 01:21:57] You have to think through.

Speaker 5:
[crosstalk 01:21:58] You have to think seriously about what the other side is also doing.

Thomas J. Christensen:
Absolutely they are. And, so we have to as well. So, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to lead to war, but you have to think about it. And it’s interesting, my title at Princeton, and maybe I’ll close with this because you want to wrap up right, is William P. Boswell, Professor of World Politics of Peace and War. It’s a very long title. Not as long as my title in the State Department, but it’s very long. The gentleman who donated the money to Princeton, William P. Boswell was an energy, I don’t want to say tycoon. He was a very successful energy business person in Ohio. He had a house that was a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home. He was a very successful Princeton grad. But, before he was a successful Princeton grad, he was a warrior in East Asia who fought in Burma against the Japanese. He got a Bronze Star, and when he came back to Princeton, he finished and he went into business, was very successful and he donated enough money for two chairs in his name.

Thomas J. Christensen:
And he said, “Put the peace before war.” I talked to his son about it all right, but don’t leave [inaudible 01:23:07] peace at. Just put the peace before war because peace is a lot better than war. He’s seen war. So I, this is a good way to close, right? But you have to think about the war piece and you know, the United States has in its history, a period in which it says war is bad. Stay away from it. And there’s a lot of bad things on the campaign trail. This is one of them, on this year’s campaign trail, this idea of war is bad, so stay away from, don’t think about it. Right? And what that does is it leaves regions to fester and to escalate to a point where the United States ends up having to fight its way back in. And that’s the much worse world than the U.S. being present, being strong and moderate at the same time, and keeping the peace, so that those conflicts never happen.

Thomas J. Christensen:
And, I think that’s a good place to close because again, who did a better job of that in Asia for U.S. ideals in places like Korea and keeping the peace during the cold war than Gaston Sigur and I’m tremendously honored to give the annual lecture. Thanks to Bruce and David and everyone else involved in having me here. And thanks to Mike who did a tremendous job with all the logistics. I really appreciate it. And thanks to the family, honoring me with your presence. Thanks so much. [inaudible 00:18:36].

Speaker 6:
[inaudible 01:24:36]

Thomas J. Christensen:
Yeah, I don’t think we should stop [inaudible 01:24:38]. I’ve been here before.

05/22/2017: The 22nd Annual Gaston Sigur Memorial Lecture: Lessons from Korea: Korea’s Democracy After 30 Years with Ambassador Kathleen Stephens

Monday, May 22, 2017

6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

City View Room, 7th Floor

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

Kathleen Stephens is a former U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Stephens’ diplomatic career included serving as acting under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs in 2012;

Transcript

Gregg Brazinsky:
… all of you to the Gaston Sigur Memorial Lecture. The Sigur… I’m just briefly going to talk about the Sigur Center and tonight’s guest. The Sigur Center for Asian Studies’ mission is to increase the quality and broaden the scope of scholarly research and publication about Asia, and to promote US Asian scholarly interaction while educating a new generation of students, scholars, analysts, and policy makers. The Sigur Center promotes research and policy analysis on all different parts of Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. And it has an active program of publishing, teaching, public events, and policy engagement.

Gregg Brazinsky:
The Center offers students the largest Asian studies program in Washington DC metropolitan region with around 70 faculty members at GW who work on Asia. The Center was founded in 1991 out of the Sino-Soviet Institute and it was named for Gaston Sigur, a Japan specialist who had a long and distinguished career at the George Washington University, the National Security Council, and the US Department of State. And it’s also a particular pleasure that today we have four members of a Gaston Sigur’s family with us in the audience.

Gregg Brazinsky:
The Sigur Memorial Lecture is an annual event which was created with the intent of bringing an eminent policy maker or policy practitioner or scholar to the university every year to give an address related to the politics, culture, and international relations of East Asia. And today’s lecture in particular is partially to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. This year as our speaker, we are particularly lucky to welcome Ambassador Kathleen Stephens. Ambassador Stevens has a distinguished career in the foreign service. This includes serving as acting under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs in 2012, as US ambassador to the Republic of Korea between 2008 and 2011, as principal deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and public affairs from 2005 to 2007, and deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs from 2003 to 2005.

Gregg Brazinsky:
She’s also won a large number of honors and awards, which I’m not going read the full list here. That she’s received the 2009 Presidential Meritorious Service Award. She’s also received recognition from the Korean government. She received the Sejong Cultural prize in 2013. And in 2011 the Pacific Century Institute’s Building Bridges Award, as well as the Outstanding Achievement Award from the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea. Please join me in welcoming Ambassador Kathleen Stephens.

Kathleen Stephens:
Thank you. Well Gregg, thank you very much and good evening everyone. I’m going to move this aside. I’m not going to risk my luck and your patience with trying to [inaudible 00:03:49]. Thanks again for that really kind introduction. I am delighted to be back here at a George Washington University at the Gaston Sigur Center for Asian Studies, and I am so honored to be delivering this 22nd Memorial Lecture on this 22nd day of May. It’s a particular delight to see four members of the Sigur family here who have continued the tradition of public service that Gaston Sigur epitomized. Thank you. Thank you for being here. I know that these lectures over the years have brought many distinguished speakers to this podium to address a wide range of topics. And the scope of the subject matter, I know from Gregg over the years, reflects, well, I think the Center’s growth and maturation, and it’s a fitting legacy to Dr. Sigur, whose own career was one of such exceptional variety and impact.

Kathleen Stephens:
I understand tonight’s lecture is the first time that we ate first and then are speaking afterwards. Gregg probably, maybe didn’t know that one of my favorite to a Korean expressions, I have many favorite Korean expressions, is [foreign language 00:05:00], even when you go to the Diamond Mountains, you should eat first. So thank you for that. I know it makes for a more content audience. And what I’m going to try to do, although I have a rather formidable list of notes here, when we start talking about lessons, I have a lot of lessons, I guess. Maybe I’m trying to really get into my second career. I no longer work for the US government, so don’t take anything I say too seriously or hold against the US government. But I do want to try to make some comments even though they’re somewhat lengthy, a little bit of a trip down history and memory lane, and then really open up to a discussion because we really have quite an extraordinary group of people here, many of whom I know, and many of whom I’ve known for years.

Kathleen Stephens:
So thank you all for coming. But I was reminded, actually this weekend and earlier today, of Gaston Sigur’s career. I was in New York, as I was saying the family, earlier today where I was attending a trustee meeting of the Asia Foundation. As many of you know, Gaston Sigur worked 16 years for the Asia Foundation in Afghanistan, Japan, and San Francisco. And I was thinking about how that experience really prepared him so well for his subsequent work in academia and in government. I think that has to do with what the Asia Foundation is, and what is too often missing in academic, if I may say, and government circles in terms of on the ground and in country experience and expertise. So I’ll stop talking about the Asia Foundation in a minute, but maybe another lecture could talk about that because I think that’s an example of the kind of engagement and soft power that’s more important now than ever.

Kathleen Stephens:
But tonight I am going to focus on Korea. When Professor Brazinsky invited me some months ago to be this year speaker, he said I could talk about anything I liked, he didn’t say for as long as I like, but as long as it was about Korea. And so I suggested to him a topic that’s been kind of rattling around in my head for a long time. It’s something I just loosely call lessons from Korea. Now I personally have learned a lot from… I’ve been deeply influenced by Korea and by the Korean people. I know I’m not alone in this room tonight in that experience. But even more importantly, I think there’s a lot we can and need to learn about what works and doesn’t work and US foreign policy formation, implementation, and how we approach difficult issues, and working with allies, when it comes to our involvement Korea over the past 70 plus years. And some of these lessons, especially maybe the more painful ones, are especially important as we continue to address the challenges that North Korea presents.

Kathleen Stephens:
But I’m not going to talk, at least in my prepared remarks tonight, about North Korea. Gregg and I agreed that tonight is a good time, and I think this is a perfect venue and the perfect audience, to recall and reflect upon the events of 1987. Was it really 30 years ago [Steve 00:07:55]? The year that was the tipping point and Korea’s democratization, a year that saw ever-growing numbers of Koreans protesting in the streets, demanding the right to elect their president with their own hands. And getting it.

Kathleen Stephens:
Now just two weeks ago, and it was it really only two weeks ago, South Koreans for the seventh time since 1987 elected a new president in a democratic and free election. That election also came after weeks of protest, months, actually, of protest. Massive, peaceful, in the streets of Seoul and other South Korean cities. And this time the demand was the removal from office of a president, a democratically elected president, but one who had lost their confidence and trust, their [foreign language 00:08:48]. And they got it. Park Geun-hye was impeached by the national assembly and then removed from office by a constitutional court, roughly 11 months before her one term presidency would have ended in the normal constitutional cycle.

Kathleen Stephens:
So there’s a lot of lessons I want to reflect on. One lesson I wasn’t really thinking about, but I was telling someone before I came here that this was what I was planning on doing, and someone said, “well, did you see the Washington Post last Friday?” There was a headline, let me say, and online, the headline was, “South Koreans to Americans, we’ll teach you how to impeach a president.” It wasn’t really the lesson I was going to talk about tonight, and maybe we’ll leave that along with North Korea for questions and answers, or our side conversations. But I do hope that a kind of historical look back to 1987 and the ensuing years will help us think about issues that have fresh salience today throughout the world. And they do include things such as should, and if so, how, can the US promote democracies in other countries?

Kathleen Stephens:
What can we learn from Korea’s own democratic journey? And what can other countries learn? It may be more than we thought. Now you’re probably thinking if I’m going to describe 30 plus years of Korea’s politics and its political development before even getting to what’s happening now, we’re going to be here all night. So I want to assure you I won’t even try to do that, but I’m going to suggest a little bit of reading, if I could be slightly academic. And one great book to read is of course Gregg’s own book, Nation Building in South Korea. I may make mention of that a little later. But I’m also drawing from some memoirs by people I knew or worked with over the years, because I was talking about this mostly for an American perspective. I guess kind of obviously. This includes a time, as I’ll talk about, when I was an active duty foreign service officer. Don Oberdorfer for his The Two Koreas.

Kathleen Stephens:
He has a good chapter there on the events of 1987 and prior. And books of two other former American ambassadors in Seoul, William Gleysteen’s, Massive Entanglement, Marginal Influence. The title kind of says it all, but written about an earlier period of course. Also very important, ’79 and ’80. And my own former bosses book, the late James Lilley China Hand, and his chapter on Korean democratization. And actually there’s also an exhibition at the Wilson Center starting this Friday on Korean democratization after 30 years. Thursday, Thursday. And so I decided rather than to have slides, we’ll just go and see the exhibition. But what I’m going to try to do tonight, with your indulgence, is to give you a fairly personal account of what I witnessed and experience from my little vantage point and learned as a young foreign server, at least younger, foreign service officer assigned to Korea from 1983 to 1989, trying to make sense of Korea’s churning political scene, trying to understand, explain, and sometimes, in small ways, influence Korean and American attitudes and approaches.

Kathleen Stephens:
Now I guess another proviso, there’s a Mark Twain saying, that as I get older I have increasingly vivid memories of things that never occurred. So if something seems a little jumbled later on, you can certainly remind me. But one thing I certainly do remember very, very well is the far, far larger and really key role that Dr. Gaston Sigur played during those years. First at the Reagan White House, and then as assistant secretary for East Asia at the state department. I admired him then, and now 30 years later I admire him even more. But so I was pretty new to the foreign service. I served a couple of years in China. Just as we, US and China, normalized relations in the early ’80s. And then I was thrilled to be assigned to Seoul’s political section in 1983. I’d been a Peace Corps volunteer in the ’70s I knew a little bit of Korea.

Kathleen Stephens:
I was ready to go. And I wanted to be a political officer. Others in the embassy were not so enthused with the prospect of a woman in the political section. I was told repeatedly, and always I was told, with the best intentions, mostly by Americans, that I was the first woman to even want that job. Because Korean politics was such a man’s world that required drinking and carousing and all kinds of things, I couldn’t possibly be expected to comprehend or participate in. Nevertheless, I persevered. And after nine months of Korean language training to make me conversant in the language of politics, labor unions, and human rights, or at least to have some sense of what was being said to me, all these things were important to my new job covering Korea’s domestic political scene, I started that job. Trying to get to know, trying to understand and report on Korea’s internal politics, especially at student labor and opposition scene.

Kathleen Stephens:
So Korea in those days, in the ’80s, I know a lot of you weren’t even born then, so stick with me. It was a long way from the rural Park Chung-hee era Korea I’d experienced in the 1970s. So one lesson is, even if it’s a few years don’t rely too much on your previous experience. It helps, but you got to be open to what’s changed. And I certainly reminded myself of that year after year as I came back to see not only a much changed Korea, but this country as well. But in any event, when I was in Korea in the ’70s, talk of politics was essentially forbidden. There was a midnight to 4:00 AM curfew throughout the country. And my treasured copy of Time magazine in the ’70s arrived each week by Korean mail, blacked out and torn up beyond use by Korean censors. And I was back a few years later, 1984. Obviously a lot had changed. And when I started my job in the political section, Chun Doo-hwan had ruled the country since 1980.

Kathleen Stephens:
The economy was booming. Double digit growth in many years. Seoul had won the right to host the summer Olympics in 1988. Chun had promised he was going to step down in 1987 after a single seven year term, and that this was going to be his contribution to Korea’s political development, that he would not stay in office until literally the end as Park Chung-hee had done. And he would preside over Korea’s first peaceful transfer of power. But all those promises, all that economic growth, didn’t erase the deep antipathy and suspicion, in many quarters hatred, to a Korean leader who had seized power through a military coup, brutally suppressed citizen calls for democracy, most bloodily of course in Gwangju and May, 1980. And in fact, as the economy grew, as people prospered, as South Koreans watched people power gain ground in places like the Philippines, in those years, Korean university students, historically the conscience of the nation, increasingly found support for their democratization calls from a growing, urban, middle-class.

Kathleen Stephens:
A slowly liberalizing political environment, some of this liberalization done under some American pressure. If I seem to overemphasize the American role, I’m not ignoring what else happened, but that’s just where I’m putting a bit of emphasis. But this liberalized and political climate included the return of opposition dissident Kim Dae Jung from his exile in the United States. And together with previously jailed or banned oppositionists, they shocked the Chun regime with an unexpectedly strong showing in the parliamentary elections in 1985. The heavy handed, to say the least, police response to growing student and labor protests, massive lashings of pepper gas, the use of torture against suspected student radicals, all this further alienated the Korean public and strained US South Korean relations.

Kathleen Stephens:
President Chun continued to emphasize he was determined to step down in 1987, after finishing his seven year term. But as that term drew near, and as I think about this year, 30 years ago now, many Koreans doubted whether he really intended to relinquish power, or if he intended to, while should I say more of a Putin, and to retain some kind of behind the scenes power.

Kathleen Stephens:
There was an indirect electoral college method in place that was clearly designed to ensure that Chun’s long time friend and fellow former army general, Roh Tae-woo, would be his successor. And as these demonstrations gained force, gained steam, over a period of years and months, they focused increasingly, and with increasing support on one major easy to understand demand. It’s kind of like a branding I suppose. I mean there were many, many things that, especially the students, wanted to see addressed, but the slogan became, we want to elect our president by our own hand. We’re ready for that. And they gained a lot of support with that in mind. Some Koreans, most especially Korean students, blamed the United States for not doing more to support democracy, or to oppose Chun in 1979 and 1980. And I spent countless hours, really kind of futile hours I suppose, hearing these grievances and trying to respond to them as best I could.

Kathleen Stephens:
They were an apology for what they regarded as the American failure to stop the bloodbath in Gwangju in 1980, after supporting Chun. There were a series of attacks and occupations of American diplomatic facilities, including the firebombing of the US Cultural Center in 1982, and subsequent attempted attacks or occupations of US facilities elsewhere, including the occupation of the US Cultural Center in Seoul in 1985. So it was certainly clear to US officials, and not just political officers running around on the ground, but right up the chain, that a large proportion of Koreans wanted to see a more democratic system.

Kathleen Stephens:
But there was also concern, in the administration, about undermining Chun and his plan to step down with unpredictable consequences in a country is still under threat from North Korea. And it was also conventional wisdom, I’d just say not in every quarter, but in some, and I don’t think… I know this is not something that Dr. Sigur subscribed to, but I would hear senior policy people sometimes say, and scholars, I must say American scholars, that cultures that are heavily influenced by Confucianism were not naturally inclined towards the values of democracy, that this was going to be a slow process and it could not be rushed.

Kathleen Stephens:
During this period there were two horrific North Korean attacks, one on the Korean presidential motorcade in Rangoon in 1983, that almost killed the president, killed many others. And the other blowing up by North Korean agents of the Korean Air civilian flight coming back from the Middle East. But I was hearing from students and oppositions every day, why doesn’t the US do more? And they complained bitterly about US interference and support for dictators. I actually learned years later, when I went back as ambassador, from a South Korean diplomat, by that time in very senior positions, the foreign minister and others, that the Chun Blue House, back then in the ’80s, was always asking the foreign ministry, who is Kathy Stephens? And why was she on so many college campuses and so many demonstrations, seeing so many dissidents? Why wasn’t she acting like a proper diplomat?

Kathleen Stephens:
And I was reminded that the foreign ministry too, they were watching all this, and hoping, and in their own difficult position of trying to… So it was a story, not just the people on the streets but throughout the society looking for change. But that was my job and I loved it. But I want to stress two things that were done publicly. We talked about public diplomacy. There were a lot of private things, two things that were done publicly by very senior American officials that I think had a real impact, and I saw it for myself while I was there. And one was our Secretary of State, George Schultz, who made several visits to Korea.

Kathleen Stephens:
I remember one in particular just right around this time, 1986 I believe, when he was there primarily to show support for the summer Olympics. These were going to be supported and held in safety. And I enjoyed accompanying him to a photo op at Seoul’s spectacular new Olympic Stadium. But we at the embassy had been reporting on the use of torture, and it’d become public that in fact a student had died from torture in police captivity, and Secretary Schultz decided it was time to speak out about this. And I’ll always remember him saying, I don’t if it will have the same impact today, at a press conference simply, in that kind of deep gravelly voice he has, “you don’t torture.” You don’t… that’s all he said. But that diplomacy on torture, backed up by quiet diplomacy, but a clear public message, won us respect. And I felt this myself in my context, that we had not had before.

Kathleen Stephens:
1987 was the tipping point year. The year when President Chun started to actually tighten up again to prepare for an election later that year to elect his designated successor. And it was that year, the beginning of that year, February, 1987, with all this as kind of a backdrop anyways, that our assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs, Dr. Gaston Sigur, gave a speech in New York. I don’t think the speech got a lot of attention in the United States. A lot of stuff going on back then too. But in the speech, he announced US support for the creation of quote, “a new political framework,” unquote, through constitutional and legal reform. And he called for the civilianizing of South Korea’s politics. Now that word, he gave the speech in English obviously, to civilianize, that captured the attention and the imagination of-

Kathleen Stephens:
The attention and the imagination of everybody in Korea. Wow. That was a mess. I remember we talked about how we translate, how we talked about that. A clear message that the United States was looking for something quite different, and hoping for something quite different, as Korea went through its political transition and a civilianized process.

Kathleen Stephens:
It was also during this time in ’87, in this increasingly tense atmosphere, that I made my one and only trip to The Blue House during that era. At that time I was accompanying my DCM, our number two at the embassy, to see a senior member of [Chun’s 00:23:41] staff. And that was when we’d seen in the newspapers and heard elsewhere through our sources, that there was this idea of having re-education camps for student activists, and we went and said, “re-education camps doesn’t sound so good. Are you sure you want to do that?” They didn’t do it, but I think there was still a kind of a tone deafness to what was going on in the country, and also how the US was reacting.

Kathleen Stephens:
Our new ambassador, Jim Lilley, arrived and broke with earlier tradition by meeting both opposition Kim’s, including Kim Dae-jung who was still anathema to South Korea’s elite in a way that’s very hard, I think, to imagine today, and had them to his residence for Independence Day and other events.

Kathleen Stephens:
But after this tumultuous spring of protests in 1987, on June 10th the ruling camp held their party convention. They nominated, to no one’s surprise, Roh Tae-woo as their candidate. And demonstrations seemed like maybe they were just going to tough it out, but then they started to grow again. The international press kind of came in more and more saying, “Is this going to be the next Philippines? More and more attention. There were rumors that martial law might be declared. Students were joined on the street by the so-called necktie brigade of men in suits and women coming out of the small stores. And you could walk down the streets in central Seoul and buy all kinds of makeshift gas masks so that you could try to endure the pepper gas, as more and more people came out. And amidst all this, we got word at the embassy of Seoul that there was a letter coming from president Reagan that needed to be delivered to m.

Kathleen Stephens:
And I remember my boss had a terrible time getting an appointment for our ambassador to go in and deliver this letter. He didn’t want to see it. But finally on June 19th he delivered the letter, it was a very gentle call for political rather than military solutions.

Kathleen Stephens:
And then six days later, Dr. Sigur came to Seoul and saw president Chun went to see Kim Dae-jung and others in the opposition. And that night at a dinner that was hosted by the foreign minister. And I think this is from Dr. Sigur’s own recollections heard from again, some of our friends in the foreign ministry, there’s a fever going on and that fever is democracy and we cannot turn it back and still every day we wondered what would happen. At least at my low level sometimes people think the United States knows everything. If they did, they didn’t tell me and I don’t think we really knew exactly how this was going to play out, but we could see the direction things were going.

Kathleen Stephens:
We had our hopes that this was going to go in the right direction and I arrived at work in the morning, every evening we’d go out and kind of watched the demonstrations, come in the morning, see what was happening, what the word was from Washington on what was being reported in the western press and sit down with journalists some times and talk about what was going on. But I got a phone call from a contact of mine in the Korean government and he said, do you have a television anywhere you can turn on, so I found one and turn it on and Roh Tae-woo. The presidential nominee came before the cameras visibly nervous and announced that he was agreeing to all the opposition’s demands. I still get to chill when I think about it and I went out and I remember another colleague of mine, Steve, I don’t know if you were there that day.

Kathleen Stephens:
But [Ed Dawn 00:00:27:09] was talking to all the journalists and I kind of burst into the room. This is a conference room in the embassy and said, kind of almost like hold the presses. You may want to hear this, I said Roh Tae-woo has just agreed to direct elections and all the journalists jumped up and ran out of the room. What you may do in a while too, but it was thrilling. I’m just trying to think, it was really thrilling. It was just a moment of great electricity and it was a climax, a day we remember. But what followed, and I won’t go into such detail, was equally important, and I would say somewhat unpredictable. Some would say maybe you could predict the two Kims split, even though they said they wouldn’t, the presidential contest became a raucous three-way race, but suddenly in those weeks following, and those months following, instead of going onto demonstrations that were heavily teargassed, we were going out to political rallies with a million people gathered.

Kathleen Stephens:
The hunger for political participation was moving, and inspiring, and a little scary too. What was going to happen? And in the event, of course, Roh Tae-woo benefited from the split between the two Kims and rode democratization and the Olympic wave to victory, and indeed was president when the Olympics came and was very successfully held in Korea in 1988, that’s my kind of summary of kind of how thrilling it was to be in Korea in those years, in the 80s. I left Korea in 1989 and my life and career took a different turn. 89 later that year, the wall fell. I actually ended up going to Yugoslavia just as it was breaking apart. And I spent the next 15 years working on jobs in post cold war Europe. But I took the lessons and I took the inspiration of Korea with me.

Kathleen Stephens:
And one was simply an optimism about the possibilities of positive change and I needed that as I worked in imploding Yugoslavia and I worked later to find a way out of the seemingly endless troubles and frozen troubles of Northern Ireland. But of course another lesson I carried with me was that the United States had a role to play and that individuals at various levels in different roles can make a difference, and then policy can make a difference in actions both small and large. But also a lesson, and again here I’m going to refer to Greg’s book again, the even more than the high policy state votes for the decision to do something in one place and not to do it in another is longer term engagement.

Kathleen Stephens:
What Joe Nye called soft power in some ways, the supporting education exchanges and values that can make a real difference. And this is, I think what you talk about in your book, Nation Building in South Korea, there was underpinning whatever we did right or wrong as the United States, relevant or not, in the 70s and the 80s we were there for decades. In supporting certain values, certain institution building and I think it had an impact. You can imagine in 2005 you’re getting a story of my life here. I’m sorry I returned to Korea for the first time since 1989 this is sort of like being, Rip Van Winkle, right? I mean Roh Tae-woo was president when I left in 1989 Roh Moo-hyun was president when I came back in 2005 as an official from the state department. They had the same last name but they spelled it differently in English, so to remember that.

Kathleen Stephens:
But they had some other differences as well. And in between the two, these two men that I had known as opposition leaders often seen them under house arrest. Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung had both been president, so I have to say it was personally very moving and rewarding to go and see Kim Dae-jung to see Kim Young-sam, to see all these people I’d known and to see what had happened and hadn’t happened. How Korea’s democracy had grown like our own. I think in fits and starts, but overall in an incredibly impressive and positive way. And as part of the Bush administration in 2005, 2006, 2007 I had a role in working with the administration of president Roh Moo-hyun. Sometimes people called them the odd couple or sometimes people used to say about us career relations in those years that it was like [inaudible 00:31:22] music, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.

Kathleen Stephens:
That was another Mark Twain quote I think, but in fact we worked with Roh Moo-hyun’s administration on the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement, right? Agreed under those administrations ratified under the next one. Korean troops in Iraq. Not a very popular war in Korea either, but South Korea sent the third largest contingent of forces to Iraq in those years. And of course the six-party talks where we made progress before we stopped making progress. But that’s another story. And this work of course continued into Lee Myung-bak administration and he was president while I was there as ambassador, when we worked together in the aftermath of the Cheonan ship sinking, the Yeonpyeong shelling and maybe not so much thought about now, but in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008 when Korea joined the… If you like the top table of economies as the chair of the G20 through a very difficult period.

Kathleen Stephens:
To me kind of again, but just kind of my impressions living in Korea again, being in Korea again after 15, 16 years, having left just as this great democratic tipping point had been reached and Korea was on this democratic path. I mean at first I realized I was asking people questions they found were very odd. I tried to get most of those questions out of the way before I actually became ambassador. But I remember going back in 2005 and 2006 and meeting with students and I said, well, what about the military and politics? They looked at me like I was crazy. They hadn’t thought about the notion that military was completely out of politics. Civilian authority had been completely established. Dr. Sigur would have been very pleased. It was civilianisation. The issue of legitimacy had been resolved. Remember in divided Korea, this question of legitimacy has always been something, it really ate at I think South Koreans self confidence and sense of their countries, place in the world.

Kathleen Stephens:
I found Koreans far more confident and this didn’t just come from economic growth. Even more it came from a sense that Korea had joined the world of democratic nations. This strength and security, it didn’t undermine it. That was always I think a false argument. Power had transferred peacefully across the political spectrum and successive administrations, as I’ve already mentioned it dealt with crises, economic security and each case there were some setbacks. I mean, Kim Dae-jung came to power thinking in the first instance, I think he really wanted to focus on inter-korean relations. What was the first thing he had to do a president, he had to deal with the Asian financial crisis and the meltdown and worked very, very closely, not just with the United States but with other partners to do so.

Kathleen Stephens:
The US had worked with all these governments and so I always found it a bit of a myth or at least an over simplification, this kind of conventional wisdom that still exists, I have to say in parts of the US thinking, on Korea that we work better with conservative governments. Maybe there’s some scholars out there who’ve looked at this and you can tell me if you found differently, but I think we’ve both been effected by our election cycles. That could certainly have a big impact on our policy continuity and goals. But I don’t think that there’s a real pattern that you can say that somehow if it’s a conservative government in Seoul it’s going to work better for the Americans.

Kathleen Stephens:
I’m talking about all the positive things I see, I’ll get to. Women’s rights, much improved. South Korea is still very low on a lot of the OEC scoreboards of opportunities and conditions for women, but it really was only with democratization, that pioneers like Lee Tai-young Korea’s first woman lawyer who fought for years, I remember seeing her in Yeouido with her kind of stand there helping women who were trying to get divorces, or get child custody, or get support and had no rights really under the old household registration system. It wasn’t until after democratization and quite a long time after that, some of those structural changes really began to happen.

Kathleen Stephens:
Human rights, I’m going to talk about this again in a very kind of way that I experienced it. The fact that in terms of being a Rip Van Winkle, there was no more corporal punishment in Korea. I worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Korea in the 70s when students, including middle school students were brutally beaten and this was a pattern. I don’t want to embarrass Koreans here. I think it was kind of people didn’t like to talk about it or think about it, but this kind of brutality was pretty common, especially for the young boys through high school, through their military service. And I think really influenced the kind of treatment that university students got when they got picked up for demonstrating. That’s all gone. It’s all gone. It’s unacceptable, it’s not just a matter of protection for political rights, but it’s a new respect I think for broadly speaking, human rights and human dignity.

Kathleen Stephens:
And my favorite one is I saw such a blossoming of creativity in Korea compared to what I’d known in the 70s and the 80s I’m going to have to say I’m very nostalgic about the past. I’m getting old. I have to be nostalgic. And I have wonderful memories of Korea in the 70s but it was a pretty dull place in a lot of ways in terms of people’s ability to express themselves. I’m not talking about politics now, but I am absolutely convinced that without political reform, without openness, without democracy, you might see this is a good thing. There would be no Korean wave, there wouldn’t be K-pop, there wouldn’t be all these kind of amazing cutting edge artists that you see on the Korean scene now. It’s just part and parcel of what comes with it. And I think Korea has been just an extraordinary example of that connection.

Kathleen Stephens:
What are some of the continuing challenges I see? Clearly institutional development has been uneven in Korea. Local autonomy was introduced some years ago. I think about 10 or so years. It’s still relatively new and there actually will be local elections next year. I think this is important, but it still has, I think by Korean zone analysis on all sides of the political spectrum, a long way to go, that vortex of Seoul, the sucking sound of centralization in Korea and in Seoul is still very, very strong. The national assembly is still relatively weak and of course the presidency is still quite strong. However, the one term five-year presidency, which was enshrined in the 1987 constitution as the best block to someone staying on in power, has as any democratic compromise does, as any structural compromise does, its own weaknesses.

Kathleen Stephens:
And in the case of Korea, of course it means that one becomes a lame duck very, very quickly. Some people say even the day after you’re elected, you’re a lame duck, but certainly by your third or fourth year, and we’ve seen this with each Korean president, power really seeps away. And with it and with the stepping down from office, I think there continues to be a really unfortunate tendency towards retribution. Someone said to me recently that being a South Korean president is the worst thing you can possibly do for your legacy and your reputation. I mean most South Korean presidents, and I’m not just talking about the most recent one, it doesn’t end very well. Again, you could point to individual ones, [inaudible 00:00:39:05]. And say, well they deserved it. But I think there’s a broader question there, which is how does Korea’s democratic system mature to the point where former presidents can live in dignity and safety after they step down.

Kathleen Stephens:
The press environment? Much change, but it’s changing still. And young people, and this brings me up finally to the present day, I think I’d say all the young people born well after 1987, well after Korea joined the ranks of the middle income countries, have both great expectations and also great dissatisfaction and discontent with what they see as growing inequality and hyper competitiveness always there, but even hyped up more now, ironically by it’s success in Korea today. But certainly my feeling as an American coming back all these years was that when president Obama said, I liked it every time he said this, that US-South Korean relations were stronger than ever. I always really agreed. I didn’t think that was just sort of feel good talk. And I really felt that the most fundamental reason that they were stronger than ever and more resilient than ever was precisely because of Korea’s democracy.

Kathleen Stephens:
And yet, despite all that beginning last year, of course, South Korea experienced what most Koreans now regard as its most significant political crisis and upheaval since 1987 and it had nothing to do with the US, it had nothing to do with North Korea. I think most of you kind of know what happened. If I summarize very briefly, maybe we can talk a little bit about [inaudible 00:40:50] of why it happened, what it means and some prospects for the new Moon Jae-in presidency and Korea’s democracy. Just to remind you kind of what happened. Park Geun-hye who was elected president in 2012, in 2016 last year she was entering this kind of lame duck portion of her presidency. I think it’s fair to say she had already been weakened by deep disappointment about her handling of the Sewol tragedy, and the aftermath, and the opposition, shades of 1986 here made a strong showing, a surprising strong showing in 2016 national assembly elections last year.

Kathleen Stephens:
And then of course these reports began to emerge that the daughter of her friend had received preferential admission and treatment at an elite Korean university. Ewha a woman’s university. Student protest began. This touches a real nerve in Korea, right? This notion of missed inequality that the one chance that ordinary Koreans feel they have to move up in life is through education and elite education. That it is a vortex and still a very narrow one. And the notion that someone had been able through connections, sure it never happens here, to get into a university really outraged people, and these protests began. And then of course this snowballed when the story that was investigated by now a much more competitive and diverse press, but competitive is very part of it too. And social media, I think there’s all kinds of social media research should be done, but we can learn from on this about this friends, associates influence on her administration, present [inaudible 00:42:33] administration and then of course about influence peddling with Korea’s large corporations, the chaebol. The candlelight vigils began and grew. I saw one in November last year when I was visiting in Korea.

Kathleen Stephens:
In fact, I’d come back from south of the river and I was staying up towards the embassy, towards [Anguk-nong 00:42:54] and I had to walk from… For those who know [inaudible 00:42:56] from Nam Dae Mun, completely filled with people and I’m sure some of you saw it, quite impressive, quite impressive and yet much unlike [course-19 00:43:04] there’s certainly no tear gas but almost, I mean serious and yet happy. A really interesting phenomenon. And although the emphasis has been on the young people, the younger generation, fat people out with their families, sometimes their in-laws, their children, but all out with these signs and they basically said Park Geun-hye must go.

Kathleen Stephens:
And I actually, again back to my old political officer roots I guess. And I’m just as a civilian now myself. I sort of asked people and I still speak enough Korean to go up and sort of ask them, why are you out here demanding she step down now? You’re going to have an election next December. She’s one term, you know she’s stepping down, why aren’t you… I started in America, we would, well it’s really worked well for us, but we’d be finding a candidate to support and getting ready for the election next December. And you want to get her out now and you’re just pouring all this passion into it. And honestly, presidents including in the nine states, and [crosstalk 00:44:11] they have friends they talk to, the relationship between business and government in Korea.

Kathleen Stephens:
This is not exactly a new story. What is it that inspires this passion in you? And they said a lot of things and they said, we’re so embarrassed by her. I don’t see why you say, [inaudible 00:44:31] so I said, well, you’re embarrassed, but she’s lost our trust. And a lot of the university students that I talked to, that said our seniors struggled for democracy in 1987 now is our moment. Our moment is to pick up the torch, almost literally and carry it on. And I do think that for all this real dissatisfaction and anger at her performance as president and what she had done, underlying this is what I mentioned earlier, this deep sense that that Korean society had changed so much that the deck was stacked against a lot of young people, prospects for education and betterment had declined.

Kathleen Stephens:
Again, perception there’s a longer discussion there to have, how much things have changed. But in any event, they were out there and they want to change. And the younger generation, a big generational divide I would say in this issue. President Park was impeached by the national assembly by professional politicians who were really following the voice of the people in this. They weren’t really ready for an election like right now, but she was impeached and then removed by the constitutional court through institutional and procedures. I think one can debate, and I hear Koreans debate to what extent this is kind of the mobs on the street. I don’t see it as that versus the use of institutions. But I think the process to me was impressive. Forced peacefulness and force adherence to the processes laid out in the con…

Kathleen Stephens:
Adherence to the processes laid out in the Korean constitution. So, of course, the election was held May 9th. Again, it’s hard for me to think that was just a couple of weeks ago with the highest turnout, voter turnout, in decades, particularly among the young. Moon Jae-in from the opposition party, the democratic party who’d run against Park in 2012, and lost a fairly narrow election, was elected. And, again, kind of a three way split, although there was 15 candidates in all.

Kathleen Stephens:
And, much again kind of shades a little bit of 1987. One with a clear victory and a larger margin than Roh Tae-woo did, but clearly one with a split among the other candidates. So, there still is a large segment of the conservative population, I think, in Korea that remained concerned about what this all means.

Kathleen Stephens:
One other point I wanted to make about the election, because I think it was, and, again, I know this room is filled with people who follow this even more closely than I do. But, I think if you… For those of you who maybe only saw western reporting, I’m not trying to beat up on western reporting, but on the election, and the other things that were going on in April in terms of tensions in North Korea and the response of the Trump administration to it, it would be kind of easy to think that the election was about security in North Korea.

Kathleen Stephens:
I mean, certainly for the younger generation. And, my sense is, it really wasn’t. And, I was back there for a week or so and April. It was domestic concerns, the kind that I mentioned that outweighed by a long shot the security of North Korea issues. Or, for that matter, Alliance issues in the election. And, now, in the aftermath, Moon was sworn in about as quickly, I guess, as you can imagine, within a few hours.

Kathleen Stephens:
There are very, very high expectations of him. Especially on the economic and welfare side and I think it is going to be very challenging, of course, to address these. Some of these are very deep rooted issues of demographics, of the challenges we see elsewhere that have resulted in some surprising election results throughout the world of a sense again of Korea is not a country that’s going to walk away from trade.

Kathleen Stephens:
It’s heavily trade dependent. But, the globalization that the sort of established order as it’s kind of worked for the last 20 years has had some winners and losers. And, that and that things need to be reordered a bit. So, he has some proposals for addressing that. But, I think he will find the challenge great, as leaders elsewhere do. Moon has, since becoming president, reiterated that he would like to work for constitutional revision. Something that’s been talked about for 30 years, since 1987, but not done to lessen the power of the presidency. Perhaps to change the term of office to two terms. And, to make us some kind of constitutional revision happen at the same time as the local election do next year. So, I think there is, I mentioned all these things not to get too much into the weeds. I guess you’d say, “Wow, she’s really into them already. Nevermind.”

Kathleen Stephens:
But, I think there’s this notion that this is a moment of kind of redefining Korean democracy. But, redefining and on the framework that was kind of proudly established in 87. But, is now really found to be insignificant. So, I think it’s really interesting. I don’t envy president Moon, but he, right now, is enjoying tremendous good will and tremendous hope as well as, as I said, some very high expectations.

Kathleen Stephens:
And, of course, he’s also facing, and this’ll be my final point and I think a very, very challenging international environment. An environment talking about how things have changed. Nevermind 30 years, but over the last 10 years. And, North Korea under Kim Jong-un determined to be established as a nuclear power. Moon Jae-in has responded. There’s been two missile tests just since he became president.

Kathleen Stephens:
Although, certainly you would find many Korean conservatives worried that he might be too soft on North Korea. His immediate response to the missiles tests has been, let’s say, indistinguishable from other South Korean governments in asserting the importance of cessation of that and a move towards denuclearization. But, also, looking for a way to open up some kind of diplomatic process. I take it as a very positive thing that there is a plan to have a summit with president Trump as early as next month. Sometime towards the end of June. And, to try to really develop a relationship there.

Kathleen Stephens:
But, of course, that challenging international environment also includes an assertive and confident China and a bilateral relationship, which is probably worse at the moment. Again, maybe there’s a chance for a bit of a reset with Moon Jae-in in power. But, having gone through, maybe, it’s worse periods since normalization 25 years ago. And, maybe by the time they celebrate 25 years of normalization later this summer, they’ll have found a way to get back on a better track. At least in terms of South Korea, China.

Kathleen Stephens:
So, I guess I just want to conclude with a final thought. As you could tell, I could probably go on all night about what I saw and what I think I learned and what I think we could think about in terms of us foreign policy. But, also, just in terms of Korea’s journey as a whole. It’s a lifelong interest of mine. That sounds too mild, I guess. And, I know of many here in the room.

Kathleen Stephens:
But, I guess, the thought I just wanted to leave you with was something that former president Obama quoted after our election in which he reminded us that George Washington exhorted Americans in his farewell address, a couple hundred years ago, that all Americans, that we’re almost all the anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy. And, I thought, you know, that’s a little bit like what I think Koreans out on the streets here over the last year felt they were. Anxious, jealous guardians of their democracy.

Kathleen Stephens:
And, I think that’s a lesson in kind of an inspiration. That whether it’s in Korea or, dare I say in the United States or elsewhere, is we see democracies under some stress. All of our democracies are unfinished business. And, I think we can all draw not just lessons from the distant past and the urgent present, but, also, from each other. And, that we’re going to have to find a way to work together more closely as democracies if we’re going to find some reasonable response to the challenges of North Korea to the continuing challenge, I think, of the next generation to find a path to reconciliation and peace on the Korean peninsula.

Kathleen Stephens:
So, I do enjoy reflecting on the past, but I hope we can also, maybe, in our remaining time, think a little bit about how we go forward from here. So, again, thank you very much and thank you, especially the Sigur family for your many contributions. And, it’s great to be here with you tonight to remember Dr. Sigur.

Kathleen Stephens:
So, I’m told we have a little bit of time. If we want it. To have comments or questions or cookies or… Yes? And, if you don’t mind just telling me your name just because they’re, you know.

Speaker 2:
My name is… oh. My name is [inaudible 00:53:39] from [inaudible 00:53:40] and now I’m a [inaudible 00:53:40] at the Sigur Center. And, thank you for your great presentation and storytelling about the South Korean [inaudible 00:53:43] of 1987. And, I agree with most of your points. Personally, I like the combination of your personal career path and [inaudible 00:54:00] South Korean [inaudible 00:54:00] of 1987. So, I wonder what you think has made [inaudible 00:54:15] to keep things [inaudible 00:54:17]. At the end of your presentation, you mentioned this briefly about the challenge of South Korean democracy.

Speaker 2:
But, let me tell you one thing. The South Korean [inaudible 00:54:27] like me, let’s say since 2015, a couple of years ago from now, focused on [inaudible 00:54:35]. 2017 is [inaudible 00:00:54:40]. But, now South Korea democracy seems to have been backsliding quite a lot.

Kathleen Stephens:
Backsliding. Okay.

Speaker 2:
Yeah. So, what have been made [inaudible 00:54:53] to make South Korean democracy. For example, some people consider [inaudible 00:54:58] political system is [inaudible 00:09:04]. And, some people might say Confucian culture is a problem. Especially in making progress on women’s rights or human rights, something like that. And, also, some people consider elected politicians and bureaucrats don’t behave like the politicians in bureaucracy and democracy. They behave like noble men [inaudible 00:55:28]. So, many people argue that there are some social problems in [inaudible 00:55:34] democracy in South Korea. So, as a very close observer to South Korean democracy, I wonder, what do you think of [inaudible 00:55:38] further South Korean democracy?

Kathleen Stephens:
Yeah. Well, I mean, all those things you mentioned I think are challenges or obstacles. I tried to list a few areas where, yeah, I feel like, still, more needs to be done. How do we get there? You know, there’s the Churchill quote about democracy is the worst form of government in the world except for all the others. I mean, it certainly is a process. It’s not a kind of a perfect… a condition that can be perfected.

Kathleen Stephens:
But, yeah, I do think that in terms of institutions, the progress in the press and in the courts has been very important. I see a lot of change there over the last decade or so. And, I do, again, I’m still hesitating because I used to work for the U-S government.

Kathleen Stephens:
I wouldn’t say this, but now I guess I can say whatever I want. But, I do think that there needs to be some ways of making the… of allowing the national assembly to be more effective and more engaged. Frankly, it’s a problem we have in our country right now in my opinion, too. And, not for constitutional reasons.

Kathleen Stephens:
And, how does that happen? I think a lot of it just turns out to be people who go in. The reason I’m so encouraged now is not so much because one candidate or another was elected. But, because so many young Koreans, or, not so young, are activated. They want to be involved. So, I think that sort of activation is the most important thing to try to work across a range of these issues that you’ve laid out.

Kathleen Stephens:
So, I really can’t just pick out one and I think they’re getting there. I do think that the local autonomy issue, which I mentioned, is one that bears, I don’t know what you think about that. But, that it’s sort of, again, it was local autonomy, but kind of imposed from the top. And, needs to become a little bit more organic, I think. And, I think gradually that’ll happen.

Kathleen Stephens:
Hope that helps. Yeah. Over here.

Ella:
Hello, thank you, so much for a great speech. My name is Ella and I’m from Kazakhstan. And, there are around, I believe, around 200,000 Koreans, ethnic Koreans living in central Asia. And, for those people who both know, they came from Russia in 1936. And, they came to Russia before that. Was from the northern part of Korea. I was curious, do you know anything or while you were working in South Korea, interest from South Korean leadership, whether they had interest to help those Koreans in central Asia? Because, I might be wrong, because from my perspective, it seems that there is lack of interest in helping or just communicating with Koreans in central Asia. It also seems that not so many people in South Korea are aware there are Koreans in central Asia. Thank you.

Kathleen Stephens:
Yeah, thank you. There’s actually, there’s a, I’m almost recommending things. There’s a documentary film that was made a couple of years ago called Cordio Sodom, the unreliable people. Right? And, it actually, if you have to, it has this great footage that, I mean, very moving. It shows the this movement of ethnic Koreans from Russia and the border areas into central Asia where they were just like dumped in the plains in the winter and kind of told to survive.

Kathleen Stephens:
During my time as ambassador in Korea, I haven’t followed it really since then, the Eemian Bach government was very interested in developing stronger relations with central Asian countries. In particular, Uzbekistan. But, I think also Kazakhstan and some others. Part of this was kind of resource diplomacy. And the fact that there were Korean communities in some of these areas, albeit ones that had really no ties to Korea.

Kathleen Stephens:
These are communities where, generally speaking, as I understand, they don’t speak Korean. The link is, cultural link is pretty well lost. But, they were certainly interested in looking for ways to strengthen their relationship. So, I actually visited Uzbekistan from Korea and my colleague there, the American ambassador in Tashkent said Seoul has the best bilateral relationship with Tashkent of any government in the world. And, in fact, Korean Air was building a huge logistics hub. The same kind of logistics hub that exists… cargo hub that exists in Incheon airport there in Tashkent.

Kathleen Stephens:
So, there was a real effort country by country to think about strategic trade partners, linkages. And, in part to kind of, if you like, I think, market the Republic of Korea as sort of not being China. For those who are worried about Chinese domination. But, bringing certain capabilities and certain links.

Kathleen Stephens:
With respect to the Korean communities, my impression is that most of the Korean communities of central Asia, if they had any ties to Korea, they tended to kind of be to North Korea. But, that’s changed now over the years. And, I think E is slowly, interesting, you haven’t really seen much. But, slowly in Uzbekistan, for example, I did see some effort to establish some linkage. But, we actually, actually, I remember, see, I always tell too many stories. But, I visited a General Motors plant in Korea down near Pusan. I’ve forgotten, Shaman, I think. But, General Motors also had a plant in Uzbekistan and they used to bring the Uzbek employees back and forth. For kind of internships and so forth. So, there are things going on. But, I don’t know what recently, so much. Thanks. Yeah, rust.

Speaker 3:
[inaudible 01:02:26] interesting presentation. I was cast a special assistant during that period of time. I remember a key role that might help. My question is about the Korean military. You mentioned that when you got reengaged to Korean affairs, 2005, on. You raised the question. There was no residence at all. [inaudible 01:02:51] didn’t take the [inaudible 01:02:52] role. But, during this recent impeachment, were there any clinches in the military that you picked up? Any thought at all that maybe democracy wasn’t going to work out or was that [inaudible 01:03:01] really over?

Kathleen Stephens:
I think that’s really over. I mean, if someone heard this thing, I think that’s really over. And, actually, since we’re talking about our former mentors and colleagues, Jim Kelly was in New York. And, I was talking to him yesterday. Actually, about this point. And, he told me something that I hadn’t heard before, which he said, “When Roh Tae-woo became president in 1987, he actually,” I’m not betraying confidence here. I think it’s so long ago, nobody cares. But, except we aficionados. But, there was a conscious effort to kind of promote up and out serving officers in the Korean military who might’ve had some political inclination. So, there was kind of a conscious effort. But, no, since then, absolutely not. I never heard anything. Yes.

Mike:
Mike [inaudible 01:03:59] how would you advise the new president to thread the needle in terms of dealing with the U-S administration? I mean, he has his own ideas about what he wants to do about North Korea. And, I’m not at all sure that our administration would say, “Well, fine, you want to deal with him, okay. Take the problem off of our hands.”

Mike:
How far can he push this thing? Particularly since at some point there’s going to be an impetus for direct U-S North Korea diplomacy or dialogue or whatever you want to call it. And, can you do that and cut out the South Koreans? Or do you end up going back to the six party process, which didn’t seem to be terribly successful?

Kathleen Stephens:
Thanks. One of the things that was a great worry, I think, in Korea and South Korea over the last few months, during this period of, I hate to call it a political vacuum. Because, the very capable civil service went on. They had a very capable acting president. But, nonetheless, there wasn’t political authority there in terms of elected president. And, in the meantime, our new president came into office. And, in particular, in March and April had a lot to say about policy towards North Korea. Some of it sort of contradictory.

Kathleen Stephens:
And, there was a real worry in South Korea about what sometimes called Seoul passing or Korea passing, right? That while South Korea was going through its political process that prime minister Abbaye had established a good relationship with president Trump, Xi Jinping and president Trump seem to be, at least from the American side, kind of new best buddies.

Kathleen Stephens:
You have Xi Jinping, according to president Trump, telling Trump that to Korea used to be a part of China. Which, of course, Koreans would not really agree with. So, there was a worry. And, I think when Moon Jae-in came in getting to advice, I mean one, I think he has a political imperative. But, also, just from a policy point, if you will, imperative to kind of get back in the game, get Seoul back in the game. And, be at the table when North Korea policy is discussed. And, when decisions are made.

Kathleen Stephens:
And, I think he’s done a good job of, of getting started on that by sending over his special envoy who was welcomed at the white house who had a meeting with president Trump. And, now, they’ve began to plan for this summit. So, my advice would be to build that relationship. I’m just as Mr. Abea has. Just as Mr. She has. But, to try to come to it with ideas from a Seoul perspective that are going to be attractive and workable from a U-S point of view. I don’t think that’s impossible. I mean, obviously, I guess, I just worry more about what I see so far as the kind of the incoherence of the American approach. But, I hope we’ll get a little more coherent. And, I think that we’re going to see Moon Jae-in really emphasize that there’s also an inter Korean dimension to this.

Kathleen Stephens:
And, he’s also already said some things about this that. That, for example, again, this is not my advice to him, these are some things that have been suggested, but I think they sound like they’re worth exploring. That in an effort to improve the atmosphere for talks without undermining sanctions or pressure or the insistence on denuclearization, the new government in Seoul might look good at restarting certain humanitarian assistance programs or family reunions.

Kathleen Stephens:
Now, easier said than done. And, where Pyongyang is on these things remains to be seen. They’ve already come down pretty hard on Moon Jae-in. But, I think those are the kinds of things that he’s going to want to explore and he’s going to want to do it, clearly, in close coordination with Washington.

Kathleen Stephens:
Yeah. How can we get back into a diplomatic process, whether it’s six party or some other configuration, I do think it’s very important that that Seoul is a full participant. It doesn’t have to be in every meeting. There could be an inter Korean channel, there could be a U-S, Pyongyang channel for certain things. But, there has to be. The one thing we have learned, I mean, one lesson, again, I didn’t talk so much about North Korea over the years. But, North Korea is a challenging enough problem. But, to even have a chance to work, a precondition is Seoul and Washington has to be working together. And, that was certainly a lesson we learned in the Kim Dae-jung and the Wuhan years through bitter experience. Even if we are working together still-

Kathleen Stephens:
Experience. Even if we are working together, it still may not result in what we want, but at least we have a chance.

Speaker 4:
Yeah, sorry Celeste.

Celeste Arrington :
Thanks, Celeste Arrington, I teach Korean politics here at George Washington. Thank you for your talk. I wanted to ask, since you brought up women’s rights in South Korea, a couple of things. One is, what do you think has worked to improve human rights? You mentioned the abolition of the household registry system as one major victory in that process, but over the years what has worked? And then, what effects do you think the demise of Park Geun-hye will have or is it having on women’s participation in politics, especially because the number of members of the National Assembly who are women continues to be quite low? Not quite as low as Japan, but still relatively low.

Kathleen Stephens:
Right. Well, I mean in terms of women’s, opportunities for women, full participation of women in the kind of longer historical perspective, I mean I certainly think that the opening up of educational opportunities for women has been very important, and that’s kind of done now. But, some of us would remember a time in Korea where if there was a choice, the daughter didn’t go to school, right? Or didn’t go abroad for education, so on and so forth. That’s pretty much over, and I think, and also the preference for sons, I mean that’s kind of remarkable to me that there doesn’t really seem to be much of a preference for sons anymore. But, in terms of what’s worked to get women into more participating in more parts of the society, well they’ve had their greatest success in areas like the civil service, right? Areas where there is a process and the process involves taking an exam and if you pass it, then you have rules that allow you to get in. It’s been much harder I think when it comes to corporations and business opportunities.

Kathleen Stephens:
And the other challenge, I mean, you know this very well, but I hear again and again from Korean women and men is, is it goes back to… [inaudible 01:11:31] I guess what I see when [inaudible 01:11:33] the thing that’s so difficult about Korean society, it’s so stressed out. Actually, I’m going to digress and say somebody was saying, “Oh, when you’re in Korea, aren’t people just really stressed out about North Korea?” I said, “No, they’re not stressed out about North Korea. They’re just stressed about being South Korea.”

Kathleen Stephens:
It’s just, it’s the most stressed out place I know, but it’s just because… And women feel this, so even if they have the education, they’re middle-class or they’re… They can have a lot of advantages if they have that even one child, they feel they have to devote everything they have to making sure that child gets into the right pre-school and learns English at the age of 18 months. It’s pretty incredible, right? And I don’t know how you get to that, and again I think it affects men too, so I just… to me the great, kind of weakness of… the great strength of Korea is also its great weakness, and that is this very high aspiration, highly competitive society. And I think it is impacting on the choices that women feel they have in particular in their lives.

Kathleen Stephens:
With respect to yeah, Park Geun-hye, yeah I mean maybe especially for a woman of my generation, I always kind of think, yeah if a woman doesn’t do well, sort of, then everyone says, “Well a woman can’t do that job anymore.” I think that’s gone away a little bit. And certainly Park Geun-hye was… she wasn’t elected as a woman or [inaudible 01:12:53], she was elected as the inheritor, I think, of the Park Chung-hee legacy and with her own profile. I have thought about this obviously.

Kathleen Stephens:
I mean, it was interesting to me that during the recent campaign, one of the top five candidates was a woman. Sim Sang-jung? Right? Yeah. And a minor party, or a small party, I don’t want to say it’s minor, it’s small. Every time they had a debate, her rating went up. She was certainly the best debater on the stage and in the view of people who watched. So, she didn’t get elected president but she didn’t expect to be. Korea is going to have a woman foreign minister for the first time. I hope she does well. If she does, I think that’s good. If she doesn’t then maybe…

Kathleen Stephens:
But, I think women in prominent positions will continue to kind of, grow in Korea, but I do get back to kind of just worrying about something that has really nothing to do with my diplomatic duties or my former ones and that is just kind of the nature of Korean society and how you have, and this is what Moon is expected to do, to kind of create a system that addresses some of the stress Koreans feel and holds onto these virtues of wanting the best for themselves and everybody else, while opening up a few more options and paths for people’s lives. It’s kind of related.

Kathleen Stephens:
I’m sorry for all these long answers. This is one thing I was reminded… I left Korea as ambassador in 2011 so it was quite a long time ago, but people still remember that when President Obama came to Korea I think in… he came several times. In fact, people say he visited Seoul more than any other foreign capital in the world during his presidency.

Kathleen Stephens:
Anyway, he came several times while I was there and on one occasion he asked Lee Myung-bak over a lunch, he said, “I’m really thinking about educational policy in the United States. What’s the biggest challenge you face in your educational policy in Korea?” And President Lee said immediately, he said, “[foreign language 01:15:30]. Korean parents, they’re my biggest problem.” And he said, “Why?” “Because they’re never satisfied. They never [inaudible 01:15:44] …” And when President Obama came back from that trip, he had kind of the standard speech that he was giving, because he had an education agenda in this country and he kept talking about Korean education and the high expectations and the involvement of parents and how great this was and so on and so forth.

Kathleen Stephens:
And I had more… Nevermind the 80s when people were concerned, when [inaudible 01:16:06] really wanted to tell me about America’s faults and its policy and many other areas, all Koreans, would come up to me and say, “Why is President Obama saying such nice things about our educational system? Because it’s horrible! Haven’t you told them how bad it is and how it’s just killing us all?” And I actually told him that one time, and he laughed and he said, “Well we need more of that.” Yeah.

Speaker 5:
Hi, it’s good to see you again.

Kathleen Stephens:
Yeah, thank you.

Speaker 5:
Thank you very much for wonderful the talk. I am [inaudible 00:07:39], I happen to be in Korea just before the election and at that time the mood was the kind of Korean spirit. There was police surrounded by all these big [inaudible 01:17:00] . Cornered by the Chinese and [inaudible 01:17:02] Japanese and kind of betrayed by the US, especially the very secretive southern installation of [inaudible 01:17:14] the people were very shocked. But then there was another opinion, maybe it gave [inaudible 01:17:22] a way out so that he didn’t have to feel responsible for its installation. But, when you think if you don’t have USA as a big ally as Korean’s have always relied on, if they lose it they have really nothing. So, there is a very genuine scale about that possible discontinuation of that wonderful relationship. So the impression is, well I say, maybe President Trump does anything against whatever President Obama did, but eventually there will be forces of both names [inaudible 01:18:06] I’ve been held to them.

Kathleen Stephens:
Yeah, I mean it’s even more typical for me to kind of try to predict the direction of American, of the Trump administration, but if history is any guide, the Trump administration will conclude as previous administrations have. Remember, I mean, Jimmy Carter wanted to withdraw all the troops from Korea there in the late seventies we’ll conclude that the broad bipartisan shape of our Alliance relationship with South Korea remains an enormous asset and extremely important to both countries.

Kathleen Stephens:
And I would remind everyone that, we have just in the short several months of the Trump administration, so far, the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, the director of the CIA normally not announced, but it was announced and he was there, the vice president have all been to Korea, and they have all affirmed the close nature of the Alliance and the Trump administration’s commitment to it. But, of course what we have in Washington now, well he’s not in Washington now, but we have an American president now who has his own means of communication, so we say, and it’s, especially in a situation like Korea, it’s potentially, I think, quite dangerous, and certainly unpredictable. So I think we saw that in April when people were very, [inaudible 01:19:50] what was happening, and I do worry about that. I recall, actually, I hadn’t said that the election on, on May 9th had sort of nothing to do with the US it was maybe about a week before the election.

Kathleen Stephens:
President Trump in, I think it was a press interview, I can’t remember, maybe you all do, he said two things about South Korea, and one he said, “Well, South Korea really should pay $1 billion for this missile defense program.” It was that and, “Oh that Korea, US free trade group actuals, we haven’t touched on, but is a terrible agreement, we’re going to get rid of it or renegotiate it.” And you know, by this time, frankly, a lot of people just sort of said, okay, he said it, We’ll see what happens.

Kathleen Stephens:
But, on that day in Korea, at this point, I mean literally the taxi drivers, everyone’s talking about politics and that’s sort of the word on the street was, well, Trump just gave Moon Jae-in the election, that that was the impact. Now I don’t think that that’s probably the case, I mean Moon won by a clear margin, but there was a sense that I don’t think that was in president Trump’s mind at all. I mean, I don’t know to what extent he was aware of when the election was, but there still is that obvious sensitivity in Korea to what is said and certainly what is said by an American president… Steve.

Steve :
You spoke a little bit about the novelty of you being a young political officer [inaudible 01:21:30] and I would think the novelty of being a woman ambassador without a rock star sign and all of that. Also, I wonder if you’ve re-reflected on what impact that had on the [inaudible 01:21:48] my department, you’ve talked about that, I’m sure you thought back…

Kathleen Stephens:
Hey Steve. Yeah, it’s a little hard to really step back and evaluate that. I mean I will say that when I arrived in Korea in 2008 as the new ambassador, I certainly was a different profile from previous American ambassadors. But the thing that had the biggest impact that people responded to was that I spoke Korean badly, but I spoke it, and a lot of people said to me, this shows, they’re always over-interpreting, but maybe just that the United States now really respects Korea cause they sent an ambassador who speaks our language and who knows Korea, so that was the Trump card, if you like, I think. In terms of being a woman, I think just because of the generation I am and everything I was a little sensitive. I didn’t want to sort of be the woman ambassador. I wanted to be the American ambassador who is a woman.

Kathleen Stephens:
I was going to be the best American ambassador I could be. I had these experiences in Korea which really moved me a lot, and they were things like being at a concert during intermission and having a parent, often a father with a little girl who would come up to me and say, and they would recognize me and say, cause my picture was out a lot. So people would recognize me and the father would say to me, this happened a lot, “My daughter really likes you.” Or oftentimes young men, it comes, “My mother really likes you. She’s a big fan.” And then it was a little bit, “Can we take a picture?” and, “My daughter wants to be a diplomat, she wants to go into politics.” Right?

Kathleen Stephens:
So then you think, wow, I guess that this, maybe I am having an impact. And so I sort of admit it meant a lot to me, especially when it was frankly, men, Korean men who are coming up and saying this, and “I want my daughter to be this, I want her to do this.” And the other thing, and again, I’m not trying to make too light of this, but I had Korean politicians again, mostly male, who would come up and say to me sometimes, “Well, my wife really, really likes you and so I have to be nice to you.”

Kathleen Stephens:
I mean in a sense of I got to listen to what you have to say. I don’t know, anyway it was… but no, I think overall, and I see in the world today, I think the fact that there’s a foreign minister who’s a woman is a very good find. And also, actually again it gets back to Yung Kee’s question in a different way because the new foreign minister is gone I think. Right? Kind of the press on her is, well, she doesn’t really have the experience and the traditional bilateral relationship. She’s not an America hand or Japan hand. She’s been in kind of the UN and mostly working on multilateral relations. How is she going to handle kind of the hard policy questions? But, I think it’s also a signal that Moon Jae-in sees, as his predecessors did, part of 21st century Korea as a more, punching above its weight on a global stage and as a real middle power, and that you can do that as well as have a strong Alliance relationship and management of important great power relations. But I don’t know, that’s all I can say about that.

Jer Lin :
[inaudible 01:25:39] Thank you very much. My name’s Jer Lin [inaudible 01:25:51] and I’m glad to work in [inaudible 01:25:52] am I passionate about the Korea [inaudible 01:26:00] as you all already thought, that Korea has a reaction [inaudible] that due to the previous, the president Parks, the Korean conservative party was divided in two ways. [foreign language 00:17:21] I’m just curious of your opinion about your perspective about Korean conservative party as you’ve had a long living experience in Korea. And also, is there any distinguished point in contrast to the US conservative [inaudible] party to [inaudible 01:26:48] Korea with President Park.

Kathleen Stephens:
Boy, I don’t know. I’m not a political scientist. but I do feel like our politics and all in our country and South Korea are going through some changes. I don’t know what the Republican party is going to look like in a few years, I don’t think any of us do, but I mean it’s going through some interesting times with respect to the kind of traditional conservative forces in Korea, in South Korea, if you like. I think there, they need some new leadership now. Right? And maybe there’ll be a bit of a generational change, but [inaudible]

Kathleen Stephens:
I guess the more general point I would make is, relatively speaking, and you alluded to it when you say about all the parties and how they changed their names and Korean political parties, even though we say conservative, progressive, they are a little bit more, so then that comes traditional analysis. We’ve always had a Korean politics, a little bit more personality dependent, little more factionalized, kind of coming and going depending on who the leader is. So, I think in the next election, whether you know next year or whenever it is, there’ll be probably some parties with some other different names, and maybe some new leaders.

Kathleen Stephens:
I guess the only one thing I think it’d be interesting to watch is, I mentioned again, local autonomy. Well, at least some new leadership coming up from the governors or the mayors. Now even Bob came to the presidency by being mayor of Seoul, but Seoul is Seoul. It’s sweet, generous. But will there be a party system that begins to develop and will it be less regionalized with more focus on other bread and butter or economic issues? I don’t know, but I think that’s just one area you might look at going forward now. Exhausted you all. Well, thank you all very much. [inaudible].

Gregg Brazinsky:
Thank you again, ambassador Stevens for such a fantastic lecture and for giving such a very interesting and fantastic answers to all the questions. There is some leftover food outside, especially if you’re a student or a graduate student, feel free to take as much as you can carry. It’s going to go bad if you don’t take it. So please help us clean up and take some of the food

Kathleen Stephens:
[inaudible].

Graphic: Flag of Myanmar, Text: The Sigur Center Presents: US and Chinese Perspectives on Current Issues in Myanmar with Fulbright Scholar Xianghui Zhu and Professor Christina Fink

3/3/2020: US and Chinese Perspectives on Current Issues in Myanmar with Fulbright Scholar Xianghui Zhu and Professor Christina Fink

Sigur Center logo

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

12:30 PM – 1:45 PM

Chung-wen Shih Conference Room, Suite 503W

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC

 

Graphic: Flag of Myanmar, Text: The Sigur Center Presents: US and Chinese Perspectives on Current Issues in Myanmar with Fulbright Scholar Xianghui Zhu and Professor Christina Fink

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies cordially invites you to a discussion with Fulbright scholar and Sigur Center Visiting Scholar, Xianghui Zhu, and Professor Christina Fink on where Myanmar is headed in the midst of an election year with many critical issues on the table. These include constitutional amendments to reduce the power of the military, international pressure to address abuses committed against the Rohingya, and a stalled peace process. At the same time, major planned Chinese investments may reshape the economy.

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided.

Professor Christina Fink joined the Elliott School in 2011. She is a cultural anthropologist who has combined teaching, research, and development work throughout her career. She received her B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Social/Cultural Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley. She served as a visiting lecturer at the Pacific and Asian Studies Department at the University of Victoria in 1995, and from 2001-2010, she was a lecturer and program associate at the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute in Thailand. During the same period, she also ran a bi-annual capacity building training and internship program, which she developed for members of Burmese civil society organizations, including women’s groups. In addition, she has worked as a coordinator for the Open Society Institute’s Burma Project, a trainer and project consultant for an Internews oral history project, and a program evaluation consultant for the Canadian International Development Agency, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation.

Dr. Xianghui Zhu is a Fulbright scholar with the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University. He is also Associate Professor with the Institute of Myanmar Studies, Yunnan University, China. He was educated at Peking University in China with a Ph.D. in Burmese language and literature. Before embarking on his academic career, he worked for China-Myanmar Oil and Gas Pipelines Company and was in the Public Affairs Section of the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar.

 

Graphic: Two shaking hands representing cooperation between China and Japan, Text: China-japan Cooperation for Asian Multilateralism? Monday, March 2, 202020 from 12:30pm to 2:00pm in room 505 at the Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E Street NW, 5th floor, Washington, DC, 20052

3/2/2020: China-Japan Cooperation for Asian Multilateralism

Sigur Center logo

Monday, March 2, 2020

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

Room 505 W

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

Graphic: Two shaking hands representing cooperation between China and Japan, Text: China-japan Cooperation for Asian Multilateralism? Monday, March 2, 202020 from 12:30pm to 2:00pm in room 505 at the Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E Street NW, 5th floor, Washington, DC, 20052

About the Event:
The Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the U.S.-Japan Research Institute cordially invite you to a panel discussion on “China-Japan Cooperation for Asian Multilateralism?: BRI, AIIB, and RCEP.”

While strategic competition between the United States and China is intensifying, China’s President Xi Jinping is scheduled to make his first state visit to Japan this spring. During his December 2019 meeting with President Xi in China, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talked about building a relationship that is suitable for a new era for Japan and China. This panel will assess the prospects for China-Japan cooperation in Asia by examining the financial, trade, and infrastructure development dimensions of Asian multilateralism.

This event is on the record and open to the media.

Panelists:
Saori Katada, Professor of Political Science and International Relations, University of Southern California
Takashi Terada, Professor of International Relations, Dōshisha University

Discussant:
Albert Keidel, Adjunct Graduate Professor of Economics, George Washington University

Moderator:
Mike Mochizuki, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University

Graphic: The flags of China and the United States placed next to each other, Text: The Sino-American Rapprochement: An Analysis of Four Perspectives with Fulbright Scholar Dr. Qianyu Li

2/28/2020: The Sino-American Rapprochement: An Analysis of Four Perspectives with Fulbright Scholar Dr. Qianyu Li

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies Logo

Friday, February 28, 2020

11:00 AM – 12:30 AM

Chung-win Shih Conference Room, Suite 503W

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

Graphic: The flags of China and the United States placed next to each other, Text: The Sino-American Rapprochement: An Analysis of Four Perspectives with Fulbright Scholar Dr. Qianyu Li

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies cordially invites you to a discussion with Fulbright scholar and Sigur Center Visiting Scholar, Dr. Qianyu Li, on his research about US-China relations.

Dr. Qianyu Li will deliver a lecture that comprehensively introduces the decisive factors that shape the process of Sino-American rapprochement in the 1970s. Since 1969, China and the US have reduced tensions through joint efforts, such as President Nixon’s historic visit to China and the issuance of the Shanghai Joint Communiqué. The Sino-American rapprochement also substantially changed the whole situation of China’s foreign affairs and the balance among great powers. Most developed countries and international organizations established formal, diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China; ideological influence had a decreasing role in the decision-making of China’s foreign policies. The rapprochement happened in a special historical era of the Cultural Revolution. It seems that the possibilities of all these factors were the least possible in that period of time.

The Sino-American relations stagnated after 1972 until diplomatic relations were formally established between the two countries in 1979. The rapprochement and stagnation are cause for Dr. Li’s research. In his lecture, he will analyze China’s diversified motivations for the dramatic changes and its causes for the stagnation from 4 perspectives:
1. China’s national security situation and strategic adjustment
2. Domestic politics
3. Two-level game theory
4. Mao’s personalities

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided.

Dr. Qianyu Li is an Associate Professor working in the Department of Diplomacy at China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), and an accomplished scholar on Cold War history. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s in Law from CFAU, and obtained his Ph.D. from Peking University. Dr. Li has published one book, “From Bandung to Algiers: China and Six Afro-Asian International Conferences (1955-1965),” and twenty articles in academic journals, and contributed chapters to several books talking about China’s diplomacy.

The Elliott School Ambassadors Forum Speaker Series: A conversation with His Excellency Isilio Coelho Ambassador of Timor-Leste to the United States

02/24/2020: Ambassador of Timor Leste on Climate Change and Small Island Nations

Monday, February 24, 2020

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

Lindner Family Commons, Room 602 

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

Elliott School Ambassadors Forum Speaker Series logo

The Elliott School of International Affairs, Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia, the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, and Sustainable GW invite you to join a conversation with His Excellency Isilio Coelho, Ambassador of Timor-Leste to the United States.

This event is public and open to the media.

Moderator:
Linda Yarr, Research Professor of Practice of International Affairs, Director of Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA)

A political scientist and specialist on Southeast Asia, Linda Yarr has for decades fostered academic engagement in international affairs teaching and research with China, Vietnam, Myanmar, and other countries in Asia. She holds an M.A. from Cornell University, an advanced degree in international relations from Sciences Po in Paris, and a B.A. from D’Youville College.

ABOUT AMBASSADOR COELHO:
Ambassador Isilio António de Fátima Coelho da Silva (Isilio Coelho) is the current Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (Timor-Leste) to the United States of America.

 Prior to this position, he served as the Acting Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MFAC) of Timor-Leste, and concomitantly held the position of Director-General for Bilateral Affairs of this Ministry. Prior to these positions, he served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Timor-Leste to Japan. Before taking up this Ambassadorial post, he served as Director-General for External Relations of MFAC; Director for the Department of Bilateral Affairs; Charge d’Affairs of Timor-Leste Embassy to the Holy See (Vatican), Rome, Italy; Deputy Head of Mission to Timor-Leste Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal; Director of Public Relations and concurrently Director of State Protocol (Chief of State Protocol) of the MFAC.

Graphic: A person walking through a terraced rice field, Text: Presented by the China Policy Program, The Institute For International Economic Policy, The East Asia NRC, And the Sigur Center. Covering the half billion: China's Rural Sector. Thursday, February 27th, 2020, 4:30pm to 6:00pm, Lindnder Family Comons, Room 602, Elliott School of International Affairs

2/27/2020: “Covering The Other Half Billion: China’s Rural Sector”

Co-sponored by the China Policy Program, the Institute for International Economic Policy, the East Asia NRC, and the Sigur Center

Thursday, February 27, 2020

4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Lindner Family Commons, Suite 602

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

Graphic: A person walking through a terraced rice field, Text: Presented by the China Policy Program, The Institute For International Economic Policy, The East Asia NRC, And the Sigur Center. Covering the half billion: China's Rural Sector. Thursday, February  27th, 2020, 4:30pm to 6:00pm, Lindnder Family Comons, Room 602, Elliott School of International Affairs

Description:
For much of post-1949 history, the rural sector has been the poor relation of China’s society and economy. Today, however, the rural sector lies at the heart of Xi Jinping’s economic agenda for China’s comprehensive development. The party’s and government’s ability to fulfill major economic goals—those relating to employment, food security and rebalancing of the economic system—depend critically on the success of its rural policies. So too does its ability to realize important social and other goals—including poverty reduction, the creation of a more inclusive society, and environmental sustainability. An economically and socially revitalised Chinese countryside will also impact the political stability, which China’s leaders see as the bedrock of their continuing rule. This lecture will explore all of these dimensions.

Moderator:
Professor David Shambaugh, Gaston Sigur Professor of Asian Studies, Political Science, and International Affairs; Director, China Policy Program, George Washington University

Speaker:
Professor Robert Ash, Professor of Economics with reference to China and Taiwan and Professional Fellow in the China Institute, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London

From 1986 to 1995, he was Head of the Contemporary China Institute at SOAS, and from 1997-2001, was Director of the EU-China Academic Network (ECAN). From 1999 to 2013, he was also Director of the SOAS Taiwan Studies Programme. He has held visiting research and teaching positions at universities in Australia, Hong Kong, France and Italy. He has been researching China for more than 40 years and has published on development issues relating to China, as well as on Taiwan and Hong Kong. His most recent major publication (2017) is a study of China’s agricultural development between 1840 and the present day, Agricultural Development in the World Periphery: A Global Economic History Approach. He has also undertaken a wide range of consultancy work in both private and public sectors—including for the British Government, the European Commission, European Parliament, and the UN International Labour Organisation.

China and the World edited by David Shambaugh

02/12/2020: China and the World: Book Launch with David Shambaugh

Elliott School Book Launch Series Banner

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Lindner Commons, Room 602

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

China & the World edited by David Shambaugh Book Cover

Professor Shambaugh will introduce his newest book and give a lecture on “Future Challenges for China’s Foreign Relations.”

China & the World is the most comprehensive and up-to-date scholarly assessment of China’s relations and roles in the world. Edited by Professor David Shambaugh and including chapters by fifteen other leading international experts on China, this volume covers China’s contemporary relations with all regions of the world, with other major powers, and across multiple arenas of China’s international interactions. It also explores the sources of China’s grand strategy, how its historical experiences shape present policies, and the impact of various domestic factors on China’s external behavior.

The event will conclude with audience Q&A and a book signing (cash and credit accepted).

Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public.

 

David Shambaugh is an internationally recognized authority and award-winning author on contemporary China and the international relations of Asia. He is the Gaston Sigur Professor of Asian Studies, Political Science & International Affairs and the founding Director of the China Policy Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. Professor Shambaugh is a member of a number of public policy and scholarly organizations, including the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, and the Asia Society. He is also a frequent commentator in international media, serves on a number of editorial boards, and has been a consultant to various governments, research institutions, foundations, and private corporations. As an author, he has published more than thirty books, most recently including, The International Relations of Asia (2nd ed.), China Goes Global: The Partial Power and China’s Future (both selected by The Economist as “Best Books of the Year”), and The China Reader: Rising Power.

Taiwan Roundtable Banner

2/12/2020: Interpreting Taiwan Elections 2020: What Do the First 30 Days Tell Us?

Taiwan Roundtable Banner

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

12:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Lindner Commons, Room 602

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

Sigur Center Lecture Series for Asian Studies banner

One month after the historic Taiwan elections on January 11, join a distinguished group of experts who will dissect more deeply the domestic and international impacts of the electoral outcome. Come and hear their interpretations and analysis of the extent to which identity, generational changes, party politics, the economy, Chinese sharp power, and other factors played a part in the decisive re-election of President Tsai Ing-wen, and implications.

What do the first 30 days after the elections tell us about what lies ahead in Taiwan, and what it all means for relations with China and the United States, and other regional players?

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies is honored to welcome back Digital Minister Audrey Tang, and experts David G. BrownTiffany Ma, and T.Y. Wang to comment on the 2020 Taiwan Elections with Associate Director Deepa Ollapally as moderator.

 

Agenda

12:00-12:30pm: Registration & lunch

12:30-12:45pm: Keynote speech by the Honorable Audrey Tang, Digital Minister of Taiwan

12:45-12:55pm: Keynote audience Q&A

12:55-1:00pm: Opening remarks by Director Benjamin D. Hopkins, Sigur Center for Asian Studies

1:00-2:00pm: Expert panel moderated by Associate Director Deepa Ollapally, Sigur Center for Asian Studies

  • David G. Brown, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University
  • Tiffany Ma, BowerAsiaGroup
  • T.Y. Wang, Illinois State University

2:00-2:30pm: Panel audience Q&A

 

This event is free and open to the public. The Sigur Center Lecture Series highlights policy-relevant, innovative, and original scholarship about Asia.

@GWUSigurCenter Follow and live-tweet at us for your question to be featured during Q&A!

Audrey Tang (唐鳳) is the Digital Minister of Taiwan. Minister Tang is known for revitalizing the computer languages Perl and Haskell, as well as building the online spreadsheet system EtherCalc in collaboration with Dan Bricklin. In the public sector, Minister Tang serves on the Taiwan National Development Council’s open data committee and K-12 curriculum committee; and led Taiwan’s first e-Rulemaking project. In the private sector, Minister Tang works as a consultant with Apple on computational linguistics, with Oxford University Press on crowd lexicography, and with Socialtext on social interaction design. Minister Tang actively contributes to Taiwan’s g0v (“gov-zero”), a vibrant community focusing on creating tools for the civil society, with the call to “fork the government.”

David G. Brown is an Affiliated Scholar of China Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University. From 1999-2016, Brown served first as Associate Director of Asian Studies and then as an adjunct professor in the China Studies program at SAIS. Before joining SAIS, he served for over thirty years as a Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. State Department. His diplomatic career began with an assignment to Taipei and included postings to Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Saigon, as well as tours in Vienna and Oslo. After leaving government, he worked during 1996-1998 as Senior Associate at the Asia Pacific Policy Center, a non-profit institution in Washington, and served as the Chair of the East Asian Area Studies course at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute from 1998 to 2000.

Tiffany Ma is a Senior Director at BowerGroupAsia (BGA), where she manages BGA’s client relationships and engagements. Ma directs analyses and activities designed to advise Fortune 500 companies on public policy issues, regional geopolitics and stakeholder management. She is also a non-resident fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research, and regularly writes and speaks on China-Taiwan relations, U.S.-China relations, and Asia-Pacific maritime security. She has testified on U.S.-Taiwan relations before the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and has been featured in both U.S. and international media outlets. Ma holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and holds bachelor’s degrees in international relations and psychology from the University of New South Wales. @TiffanyMa2

T.Y. Wang is Professor of Political Science at Illinois State University. He received his BA in Public Administration from National Chung-hsing University, MA in Political Science from National Taiwan University and his PhD in Political Science from State University of New York at Buffalo. He was the Coordinator of the Conference Group of Taiwan Studies (CGOTS) of the American Political Science Association and a visiting professor at Political Science Department, National Chengchi University, Fall of 2005. He is currently the co-editor of the Journal of Asian and African Studies and the Editorial Board of theTaiwanese Political Science Review. Professor Wang’s research focuses on Taiwanese national identity, cross-Strait relations, U.S. policy towards China and Taiwan, and research methodology. He is a prolific author who has been published in numerous scholarly journals; his most recent publications include, “Symbolic Politics, Self-interests and Threat Perceptions: An Analysis of Taiwan Citizens’ Views on Cross-Strait Economic Exchanges.” Professor Wang has received research grants from a variety of foundations, including the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Pacific Cultural Foundation, and the World Society Foundation. He has been frequently invited to conduct lectures and present papers in China, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and the United States.

Deepa Ollapally is Research Professor of International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs. Ollapally specializes in regional security of South Asia, Indian foreign policy, and the role of identity in international relations. Her current research focuses on maritime security in the Indian Ocean and the impact of regional power shifts, and the intersection of security and identity in India-China relations. Her most recent book is Energy Security in Asia and Eurasia (2017). Ollapally has received major grants from foundations including the Carnegie Corporation, MacArthur Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. She is a frequent commentator in the media, including appearances on CNN, BBC, CBS, Reuters TV, and the Diane Rehm Show. She holds a PhD in political science from Columbia University. @DeepaOllapally

Digital Minister of Taiwan Audrey Tang, pictured in professional attire
Dr. David G Brown, pictured in professional attire
Tiffany Ma, pictured in professional attire
Professor T.Y. Yang, pictured in professional attire
Dr. Deepa Ollapally, pictured in professional attire
Graphic: Speaker at Podium addressing audience, Text: Sigur Center Lecture Series for Asian Studies

01/14/2020: Rising U.S.-Iran Tensions after Suleimani’s Assassination: Implications for Asia and Indo-Pacific Security with The Diplomat’s Prashanth Parameswaran

Graphic: Speaker at podium addressing an audience, Text: Sigur Center Lecture Series for Asian Studies

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Room 505

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

While the dust is still settling from the recent killing of Qassem Suleimani and the fallout for Washington’s approach to Iran and the Middle East, the development also holds significance for the wider Indo-Pacific region as well as the Trump administration’s approach to it in the face of its focus on great power competition focused on China and Russia.

In this talk, Prashanth Parameswaran, Senior Editor at The Diplomat and fellow at the Wilson Center, will explore the implications of the recent development and rising U.S.-Iran relations for key regional countries and for Washington‘s evolving foreign policy approach. The talk will also touch on what we might expect for the rest of 2020 and beyond in a U.S. presidential year and aspects of continuity and change in some regional flashpoints.

Q&A will be moderated by Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and Director of the Rising Powers Initiative.

Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public.

@GWUSigurCenter co-sponsored with the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication.

Dr. Prashanth Parameswaran, pictured in professional attire
Professor Deepa Ollapally, pictured in professional attire

Prashanth Parameswaran is Senior Editor at The Diplomat and a fellow at the Wilson Center based in Washington, D.C, where he produces analysis on Southeast Asia, Asian security issues, and U.S. foreign policy. Previously, Parameswaran worked on Asian affairs at several think tanks, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He holds a PhD and an MA in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a BA in foreign affairs and peace and conflict studies from the University of Virginia. @TheAsianist

 

Deepa Ollapally is Research Professor of International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs. Ollapally specializes in regional security of South Asia, Indian foreign policy, and the role of identity in international relations. Her current research focuses on maritime security in the Indian Ocean and the impact of regional power shifts, and the intersection of security and identity in India-China relations. Her most recent book is Energy Security in Asia and Eurasia (2017). Ollapally has received major grants from foundations including the Carnegie Corporation, MacArthur Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. She is a frequent commentator in the media, including appearances on CNN, BBC, CBS, Reuters TV, and the Diane Rehm Show. She holds a PhD in political science from Columbia University. @DeepaOllapally

Graphic: Flag of Taiwan, Text: The Sigur center for Asian Studies Presents: preview of Taiwan Elections 2020: Anticipating a Democracy In Action

12/11/19: Preview of Taiwan Elections 2020: Anticipating a Democracy in Action

Taiwan Conference Series

 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

City View Room, 7th Floor

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

 

Flag of Taiwan, Text: The Sigur Center for Asian Studies Presents: Preview of Taiwan Elections 2020: Anticipating a Democracy in Action

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies cordially invites you to a conference with policy analysts and scholars on Taiwan, one of the world’s most thriving and lively democracies, which is going to the polls on January 11, 2020.

This election season has seen new and unexpected political actors in Taiwan, a mixed economic climate, more upheaval in neighboring Hong Kong, and continued cross-strait pressure from China. What are the key factors and actors to watch and how are they likely to influence the election outcomes?

 

Agenda

10:00am – 10:20am: Registration

10:20am – 10:30am: Opening Remarks

  • Welcome remarks: Benjamin Hopkins, Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies; Associate Professor of History and International Affairs, GWU

10:30am – 12:00pm: Panel I: The Evolving Electoral Landscape: The Public, The Parties, The Economy

  • Public Attitudes and the ElectionsWei-Chin Lee, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Wake Forest University
  • Political Parties, Priorities and StrategiesHans Stockton,  Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Coordinator, Taiwan and East Asia Studies Program, University of St. Thomas in Houston
  • Economics, Business and the ElectionsRupert Hammond-Chambers, President, U.S.-Taiwan Business Council

Moderator: Ed McCord, Professor Emeritus of History and International Affairs, GW

12:00pm – 12:30pm: Lunch

12:30pm – 2:00pm: Panel II: External Forces and the Elections: Challenges and Opportunities for Democratic Consolidation

  • Cyber and Social Media Challenges to Taiwan’s Democracy & Beyond from ChinaSteven Livingston, Director of Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics & Professor of Media and Public Affairs, GW
  • Hong Kong and Lessons for Taiwan’s Political System, Jessica Drun, Non-Resident Fellow, The Project 2049 Institute
  • Chinese Influence in Australian Politics and Lesson for Taiwan: Yu-Hua Chen, Visiting Fellow, East Asia National Resource Center, GW
  • U.S. Perspectives and Policy on Taiwan and ImpactRichard Bush, Chen-Fu and Cecelia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies, Brookings Institution

Moderator: Deepa Ollapally, Research Professor of International Affairs and Associate Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, GW

 

RICHARD BUSH is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, in its Center for East Asia Policy Studies. He also holds the Chen-Fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies. He came to Brookings in July 2002 after nineteen years working in the US government and after five years as the Chairman and Managing Director of the American Institute in Taiwan. In July 1995, Dr. Bush became National Intelligence Officer for East Asia, in charge of the analytic work of the intelligence committee concerning Taiwan, China, and other countries. Dr. Bush became chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan in September 1997. During his five years as chairman, he played a key role in the conduct and articulation of U.S. policy towards Taiwan, particularly in the transition of power to President Chen Shui-bian and the Democratic Progressive Party after fifty-five years of KMT rule.

Dr. Richard Bush, pictured in professional attire

RUPERT HAMMOND-CHAMBERS is President of the US-Taiwan Business Council. Mr. Hammond-Chambers is also the Managing Director of the Taiwan for Bower Group Asia – a strategic consultancy focused on designing winning strategies for companies. In addition, he is responsible for Bower Group Asia’s defense and security practice. He sits on the Board of the Project2049 Institute, and on the Advisory Boards of Redwood Partners International, The Sabatier Group, and the Pacific Star Fund. He is a Trustee of Fettes College and is a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations. 

Rupert Hammond-Chambers, pictured in professional attire

WEI-CHUN LEE is Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Wake Forest University, North Carolina. He has published several books, including The Mutual Non-denial Principle, China’s Interests, and Taiwan’s Expansion of International Participation (2014), and National Security, Public Opinion, and Regime Asymmetry (co-edited, 2017). His most recent publication is an edited volume titled Taiwan’s Political Re-alignment and Diplomatic Challenges (Palgrave Mcmillan, 2019). His articles have appeared in numerous scholarly journals, such as American Journal of Chinese Studies, Asian Affairs, Asian Perspective, Asian Security, Asian Survey, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Journal of Northeast Asian Studies, Taiwan Journal of Democracy, and World Affairs.  His teaching and research interests are foreign policy and domestic politics of China and Taiwan, US policy toward East Asia, international security, and international institutions.

Professor Wei-Chun Lee, pictured in professional attire

STEVEN LIVINGSTON is is Professor of Media and Public Affairs and International Affairs and the Founding Director of the Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics (IDDP) at George Washington University. Between 2016 and 2019 he was also a Senior Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University. He studies the role of technology in politics and policy processes, including human rights monitoring, disinformation campaigns, governance, and the provisioning of public goods. Among other publications, Livingston has written When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina (W. Lance Bennett and Regina Lawrence, co-authors) (University of Chicago Press, 2007); and Africa’s Information Revolution: Implications for Crime, Policing, and Citizen Security (NDU Press, 2013). He has appeared on CNN, ABC, BBC, NPR, al Jazeera and many other news organizations commenting on public policy and politics. His research and consulting activities have taken him to over 50 countries since 2006.

Professor Steven Livingston, pictured in professional attire

HANS STOCKTON is Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Coordinator, Taiwan and East Asia Studies Program at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. He is Director of the Center for International Studies and Master in Public Policy and Administration Program at the University of St. Thomas, where he holds the Cullen Trust for Higher Education/Fayez Sarofim Endowed Chair in International Studies. His areas of academic specialization are democratization, elections, and security in contemporary Asia Pacific. He has co-edited the edited book, Taiwan: The Development of a Mini-Dragon, published in 2019. Dr. Stockton is also a Center Associate of the Election Studies Center at National Cheng Chi University in Taipei. He has served as president of the American Association of Chinese Studies (2015, 2016), coordinator of the Conference Group on Taiwan Studies (2012 – 2014), and multiple terms as president of the Southwest Conference on Asian Studies. He has served or serves on the board of directors of the Houston-Taipei Society, Japan America Society, and Asian Pacific American Heritage Association. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Texas A&M University.

Dr.Hans Stocking, pictured in professional attire

JESSICA DRUN iNon-Resident Fellow with the Project 2049 Institute. She was previously a project associate at the National Bureau of Asian Research, where she managed and assisted with the organization’s Taiwan programming, as well as its annual People’s Liberation Army conference. Her research interests include cross-Strait relations, Taiwan domestic politics, U.S.-China relations. Drun has also held positions at the National Defense University and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She graduated with a MA in Asian Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and conversational in Min Nan Chinese.

Jessica Drun, pictured in professional attire

YU-HUA CHEN is a lecturer at the Australian National University (ANU) and Visiting Fellow at the East Asia National Resource Center at GW. He is broadly interested in China’s security policy, international relations theory, and East Asia politics. His doctoral research investigates the role of buffer states in shaping China’s security policies towards North Korea, Taiwan, and Mongolia. His doctoral research has been supported by grants from the Taiwan government, ANU, and Peking University. Chen has published in a variety of publications, including The National Interest, IPR Review, East Asia Forum, the Taiwan Insight, The China Policy Institute Blog, and Thinking-Taiwan. His recent articles include, “Power and Influence: Chinese Influence on Australia’s Politics and Academia,” New Society for Taiwan, (2017).

Professor Yu-Hua Chen, pictured in professional attire

BENJAMIN HOPKINS is a specialist in modern South Asian history, in particular that of Afghanistan, as well as British imperialism. His research focuses on the role of the colonial state in creating the modern states inhabiting the region. His first book, The Making of Modern Afghanistan, examined the efforts of the British East India Company to construct an Afghan state in the early part of the nineteenth century and provides a corrective to the history of the so-called ‘Great Game.’ His second book, Fragments of the Afghan Frontier, co-authored with anthropologist Magnus Marsden. Hopkins is currently working on a comparative history of frontiers across empires, using the history of the governance of the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier as the central case study. Outside of GW, his research has been funded by Trinity College, Cambridge, the Nuffield Foundation (UK), the British Academy, the American Institute of Iranian Studies, the Leverhulme Trust and the National University of Singapore. At GW, he also oversees the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the new East Asia National Resource Center, a prestigious Department of Education Title VI grant that will increase accessibility for K-12 educators and students in language and area studies for East Asia.

Dr. Benjamin Hopkins, pictured in professional attire

EDWARD MCCORD is Professor Emeritus of History and International Affairs at the George Washington University. His research focuses on Chinese military-civil relations and he is the author of The Power of the Gun: The Emergence of Modern Chinese Warlordism (1985) and Military Force and Elite Power in the Formation of Modern China (2014). He is a frequent lecturer on Chinese history for the Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute and the Smithsonian Institution.  During his career at George Washington University he served at various points as Vice Dean and Associate Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, and Director of the Asian Studies Program. He was also the founder and head of GW’s Taiwan Education and Research Program. Currently he is the editor of the American Journal of Chinese Studies. Professor McCord received his Ph.D. in Chinese history from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Edward McCord, pictured in professional attire

DEEPA OLLAPALLY is Research Professor of International Affairs, Associate Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, and Director of the Rising Powers Initiative. Dr. Ollapally specializes in regional security of South Asia, Indian foreign policy, and the role of identity in international relations. Her current research focuses on maritime security in the Indian Ocean and the impact of regional power shifts and the intersection of security and identity in India-China relations. Ollapally is the author of five books including Worldviews of Aspiring Powers (Oxford, 2012). Her most recent books are two edited volumes, Energy Security in Asia and Eurasia (Routledge, 2017) and Nuclear Debates in Asia: The Role of Geopolitics and Domestic Processes (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University.

Dr. Deepa Ollapally, pictured in professional attire
“The United States and Asia: Regional Dynamics and 21st Century Relations” (2nd ed.) by Robert Sutter

12/9/2019: “The United States and Asia: Regional Dynamics and 21st Century Relations” (2nd ed.) Book Launch with Professor Robert Sutter

Elliot School Book Launch Series
The National Bureau of Asian Research
The Sigur Center for Asian Studies

Monday, December 9, 2019

1:45 PM – 3:00 PM

Lindner Commons, 602 

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

“The United States and Asia: Regional Dynamics and 21st Century Relations” (2nd ed.) by Professor Robert Sutter Book Cover

The Elliott School Book Launch Series, National Bureau of Asian Research, and Sigur Center for Asian Studies invite you to an event celebrating the launch of Professor Robert Sutter’s new book with Roy Kamphausen of the National Bureau of Asian Research. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A. Light refreshments will be provided.

Book signing from 1:30-1:45pm
Book sale from 1:30-1:45pm & 3-3:15pm

About the Event:
Dr. Sutter wrote the first edition of this book five years ago, discerning five major determinants of Asian regional dynamics since the end of the 20th century. They are:
– Changing power relationships — notably China’s rise
– Economic globalization
– Regional hot spots — notably North Korea
– Growing multilateralism
– US engagement and withdrawal.

He concluded that the Obama government’s re-balance policy fit regional dynamics well. This second edition explains Obama’s failure to deal effectively with expanding Chinese assertiveness, setting the stage for acute US-China rivalry that dominates regional dynamics going forward. Professor Sutter’s talk on December 9 will focus on assessing that rivalry and its growing impact on the region.

This event is free, open to the public, and on the record.

About the Speaker:
Robert Sutter has been a Professor of Practice of International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University since 2011. He also served as Director of the School’s main undergraduate program involving over 2,000 students from 2013-2019.

Before arriving at GWU, Professor Sutter was Visiting Professor of Asian Studies at Georgetown University (2001-2011). A Ph.D. graduate in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University, he has published 22 books (four with multiple editions), over 300 articles and several hundred government reports dealing with contemporary East Asian and Pacific countries and their relations with the United States.

His most recent book is The United States and Asia: Regional Dynamics and Twenty-first Century Relations (2nd Edition) (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020). Sutter’s government career (1968-2001) saw service as Senior Specialist and Director of the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division of the Congressional Research Service, the National Intelligence Officer for East Asia and the Pacific at the U.S. Government’s National Intelligence Council, the China division Director at the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research and professional staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

About the moderator:
Roy D. Kamphausen is President of the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), where he has contributed substantially to numerous publications and conferences. Mr. Kamphausen is also the Deputy Director of the IP Commission and a Commissioner on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

Prior to joining NBR, Mr. Kamphausen served as a career U.S. Army officer, as a China policy director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a China strategist for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a military attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

He has published extensively on China’s People’s Liberation Army, U.S.-China defense relations, East Asian security issues, innovation, and intellectual property protection. He is frequently cited in U.S. and international media and lectures at leading U.S. military institutions.

11/13/2019: Settling Authority: Sichuanese Farmers in Early 20th Century Eastern Tibet

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

12:45pm – 2:00pm

Suite 503, Chung-wen Shih Conference Room

Elliott School of International Affairs 

1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052

Following an evaluation of the legacy of the Cold War the author assesses the uncertainties of the post-Cold War era, the weakening of America by its prolonged warfare in the greater Middle East, by the enlarged war on terror and by the financial crisis of 2007-8. Amid the decline of the liberal world order and the rise of China, the author examines Chinese attempts to establish a new order. Analyzing politics in terms of the interplay between global, regional and local developments.

About the Event:
From 1907 to 1911, some 4,000 commoners from the Sichuan Basin ventured west. Enticed by promises of large tracts of presumably uncultivated land, they ascended the Tibetan Plateau seeking new lives for their families — and new benefits for a changing province and Qing China. Their presence was the result of intensifying competition for authority within Kham between the provincial government and Lhasa, and perceived regional pressures from British India and Imperial Russia. Using Kham as a case study, this presentation will focus on the role such state-supported settlement played in the consolidation of provincial rule within a state’s ‘borderland’ regions. It will explore the relationship between shifting conceptions of territoriality within a globalizing structure of international law and how such settlement could substantiate assertions of sovereignty in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.

About the Speaker:
Scott Relyea is assistant professor of Asian history at Appalachian State University. He received his Ph.D. in Chinese history from the University of Chicago and M.A. degrees from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. A historian of late imperial and modern China, his research centres on nationalism, state-building, and the transition from imperial to state formation, with a regional focus on the southwest borderlands of China. His recent project, funded by a Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant and a Luce/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowship in China Studies, focuses on the global circulation of concepts of statecraft and international law, particularly as received in eastern and central Asia, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Benjamin D. Hopkins (moderator) is the Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, Co-Director of the East Asia National Resource Center, and Associate Professor of History and International Affairs. He is a specialist in modern South Asian history, in particular that of Afghanistan, as well as British imperialism. His first book, The Making of Modern Afghanistan, examined the efforts of the British East India Company to construct an Afghan state in the early part of the nineteenth century and provides a corrective to the history of the so-called ‘Great Game.’ His second book, Fragments of the Afghan Frontier is co-authored with anthropologist Magnus Marsden. He has additionally co-edited Beyond Swat: History, Society and Economy along the Afghanistan-Pakistan Frontier with Magnus Marsden. Hopkins has a forthcoming book on a comparative history of frontiers across empires from Harvard University. His research has been funded by Trinity College, Cambridge, the Nuffield Foundation (UK), the British Academy, the American Institute of Iranian Studies, the Leverhulme Trust and the National University of Singapore. He holds a Ph.D. (Cantab) and was educated at the London School of Economics and Cambridge University.

11/8/2019: 12th Annual Conference on China’s Economic Development and U.S.-China Economic Relations

Friday, November 8, 2019

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Lindner Commons – Suite 602

Elliott School of International Affairs 

1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052

The Institute for International Economic Policy is pleased to invite you to the 12th annual Conference on China’s Economic Development and U.S.-China Economic Relations on November 8th, 2019 at the Elliott School for International Affairs, located at 1957 E Street, NW.

The conference will feature panels on the Political Economy of Protests; Capital Market Liberalization and Industrial Policy; Industrial Policy, Technology Transfer, and Financial Access; and the Belt and Road Initiative.

This conference is co-sponsored by the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the GW Center for International Business Education and Research.
 

Conference Agenda

08:15-08:50:  Coffee and Registration

08:50-09:00: Welcoming Remarks: James Foster (IIEP Director, GWU)

09:00-09:45: Keynote: Daniel Xu (Duke University) – “Fiscal Policies and Firm Investment in China”

09:45-10:45: The Political Economy of Protests
David Yang (Harvard University) – “Persistent Political Engagement: Social Interactions and the Dynamics of Protest Movements”

Davin Chor (Dartmouth College) – “The Political Economy Consequences of China’s Export Slowdown”

10:45-11:15: Coffee Break
 
11:15-12:15: Capital Market Liberalization and Industrial Policy
John Rogers (Federal Reserve Board) – “The Effect of the China Connect”

Wenli Li (Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank) – “Demographic Aging, Industrial Policy, and Chinese Economic Growth”

12:15-13:15: Lunch

13:15–14:30: Policy Keynotes:
Chad Bown (Peterson Institute for International Economics) – “The U.S.-China Trade Relationship under the Trump Administration”
David Shambaugh (GWU) – “Stresses and Strains in U.S.-China Relations”
 
14:30-15:00: Coffee Break
 
15:00-16:00: Industrial Policy, Technology Transfer, and Financial Access       
Moderator: Maggie Chen (GWU)
Jie Bai (Harvard University) – “Quid Pro Quo, Knowledge Spillovers, and Industrial Quality Upgrading”
Jing Cai (University of Maryland) – “Direct and Indirect Effects of Financial Access on SMEs”
 
16:00-17:00: The Belt and Road Initiative
Moderator: Stephen Kaplan (GWU)
Scott Morris (Center for Global Development) – “Belt and Road’s Debt and Project Risks”
Jamie Horsley (Yale University) – Title TBA

11/4/2019: “The Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar’s Hidden Genocide” Book Talk

Monday, November 4, 2019

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Chung-wen Shih Conference Room, Suite 503W

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies cordially invites you to a book talk with author Dr. Azeem Ibrahim, Director of the Displacement and Global Migration Program at the Center for Global Policy, and Q&A moderated by Professor of Practice of International Affairs Dr. Christina Fink.

Dr. Ibrahim will introduce what is happening to the Rohingya, a Muslim minority group who are from the Rakhine state in western Myanmar, a majority Buddhist country. He will discuss the reality facing the Rohingyas as a slow-motion genocide. According to the United Nations, the Rohingya are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. 

This event is free and open to the public. A book sale and signing will follow the book talk. Light refreshments will be served. 

 

Dr. Azeem Ibrahim is the Director of the Displacement and Migration Program at the Center for Global Policy in Washington, DC. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge after which he completed fellowships at the universities of Oxford, Harvard, and Yale. Dr. Ibrahim has been researching the Rohingya crisis for over a decade and is the author of the award winning book The Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar’s Hidden Genocide. To undertake research for his book, Dr. Ibrahim made a number of trips to Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Dr. Ibrahim continues to research and write on the Rohingya crisis with regular publications in the New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Newsweek, CNN and others. In 2019 he received the International Association of Genocide Scholars Engaged Scholar Prize for his pioneering work on the Rohingya.

 

Professor Christina Fink joined the Elliott School in 2011. She is a cultural anthropologist who has combined teaching, research, and development work throughout her career. She served as a visiting lecturer at the Pacific and Asian Studies Department at the University of Victoria in 1995, and from 2001-2010, she was a lecturer and program associate at the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute in Thailand. During the same period, she also ran a bi-annual capacity building training and internship program which she developed for members of Burmese civil society organizations, including women’s groups. She received her B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Social/Cultural Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley.

11/2/2019: The 27th Annual Hahn Moo-Sook Colloquium in the Korean Humanities

Saturday, November 2, 2019

9:30 AM – 4:45 PM

Harry Harding Auditorium, Room 213

Elliott School of International Affairs 

1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052

Korean popular culture is arguably one of South Korea’s most impactful exports, reaching a worldwide audience of devoted fans through strategic marketization. From music, film, television, sports to food, the “Korean Wave” (hallyu) has generated revenue and reshaped the topography of the global cultural landscape. This year’s Colloquium focuses on the K-Pop industry, the contemporary style of Korean pop music that has become popular in countries ranging from Indonesia and Thailand to Pakistan, Nigeria, and Chile. The speakers will examine diverse aspects of K-Pop: state-initiated efforts to employ the Korean Wave as a currency of soft power, corporate infrastructure, global fan practices that contribute to the transnational flow of popular culture, cultural appropriation, the production of idols, and the connections between K-Pop and Korean diasporic as well as other non-Korean communities.

Keynote Speaker

Kyung Hyun Kim, University of California, Irvine

Speakers

Bora Kim, Columbia University
CedarBough Saeji, Indiana University
Crystal Anderson, George Mason University
Imelda Ibarra, US BTS Army
Robert Ku, Binghamton University – State University of New York (SUNY)
So-Rim LeeUniversity of Pennsylvania

10/31/2019: Geo-Strategic Impacts of the Belt and Road Initiative with Fulbright Scholar Aqab Malik

Thursday, October 31, 2019

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Chung-wen Shih Conference Room, Suite 503

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20052

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies cordially invites you to a discussion on the Belt Road Initiative with our Visiting Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Aqab Malik. The discussion and Q&A will be moderated by Associate Director Dr. Deepa Ollapally.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a colossal undertaking, which was primarily organized and initiated to lessen the impact of China’s economic downturn and mitigate its surplus production capacity and provide alternative markets for its mass manufactured products. In doing so, the initiative also recognizes that the prospective markets in Asia require extensive infrastructural upgrades to facilitate the necessary connectivity for the initiative’s vision to be a success. However, as China’s interests have grown and its investments have solidified in Eurasia and Africa, its recognition of the necessity for the protection of its interests have also grown commensurate to the investments it is making. This has led to concerns in the Western hemisphere that China’s goals through BRI are not wholly economic in nature, but also have geopolitical and geo-strategic dimensions.

This talk will explore the possibility of the geo-strategic impacts in the medium to long-term future in relation to the changing political and economic world order.

 

About the Speakers:

Dr. Aqab Malik is currently a Fulbright Scholar at the Sigur Center, Elliott School of International Affairs, where he is writing a book on the Geostrategic Impacts of the Belt and Road Initiative. Dr. Malik has had extensive teaching and research experience in Strategic Studies. He received his doctorate in Strategic and Nuclear Studies at the Department of Strategic Studies, National Defence University, Islamabad. He also has an MA in Security Studies from the University of Hull (UK), and graduated with a BSc in Marine Geography from Cardiff University (UK).

Previously, and in addition to his regular teaching, Dr. Malik has been actively engaged as a consultant for organizations as diverse as the National Counter Terrorism Authority, Ministry of Interior, Pakistan, in the Formulation and Writing of the National Counter Terrorism Strategy and Threat Assessment, and Position Paper, for Pakistan. Furthermore, he has worked as a Consultant to the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.

Dr. Malik has visited the US regularly, and prior to his recent position, was the 2013 South Asia Fellow at the School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Malik regularly speaks at and attends international conferences, and also frequently appears on TV, globally through channels, such as Sky TV, i24, VOA, Al Arabiya, Abu Dhabi TV, Al Ain TV, Saudi TV, Libyan TV, News1, Khyber TV, amongst others.

 

Dr. Deepa Ollapally is Research Professor of International Affairs, Associate Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, and Director of the Rising Powers Initiative. Dr. Ollapally specializes in regional security of South Asia, Indian foreign policy, and the role of identity in international relations. Her current research focuses on martiime security in the Indian Ocean and the impact of regional power shifts and the intersection of security and identity in India-China relations. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University.

Dr. Ollapally has received major grants from foundations including the Carnegie Corporation, MacArthur Foundation, and Ford Foundation. She is a frequent commentator in the media, including appearances on CNN, BBC, CBS, Reuters TV, and the Diane Rehm Show. 

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

10/17/2019: Fake News Legislations and the Impact on Freedom of Expression in Southeast Asia

Thursday, October 17, 2019

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

Room 505

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

Dr. James Gomez, Chair of the Board of Directors, will visit Washington D.C. and New York to introduce his organization and its three-year project on Fake News and the Impact on Freedom of Expression in Southeast Asia. He will be sharing the findings from Asia Centre’s international conference on “Fake News and Elections in Asia,” which was held in Thailand in July this year. A Q&A session will follow the presentation, and a light lunch will be provided.

The Asia Center is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to create social impact in the Southeast Asia region. The Centre is based in Bangkok, Thailand. It serves as a think-tank, meeting space, project partner and social enterprise.

This event is free and open to the public.

10/24/2019: “Cocktail Party” Film Screening and Director’s Talk

 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

6:00 PM – 8:45 PM 

B12

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

Join us for a free movie screening of “Cocktail Party” and a discussion with the film’s director, Theodore Regge Life, and moderated by Dr. Steve Rabson, Professor Emeritus of East Asian Studies at Brown University.

Movie: When the daughter of a Japanese businessman in Okinawa charges that a U.S. serviceman assaulted her, the serviceman claims the encounter was entirely consensual. The ensuing civil and military investigations bring to light persistent resentment going back many years on both sides about the human toil of accommodating long term military occupation.

This event is free and open to the public.

10/29/19: Cross-Strait Relations under Stress: Chinese Pressure and Implications for Taiwan

 

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Lindner Commons, Room 602

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

 

China’s pressure campaign against Taiwan is leading to rising tensions in cross-strait relations across the spectrum of politics and defense. China’s growing military and increasing unilateralism in the region, its use of new types of sharp power to gain influence, and renewed efforts to constrain Taiwan’s international space, are posing serious challenges.

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies has convened a group of leading experts to deliberate on these emerging risks and the prospects for managing cross-strait relations and Taiwan’s broader political engagement.

Lunch will be served. This conference is free and open to the public.

 

Agenda

10:00 AM – 10:20 AM     Registration

10:20 AM – 10:30 AM     Opening Remarks

  • Welcome Remarks: Benjamin Hopkins, Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies, George Washington University
  • Introductory Remarks: Christine M. Y. Hsueh, Deputy Representative, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO)

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM    Panel I: Perspectives on Defense and Security

  • China’s Rising Unilateralism and Militarization: June Teufel Dreyer, Professor of Political Science, University of Miami
  • Chinese Regional Assertiveness and Impact on Taiwan: Michael Mazza, Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
  • Taiwan’s Defense and U.S. Support: Robert Sutter, Professor of Practice International Affairs, George Washington University
  • Moderated by Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies, George Washington University

12:00 PM – 12:30 PM     Lunch

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM      Panel II: Cross-Strait Political Constraints and Opportunities for Taiwan

  • Containing Chinese Sharp Power: Mark Stokes, Executive Director, Project 2049 Institute
  • Securing Taiwan’s International Space: Jacques deLisle, Professor of Law & Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
  • Prospects for Taiwan’s Broader Political Engagement and Challenges: Bonnie Glaser, Director of China Power Project, Center for Strategic & International Studies
  • Moderated by Fiona Cunningham, Assistant Professor of Political Science & International Affairs, George Washington University

FIONNA CUNNINGHAM is Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the George Washington University. Her research interests lie at the intersection of technology and conflict, with an empirical focus on China. Cunningham’s current book project explains how and why states use space, cyber, and conventional missile weapons as substitutes for threats to use nuclear weapons for coercion in limited wars. Her research has been published in International Security and supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation, China Confucius Studies Program, and the MIT Center for International Studies.

Cunningham was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University in 2018-2019 and a Pre-Doctoral Fellow in the Cyber Security Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University in 2017-2018. She conducted fieldwork in China in 2015-2016 as a joint Ph.D. research fellow at the Renmin University of China in Beijing. Cunningham received her Ph.D. in 2018 from the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was a member of the Security Studies Program.

JACQUES deLISLE is Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law, Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China at the University of Pennsylvania. He also directs the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Asia Program. He specializes in Chinese politics and legal reform, cross-strait relations and China’s engagement within the international legal order.

deLisle’s recent books include: China’s Global Engagement (Brookings, 2017), co-edited with Avery Goldstein; The Internet, Social Media, and a Changing China (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), co-edited with Avery Goldstein and Guobin Yang; Political Changes in Taiwan under Ma Ying-jeou (Routledge, 2014), co-edited with Jean-Pierre Cabestan. His next book, Taiwan Under Tsai, co-edited with June Teufel Dreyer, is forthcoming in 2020.

He has published widely in journals, including Sino-American Relations, American Society of International Law Proceedings, Harvard Asia Quarterly and Journal of National Security Law. He serves regularly as an expert witness on issues of PRC, Hong Kong and Taiwan law and government policies. He received a J.D. and graduate education in political science at Harvard.

JUNE TEUFEL DREYER is Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami, Florida, where she teaches courses on China, U.S. defense policy, and international relations. She is a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Formerly a senior Far East Specialist at the Library of Congress, Dreyer has also served as the Asia policy advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations and as commissioner of the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Dreyer’s most recent book, the tenth edition of China’s Political System: Modernization and Tradition was published in 2018. Her book Middle Kingdom and Empire of the Rising Sun: Sino-Japanese Relations Past and Present was published by Oxford University Press in 2016. She has served as a United States Information Agency lecturer, speaking in fourteen Asia-Pacific states. Dreyer has published widely on the Chinese military, Asian-Pacific security issues, China-Taiwan relations, Sino-Japanese relations, ethnic minorities in China, and Chinese foreign policy. In 2017, she received the University of Miami’s faculty senate award as Distinguished Research Professor. Dreyer received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard.

BONNIE S. GLASER is the Senior Adviser for Asia and Director, China Power Project at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She is also a nonresident fellow with the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, and a senior associate with the Pacific Forum. Prior to joining CSIS, she served as a consultant for various U.S. government offices, including the Departments of Defense and State.

Glaser has published widely in academic and policy journals, including the Washington Quarterly, China Quarterly, Asian Survey, International Security, Contemporary Southeast Asia, American Foreign Policy Interests, Far Eastern Economic Review, and Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, as well as in leading newspapers, such as the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. She is currently a board member of the U.S. Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific and a member of both the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Glaser received her B.A. in Political Science from Boston University and her M.A. with concentrations in International Economics and Chinese Studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

BENJAMIN HOPKINS is a specialist in modern South Asian history, in particular that of Afghanistan, as well as British imperialism. His research focuses on the role of the colonial state in creating the modern states inhabiting the region. His first book, The Making of Modern Afghanistan, examined the efforts of the British East India Company to construct an Afghan state in the early part of the nineteenth century and provides a corrective to the history of the so-called ‘Great Game.’ His second book, Fragments of the Afghan Frontier, co-authored with anthropologist Magnus Marsden.

Hopkins is currently working on a comparative history of frontiers across empires, using the history of the governance of the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier as the central case study. Outside of GW, his research has been funded by Trinity College, Cambridge, the Nuffield Foundation (UK), the British Academy, the American Institute of Iranian Studies, the Leverhulme Trust and the National University of Singapore. At GW, he also oversees the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the new East Asia National Resource Center, a prestigious Department of Education Title VI grant that will increase accessibility for K-12 educators and students in language and area studies for East Asia.

CHRISTINE M.Y. HSEUH is Deputy Representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the United States since 2017. She fosters bilateral relations between Taiwan and the U.S. as part of TECRO’s senior leadership after an illustrious, international career in other positions with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including her previous positions as Director General for North American Affairs (2015-2017), Representative of TECRO in the Czech Republic (2012-2015), and Director of the Political Division of TECRO in the U.S. (2008-2012). 

Hsueh earned her M.A. in Diplomacy from National Chengchi University and a B.A. in Political Science from National Taiwan University. 

MICHAEL MAZZA is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he analyzes U.S. defense policy in the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese military modernization, cross–strait relations, and Korean peninsula security. A regular writer for the AEIdeas blog, he is also the Program Manager of AEI’s annual Executive Program on National Security Policy and Strategy. Mazza has contributed to numerous AEI studies on American grand strategy in Asia, U.S. defense strategy in the Asia-Pacific, and Taiwanese defense strategy, and his published work includes pieces in The Wall Street Journal Asia, Los Angeles Times, and The Weekly Standard. Mazza was recognized as a 2010-11 Foreign Policy Initiative Future Leader.

He has lived in China where he attended an inter-university program for Chinese language studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Mazza has a B.A. in History from Cornell University and a M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

DEEPA OLLAPALLY is the Associate Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. Ollapally is directing a major research project on power and identity and the worldviews of rising and aspiring powers in Asia and Eurasia. Her research focuses on domestic foreign policy debates in India and its implications for regional security and global leadership of the U.S.

Ollapally has received major grants from the Carnegie Corporation, MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Asia Foundation for projects related to India and Asia. She is a frequent commentator in the media, including appearances on CNN, BBC, CBS, Reuters TV, and the Diane Rehm Show.

MARK STOKES is a retired Lieutenant Colonel and the Executive Director of the Project 2049 Institute in Arlington, Virginia. A 20-year U.S. Air Force veteran, Stokes served as a military attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and as senior country director for the PRC and Taiwan in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. After retiring from military and government service, and before joining Project 2049 in January 2008, he briefly worked in the private sector on Taiwan. Stokes’ main focus at Project 2049 is Taiwan, cross-strait relations, PLA strategic force modernization, military political work, and Chinese space and missile industry. He has working proficiency in Chinese.

He holds a B.A. from Texas A&M University, and graduate degrees in International Relations and Asian Studies from Boston University and the Naval Postgraduate School.

ROBERT SUTTER is Professor of Practice of International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University since 2011. He also served as Director of the School’s main undergraduate program involving over 2,000 students from 2013-2019. His earlier fulltime position was Visiting Professor of Asian Studies at Georgetown University (2001-2011). A Ph.D. graduate in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University, Sutter has published 22 books (four with multiple editions), over 300 articles and several hundred government reports dealing with contemporary East Asian and Pacific countries and their relations with the United States. His most recent book is The United States and Asia: Regional Dynamics and Twenty-first Century Relations Second Edition (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).

Sutter’s government career (1968-2001) saw service as senior specialist and Director of the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division of the Congressional Research Service, the National Intelligence Officer for East Asia and the Pacific at the U.S. Government’s National Intelligence Council, the China division Director at the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research and professional staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Transcript

Benjamin Hopkins:
[Good] to see you all this morning, having joined us for what looks to be an exciting and really intellectually robust day. My name is Benjamin Hopkins. I’m the director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies here at the Elliott School. For those of you that don’t know, the Sigur Center is the university center for research and teaching on Asia. In addition to being the director of the Sigur Center, I’m also the co-director of the East Asian National Resource Center, which is a title six funded center, which actually we just won last year, largely based off the strength of our robust East Asian program, which has for long been supported by our friends at TECRO. And it’s with that in mind today that we’re looking to our first of a number of conferences this year. Today’s being on cross-strait relations under stress. We have an absolutely fantastic lineup for you today.

Benjamin Hopkins:
If you have not already grabbed a program which have all the speaker bios as well as the events, they are available over there. In addition to advertising what is about to begin for today, I’d also like to bring your attention that on December 11th, we will be holding our next Taiwan focus conference, which is going to be a preview of the upcoming elections for Taiwan. So we’re going to have a really interesting series. We’re going to have both the discussion before the elections and the follow up discussion and after the new year, once the elections take place. So for those of you that have been following, it’s a very interesting, political landscape these days in Taiwan and I think we’ll have a very interesting conversation for that round table. But let’s get back to the order of the day. And I think it goes without saying that it’s an interesting time for cross-strait relations. As I’ve already indicated, we have a fantastic lineup of panelists, academics and policy wonks to share their opinions and insights today. And with that I would like to introduce, the honorable Christine Hsueh, who is the deputy representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office here in Washington DC. It’s a great pleasure to have you here and please, why don’t you come up here and walk us off?

Christine M. Y. Hsueh:
Professor Hopkins, distinguished panelists, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. It is my great pleasure and honor to be with you this morning. I’d like to first thank Sigur Center once again for putting together an inspiring and stimulating event focusing on China’s Pressure Campaign and its implication for Taiwan and beyond. As many of you know, since the democratization movement of the 1980s, Taiwan has already gone through three rounds of transition power by direct elections.

Christine M. Y. Hsueh:
Next January, we are going to have another presidential election even with unavoidable outside intervention, I believe. It will once again attest to the value of democracy, which people of Taiwan cherish dearly regardless of their political affiliation. Taiwan’s robust democracy is not just a success story. It is a constant reminder to the world that democracy can thrive in Chinese culture. More importantly, given China’s growing shock power, Taiwan has also become the first line of defense for democratic values in the Indo-Pacific region.

Christine M. Y. Hsueh:
Even though our government under the leadership of President Tsai Ing-wen, has tried our best to maintain the status quo across the Taiwan strait. China’s diplomatic offenses and military coercion toward Taiwan have just intensified day by day. Posing a serious challenge to regional peace and stability. Not only did China malignantly quash Taiwan’s international space whenever possible, they also lured away seven of our diplomatic allies in the past four years. In Xi Jinping’s January 2nd speech, he further tried to impose one country to systems modeled for Taiwan even after the model has been proved a failure in Hong Kong, and once again threatened to use force as an option for unification with Taiwan. In the face of all this increasing pressure on our freedom and democracy, President Tsai, in her national date address this year, calling empower people to stay united, resilient to defend our hard earned democracy.

Christine M. Y. Hsueh:
She also reaffirmed that Taiwan must fulfill its responsibility to the international community. But Taiwan will not act provocatively or irrationally. Rather we will work with likeminded countries to ensure that a peaceful and stable cross-strait status quo is not unilaterally altered. Therefore, people in Taiwan are greatly encouraged by vice president Pence address at Wilson Center event last week, which he indicates that United States stood by Taiwan in defense of her hark work democracy.

Christine M. Y. Hsueh:
And also his reiteration that America will always believe that Taiwan is embrace of democracy shows a better path for older Chinese people. So even the road ahead of us may not be smooth. We know we are not alone fighting for the good cost. With that in mind, I think you’ll agree with me that today’s discussion of the cross-strait relations are very timely and will have implication for more than the parties on both sides of Taiwan strait. Thank you again for having me, I look forward to learning from wisdom and the thoughts of our distinguished panelists and also wish today’s event a great success. Thank you.

Deepa Ollapally:
Thank you very much. Welcome to all of you again. It’s wonderful to see such a big turnout. And I also want to thank Minister Hsueh for setting the stage now for this panel so wonderfully that her remarks I think are a good indication of why we need to have this sort of a conference at this particular time. So with me today, we’re going to go right in, I’m not going to go too much into the introduction of the panelists that. None of them probably need an introduction to this audience, but they all deserve one. And let me just start by saying that, some of them here, two actually, have come in this morning. So I was holding my breath until they all arrived on time and we started with, the person who will begin us off looking at Chinese unilateralism and militarization to set a sort of looking at the defense and security, and military landscape that Taiwan faces.

Deepa Ollapally:
June Dreyer is a professor of political science at the University of Miami. She has made a heroic effort to get here from Miami this morning and she is turning right around and going back, because she managed to squeeze this in between two very important personal commitments that she’s got. She’s also the president of the American Association of Chinese Studies, which I just found out that wasn’t even on her long list of accomplishments. She has worked at the library of Congress.

Deepa Ollapally:
She’s been a advisor to the chief of Naval operations. And her most recent book, the 10th edition of a book that came out in 2018 called China’s Political System: Modernization and Tradition. In 2017, she received the university of Miami’s award as a distinguished research professor, which I think it speaks volumes for her continuing contributions. She also has a PhD from Harvard.

Deepa Ollapally:
Turning to the next time list on my left is Michael Mazza, who is a visiting fellow from the American Enterprise Institute. And he came in from New York right on time. So thank you, Mike. He is, he analyzes US defense policy in the Asia Pacific region, Chinese military modernization and he’s also a nonresident fellow at the Global Taiwan Institute and he has published widely in very well known journals such as foreign affairs and wall street and so forth. He was also recognized as a Foreign Policy Initiative future leader a few years ago. So keep your eye on him.

Deepa Ollapally:
And then finally, happy to introduce Bob Sutter who came all the way from Virginia. He is my colleague at GW. He has been here since 2011. He has taught around the DMV and Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, University of Virginia. He has published 21 books and hundreds of articles and he has been in the past. It worked also at Congressional Research Service and has been a national intelligence officer, and has a PhD as a [inaudible 00:10:43]. Well, let me just say that I think they are an expert group for the topics today. And I’m going to start with June and just go down the line and they’ll speak for about 15 minutes or so and then we’ll open it up for Q and A. So thank you very much. June.

June Teufel Dreyer:
No academic can speak for only 15 minutes.

Deepa Ollapally:
I said 15 knowing you’ll take 20, but go ahead.

June Teufel Dreyer:
Anyway, Deepa has already told you my topic and nobody who saw the photos of China’s 70th birthday parade, could doubt that there has been significant militarization in China. And I don’t want to bore you with a long list of weapons, but among the weapons that made their debut was the drones from 41, first time seen in public, and this is said to have a 9,400 mile radius, which means it could hit any place in the United States, which brought a lot of people up short. And then in the same parade was the DF 17, and this is a nuclear capable, a ballistic missile that is specifically designed to carry a hypersonic glide vehicle, which is very, very scary indeed.

June Teufel Dreyer:
And then according to the Stockholm Institute of Peace Research, kinda has the second largest military budget in the world, United States being first, and in the 215 birthday parade, there were, so-called Guam killer, the DF 26, and the DF 21, which is nicknamed the Carrier Killer. And you know whose carriers they have in mind. And you also know who has a submarine based on Guam. So that’s concerning. And a Singaporean analyst, Kotlin Ko, revealed a couple of weeks ago on the basis of some photos from CSIS, a think tank on this, what he called the start of the factory for aircraft carriers and surface shifts in the Asi River estuary.

June Teufel Dreyer:
So, on the basis of that, the IISS in London, and you’ve noticed, I’m trying to pick places here from different parts of the world, Stockholm and London and Singapore, suggested that the Chinese naval capability has entered a new phase. So point made, militarization. I was out at what was then Paycom in early 2011 and I said, “Is it true you folks, what I’ve been hearing, the Chinese military is becoming a lot more assertive in various international fora?”

June Teufel Dreyer:
And the answer I got from a two star admiral was, you better believe it. And he contrasted that with the previously much more diffident, quiet responses that you would get in the past. And I mention this on purpose because 2010 appears to me to be a real watershed year. And the reason is that people keep saying that this is Xi Jinping and I would argue that it isn’t Xi Jinping. I mean it is, but it started under Hu Jintao who is sometimes portrayed as this colorless guy. I know a eminent professor in a university in Shanghai, a Chinese who sneered Hu Jintao. This is a place where good ideas go to die and obviously this one didn’t die. And that fits in with a much more generally belligerent tone elsewhere. The ARF meeting in Hanoi July, 2010 where the Chinese foreign minister stomped out after Hillary Clinton suggested that the South China sea issues be settled amicably.

June Teufel Dreyer:
Not really a provocative statement from her point of view and also looking the Singaporean foreign minister straight in the eye and say, “You have to understand that some countries are big countries and some countries are small countries,” and Singapore of course is a small country. And he essentially said, “Suck it up and get used to it.” Only slightly more politely. And that was also about the time the Chinese were saying or not quite saying, if you parse the grammar that the South China sea, that nine dash line was a core interest. And again, if you parse the grammar, they haven’t quite said it, but they sure seem to be implying it. So, 2010, another, what do you call a piece of evidence from my theory here that it’s 2010, is the collision between the, Chinese fishing boat and the two Japanese coast guard vessels after which the Chinese said, “Okay, we’re now going to start patrolling this area.” And they did.

June Teufel Dreyer:
So again, it wasn’t 2012, no matter what you’ve read, it was 2010. And now, there has been a move, countermove ballet, which would be the wrong word for something so lethal. But, 2010 was also the year that DOD announced, it was around before, but 2010 was when DOD announced the air sea battle strategy. And this is the anti-access area denial strategy known as paralyze first and analyze later, annihilate later. And it was pretty obvious that that was China that we’re talking about. So that’s the United States countermove. And then shortly thereafter came Hillary Clinton’s articulation of the pivot to Asia, which has been echoed by Barack Obama and his address to the Australian parliament. And the Chinese say, “Okay, provocation, we need to make a countermove.”

June Teufel Dreyer:
And then you get the militarization of the islands. And we respond. We put Marines on a rotating basis in Darwin and they counter by leasing the port of Darwin for 99 years. And you see what I mean by move, countermove here. And the trouble is we don’t do very much to back up our presence. We announce a pivot, but we don’t do a heck of a lot about it. So this is building up, in other words, before Xi Jinping assumed power in 2012 and before Donald Trump was elected in 2016. So, neither one of them deserves the blame or the praise for starting this depending on your point of view.

June Teufel Dreyer:
Now this is followed by a number of unpleasant incidents between US ships and planes, and being shadowed and harassed by Chinese ships and planes with the usual thing in the press, does this mean going to war? And this is the US press. Is this worth going to war about? Which is taken by the Chinese side correctly, I think, as a sign that we would have cold feet about doing so. And there’s a lot of concern.

June Teufel Dreyer:
I know this from people among what was then Paycom now is Indupaycom that the political authorities were not telling the American people what was really going on. And a confirmation on that a couple of weeks ago, a DIA counter intelligence analyst was arrested and charged with leaking classified information on missiles to two journalists. In other words, he was not selling things to the Chinese, he was leaking the classified information on the Chinese missiles to journalists in the United States. Okay.

June Teufel Dreyer:
And the missiles in this case, and again, I have this if anybody’s interested, I can tell you what they were, but they are able to, their long range surface to air missiles that can target aircraft drones and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles on three of the briefs that the Chinese have fortified. And according to CSIS’s Greg Polling, they’ve also appeared in satellite images of Woody Island, which is the center of China’s presence in the South China sea. And he says from there, you’re going to see them migrate to other ones, in other of these fortified islands. So that’s creeping aggression in the South China sea. And I noticed that Harry Harris, who was then had a Paycom testifying that the house, armed services committee, I believe it was, said, “Ladies and gentlemen, China’s intent is crystal clear. We ignore it at our peril.”

June Teufel Dreyer:
And Harris’s successors said something very similar. So that’s the South China sea. As I mentioned before, the East China sea appears to be more, one, less overtly confrontational, but kind of eating slowly away at Japan’s claimed sovereignty in the East China sea and Chinese fishermen have avoided the waters around the Senkaku Islands for about 10 years ago. Again, pre-dating Xi Jinping. And the Japanese have fortified, not the Senkakus, but the islands in the area. This has really been like pulling teeth without anesthetic because the people on the islands don’t want a military presence there, this is a Japanese military presence. And as we all know, Japan doesn’t have a military, it has a self defense force, but same difference. Okay. What about joint exercises with the United States?

June Teufel Dreyer:
These happen periodically, and it somewhat amuses me to see that these are all islands. The exercises are all geared at re taking the islands. Notice, not defending the islands, but re taking the islands. And there is method behind this because the United States has not pledged to defend those islands against creeping osmosis. It’s pledged to defend them against invasion. And what’s happening is not an invasion, it’s osmosis. So that again is a little bit scary. And I hear all these scenarios, what if China invaded blah, blah, blah. And I’m saying, this assumes a lack of an acumen on the Chinese, which we shouldn’t assume. They’re very smart. Why would they bother invading when the salami tactics are working so well? And possibly you guys will, we’ll take this up further because it seems to me that’s their strategy with regard to Taiwan as well.

June Teufel Dreyer:
Scary weapons, but that’s not their ultimate strategy. Now, it’s easy to say that United States could have done more, but think about it. First of all, acting unilaterally is going to elicit a chorus of unilateralism and warmongering and heaven knows squash. And second, the United States has never recognized anybody sovereignty over those contested islands. Okay?So perhaps all that we can do is what Ash Carter suggested, what four years ago now? Approximately 2016, to insist on flying and sailing wherever international law allows and not allow ourselves to be bullied by periodic confrontations with the Chinese Navy ships and airplanes. Okay, so that’s number one.

June Teufel Dreyer:
Option number two is join with allies. And I was born and brought up in Brooklyn and I know exactly what my fellow Brooklynites would say, which is something like oy vey. We had tried the quad, which was actually proposed by a Japanese prime minister, with India and Australia and Japan. But there’s a wonderful article a couple months ago by Kevin Rudd, the former, prime minister of Australia, in which he goes into great detail about the problems of the quad. And basically these can be summarized because Deepa’s is going to cut me off in about two minutes. Basically, this can be summarized very quickly in that all of these countries are democracy, that was a whole idea, an Alliance of democracies.

June Teufel Dreyer:
Democracies change leaders, and leaders change policy. So Abe, his first term as prime minister, he’s a pretty tough guy. And then pretty soon he gets replaced with Fukuda and Fukuda’s attitude is, “Let’s be really nice to the Chinese.” The same kind of thing happens in Australia. It also happened in India. Manmohan Singh is replaced by Modi who was somewhat tougher guy. After Abe, who? We’re not positive. Although he isn’t part of the quad, just think what happened with Duterte in the Philippines. I mean it’s practically, I guess it’s 170 degree turn around.

June Teufel Dreyer:
Option number four, and to my horror, I heard a lot about this in, for God’s sake, Newport at the United States Naval War College, and that is we’ve got to meet China halfway. And one of my mentors was the greatly respected James Lilley, James R. Lilley, the guy who ran the secret war in Laos and also was the ambassador to China.

June Teufel Dreyer:
I remember him thundering that if you try to meet them halfway, the Chinese will take this as a sign of weakness and they will push harder. There are the options and nobody has ever accused me of being an optimist. I will however close by saying that Xi Jinping has a lot of other problems besides Taiwan, the declining economy, the increasing pollution, the Tibet running sore, the Shin Jong issue on the border with India, and lots of other things.

June Teufel Dreyer:
I was amused to see Jin Run quoted yesterday, I believe it was, as saying, “China has the ability to destroy the United States, but it should avoid a hot war.” And then he goes on to say in this interview, “But it should also avoid a cold war and what each side needs is to be transparent.” Well, good luck with that. Now I turn it over to very capable next speaker.

Deepa Ollapally:
All right. Thanks for staying in. Time to set a good example for the rest of you. Let me now move to Michael Mazza, who’s going to extend June’s remarks and look at Chinese naval assertiveness and its effect on Taiwan.

June Teufel Dreyer:
Thank you.

Michael Mazza:
Thank you, Deepa. Thanks for the kind introduction. It’s an honor to be here on time, being on a panel with Dr. Dreyer and Dr. Sutter. I’ve been asked to address China’s regional assertiveness, and how that assertiveness affects Taiwan. In discussing China’s regional assertiveness, I’m going to break this up into two baskets. China’s assertiveness with respect to Taiwan, and China’s assertiveness with respect to everyone else. Can you hear me okay?

Michael Mazza:
We’ll start with Beijing’s approach to Taiwan. China has been engaged in a pressure campaign to squeeze the islands since Taiwan was elected in early 2016. That pressure campaign has included a number of facets, many of which had been aimed at constraining what we often call Taiwan’s international space, which I define as Taiwan’s ability to pursue robust engagement in both a bilateral and multilateral basis.

Michael Mazza:
Beijing has had some definite successes in this regard. For example, Beijing has kept Taiwan from sending delegates even as observers to a variety of international gatherings, including the World Health Assembly, the Interpol General Assembly, and the IDEO Assembly, despite being a full member of APEC. Taiwan’s president is not welcomed at the annual gatherings and she actually sent a nongovernmental envoy in her stead. Taiwan’s formal diplomatic ties has suffered as well. The last time Taiwan gained a new diplomatic ally, I believe, was 2007, St. Lucia, but it’s seen seven diplomatic allies sever their ties over the last six years. Taiwan has concluded a FTA with a non diplomatic partner since 2013, including agreements with New Zealand and Singapore.

Michael Mazza:
Beijing’s effort to symbolically erase Taiwan from the map, at least in the minds of global consumers, have proceeded at pace as well. PRC aviation authorities successfully applied pressure to nearly 40 international airlines, including the major American carriers, to force them to remove Taiwan from lists of countries where they fly. Now if one flies United, for example, you book travel to Taipei rather than to Taipei, Taiwan.

Michael Mazza:
Other examples. Zara and Medtronic had to apologize when PRC regulators noticed that their websites included Taiwan on lists of countries where they do business. GAP, the clothing retailer, a year or so ago was made to apologize and withdraw from store shelves a T-shirt featuring a map of China that didn’t include Taiwan and other disputed territories. Notably that T-shirt was not for sale in China, but in Canada. Even as China has sought to isolate Taiwan on the international stage, it has attempted to meddle in Taiwan’s internal politics as well as. The issue of Chinese interference in Taiwan’s democracy came to a head in the November, 2018 elections for a local mayor as county magistrates and township counsels. Although the exact extent of that interference is difficult to quantify, that it existed is not at all difficult to see.

Michael Mazza:
And while the margins of electoral victories for the Kuomintang, the KMT, last year suggested the interference was unlikely to have been decisive in many or most instances, the PRC’s efforts almost certainly boosted KMT candidates and eased their paths to victory, via disinformation campaigns, media warfare, local politicking, pass to illicit finance, the Chinese Communist Party has sought to weaken Tsai Ing-wen, boost the opposition KMT and more broadly undermined confidence in Taiwan’s democratic institutions.

Michael Mazza:
Chinese efforts to weaken Taiwanese society and to undermine its confidence in Taiwan’s political system have at times also been quite plain for all to see. In February of 2018 China’s Taiwan Affairs Office published the 31 measures promulgated with the aim of, and this is a quote from the TAO, “Sharing with our Taiwan compatriots development opportunities in the mainland to gradually provide equal treatment for university studies, entrepreneurship, employment and improve the living standards for Taiwanese compatriots on the mainland.”

Michael Mazza:
Put simply, these are incentives meant to attract Taiwanese students, businessmen, businesses to invest, study, work and make lives in the People’s Republic. To be sure that these measures, if they’re fully implemented, could benefit those folks from Taiwan who are living in the PRC, but I think the intent here is malicious as well and quite clearly so. China hopes to undermine support in Taiwan for independence or for the status quo over the long term. And while I think that that effort is likely to fail, measures like this could accelerate a potential brain drain of talent away from the Island.

Michael Mazza:
The pressure campaign has a security component as well. In what seems to be an already forgotten incident from January, 2018, china unilaterally announced new civilian flight paths over the Taiwan Strait in contravention of an earlier 2015 agreement. Those responsible for ensuring Taiwan’s security worry that PLA pilots and aircraft, to take advantage of these new groups, to practice approaching the Island under the guise of civilian air traffic. And of course there have been PLA military operations and exercises as well. The Liaoning, China’s sole aircraft carrier pronounced sole aircraft carrier, had stranded at the strait multiple times. It’s ventured into water east of Taiwan as well. PLA aircraft have frequently circumnavigated the Island, and this past spring two Chinese fighters crossed the medium line, breaking a longstanding tacit agreement.

Michael Mazza:
What is it they hope to achieve with this pressure campaign? Ideally it would like to see Tsai Ing-wen, not to mention the population at large, relent, accept the so-called 1992 consensus and embrace unification. Xi Jinping presumably knows that pigs don’t fly. Especially Chinese pigs are all sick and dying. Even if Tsai was susceptible to such pressure, the trends on identity and views towards independence and unification in Taiwan have proven themselves largely unaffected by changes in cross straight relations.

Michael Mazza:
Xi’s efforts to isolate Taiwan internationally and to gain global acceptance of China’s preferred one shining narrative I think are intended to reduce the potential for foreign interference in Beijing’s plans for the Island. The fewer governments that maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the less foreign appreciation there is for Taiwan’s democracy, the less recognition of the objective reality of Taiwan’s independent existence. And the more that others adopt the view that cross trade ties are an internal Chinese affair, the less foreigners will care about, or be willing to aid the people of Taiwan in the face of Chinese assertiveness or aggression. Efforts to isolate Taiwan along with the mainland’s mounting military pressure on the Island likewise are meant to convince Taiwan’s people that ultimately resistance is futile.

Michael Mazza:
Beijing’s message to Taipei has been clear, “Whether from the sea or from the air, we can threaten you from all approaches.” In the past, the Western Pacific had in effect provided some strategic depth for Taiwan’s Navy at least, but China seeks to end that advantage. Chinese exercises around the Island have the additional benefit of putting added strain on Taiwan’s aging and tricking fighter inventory. And while it wears down China’s military, China hopes to normalize the presence of its own forces on the waters and in the skies around Taiwan. Establishing such a new norm will make strategic and operational surprise easier for Beijing, when they decide to use force.

Michael Mazza:
Finally Beijing hopes to turn Taiwan’s population against Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP. It has done this with economic leverage, with this disinformation campaign. So far it hasn’t seemed to work, but obviously last year was a bad year for Taiwan, and these things can be effective at times.

Michael Mazza:
Now for Chinese assertiveness outside of Taiwan, we’ve already heard quite a bit about the South China Sea and East China Sea. I’ll just touch on those briefly, but first, in addition to Chinese efforts to interfere in Taiwan’s domestic politics, China has done so elsewhere as well. Taiwan is not the only victim of CCP local warfare. Chinese efforts in Australia are fairly well known at this point, been in the news quite a bit, New Zealand as well. Others have been victimized across the region. China of course seeks for all countries to embrace its own one-China principle, and more broadly its local warfare efforts across the Indo-Pacific are intended to shape a region which is conducive to Chinese interests. Such a region is unlikely to be particularly conducive to Taiwan’s interests.

Michael Mazza:
As for Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, again, we’ve heard about the nature of that. It’s all quite troubling for Taiwan. Should China succeed in establishing control over a large swath of the South China sea, Taiwan would see its own plan stumbled upon, but perhaps more worrying Chinese control of the South China Sea might put China in position to more easily cut off sea-born trade to Taiwan and from Taiwan. It might make it easier for China to use another axis of approach to the Island in the event it decides to use force. It would make it easier for China, the Chinese Navy in particular, to more easily access the Western Pacific via the Bashi Channel and it could potentially establish a bastion for next-generation ballistic missile subs, armed with ICBM featuring a longer range than the current JO2s.

Michael Mazza:
Put very simply, Chinese control of the South China Sea would unsettle Taiwan security environment, complicating its own defense and America’s ability to come to its aid in the event of a crisis. The same goes for Chinese efforts to rest control of the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands from Japan in the East China Sea. Again, Chinese control of the Senkakus would permit the PLA to pose a more complex threat to Taiwan, while complicating US and, or Japanese intervention in the event of a conflict.

Michael Mazza:
This all sounds quite ominous for Taiwan, a generally deteriorating security environment featuring high tensions, occasionally dangerous interactions at sea and in the air, PLA potentially gaining access to strategically significant geography, all while Taiwan is fending off threats at home and struggling to counter Chinese efforts to isolate it on the international stage.

Michael Mazza:
But I would argue the news is not all bad. Indeed there’s a case to be made that Chinese assertiveness has not only not successfully isolated Taiwan, but rather it opened the door to Taiwan’s deeper international engagement in some ways. Consider Taiwan’s relationship with its two most important unofficial diplomatic partners. US-Taiwan relations are perhaps the best that they have been in years, if not decades. The Trump administration now has a strong record of arms sales to Taiwan, at least as far, and has increasingly treated Taiwan as a more normal diplomatic partner. Importantly, the United States have sought to use the bilateral relationship as a platform to upstand Taiwan’s international space.

Michael Mazza:
Through the Global Cooperation and Training Framework, or GCTF, the United States and Taiwan have expanded Taiwan’s organizational and person to person ties and networks throughout the Asia Pacific. Japan and Sweden have now joined the US and Taiwan as formal cosponsors on some of the GCTF workshops. These decisions from Tokyo and Stockholm suggest that Taiwan is not as isolated as the PRC might like, or what the PRC might like Taiwan’s citizens to believe. Indeed the Taiwan-Japan relationship is quite healthy as well. President Tsai and prime minister Shindo Abe of Japan have engaged in direct communication, albeit it being Twitter.

Michael Mazza:
Tweeting certainly is no substitute for telephone conversations or in person summitry, but no other world leader, say, those of countries with which Taiwan has formal ties, no other world leader has been willing to communicate with president Tsai in that way, including the American president. In January of 2017, Japan’s unofficial ambassador to Taiwan described bilateral ties at their best. He did so at a ceremony to change the name of the semi-official organization that manages Japan’s relationship with Taiwan in Taipei, previously called The Interchange Association of Japan. It’s now known as the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association.

Michael Mazza:
A few months later, the semi-official body in Taipei, Taiwan’s organization responsible for managing relations with Tokyo changed its name, from the Association of East Asian Relations to the Taiwan and Japan Relations Association. Again, a change made in consultation with Japan. Perhaps more importantly, Taiwan’s voters’ approval last November of a measure continuing the ban on food imports from Fukushima prefecture, and surrounding areas, didn’t set back bilateral ties quite in the way that many feared it would.

Michael Mazza:
Certainly the ban has been a nagging nuisance. But in the days just after the referendum vote, Taipei and Tokyo signed a new agreement and a foreign memo used designed to lower trade barriers and deepen economic relations. Japan hasn’t been alone in seeking to deepen economic ties with Taiwan. Earlier this year, it was reported that Taiwan and the EU remain interested in pursuing a bilateral investment agreement. Now, as far as I know, formal talks have not yet been launched, but earlier this month Taiwan and the UK held the 25th round of their near annual trade talks. With London eager to secure markets for a post-Brexit world, time may be right for progress towards the deal.

Michael Mazza:
Moreover India, southeast Asian countries and others have largely [inaudible 00:17:20] president Tsai’s new staff down policy with open arms. That policy has sought to expand trade and investment relationship, societal links, and people to people ties. I think it has successfully done those things. Many of these countries are going to remain quite cautious when it comes to direct engagement with Taiwan’s government, especially with regards to issues touching on politics or international security, but their willingness to strengthen informal engagement is to bolster Taiwan’s place in the world.

Michael Mazza:
Now, in part, all of these developments are driven by personalities. Many of the Trump administration senior appointees, especially on the national security side, are strong supporters of a robust bilateral US-Taiwan relationship. In Japan, prime minister Abe is himself inclined to advance bilateral ties, but it is likely also the case that Chinese assertiveness, which has most Asian states worried, is driving an interest in Taiwan, for Taiwan’s continuing de facto independence is important for their survival of the region security architecture and for the region’s economic wellbeing.

Michael Mazza:
It may also be the case that Xi Jinping’s dark turn at home has served to highlight just what Taiwan has to offer to others, from its educational institutions, its high tech economy, and its aid interests. You might say that Taipei’s Taiwan can help campaign is truth and advertising. It’s also true that some of China’s malign activities have directly led others to pursue a closer relationship with Taiwan. For example, Australia and other victims of CCP political warfare recognize that Taiwan has more experience dealing with those tactics than perhaps any other country the world over.

Michael Mazza:
Taiwan has much experience and knowledge to share with others and it has been willing and eager to do so. Chinese aggressiveness in the cyber domain has similarly led victim to Taiwan’s doorstep. Perhaps no other country faces the level of sustained cyber assault than Taiwan does on a daily basis.

Michael Mazza:
Of course others, including the United States, are dealing with this challenge, but it is Taiwan that’s on the front line, if we can call it that, of the ongoing conflict in the cyber domain. Others have recognized this and Taiwan now has quiet ongoing cyber dialogues across the region.

Michael Mazza:
Bottom line, Taiwan to be sure would prefer to live next to a nonthreatening neighbor and in a region characterized by peace and stability. But While Chinese assertiveness in recent years has presented a number of challenges, stressing challenges to Taiwan, both direct and indirect, this also created opportunities for Taiwan to deepen ties with traditional partners and forge ties with new ones.

Deepa Ollapally:
Thank you very much. All right. We’ve heard two. I think still the bulk is of more sobering than not. And so Bob, we had one other big player left to discuss indirectly. What’s the US going to do about it?

Robert Sutter:
Well, this is really a remarkable panel. I’m really happy to be here. The expertise today in this panel and the following panel is great. It’s a great opportunity to share my views on this kind of situation. I’m going to pick up where Michael left off. I think we’ve had a very good depiction of the pressures that Beijing poses for Taiwan and others interested in the situation in Taiwan, including the United States, as well as some of the good news or positive elements here.

Robert Sutter:
I’m very positive about this situation from the American point of view. I want to share that with you, why I feel that way. In other words, the results of this situation have seen a change in American posture toward Taiwan, which in my estimation is truly remarkable. I really haven’t seen anything like this in the 40 years or so since the US broke official relations with Taiwan. I want to explain what I mean by that.

Robert Sutter:
My focus is US policy and its willingness to support Taiwan, despite China’s objections in order to make Taiwan more stable and more secure. That’s my focus of what I’m looking at. And I find this willingness extraordinary. I have some evidence and I have a handout which has a lot of evidence in it, which I hope will help you to understand what’s driving me here. But my overall point is that I think we have entered a fifth period in this 40 plus year period of unofficial relations with Taiwan, where the US is more flexible in interpreting the One China policy, allowing it to support Taiwan in ways that when the US follows a more strict construction of the One China policy, they don’t do, because they don’t want to upset China.

Robert Sutter:
But this is different now. There were times in the past and I’ll review them in a minute. What this does is keep the One China policy or at least not disavow it, but enact a whole series of substantive incremental changes showing ever greater support for Taiwan’s security and stability. We talked a bit about how China slices the salami in the South China Sea and other places. The US is slicing the salami vis-a-vis China over Taiwan right now.

Robert Sutter:
I want to explain this episode in the context of four previous episodes. It’s a bit of a history lesson. When I talk to my students and you do history, and particularly congressional staffers in my past experience, they would just go to sleep. History is so long ago. Bottom line, the One China policy is something that has generally been strictly interpreted by American leaders. In other words, they gave China the prime position. They wanted to keep good relations with China for a whole host of reasons. And they were prepared to deal with Taiwan only in ways that it would not upset the situation.

Robert Sutter:
That practice was very evident in the Barack Obama government, that was very clear there, and in the last six years of the Bush administration, George W. Bush administration. But there were other episodes other times. So it makes you forget that in the past, sometimes the Americans have been quite flexible about the One China policy. Those episodes, I have four of them in these bullet points in the first page of the handout, which go into this.

Robert Sutter:
The passage of the Taiwan Relations Act, basically a big upsurge of congressional assertiveness in foreign affairs, and that pushed for changes in the approach to dealing with Taiwan and forced the administration to deal with all sorts of complications with Congress as they tried to follow the China first type of approach that they were following and cutting back on their ties with Taiwan.

Robert Sutter:
It reduced the possibility of that going forward. That’s not happening now. We don’t see that kind of an upsurge in the Congress on foreign policy. You see upsurges, but nothing to compare to what was going on in the ’70s in the United States at that time.

Robert Sutter:
The second one I think is quite relevant, the second period. This is the period in the mid-1980s, where the U.S. re calibrated its approach to Taiwan. It did so under the leadership of George Shultz and the State Department. He replaced the very Pro-China Secretary of State, Alexander Haig. And he said, “What are we getting out of China?” And we realized, at that time, we weren’t getting a lot out of China that we wouldn’t ordinarily get anyway. And so the point is, did we have to defer to China so much on Taiwan or other issues? And the bottom line was no.

Robert Sutter:
And who made those decisions? Who carried this out? Well there were three people who in my judgment are a bit heroes in the way they did this. Paul Wolfowitz was one, Richard Armitage was the other, and the third was Gaston Sigur. And he did it very adroitly, didn’t make a big deal out of it. Gaston was always understated. He never wrote op-eds, never put a spotlight on himself, but boy, was he effective, at least in this administration.

Robert Sutter:
And the upshot was that China accepted it. They really didn’t accept it, but the U.S. had a tougher stance on China, and they did a whole bunch of things that were very forthcoming for Taiwan. The most notable one was transferring 130 Advanced Fighters to Taiwan in this particular time. This is the Jiangjing Warfighter Program. So you can look that up if you want, but the point is that here is a model of how you can do it and not lead to major war with China. You can improve your relationships with Taiwan in sensitive areas, and not fundamentally lead to conflict with Beijing.

Robert Sutter:
The third incident was after Tiananmen and that was extremely radical. Basically throwing out the framework of dealing with China for about five years with George H.W. Bush trying to preserve it. But basically, the polity in the United States just moved in a totally hostile direction. But this didn’t last too long and that led to a big crisis, the Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1995, ’96. And so that led to just a flip by Mr. Clinton to an accommodation of an appeasement policy toward Beijing, and giving that top priority.

Robert Sutter:
And then the fourth episode was a brief one, where several of these people that were very influential in the Reagan administration came back to power under the George W. Bush administration. Armitage, Wolfowitz, and others. And they pursued a very tough policy toward China visiting Taiwan. They had a Rebalance Policy for about a year or two, and Taiwan was front and center. Support for Taiwan was front and center. The President said, “We will do whatever it takes to protect Taiwan if it’s attacked by China.” No president had ever done that in 50 years, and he did it. And China didn’t do much. There was no big reaction.

Robert Sutter:
So my point is, this can be done, and I think it’s being done now, it’s underway. We have a fifth type of approach where the administration is doing all sorts of things, vis-a-vis Taiwan, that could be seen as very sensitive that otherwise would not have been done in previous administrations. But it’s being done now, and so we need to look at why this is happening. And that’s what I do in the rest of the outline, try to explain that.

Robert Sutter:
First I have a little paragraph about President Trump. He’s not really part of this, in that sense. He’s his own actor he’s very important, obviously. But President Trump doesn’t have this commitment to Taiwan. He doesn’t have an understanding of Taiwan. He doesn’t care about it very much. I tracked his campaign in 2016. I don’t think he said anything in the campaign in 2016 about Taiwan. I don’t think he said a word about it. I may be wrong about this, people can help me. But I don’t think he said anything about it. So he’s one of those unusual characters in American politics that hasn’t dealt with this issue. Governors had to deal with this issue, as well as people in the federal government.

Robert Sutter:
And so Mr. Trump vacillating, went back and forth. Obviously his people felt strongly. If you look at the 2016 Republican platform on Taiwan, it’s just a long document on how great Taiwan is and how awful Beijing is. And so it’s very clear where the senior Republicans stood, and they probably were influential in his initial phone call with Tsai Ingwen. But he’s been very cautious since then.

Robert Sutter:
But these things are happening nonetheless, these forward movement that I’m going to talk about are happening nonetheless. And I think these are happening within the administration, and of course Congress is very supportive of this and many cases, once more than is taking place.

Robert Sutter:
Why is this happening? Well, I think that the key drivers supporting Taiwan a lot more than it did in the past are the following. First is all this pressure that we’ve been talking about. This is obviously very dangerous, it’s destabilizing the situation in the Taiwan Strait. I heard Randy Schriver give a speech at Brookings where he said, “They’re changing the status quo in the Taiwan area, and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen.” And that’s on the record. So I mean I think this is a big impetus.

Robert Sutter:
The second thing is that Taiwan has a key location, and its role in the Indo-Pacific region is really central. So if you’re going to have a workable Indo-Pacific strategy, you’re going to need Taiwan. And so the interest of the U.S. government in Taiwan I think is partly driven by that.

Robert Sutter:
A third is that Taiwan is a political democracy, a free market economy, and it supports international norms that America seeks to advance and that are valued by U.S. leaders. And these same things are now seen, increasingly, as under a systematic attack by China.

Robert Sutter:
And so the struggle that, Mr. Stilwell laid this out in recent testimony, the struggle that the U.S. has engaged with China in this change in policy toward China, which is enormous change as we know, is partly focused on the whole idea of a system spreading. It has military aspects, it has economic aspects, and it has values aspects. And they’re all now seen as very negative for the United States. Whereas Taiwan is a backer, it’s a country that’s going to support you in this regard. That’s what they want too. And they feel it in their being. It’s very important for them.

Robert Sutter:
And then there is this notion that the U.S. can use Taiwan as leverage against PRC policy. You can punish Beijing. Okay, you take an ally away from Taiwan, then we’re going to upgrade our relations with Taiwan. We’re going to deepen American relations with Taiwan so you can accost them in this regard.

Robert Sutter:
More important perhaps for what’s going forward in relations with China, U.S. willingness to move forward in relations with Taiwan even though China might be very opposed to these sorts of things, is that the breaks that were on that effort in the past are much weaker. What was the breaks? The first break was that we would open, and this came up all the time. If you do this with Taiwan, you will upset them and the relationship we have with the PRC. That was the main argument you would hear. I mean, I could make this suggestion periodically when I worked for Congress and then other positions in the government, and they said, this will upset the relationship. Well that relationship is already in tatters, as we already know.

Robert Sutter:
And so the idea that this is important is, I gave much less, I don’t think this is much of a break. The trade war has basically underlying that situation. The second point is that our allies and partners in Asia, other countries in Asia that we count on or think are important, would be very upset if the U.S. Made its relationship with Taiwan closer and that upset the situation with Beijing. And they said “Don’t do that. We don’t want to upset Beijing.” Well, look at the past two years of what the U.S. has been doing with China. Every week it is upsetting China. So this doesn’t count for much either in my judgment. They get some small potatoes. The third is that you’re going to encourage leaders in Taiwan to use this relationship with America to carry out provocations against Beijing. And we did see this in practice under the Chen Shuibian government.

Robert Sutter:
We saw this, but people matter. And Tsai Ingwen is not Chen Shuibian. Everybody knows that. They know something about Tsai Ingwen is something about Chen Shuibian. There’s a big difference between these two. And so that danger I think is low. You’re dealing with a very calculated, careful type of leader, not like Chen Shuibian. Now you do have, and the last bullet is the big bullet, Beijing is powerful, and you don’t want be trouble with Beijing. So that still isn’t break. We still have this break but overall, I think the breaks are much weaker. And so therefore, you can go forward. And Michael mentioned several different things that were very helpful to Taiwan and so forth. And I have a list here, like a page and a half of things.

Robert Sutter:
And it’s just amazing what I’m seeing in the sense. And you’ll see, they often have a note. If it doesn’t have it, it isn’t unprecedented. But I say unprecedented, unprecedented, unprecedented. An old timer can do this. I mean you know what happened in the past and these are all unprecedented. These had never happened before. And it’s just remarkable. The arm sales or the jet fighters. Do you remember Joe appealing, appealing, appealing for the F-16s, and we had a good relationship, and he had a good relationship with Beijing and the U.S., but Obama wouldn’t do it. He did it. They’re going forward with the F-16 fighter aircraft. Then the support for Taiwan as it loses international allies. And this is amazing to watch. And you have the NSC director calling in the ambassadors and so forth from Central America. El Salvador does this, but what’s going on in the Pacific Islands is amazing to watch.

Robert Sutter:
I mean, U.S. officials are standing up and supporting Taiwan, maintaining relations with these countries in public. They’re doing this. Solomon ambassador and the Palau ambassador doing this, that the Assistant Secretaries of State are visiting Taiwan. We have a whole series of collaborative measures, vis-a-vis Taiwan’s, which I tried to capture in here. But the highlight here is Mr. Pompeo, giving an official statement, urging Tuvalu to keep its relations with Taiwan. I mean, I don’t know how many people there are in Tuvalu, but I think it’s about 10,000.

Bonnie Glaser:
It’s about, I’ve actually been there.

Robert Sutter:
Yeah.

Bonnie Glaser:
I think you’re right.

Robert Sutter:
And to have the U.S. Secretary of State make a statement on something like this is just, this has never happened before. Never. This kind of attention to Taiwan and encouraging, and nurture, and collaborating with them, and having forums, inviting other international actors, and having forums in Taipei where you have a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and other leaders and they’re talking about how to work the Pacific Island issues. Absolutely extraordinary.

Robert Sutter:
You know, and Mr. Panjur met with the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of China in the Pacific Islands. And all of this is reported. And usually these things would be secret. And if they did do something and they would never do it in this scope at all. And so all of this is debating repeatedly. This is in your face, in your face, in your face. I mean if you’re in Beijing, you’re going to say, “Why are they doing this?” They’re making a point, and the point is America is going to be there. And if you missed the point, the Deputy Representative pointed out Mr. Pence’s speech, and I’d like to just highlight the speech of our AIT director in June. And you should read this speech. It’s just remarkable.

Robert Sutter:
You said, “Taiwan can count on U.S. Support for a shared future.” Sounds good. Adding that “Taiwan will always have a home in the community of democracies.” What does that mean? You get into trouble. We’re with you. You’re not alone. This is quite a message. “Oh sorry, you’re giving too much attention to this.” No, I don’t think so. All of these things in the past would have been calculated very carefully and said, “Oh, that’s too sensitive” I’m going to do it. And the gatekeeper here was the State Department. The Defense Department and others would want to go forward, but the State Department would say, “No, you can’t do this.” And it would make it very difficult to do it. Today, the State Department is the initiator. Today, the State Department is the one that’s pushing this, making these initiatives. Just the remarkable change, in my judgment, based on 40 years of practice.

Robert Sutter:
And so, my evaluation of this situation is that it’s being done. I think not in a provocative way. It’s not being done in provocative way. It’s basically done. It’s salamis. It’s like you want to advance in the South China Sea. Well, you’ve advanced and you have your cabbage strategy. Well, we have our salami strategy, and we’re going to go back and we’re going to use that to show you we can improve our relationship with Taiwan. It’s not something that you really want big trouble with. And so, thus far, it’s worked pretty well. And I think that Professor Dreyer underlined the reasons why Xi Jinping is in trouble now. And just like when you asked him, the Seeger was the white house, a Representative and the Assistant Secretary of State, they didn’t want to trouble.

Robert Sutter:
And Hu Jintao did not win trouble with George Bush in the beginning of his term. It can work. Circumstances can make it work, and I think we’re in one of those circumstances and what I see is a very careful effort to do this without being overly provocative. I didn’t mention Mr. Bolton’s meeting with David Lee, the National Security Advisor in Taiwan. This is an extraordinary thing but it underlines how personalities matter. Anybody that knows David Lee, this is not changed. This is a very sober guy, and he represents a very sober president. And so Taiwan is willing to work with this because they can see the advantages of this sort of thing and going forward. And so my evaluation of the situation, I think we’ll, you see a lot more of this as we go forward. It does, I think, enhance substantially the greater support for Taiwan. You notice I didn’t say much about military things, because that stuff is still pretty secret. Intelligence cooperation.

Robert Sutter:
That remains very secret. But there’s a lot of it. And I was at the Pacific Command giving a briefing in the Pacific Command three weeks ago and there, I met this guy and his job is to represent the National Guards and how they have liaised with the Taiwan forces, and they actually have joint exercises. The National Guards. Isn’t that neat? So you can’t have the DRD doing it, well they can do it, but the National Guards. And so this guy who’s Hawaii National Guard. And you look it up, they do this, they have these exercises. And so the strength of the Taiwan forces is reinforced by this kind of exercise. So there’s a whole bunch of this kind of stuff that’s going on that I don’t have the details of, I don’t have that type of evidence in a public way.

Robert Sutter:
And so I think these are set to advance within current conditions. I think Tsai Ingwen, her government are generally very receptive for this. And I think obviously this would need to be adjusted and KMT wins the 2020 elections in Taiwan. They favor a more accommodation approach to Beijing, but they still probably would like to have a lot of support from the United States. So, that’s an adjustment that would be needed. And it might need to be adjusted if a new U.S. President takes hold, although I see this push back against Beijing and United States government. It’s very broad and bipartisan, and I just don’t think that’s going to be a big change in that situation. And then China remains a major uncertainty. Obviously, the Council on Foreign Relations is warning about war, and the IASS is worried about war in the timeline street. And so there isn’t a worry about it. And so they’re better than me. I surrender, they win. But watch it, because I think the circumstances are about right for continuing this type of non directly provocative approach, indirectly in your face, but not directly. And I think they’re good. The circumstances are good for going forward in a way that’s flexible in how we look at policy. And I think this will be very helpful in securing and stabilizing Taiwan going forward.

Deepa Ollapally:
Thank you. Thanks to all my timers for keeping the time and leaving us plenty of time for Q&A. I think you’re okay on time, but I do want to start off, moderator, with a question particularly for June and my thoughts. And it goes to one of the issues that the thought ended with, and that is the level of threat from China and in prospects of war or something along those lines. And that is that since 2010, you’ve seen a rise in the Chinese pressure tactics, ministry capabilities, as we heard. And of course, the economy has been growing extremely well during that time, and now we see a slight change. Chinese capabilities and economics facing some real hindrance. And so my own sense is that the slowdown perhaps is not going to make a big difference in the Chinese ministry or nationalistic stance.

Deepa Ollapally:
In fact, it might even get worse. So can we suggest them that whether the Chinese are doing well or declining economically, that the pressure campaign duty assertiveness is going to continue as we see it or not.

Bonnie Glaser:
Who do you want?

Deepa Ollapally:
Either of you, or-

Bonnie Glaser:
You have said it very well, and that is there some people say that the Chinese economy is going to grow well enough to support a continued military assertiveness and other people who say, well, even if declines, they may become more aggressive. And you can’t have it both ways, either one or the other. And it seems to me that China will keep on with military aggression, until, as Bob Sutter said, it sees that the pushback is making its gestures counterproductive. And I do think we’re seeing evidence of that. The quad has become stronger as a result of Chinese aggression. What’s happened in Australia is really extraordinary. The conviction of Huang Xiangmo.

Bonnie Glaser:
This is the guy who was funneling funds to Australian politicians. The disgrace of Sam Dastyari, a member of parliament, something similar in New Zealand. And there’s a great deal more backbone being asserted. And I think that if the United States keeps on with…Well, there’s nothing we can really do because, it will make China mad. And I’m just so happy to hear Bob say that this doesn’t seem to be working anymore. And I think there seems to be an increasing realization that everything makes China mad, and that therefore if you say we can’t do X because it makes China angry, it isn’t working anymore. And I actually noticed myself, and I wonder if either of you or anybody who wanted this as well have noticed as well. You don’t hear this phrase anymore, that you’ve hurt the feelings of the entire 1.31, 1.4 billion feelings of the Chinese people.

Bonnie Glaser:
It used to be a weekly occurrence that everything we did got that reaction, and I think the real planners in Beijing have realized that. And I also think that China is not going to keep on growing. There’s a great deal of skepticism that the 6% growth rate is real and years and years and years ago, Zhu Rongji, remember him, said that the only way to keep China going was, it’s kind of like an Alice in Wonderland, we have to run faster just to stay in place. And he said 8% is the minimum growth rate that will keep China going. And later on, after he left office, they lowered that to 7%, and you don’t hear anybody giving those statistics anymore. And if it is really true, as Chinese economists in China have said, that the economy is not growing anywhere near 6%, Xi Jinping is troubled. And this is something that’s being discussed in the plenum right now. And I don’t know how many times I have heard that Xi Jinping has a plan for economic restructuring, and it never happens. And now I will take over-

Deepa Ollapally:
Michael, any comments?

Michael Mazza:
Yeah, a couple quick things. On this question of speaking up for the hurt feelings of the Chinese people, the CCP seem to have outsourced that to NBA team owners.

Bonnie Glaser:
Good point.

Michael Mazza:
I don’t disagree with anything. Dr. Glaser said, but slightly different package. I don’t know whether we’re heading for war, but I think tensions continue to grow. We’ve moved to some sort of crisis in the coming years, and precisely because Xi Jinping thinks has made these big promises in the great rejuvenation to Chinese nation, particularly on economics. Basically prosperity for everyone. My colleague Derek Scissors argues that the Chinese economy started stagnating three, four years ago and that’s not going to change, absent really major market reforms, which China is not going to do. So if that’s the case, and Xi Jinping cannot deliver on those promises, what other promises has he made about? About unification?

Michael Mazza:
And this comes at the same time when I think we see the trend lines in Taiwan about views towards unification versus independence have been steadily shifting away from unification towards independence, very strongly pro status quo. And so you have sort of a unstoppable force meets an immovable object, and that worries me going forward. And I don’t want to make predictions about how it plays out, and obviously the United States has a big role to play in ensuring it doesn’t play out in a bad way, but I’m worried.

Deepa Ollapally:
Okay. All right. On that note, let me turn it over to the audience, and we have mics here, so please raise your hand if you have a question.

Speaker 3:
And also speakers, can you turn off your mic until you’re speaking to minimize feedback? I apologize for that.

Deepa Ollapally:
Please identify yourself, sir.

Robert Sutter:
It doesn’t turn off, does it?

Speaker 5:
No.

Robert Sutter:
No.

Speaker 5:
It doesn’t seem to work.

Audience member:
I’m Matiah from AU. I have a question. How worried is China about democracy in Taiwan? Will absorbing Taiwan make it more infectious in China? Is that a concern or not?

Bonnie Glaser:
I think it’s a concern, but it sure hasn’t worked with Hong Kong.

Robert Sutter:
You know Matiah, that’s a great question because I’m wrestling with all of this right now. What drives the Chinese to have this kind of systematic approach to values overseas? There’s so much literature coming out now about the Chinese have this global effort to change the discourse about democracy and to make it sort of discredit democracy. And so I’m just, as an evidence based analyst, I really have a hard time. I have to factor all this stuff in now, and so I cannot but come to the conclusion that they’re really worried about democracy. And countries like the United States, and Japan, and all of them are a real danger to their… They see it as a danger to the party, and we see all this party effort to control all of these different types of things.

Robert Sutter:
I mean, I know it’s weird in a lot of ways and so I’m trying to deal with it honestly. But the evidence is there now, and so I think we have to say they really don’t… The leadership of China works hard to undermine democracy and those kinds of principles that endanger their staying in power. And so Taiwan is obviously a case in point.

Deepa Ollapally:
All right. Any other questions? Yeah, we’ve got several on this side. The young gentlemen over here.

Audience member:
I’m a first year student from the Elliott School. My question is that why do the panelists think the Taiwan issues in the economy of United States is everybody in terms of the importance and interest to the U.S. China relationship under the structural conflict between China, the reigning power, and U.S. as it’s hegemony is a structural conflict, whether telling interests over by structural conflict.

Deepa Ollapally:
Okay. Who would like to take that?

Michael Mazza:
No. I hope not or my career has been kind of wasted. Look, I think it’s central when it comes to… So for pure geo-strategic reasons we heard the case made, Taiwan sits in a key position in the Asian Pacific. If you think values are important in this ongoing competition between the United States and China which is an argument I buy, Taiwan is of immense importance. If you care about the global economy, if you care about iPhones that work and are affordable you care about Taiwan. And so I think for a whole host of reasons, if anything, in past years it’s been under emphasized in our approach to Asia.

June Teufel Dreyer:
And I think, one nurse in trying to look at this as a binary. In other words, yes, Taiwan is very important because of its geo-strategic position and also in the relationship between China and the United States. But there truly is a commitment to share values and there truly is a lot of emotional support for Taiwan, for Taiwan.

Deepa Ollapally:
Okay. All right, yes. Here and then back.

Leo Bosner:
Thanks. Leo Bosner, no affiliation. No feedback too. Is China making efforts with the tee shirts, the NBA, and so on to influence China attitudes in the West here. But it seems to me like that starting to backfire, but the public used to be indifferent to this. So now with the NBA, I’m seeing more and more people who aren’t politicians saying, “Hey, how come China is telling us how to run our basketball team and stuff?” Is this effort actually backfiring against them and it’ll have a political effect on the U.S., do you think?

Speaker 5:
Yeah. Do you want…

June Teufel Dreyer:
I think you might be…

Speaker 5:
We probably all have a…

Michael Mazza:
I think it hadn’t been until the NBA brouhaha. Certainly it was the first time that people outside of Washington and the general Asia Washington community paid any attention to this issue. It’s been going on for a couple of years now, but now it’s gotten attention in a way that, again, is probably counterproductive to what China hopes to achieve. So let’s hope they keep shooting themselves in the foot.

Robert Sutter:
Amen. It’s a big impact. It’s amazing how it’s spread to the public. Because the public, we have this hardening of policy toward China which makes Taiwan that much more significant in the structural way of looking at things. The way you calculate the structure, if you’re very competitive with China, you have this acute competition and Taiwan remains very, is extremely important in that sense. But that is sort of an inside the beltway type of thing. It’s spreading to the media. It’s taken a long time. Public opinion is only slowly grasping this. But this NBA episode just shows what’s at stake. And I do a lot of speaking around the country on this issue and the public doesn’t understand the change in American policy, in general they don’t understand it, but this really brings it home to them. I said, “Well, do you want to be treated like Chinese people?” And they said, “What do you mean?” And this is an excellent example of that’s what would happen. And so I think it’s illuminating, very illuminating.

June Teufel Dreyer:
Picking up on what Bob said, it’s interesting because this kind of pressure from China has been going on for a long, long time. Airlines were required, you mentioned that United Airlines, you no longer fly to Taipei, Taiwan, you fly to Taipei, China. And people hardly noticed it. Clothing chains are required to change T-shirts. But by God, you do this with basketball and you touch a really sensitive nerve. And China has been saying for years, we never interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries. And I have been jumping up and down for years and years, and Bob mentioned being an evidence based analyst, listing places where they have done. And nobody ever listens to me. And now I’ve got an issue nobody can deny.

Deepa Ollapally:
All right. The young lady in the back.

Chloe:
Thank you, my name is Chloe and I feel like in general the consensus with this panel seems to be pretty optimistic. Anyway, I want to bring up something that’s more pessimistic. So for example, even though there are more and more Taiwanese people who identify themselves as Taiwanese. However, there are also many Taiwanese people who worked in mainland China. And Taiwan experience not only bad economy but also brain drain and people who start with think that maybe authoritarian countries like China can work more effectively and lose faith in the government. And you also mentioned that democracies like the United States can change a lot in terms of their policies from administration to administration. So in this kind of situation where the future is still quite uncertain, what do you think Taiwan can do to ensure its perhaps the status quo or a de facto independence? Thank you.

Deepa Ollapally:
Thank you. Who would like to tackle this one? Bob? Sure.

Robert Sutter:
Yeah. I’ll say something. Taiwan is up against it. Their back is against the wall. They need to, how are they going to deal with the situation and they don’t want to surrender. And so, okay, yes these things are there. The people feel this way. Some people feel this way. So Taiwan will have to decide that issue itself. As far as the U.S. Government changing policy, I tried to address that. And I said, “Yeah, that could happen.” But I don’t think so. Because I think we’re in a enormous change in our overall approach to China. This hardening of American policy toward China is something that I think is going to last a long time. We’re in an intense urgent competition with China right now. And this is something that’s not going to end with a partial trade deal or anything like that.

Robert Sutter:
And any candidate that runs for the presidency that ignores this issue, I think is going to be in… They’ll have to change. And Mr. Biden’s switch from his initial remarks about, “Gee, we don’t have to worry about China.” He was like Rip Van Winkle, waking up after 20 years. And he still used the old line.

June Teufel Dreyer:
You sound like Trump.

Robert Sutter:
And it doesn’t… Well, Trump can go back and forth. He’s a very unpredictable element. But the point is that the, what I see in this city is a tremendous sense of urgency in dealing with China in a very tough way. And so I think that’s likely to continue. I don’t see that stopping. So in that context, I think the value of Taiwan and close ties with Taiwan will be quite high.

June Teufel Dreyer:
Well Chloe, you asked what you thought Taiwan should do. And I… What the United States has said consistently for years is that it believes the resolution of what it calls the Taiwan problem, I would call it the China problem, is a solution acceptable to both sides. And the United States can’t easily back away from that. And if it senses that the people of Taiwan want to vote for someone, a new president a new Legislative Yuan who are in favor of unification, then the United States has to back off. And I don’t mean this to be a campaign speech for one side or the other, in an election I have no vote in, but you see what I’m saying? A lot depends on how Taiwanese vote in the next election, are they going to vote for someone who in favor of unification? They did 12 years ago, 10 years ago. Are they going to do it again?

Deepa Ollapally:
All right. Gentleman in the front, here. Sorry I’ll get to you guys.

Audience member:
Thank you very much. [Foreign name] with the Chinese University of Hong Kong. A couple of days ago the former House Speaker Gingrich expressed the concern that China and Russia may take actions against Taiwan. And he seems to be doubting if the U.S. could respond effectively. So I’m wondering what do you think of this argument? Thank you.

Deepa Ollapally:
Okay, who’d like to?

Michael Mazza:
I didn’t see the remarks. Did either of you?

Audience member:
He makes speech on Fox News, Beijing Fox News. Talking about China, Russia relations and they said these two big powers right now is cooperating in many areas. And he asked, if China and Russia attack Taiwan, how the U.S. would respond?

June Teufel Dreyer:
I saw the replay, somebody sent it to me. I think it’s highly unlikely. And I think Newt Gingrich is not a foreign policy expert. And you have to ask yourself, Russia’s taking a great, would be taking great risk on something like this. And for what? And I just think Putin is a very calculating person and he’s got a weak economy and as long as oil prices stay low, he’s going to have a weak economy. And I think his interest is in Eastern Europe and definitely not in Taiwan.

Deepa Ollapally:
Okay. I think what I’ll do is, I’ve seen several hands up. So let me collect two or three questions because we are going to run out of time otherwise. So this side, which has got two questions? And please keep it short and if it’s directed to a particular panelist, please say so.

Michael Mazza:
Thanks very much for a fine panel. I’m Mike Fontaine. I’m the director of the DPPs mission here. Thanks for the remarks from everybody. I particularly like your remarks, Bob, for how China is trying to keep things on even keel. One thing I would add, and I would like to see any comments you have, is that Taiwan is not being passive in the face of this military buildup, but it’s certainly focusing on deterrence. And I think that’s something the United States has been very supportive of and which Taiwan is trying to move forward. It’s not a question of how much they’re spending on defense or what they’re spending it on? And how their trying to make Taiwan be an unswallowable place so the Chinese don’t even think about any kind of military action towards Taiwan. But I’d be interested in any comments you have on that point.

Deepa Ollapally:
Okay. Thank you Mike, in the back there.

Audience member:
Thank you. I’m [foreign name]. I have a question now on the One-China policy and expanding Taiwan’s international space. We know there’s a One-China policy, we have China position, we have a United position and I know there’s also a Taiwanese position. So my question to the panel and of so of Christina Hsueh, and sorry Christina put you on the spot. But my question is, what do you recommend that we can increase Taiwan’s international space by coupling from these One-China policy? From One-China, One-Taiwan. Thank you.

Deepa Ollapally:
Anybody else? Okay, so we take these two and we already had your question. And please keep it concise.

Audience member:
Hi, I’m Gerrit van der Wees teaching history of Taiwan at George Mason University. Want to pick up on the remark that Mike made that Chinese assertiveness is driving support for Taiwan internationally. There’s pushback as June and Bob already indicated. It’s not just coming from the U.S. and Japan. I just came back from Europe and I saw a real sea change in Europe in its attitudes towards China, China’s assertiveness in Taichung, Hong Kong, et cetera is really driving now the opinions in Europe in support of Taiwan, actually. So my question to you is how would you suggest that these countries do coordinate with each other in terms of their approach to China, across the Atlantic in particular?

Deepa Ollapally:
Okay, final one. Very quickly.

Speaker 15:
Hi, my name is Josh. I’m a M.A. student here at Elliott School. My question is, do you see the United States upgrading the Taiwan Relations Act to some kind of mutual defense treaty or other law that officially bind the United States to Taiwan’s defense? Thank you.

Deepa Ollapally:
Okay. What I suggest is that, have each of you take a question or two and answer so that everybody’s not answering every single question. We’ll be here too long. And Minister, you’re off the hook because you’re not on the speaker right now. So we’ll focus on the panel, thank you. So Michael, you want to start? And we’ll go down the row.

Michael Mazza:
Okay, very quickly. So I’ll just touch first on this question of whether the decoupling, as you put it, from the One-China policy, there’s another way to go about it. My argument would be that it’s unnecessary. That as you know, China has a One-China principle, the United States has a One-China policy, other countries have their own. America’s One-China policy, we define that policy however we want and can change it whenever we want. And so I think that gives us all the flexibility that we need. And then I guess on the last question, again, I think upgrading the TRA to something approaching a mutual defense treaty is highly unlikely for all sorts of reasons. I think it’s also unnecessary. I do think it would be useful to move further away from strategic ambiguity, so I think Dr. Sutter kind of made the argument that we’ve slowly been doing that. I think it’s useful to make it clear to China that we have a direct and central interest in Taiwan’s fate. But I’m not sure that a mutual defense treaty is the way to go about doing that.

Deepa Ollapally:
June or Bob?

June Teufel Dreyer:
Yeah. I think there is a way to move forward here without being unnecessarily provocative. And to sign a mutual defense treaty would be unnecessarily provocative when you can achieve the same thing without a treaty. For example, somebody mentioned, Michael was it you, PACOM. They train, we have been training Taiwanese Marines out of PACOM for several years now. That’s a defense operation and we are doing many other things. Bob alluded to certain things that cannot be talked about. We are doing certain things cannot be talked about. Japan, the same thing. Japan has superb military technology and there are lots of opportunities to discuss it with entities in Taiwan. And as for the One-China policy, as many people have remarked, we have our own One-China policy and rather than repudiate it in so many words, let’s just make an new One-China policy and a One-Taiwan policy. Which it is in essence at the moment, without announcing it.

Deepa Ollapally:
Bob.

Robert Sutter:
Just a couple of points that haven’t been… I agree with what both have said, but on the issue of a Taiwan focus on deterrence, and what they’re spending on, and that type of… Mike’s question. I would just point out that something hasn’t come up which is it’s a very dire situation for Taiwan. But it’s really hard to invade Taiwan. And so the deterrence factor is quite important, it seems to me. If you examine the difficulty of invading Taiwan, it’s really, really hard. And so Beijing pressures Taiwan, attacks Taiwan in some way and doesn’t finish the job, they’re going to have an independent Taiwan. And it’s going to be really bad for them. So the danger for Beijing of being too forward, leaning on this one without being powerful enough, I think is quite significant. And I think it’s, if you investigate how hard it is to invade, I think Beijing is very aware of that.

Robert Sutter:
And then, just on the EU attitudes that Gerrit mentioned, it really is striking how the EU has changed its view of China. And that has resulted in a whole range of studies that are coming from the EU about all the bad things that the Chinese are doing in Europe and other parts of the world. It’s just, there’s an avalanche of this kind of information over the last several months. It’s really hard to keep up with it. I’m frustrated, tired trying to read this stuff. But on Taiwan, how do you get the French to make a trip into the Taiwanese Strait? How do you get the Canadians to do this? The Canadians, my God, the Canadians go through and publicize patrol in a Taiwan Strait. Well that’s emblematic of the change in attitudes that’s taking place, it seems to me.

June Teufel Dreyer:
Wait till they attack, wait till the Chinese attack the French soccer team.

Deepa Ollapally:
Well I think you’ll agree that this has been an extremely erudite panel I’ve had the privilege of moderating and a very special thanks to Debbie, representative for her insightful remarks to set us on the way and now join me in thanking all of the speakers. And a couple of announcements please. We have lunch directly outside and there will be, because we’re such a large group, we have two rows of lines. So you can follow that. And then for those of you who are going to be on campus in the afternoon, I suggest that you all get your lunch quickly because you only have half an hour. There are some tables to the side which I’ve reserved for the panelists as well as some extra chairs. So go enjoy yourselves. Thank you.

Fiona Cunningham:
Hey everybody. Well, it’s my absolute pleasure to welcome you to the second panel of our conference on Cross-Strait Relations on distress today. My name is Fiona Cunningham.

Speaker 2:
Put the mic next to your… Right here.

Fiona Cunningham:
Okay.

Speaker 2:
Oh that one.

Fiona Cunningham:
This one supposedly should be on, so. Okay. All right. Let me try this out. Is this any better?

Group:
No, no.

Fiona Cunningham:
Not necessarily. Okay. I’m going to improvise and go with the-

Speaker 2:
Yeah, the other level.

Fiona Cunningham:
The table mic.

Speaker 2:
You just share.

Fiona Cunningham:
Terrific. All right, well thank you everybody for sticking around for the afternoon panel of today’s event on Cross-Strait Relations on distress. My name is Fiona Cunningham. I’m an assistant professor here at the George Washington university, focusing on East Asian Security Issues. And it’s my pleasure to moderate the second panel on Cross Strait Political Constraints and Opportunities in Taiwan and we’ll be following on from the discussion set this morning, in which we’ve looked at some of the trends in the region and in particular in the relationships between China and Taiwan, as well as with the United States, to explore in a bit more detail the problems and opportunities in the changing landscape that Taiwan faces in particular.

Fiona Cunningham:
So we have a terrific panel of experts to explore these issues. Starting with immediately to my left and they will speak in this order. Mark Stokes, who is a retired Lieutenant Colonel and the executive director of the project 2049 Institute in Arlington, Virginia. He is a 20 year a U.S. Air force Veteran and served as a military attaché in the us embassy in Beijing, and a senior country director for the PRC in Taiwan in the office of the secretary of defense. He joined a project 2049 in January of 20, 2008 where he focuses on Cross Strait Relations, PLA, strategic force modernization, military political work, and the Chinese space and missile industry, and is one of the most knowledgeable experts on PLA affairs. So we’re very lucky to have him talking to us this afternoon.

Fiona Cunningham:
At the end of the table, Jacques Delisle will speak second and he is the Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law. Professor of Political Science and the director of the center for the Study of Contemporary China at the university of Pennsylvania. He also directs the Foreign Policy of Research Institutes Asia program and he specializes in Chinese politics and legal reform, Cross Strait Relations and China’s engagement with the international legal order. His list of books and and outlets in which she is published is too long for me to go through at this point, but I would just highlight his most recent book, co-edited with Avery Goldstein, To Get Rich is Glorious: Challenges Facing China’s Economic Reform and Opening at Forty.

Fiona Cunningham:
And in the middle have Bonnie Glaser, who will speak last. Who is this senior advisor for Asia and director of the China Power Project at the center for strategic and International Studies. She is also a nonresident fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, Australia, which I have to mention as an Australian national and former employee of the Institute. Prior to joining CSIS, she served as a consultant for various U.S. government offices, including the departments of defense and state and she’s a longstanding expert voice on China power issues. [Ian 00:03:33] has also published widely in academic and policy journals.

Fiona Cunningham:
And really, none of our three speakers need that level of introduction, but it’s been my pleasure to give one. So we’ll turn over to Mark. Each of the speakers will speak for approximately 15 to 20 minutes and then we’ll open up to question and answer. And this is just also a reminder that our venture is also on the record. So Mark, without any further ado, I will hand the microphone over to you.

Mark Stokes:
Thank you very much Fiona. It’s an honor, a pleasure to come here and talk about one of my favorite subjects, which is, I’ve been asked to talk about Chinese ‘sharp power’ or… In my presentation, I’m going to be focusing mostly on military aspects, PLA aspects because as Fiona mentioned, this is sort of my core. In my presentation what I’ll do is, sort of talk a little bit about the theoretical foundation. I tend to use the word political warfare. I mean this an old term familiar to many who have been involved in Taiwan for many years, but… And I’ll explain why I tend to use the word political warfare, but it means ‘sharp power’ goes by many, many names.

Mark Stokes:
Then, I’ll talk about theoretical foundations. They’ll go a little bit into the term of art that is used within the PLA in terms of influence operation, ‘sharp power’ which is liaison work, military liaison works. I’ll talk about sort of the theoretical aspects of more specifically liaison work, go into organizational structure, for those who know me, I tend to focus on organization quite a bit because I think organization is important in terms of illuminating what the PLA, what is now put, a Central Military Commission Political Work Department, Liaison Bureau, what they do. And then, wrap it up with some conclusions and bring it back to what is to be done in terms of particularly focused on us policy, on looking at how the Chinese companies party carries out sharp power directed particularly against Taiwan.

Mark Stokes:
So with that in mind, as I mentioned before there’s many terms for ‘sharp power’… sharp power’s just one, but political warfare is one term that goes back to at least in 1940s, where George Kennan define what political warfare is. Of course there’s different aspects, there’s propaganda and there’s long history in terms of theoretical foundation behind propaganda. Subversion, this also goes, has a long history. Influence operations is another term that’s used quite a bit. Perception management is another term that is actually been in various publications, and one of the newer terms used in DOD at least of the operational tactical level is called Military Information Support Operations or in this a euphemism generally for psychological operations. But there is a long history behind what drives Chinese Companies Party Influence Operations or political warfare. There are some that will quote for example, the Thirty-Six Strategies and and other sun’s and other traditional aspects of Chinese culture.

Mark Stokes:
I’m sure that is relevant, but my focus in the past at least has been on the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism in particular. Going back to just a long time to the Soviet model, agitation and propaganda in terms of some fundamental philosophies behind that. Of course, in the Marxist Leninist or the Soviet tradition, if you haven’t looked at some of the reports to congress that were done in the 80s and early 1990s on Soviet Active Measures, I highly recommend looking at it because it goes into detail about least what Soviet doctrine was, in terms of influence operations or ‘sharp power’ and basic principles for example, de-etiologicalization of state to state relations. That’s hard to say, but de-etiologicalization means everything is put forward as a state and a lot less emphasis on what really the party elements behind it.

Mark Stokes:
And for example, emphasizing relationship between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the China context and the state department or in formal military and military relations. And, not shedding much light on other aspects that are as equally as important like for example liaison work, and and how these two mesh together. And the Soviet case, they use a front, where there was a lot more of a direct connection between the fronts they had, these different peace organizations for example in Western Europe. And various… And the KGB service which was the executive authority… Coordination authority for active measures within the Soviet case.

Mark Stokes:
And of course, then you had the distinction between white propaganda, gray propaganda and black propaganda. With white propaganda and being directly attributable to a government spokesperson. A great propaganda being one level removed for example, academics, but academics that have some kind of government or party relationship. And then, black propaganda in which one cannot trace or tribute the source of an editorial for example, that could show up in a completely different locale, whether it’s for example South America or Africa or other places that cannot be attributed to the actual authorship.

Mark Stokes:
And of course, one other recommendation on looking at sharp power, looking at the model of Germany in 1930s, particularly methyl vapor lock, the propaganda czar of Nazi-

Fiona Cunningham:
Goebbels.

Mark Stokes:
Goebbels. Looking at the diary of Goebbels that was published in 1950s, a lot one certain principles that influence operations or propaganda operations. There were different models and different methods. For example, making sure that you had one simple authority, this applicable to authoritarian forms of government. One central authority that coordinates across the bureaucracy. Other principles like the absolute premise, even intelligence because you can’t measure effectiveness of an influence campaign without being able to have the sort of measure thickness, and you need to have intelligence as an integral to this process. Other principles such as corporatist like relationships, corporatist like relationships is where there’s not a direct subordinate relation, chain of command.

Mark Stokes:
However, for example in business communities is where you develop favors. You exchange the favors where you develop and co-opt allies within communities that are not directly in governmental party in nature. So that is a theoretical foundation in China itself… When I went through the Soviet union example, this wasn’t to suggest that the Chinese Companies Party was modeled directly after the Soviet model. For example KGB. The Chinese Companies Party… The fundamentals were established in… Well with the establishment of the Chinese comedies party, but more starting with the second United front in the 1936 or 37, where you had the establishment of then the General Political Department, Enemy Work Department. As important, because their Enemy work is one third of underground work that was established to be able to go after the central government. Enemy work was focused on at the time the Central ROC government authorities, be able to co-opt military leaders within the KMT armed forces, particularly colonel level and above, and there were certain principles. It was integral to military political work and had a very significant role in the United Front Work, but also throughout the whole civil war.

Mark Stokes:
The enemy work department was responsible for psychological and ideological conditioning of senior enemy, in this case, RSC central government, in order to weaken national will and generate sympathy for the Chinese Companies Party goals among the general population, but steps specially within the military, the KMT elite. One of their basic principles was “Unite with friends and disintegrate enemies and pull those in the middle over”… Tu Wang ch’en, digging this sort of thing. And, if you Google some of these search you’ll see references to this tradition that exists until today. Because you also had the intelligence department under what then was the general staff department but in the case of the Enemy Work Department, they had two missions. One is, be able to assess a particular source for whether or not that individual would be useful for a covert intelligence collection or perhaps to be able to turn at the right time, for example, it’d be able to turn at a critical point in a battle and it’s critical time to be able to take that whole division and defect over.

Mark Stokes:
Arguably, now the other just very quick. The other parts of underground work where the urban work department and then the social work department. And this is not… It’s rough, but as a general rule, the social work department morphed into the central investigation department and eventually into what is now the ministry of state security. Whereas the social work department generally morphed into what is now the United front work department. But it was absolutely critical to be able to undermine sort of the morale both within officers and be able to go in and disrupt relations between officers and enlisted and to be able within officer.

Mark Stokes:
So that’s what they focused on. Arguably the political work system or Enemy Work System was absolutely critic, in my view, more important that ultimately forced the KMT to be able to evacuate to Taiwan in 1949 in some ways, at least during the… before 1945, more than actual military campaigns. So with that in mind, these work department morphed and as became known as the Leaves on Department in 1955, part of a broader reorganization, both of the intelligence system and shortly after the establishment of the central international liaison department, which is a party, a party, Organ. There was a lot of reorganization that took place, but the Enemy Work Department or liaison department was critical in almost every single campaign. For example, Tibet, they put if not, critical roles in Tibet, Korea.

Mark Stokes:
There are some indications that they had a liaison team that was sent to Vietnam, 19… Let’s call it 1950 as part of the political team that went down for work with the Vietnamese or the Vietnam or the Vietnamese communist party. So fast forward now, so this is just for, for a background. So fast forward now to 2003 with the publication of the Geopolitical Department Political Work Guidelines. And here you had, and just a sort of quote this in terms of the mission and the function of liaison work.

Mark Stokes:
“The function of liaison work now is establishing military liaison work, pop policies, regulations, organizing, executing Taiwan work.” Keep in mind this, what the key focus… One of here is focus areas is Taiwan. Organizing, executing Taiwan work, researched at studying foreign military situations, leading all army enemy does integration work in conjunction with relevant channel departments, organizing, leading psychological warfare, education, training technology and equipment development related to this.

Mark Stokes:
And then, assuming also negotiation, border negotiation work. So again, it’s not just I want… But bear in mind there’s an entire Bureau established to support some of the border negotiations with the various bordering States to include the South seat as well as assuming responsibility for relevant international red cross liaison. So there’s a lot of background to this to be able to digest. But up until the reorganization in December, 2015 the General Political Department, Liaison Department consisted of at least four major missions, investigation and research.

Mark Stokes:
This basically traditional intelligence collection. There was disintegration work which is very focused, basically strategic psychological operations, friendly contact, and we can talk about this later, but this is an example of the China Association For International Friendly Contact or CAIfC for short. And then, and here’s where it gets interesting, external Taiwan propaganda, and for those interested in exactly what in terms of the overall structure for the Chinese companies party in the PLA on focusing on Taiwan, one of the first place to look is the former, what used to be the General Political Department, Liaison Department. Rather than maybe the central propaganda department or augmented event.

Mark Stokes:
So, another I’m here to talk about is what’s called becoming known as the Three Warfares. The Three Warfares’ were also outlined in those political work guidelines. They didn’t actually use that term Three Warfares, but this was basically public opinion warfare, psychological warfare, and then legal warfare. One of the least hypotheses about why they put this construct out there was perhaps, some of the problems that were taking place in coordination between the geopolitical department, propaganda department, responsible mostly for white propaganda. Whereas the liaison department would be for for example, gray and black propaganda. But also with the legal system or the lead legal Bureau used to be under GPD. Then it was merged directly under the central military commission. But there appeared to be some difficulties in terms of coordinating amongst these different communities. So what happened in terms of Three Warfares, there’s an operational context for this.

Mark Stokes:
In other words, you have strategic influence operations and then operational operations. The two years after the announcement of this so-called Three Warfares, there’s established a base meaning, not a physical location, but a structure that’s roughly equal to a core deputy leader, in Fujian called the Three-11 Base, that’s focused very much on Taiwan. They have alter egos and very active on Taiwan all the way up until today. But, so here’s the sort of the construct. So looking particularly at Taiwan about how they could do their work.

Mark Stokes:
There’s a lot of it because it’s inherently a covert, it’s inherently clandestine and in some ways inherently corrupt. I say corrupt, the former director of the Liaison Department was detained for corruption, Chin You Ming, but this a few years ago, they use pseudonyms, they’ve never seen a picture of anybody and liaison apartment who has once. He’d been in uniform and so sometimes they’re easily mistaken for ministry of state security at MSS sometimes they’re mistaken for a second hour. What used to be the Jill stat department, second department because they are very much involved in operations.

Mark Stokes:
In terms of just structure very quickly, in terms of the former lease on an apartment, they have liaison on Bureau, would known as the first Bureau and they primarily focused on Taiwan and clandestine intelligence collection. And they also possibly staff the China association for promotion of Chinese culture. This is a key organization when you look at a track so-called track two dialogues that take place between retired ROC military officers and counterparts across the street or a whole range of other activities. You’ll see that title use rather than these on department of liaison Bureau, but there is. They are sort of an alter ego with one or two exceptions.

Mark Stokes:
The second one is the investigation and research Bureau again has as a Taiwan focus. External propaganda Bureau. Again, mostly on the gray and black propaganda. There’s a border defense Bureau within the liaison department and this is where they will work within the… There’s at each country, let’s use Kyrgyzstan as example or maybe in India, you’ll have certain border crossings and the border crossings you probably were going to have liaison department, and they do a lot of the political work in terms of liaison.

Mark Stokes:
Then there are two provincial level bureaus, at least two. One is located in Shanghai and the other one located in Wang Jo. The Soviets had fronts, I tend to avoid using that word ‘front’ with in the case of the PLA influence operations and tend to use the word platform because it’s a much looser coalition, but the key ones as mentioned before, the China association of international friendly contact. If you want to know who… Normally the director of the liaison department will be dual headed as the executive deputy director of CAIFC, and there are different positions because normally they’ll have somebody of fairly high stature be a chairman and the president will also be somebody of high stature, not necessarily be a PLA active duty, but you’ll see at least two or three deputy directors as well as secretary general and deputy secretaries general and that will also be dual headed.

Mark Stokes:
They have a whole range of other organizations that have had a very close relationship with the PLA. I’m sure people have known about the China energy fund committee or CEFC which and the rest of… Jin Ming. That’s would’ve been in a couple of years ago or Patrick Ho, up in New York city that were very close. This not to suggest that either one of these were directly PLA officers. However, they certainly had a coordination role in supported among others, some of their operations. And there’s a whole range of others cultural organizations that are related to this. So with all of this in mind, sort of wrapping it up here, the general concept of influence operations or sharp power is oftentimes the heavy focus on the United Front Work can be more broadly defined.

Mark Stokes:
Everyone can also look at United Front Work as, as those operations that are the responsibility of the United a United front work department. And certainly, I do have some, and there’s also the Central International Liaison Department or now they, in English they’ve dropped the word liaison, but I in which some of their operations, they have platforms and the central propaganda department that has some of their own platforms as well. But when in my view up until now, there were some reports about the Liaison Department after the reorganization about being absorbed into the Central International Liaison Department. I’ve long been skeptical and have come across a few references to the continued existence of what is now Liaison Bureau. Since EMC political work department liaison Bureau still maintains the same stature, it still maintains the same equivalent with the psychological operations.

Mark Stokes:
It’s very important. I put this in context in the U S for intelligence system. Of course, we had the central intelligence agency, defense intelligence agency, national security agency among others. Just imagine if we had an entire agency that was equal to these other two that was focused on nothing but psychological operations. Deterrence for example, which is a psychological concept, the manipulation of perceptions in terms of calculate… Cost-benefit calculations of foreign, just the amount of thought that goes into it. They’re inherently covert. I have a close relationship particularly looking at Shanghai very close relationship with their SIGINT/cyber, organizations not necessarily executing it themselves, although there may be some exceptions, and in some of the operations with 311 base and targeting some of the social media on Taiwan itself. But in terms of looking at a future, in terms of what to focus on, is looking at presence in various embassies and cleaning PRC embassy here in Washington, D.C. Looking at their presence on Taiwan itself, looking at their formal or informal relationships with international media and public education. authorities, the nature of relationships between U.S. and ROC or Taiwan, senior political, former senior Political and Military Relations in interim of some of their relationships, sometimes it’s not clear that they know who they’re dealing with and then of course looking at foreign campaign biasing something very interesting to look out for very carefully, including in the United States, but using through different channels, different ways to be able to launder money as it comes in. Looking at how the liaison department or a CAIFC or some of their platforms, how they leverage business relationships. If you are a retired senior U.S. military officer or senior intelligence official in Congress and you are a member of a board or doing consulting work for a major us company, you want to do business in China, odds are at one point or another, you’re going to get somebody from CAIFC or China international friendly contact probably is going to be reaching out to be able to pull you in.

Mark Stokes:
And also use of false flag operations, whether in the U.S. Or other places. So with that, I’ll turn it back over to you Fiona. Thank you very much.

Fiona Cunningham:
Okay. Mark, thank you very much for that very comprehensive overview of the concepts, organizations and operations of political warfare within the PLA and China, more broadly. We’ll turn it over to Jacque deLisle to speak about securing Taiwan’s international space.

Jacques deLisle:
So Mark’s been talking about all this stuff you can’t see, I’m going to talk about some of the things you can see, and what do they mean by them. What I want to suggest is that Taiwan continues to be engaged in what’s been a decades long struggle to acquire or preserve international space. At international space, especially it’s formal visible dimensions, matters for international status, how much you like a state, and in turn security. To put it simply Taiwan security is threatened by a bunch of things, some of which you’ve heard on this panel and on the previous panel. But among the things it’s threatened by is this dispute of status, and so it exists somewhere along this broad spectrum between mere province of the PRC and fully independent normal state in the international system. And much of the game of either international space is sliding along that spectrum, preventing backsliding and trying to move up to the more formal end.

Jacques deLisle:
I want to suggest that for decades now Taiwan has engaged in a multi-faceted strategy here that consists of somewhere however you count it, from three to six categories of effort. One is to seek access or membership in international organizations, both the big deal ones, which are hard to get, and the less big deal ones, which were a little more achievable. Secondly, to preserve relations with other states, formal diplomatic relations where possible, and robust informal relations with great powers such as the United States.

Jacques deLisle:
And finally, to pursue a kind of “as if” approach, to behave as if Taiwan were a member of organizations and particularly multilateral treaties that it’s not allowed to join, while joining the lesser ones that it can get into. This strategy goes back at least to the [inaudible 00:01:58] presidency when a lot of these kinds of attempts were first high on the agenda, but it of course has its roots even earlier in Taiwan’s loss of international space, of starting with UN general assembly resolution ousting the ROC, and giving the seat to the PRC. And of course followed quickly by the Taiwan relations act, 40th anniversary of that coming up imminently with the D recognition process for the ROC, that that was part and parcel of.

Jacques deLisle:
So the details of the strategy have changed over time. Under Thai, the strategies had to adjust to a somewhat colder or chillier environment, mostly coming from Beijing. It’s been harder to maintain and certainly to move forward. And this is one of those areas of international politics where there’s a relatively substantial intersection with international law. It makes me happy. It’s simply, it’s better in the international system to be a state or to be treated as if you are a state, then to be something that is less than that. Law doesn’t dictate here, but law kind of tracks the politics, so it makes sense. There are good incentives to try to acquire and preserve international status, international space for international status, and the elements of Taiwan strategy have a lot of international law in them.

Jacques deLisle:
Recognition is a diplomatic and the international legal concept. These international organizations are international legal creatures. Treaties are international legal documents. It gives us something to talk about, and we have to teach in a law school. Many of the legal tactics now that are boosting Taiwan status on the U.S. side are of course pieces of legislation, the Taiwan travel act, and other things we’ll talk about. So there’s a lot of law in this politics. Okay, that’s the justification for why you should listen to me. Let me tell you a little bit about sort of what’s going on in each of these strategies. So the context or the frame for Taiwan’s contemporary pursuit of international space, what’s changed of course is Beijing has gotten a little tougher. I mean this isn’t profoundly new, but it’s certainly chillier and tougher than it was earlier.

Jacques deLisle:
I’d say I received a cold shoulder for not accepting the one China principle and the 92 consensus of course, her acceptance of the ROC constitutional framework and the articles on Cross-strait relations, which have a tinge of one China to them, was also rebuffed. And then what you’ve seen is China of course, through no less than authority, that she didn’t gain a restating its longstanding positions on independence in any form is unacceptable. Unification is the inevitable end, and one country, two systems, which is even in less good odor I think in Taiwan, than it was before the Hong Kong incident. An IEO is the framework in some sense for doing this. So, onto the several elements of Taiwan’s pursuit of international space and what they look like today. One piece is to try to get as much access as possible to the biggest deal international organizations, the UN membership of self, itself.

Jacques deLisle:
Of course, it has been off the table since resolution 27-58. In 1971, the Clinton era three nos is sort of put in place. This notion the U.S. won’t push for Taiwan’s inclusion in full state member only organization. And for a time Taiwan tried to get its allies to push the idea, and of course Chung Febian did the famous 2008 referendum on whether Taiwan should try to enter the UN, under the name Taiwan. That’s largely been abandoned or put on the back burner, at least, an inquest of a much more measured set of policies, which seek engagement with the UN specialized Oregon, Oregon. So things related to that. The big success here of course was during the buying show in Europe and the World Health Assembly annual meeting, not to be confused with the WHO as an organization, this is just the annual convention in effect, where Taiwan had Ad Hoc year-by-year entry, which spilled over a tiny bit in the PSI era because the invitations went out before the transition, but it’s been canceled since then. A similar thing with the ICAO assembly. Again, not the International Civil Aviation Organization itself, but the quadrennial or quick pineal assembly meeting, where I think they were described as special guests, trying to try it out. Sorry, try it. Okay.

Jacques deLisle:
Try it. No, right. It was 2016 to 2019 and going to go again. So they got to go once under MA and that has not been, that has not been renewed. And of course there’s the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Again, not the convention itself, but COP, the convention, the sort of meeting of parties, which get named after wherever you hold it, plus a number. So in that case, Taiwan had some very limited success. Technical delegations have gone a couple of times and been under tie but not much progress. And then there’s INTERPOL, which is of course not a UN affiliated organization, but kind of exists in the same space as a big deal near universal, multilateral member organization, where Taiwan has sought access to the assembly. It had been ousted from the organization itself back in 1984 when China was admitted.

Jacques deLisle:
So, that’s size list, and it largely was MA’s list, and the modest gains of them have eroded but been taken back. Secondly, there are other international organizations, especially international economic organizations and there Taiwan’s done pretty well, full membership at the WTO is part of the same deal that got China and with Taiwan straddling the calendar year, so it looked like they didn’t ever quite at the same time, and I’m having to do it under these somewhat prolix name of the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Jillian Pungo and Mazzola Perin Chinese Thai Bay going to spray, try putting that on your name tag, but membership there has remained relatively secure, no real threats to it, and PSI even took a step forward to position Taiwan, as a member in good standing, by dropping what was really irrelevant, that is, Taiwan developing country status. It didn’t mean anything anymore, but it was a nice gesture.

Jacques deLisle:
The problem with this approach is the WTO ain’t what it used to be. It has been sort of in gridlock as a mechanism for moving forward further liberalization and integration of the international economy. Thanks partly to the U.S., It’s on the verge of not being able to decide cases anymore, and the real action in trade now, and trade plus, trade and investment and things, is not WTO. It was TPP. Now CPTPP, a variety of regional trade agreements, and so on. And particularly for Taiwan this is a problem, because China is the gatekeeper to many of those in a direct way, it has influence on others. And finally, of course ECFA itself, the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement for Cross-Strait relations take some of the bilateral economic relationship out of the immediate purview of the WTO. There are other organizations as well.

Jacques deLisle:
The Asian Development Bank, Taiwan was grandfathered in, but the AIIB is kind of emerging as a different multilateral development bank, and it’s shrinking the sort of relative share of the ADB, APEC was mentioned this morning, Taiwan gets to show up, but not with the kind of official representation that other states do. Newly emerging international economic organizations have been tougher. TPP, CC, CP, TPP, RCGP, FTA, AIIB, NDB, and the rest of the alphabet soup of organizations. These new ones are either China centric, many of them are, or failing that they’re at least ones where Beijing will not allow Taiwan in, at least anytime in the near future. Third strategy is to try to keep formal diplomatic relations where one can, everybody knows this story. It was in the 20s under MA and then the diplomatic truth ended, and now we’ve seen it shrink down to 15. Taking diplomatic allies is not a new strategy.

Jacques deLisle:
That’s how the ROC got from many, many tens down to where it is, but it becomes a little more serious when the numbers get really small, and now the numbers are small, and they’re especially small in Europe, where the backend is the only thing that’s left, and in Africa where, eSwatini, I think that’s how it’s pronounced. Formerly Swaziland, change your name, it’s the one African ally and the Vatican is always considered to be at risk. It punches above its weight normatively in the international system. It’s the only developed world ally that Taiwan has at this point, formal diplomatic relations, and there’s always the concern that a deal with China over the place of bishops in the Catholic church, will perhaps lead to a defection there. Here I think the prospects are a little complicated, there is obviously a real downside to Taiwan in the drip, drip, drip, loss of diplomatic recognition.

Jacques deLisle:
We still live in a world where formalism matters. One could get really hardcore international law here, and talk about the capacity to engage in relations with other States, as being one of the four criteria for statehood. There’s the debate about how formal that is, but formal helps, and of course losing diplomatic allies has been a one way ratchet. There’s not been a whole lot of gains, there was the one quite some time ago, but since then, it’s all been downhill, and nobody’s come back. There are some upsides here I think for Taiwan now, there is no magic number. Maybe zeros a magic number but 15-16 18-13 I mean when you’re in small numbers it’s probably not a big deal to lose a few more. And of course there is a kind of hydraulic pressure here, part of the U.S. response to be more supportive of Taiwan indeed, specifically on the issue of encouraging other States to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan, is a response to China’s squeeze on this front.

Jacques deLisle:
And I mean part of what’s in the legislation in Congress and we saw the U.S. here recall ambassadors from three diplomatic countries, in separate records, separate relations, upon PEO and others saying Tuvalu should stay on board and so on. And there is also a risk that if Beijing pushes this to too far, the sensible move for Taiwan is to switch tactics. Stop talking about the handful of remaining diplomatic partners, if that drops to near zero, and instead stress the informal side of the capacity to engage in international relations. The fact that Taiwan has tech rows, and their equivalents, in many places around the world and that’s not something that’s engaging [inaudible 00:11:38]. Those last couple of points take us into the fourth strategy, which is, maintaining strong informal relations with major powers, especially in the United States and secondarily Japan. This is a squishy form of international space, but it matters.

Jacques deLisle:
The TRA just turned 40, and it still stands as the second best alternative to what Thailog lost in 79, it’s something kind of like diplomatic relations, it’s something kind of like a security relationship, and it’s something kind of like being treated as a government, and a state under U.S. law. Hardly perfect, but it’s a pretty formal underpinning for informal relations. Now, there’ve been lots of ups and downs in U.S. support dirk or closeness to Taiwan over the years since 79, but everybody in this room knows that our relations got to be quite positive under that mind Joe and Obama administrations, especially against the backdrop of the latter part of the George W. Bush assistant management administrations, and under the tie and Trump eras, we’ve seen some volatility, some rocky points, some instability, but of course in many ways remarkable upswing, which Bob described at length in the last panel, so he saved me some work here.

Jacques deLisle:
And done it better than I would have, and there, but there has been this uptake in the frequency scale and what you could call the wishlist fulfillment of arm sales. There’s been more push back on China, where it’s up to political pressure, the compatriot’s speech anniversary and rotary speech in 2019 January, earlier this year, and the Hong Kong troubles fallout, as well as do the military pressures like flybys and sail arounds. Legislation, of course, has been part of the story too, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything like the Taiwan Travel Act, the Asian Reassurance Initiative Act, Aria. I love the Taipei working its way through the, I think it’s to make Taipei because it’s a P, I know. [crosstalk 00:13:25] You’re right, fair enough. It’s that old opinion [inaudible 00:13:28] anyway, they had of course the provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act, which collectively have encouraged and supported moves that have been going on, I think anyway of higher level official contacts, and somewhat closer security cooperation. And of course, there’s the physical symbol of the brand…

Jacques deLisle:
Big new AIT building in Thai Bay. Thai has gotten pretty generous transit diplomacy, where you can go through all of the markers, and of course it benefits from the general anti-China vibe that everybody talks about in Washington. Although, one caution here, when Taiwan U.S. Relations become too much epiphenomenal on U.S., China relations, that’s not always the best thing for Taiwan. Finally, there is the “as if” participation in major international structures, particularly the UN treaty regimes that Taiwan is not allowed to join. There are a bunch of examples here, I’ll just give two of them. One is the UN convention on the law of the sea, we talked about the South and East China seas earlier. And here, Taiwan has essentially said, we know we don’t get to join, but we’re going to behave as if we are a member in good standing. So you have the Main Jo East China Sea and South China Sea Peace Initiatives as a Thai policies following on there, where there has been an insistence that all parties should follow international law, should keep a freedom of navigation and overflight, and should settle their disputes peacefully.

Jacques deLisle:
Ideally through multilateral processes that include the ROC at the table, discussing them. And Taiwan tried its best to intervene in the famous Philippines, China, South China Sea Arbitration, in through a brief in over the transom, an extremely well written lawyerly brief on the status of [inaudible 00:15:03] or typing now whether it could generate a maritime zone. The tribunals’ sort of paid attention to it while ignoring it. China of course, didn’t participate but submitted a brief which the tribunal paid a lot of attention to, but Taiwan is saying we’re playing by the rules and we should be part of this because we have interests at stake. And basically an insistence that the Taiwan is behaving like a member of the regime in good standing, would a regime which by the way the U.S. Has not joined, which creates a great talking point for Beijing, a way that pushes back against the U.S. In maritime spaces.

Jacques deLisle:
Secondly, the Human Rights Regime, Taiwan tried to deposit instruments of ratification for the two major competence, so the economic, social, and cultural rights, and civil and political rights covenant. The UN, not surprisingly, said no, but [inaudible 00:15:47] said, hey, too late, I left them on your doorstep. We are bound legally by the convention, even if you don’t take them and I want his built on that. Bringing these laws into domestic law, the way a good member of the conventions would, and by doing something that is sort of parallel to what the universal periodic review process would be. Self-scrutiny every four years, under the two major covenants including inviting international experts in to offer their critique, so it behaves as if it were part of the regime and under PSI, this is extended between, beyond the two principle covenants to others like the rights of the child, and the rights of people with disabilities.

Jacques deLisle:
UN climate change, Paris Accords is another example as well. So my last couple of minutes here, what do we take away from all of this? Well, it’s a long running and evolving multifaceted strategy and adjusts to the times, but it’s basically been pretty consistent; Try to preserve international space and it’s a case of playing a weak hand well. A formality of international relations, International law, is often a weapon of the weak that is W-E-A-K, not that it’s trendy, they’ll be gone in November. And what Taiwan I think can learn from its past experiences, its successes and its failures, is there are a few things that make it more likely that some limited successes will be achieved. One is a strategy of simply are tactics really of just taking opportunities where you can find them. So, some things are going to be tough. State member organizations, state number only organizations, political rather than economic organizations.

Jacques deLisle:
Those are going to be tough, so go to the others. Participation or Ad Hoc access rather than full membership. Again, it’s been a more effective strategy, and in engaging either international organizations or treaties, it’s been some, at least marginal help, sometimes more than that, to stress a few ideas. This is a truly universal regime, why is Taiwan not in any way represented? That’s kind of a moral claim, it gets you a little leverage. Another is to say if Taiwan isn’t in this regime or this organization, it’s bad for the regime or the organization as it gets somewhat more leverage. Taiwan is a big trading entity, it got into the WHA in a limited way, partly because SARS, which ran through Taiwan, and it was hard to have a complete civil aviation in a regime either if you don’t include Taiwan, and so on. Another kind of moral claim, which doesn’t work quite as well perhaps, is to say that this is really important to Taiwan.

Jacques deLisle:
Taiwan suffers if it’s left out, that’s probably better at signaling Taiwan’s priorities than it is actually making big gains. But public health, WHA SARS is one example. INTERPOL’s become another in part because of the pensions of several countries to return ROC citizens to the PRC, for prosecution, and the civilian flight path and the possibility of military uses that stays near the center line and the strait is another town. So, there are opportunities here, they’re likely to remain fairly limited, but they should be pressed. Then there’s playing the values card…to secure international space, joining institutions where it can, and treaties, and behaving as if it were a good member or a member in good standing where it can’t get in. And here I think, you’ve seen some progress. The problem of, so, you’ve seen Taiwan stress that it supports liberal or open regimes for the international economy, for the Law of the Sea, for human rights, in pointed contrast to Beijing.

Jacques deLisle:
And that’s been part of the game here of course, because it draws in some support from the U.S. and like-minded states. There are some weaknesses in this strategy because the liberal rules-based international order is crumbling. The U.S. Is not supporting it the way it used to, and China has engaged in a fairly assertive attempt to undermine, or at least kick up a little dust, particularly on values and to some degree on institutions. And finally, it’s a somewhat passive strategy or passive tactic, but Taiwan can capitalize on the phenomenon of political hydraulic pressure or the second law of political thermodynamics, by which I mean, that for every action there is, well not equal and opposite, but some kind of reaction, and then pushes back in the other direction.

Jacques deLisle:
So, Chinese assertiveness has brought more U.S. and other external support to Taiwan, and international space opportunities for Taiwan. Where China has squeezed Taiwan’s international space really hard, there is a risk that the shift in tactics that I talked about earlier could happen, and finally excessive pressure on Taiwan, or about Taiwan, from Beijing can backfire. In terms of Taiwan’s domestic politics, I joke that Xi Jinping should be named Taiwan’s honorary campaign chairman, because the anniversary speech and the Hong Kong troubles have been about the best thing, that he or anyone could have done for her, so let’s tune in, in January, 2020 and see where the ball lands.

Fiona Cunningham:
Terrific, great job. Well thank you very much Jacques, and appreciate you sticking absolutely to time, and we will now hear from Bonnie Glaser on prospects for Taiwan’s broader political engagement and challenges. And she’s going to speak from the podium.

Bonnie Glaser:
Thank you Fiona, and Deepa and the Sigur Center for having me back. Always fun to come over to GW and talk about Taiwan and Cross-Strait relations, I’ve done many times before. I feel like I have some new things to talk about today, it’s a great topic. I think I’m basically going to elaborate on what Jacques referred to as the fourth category, the informal mechanisms, or ways that Taiwan can advance its international space through sort of informal means, bilateral, and also up to some extent multilateral. So I want to start by saying a couple of things about why participation in the international community is important to Taiwan.

Bonnie Glaser:
And Jacques has already made a good case, but I think there’s some more things that can be said. Taiwan wants to be able to share its expertise with the rest of the world, whether it’s in health or environment, technology, it needs to have reliable access to information. So, if it’s not in INTERPOL, it’s not part of a 24/7 database It can’t get timely access to a list of let’s say criminals, if they’re holding a very big like athletic competition like summer university games. So, it has to rely on the FBI to get that information. We’ll get it off the database and share it with Taiwan. So that’s another reason Taiwan learns more about international standards, solving disputes according to international laws and norms, importantly can demonstrate its image as a good global citizen as Jacques made the point, especially in comparison to China.

Bonnie Glaser:
So that’s something that It can do when it participates in international forum, and of course it can increase its interaction with other countries through networking in these organizations. So if it’s at the WTO or if it’s at APEC, then it has access to other countries that are, they can have society meetings, and it can use that to further amplify the impact of that particular meeting, and strengthen its interaction with other countries.

Bonnie Glaser:
So a few, just numbers. Taiwan is now a full member of 37 international organizations and it enjoys observer or other status in 21 other international organizations, and their subsidiary bodies. So many of these organizations, Taiwan, I of course did not enter as a state member. It’s entered as a separate customs territory, fishing entity, non-sovereign, regional member. So, there are various ways of statuses that Taiwan is used to enter organizations, sometimes organizations that are functionally based, that deal with a particular issue, like fisheries have been easier for Taiwan to participate in. So I’m really gonna spend most of my time on talking about some of the strategies that the United States has used with Taiwan, and Taiwan is also using to enhance its ability to participate in the region and in the international community, in the absence of having the ability to join these UN affiliated organizations. And the one that comes to, of course, everybody’s mind first, is the Global Cooperation Training Framework, the GCTM.

Bonnie Glaser:
And you might recall that this was something that was set up in June of 2015, and it was originally conceived of as something that the U.S. and Taiwan would do bilaterally. They would pool their resources, capacity, and expertise to help partners throughout the region address pressing global challenges. And it was in March, I think of 2016, that we had here at the Sigur Center a big conference. Senior officials from the U.S. and Taiwan spoke here about GCTF. So if we were standing here a year ago, it probably would have been pretty much the same story that it was in March of 2016. But standing here today, November of 2019, there’s actually some very new trends going on at GCTF that are worth highlighting. So the slides that I have on GCTF are just a listing of all of the activities, the workshops so far. So I have two slides.

Bonnie Glaser:
This is the first one, and you can see the dates that each of these workshops were held, and the subject areas. And there’s been a huge number of these and Taiwan and the U.S. together in all of these cases brought together officials, technical experts. There were representatives from some governments, from NGOs from around the region. One of the interesting things is, that the participants in these meetings is not made public. So I’ve seen some of the participants list, but you can’t find them on the internet. I think that maybe if the Chinese found out who were going to this, maybe they’d be putting pressure on these countries to not send representatives. So, that’s probably a good thing. But most of these have had participants from the Asia Pacific region and this is the second slide and I’ll just sort of leave that up while I talk.

Bonnie Glaser:
So far we’ve had more than 400 policy makers and experts from 35 countries that have participated in a total of 21 programs. And these are essentially covered range of security, economic prosperity issues. You can see public health, energy, women’s empowerment, environmental protection, e-commerce, media literacy. These are all areas where Taiwan brings an enormous amount to the table, and lots of countries that really wanted to learn from Taiwan’s experience. Immediate literacy has been particularly popular in the age of disinformation. So the one of the new stories to tell about GCTF is it expanded beyond just the U.S. and Taiwan. And several years ago I wrote a report on Taiwan’s international space, and one of the things that I recommended in that report was that we adopt a sort of GCTF plus one strategy to expand it beyond the United States and Taiwan.

Bonnie Glaser:
And I am really delighted to see that that is now being implemented. So this past May, Taiwan’s foreign ministry, AIT, and the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association held a three day event that involved participants from 20 like-minded countries from the Indo-Pacific, for a workshop on network security and emerging technologies. And the U.S. officials that participated came from the state department, the Federal Communications Commission, the National Risk Management Center, the Department of Homeland Security. So it was a pretty broad representation of U.S. officials. And Taiwan brought to the table expertise on information security, demonstrated its willingness to help regional countries combat global information security threats. So Japan is basically now in cohost of workshops in the GCTF program, and I think will continue to be actively involved in the future.

Bonnie Glaser:
The second new development in GCTF is the workshops are no longer just being held in Taiwan, which is something else that I had recommended. Take this global was my recommendation, and sort of like a trade off because the people in the U.S. and Taiwan, and particularly in the state department, have liked the idea of bringing these to Taiwan because people then get to experience what it’s like in Taiwan, the great food, the great people, how free everything is, not free no money, [crosstalk 00:04:53] and so they get to really experience Taiwan since a lot of the people who would come to these wouldn’t necessarily have been to Taiwan before, but I think there’s also… It benefits to taking it outside Taiwan.

Bonnie Glaser:
Fortunately they’re not going to choose. They are allocating more resources to this effort, so they’ll be continuing to hold the workshops in Taiwan as well as elsewhere. So the first one, last month in September, was held in Palau. This was again a U.S./Taiwan/Japan effort. They collaborated to underscore their commitment to protecting indigenous languages, and the lives of speakers of indigenous tongues. And there were about 120 academics officials and representatives from 11 Indo-Pacific countries. I forgot to write down which one it was, but I think it was September 2019 one, this one, that Sweden was involved in. So we now have gone beyond Japan. We now have Sweden as a cohost, and my expectation is there will be other countries that are going to participate. I’ve personally been talking to the Canadians and the Australians trying to get them involved.

Bonnie Glaser:
Actually New Zealand should have been also involved in the protection of indigenous languages, would have been a really good one for New Zealand. So there’s lots of potential for GCTF going forward. The second thing that I want to briefly mention is that there’s obviously a range of bilateral mechanisms that Taiwan also has used to enhance its international space. Most of them are with the United States, but not all. And if we did research on this and put them all together, I think it would be very impressive, the kinds of things that Taiwan is doing. And some of them are well known, and some of them are not. So for example with Japan, Taiwan established in 2016 a dialogue that is focusing on promoting collaboration on maritime issues such as fisheries and scientific research, and collaboration between the coast guards.

Bonnie Glaser:
They also have a coast guard mechanism with the Philippines, which has been in existence for longer. And just to cite one example with the EU, Taiwan in the EU have been working together since 2015. They implemented a three year equality cooperation and training frameworks, and this really focused on gender equality and human rights protection, and they just last week held an LGBTI human rights conference. So there’s a lot of these kinds of mechanisms that are examples of ways that Taiwan uses relationships with, and it can be governments. It’s also even more going on in the in the NGO space, but it’s particularly in the governmental space that I think Taiwan really, really values. So the third area I was going to talk a little bit about is Taiwan’s aid and humanitarianism. And didn’t bring any slides on this, But essentially Taiwan’s aid programs are intended for two purposes.

Bonnie Glaser:
They are certainly intended to enhance sustainable development. Quality of living around the world needs humanitarian assistance to better the lives of people, also disaster relief. We just hosted at CSIS, the head of their international development cooperation fund, a few weeks ago. He gave a keynote speech and talked about some of the work that they’re doing specifically in Latin America, where incidentally we had officials from USAID, OPEC, and the state department that that spoke in support of Taiwan’s work in Latin America. So Taiwan is working, it’s official humanitarian assistance focuses on advancing development in partner countries primarily. So we’re looking at the 15 remaining allies. They’re probably not the Vatican in this category, and they’re working to help these countries in support of UN sustainable development goals. Taiwan also provides recovery and reconstruction assistance to countries in the aftermath of natural disasters and war or ethnic conflict.

Bonnie Glaser:
And this ICDF that I mentioned works closely in cooperation with NGOs. But in addition to all of this for humanitarian purposes, there’s also political purposes. So I have not figured out any way yet of sort of measuring. [Inaudible 00:10:01] They ask me, what’s the impact of this? You can’t find any correlation between money that Taiwan offers to any particular government and the political impact it has, or whether it enhances Taiwan’s relationship with that country or strengthens its international space. But probably in and of itself, it’s not going to be enough to retain diplomatic allies. That’s where a lot of this development assistance goes. In the case of humanitarian assistance certainly has strengthened relations with countries like Japan, which are strong for a lot of reasons. But one of them is because Taiwan is like always the first out of the box when Japan experiences a natural disaster. Most recently I forget the name of the flood typhoon that they [crosstalk 00:10:54].

Speaker 7:
Typhoon number 17 Hagibis.

Bonnie Glaser:
Right. Right. We got it. Okay.

Bonnie Glaser:
Okay, so I’m going to go through some of the New Southbound Policy stuff because this is yet another example of Taiwan’s effort to expand its international space. So, this is like the third iteration started under the [inaudible 00:11:18], the [inaudible 00:11:17] different names. The goal of course is in part to reduce reliance on the economic alliance on the mainland, but it’s really more than that. I see it as an effort to try and really more deeply integrate Taiwan in the region to develop people to people ties with the region. It’s very difficult I think to find any examples of near term success beyond what I’m going to talk about. I mean there is some low hanging fruit that they have reaped, but the real question is, in my view, whether or not it’s going to really lead over time to things like more for trade agreements or free trade type agreements with neighbors.

Bonnie Glaser:
We have not seen that yet, but when I talk to officials in Taiwan, they say, Oh in the long run they do hope that it’s going to achieve more economic agreements. There have been new economic agreements with India and the Philippines. I think those were pretty much updates of what previously existed. So I’ll just go through these slides fairly quickly. You can see there has been an uptick in the value of goods exported by Taiwan to New Southbound Policy of partner countries, but from 2015 to 2017 exports from mainland trying to drop by 2.4% and exports from Taiwan through by 7.9%. Is that this one? I don’t know, I thought this was, it’s a different one. That’s it. So this is, okay. For this slide was supposed to be between 2016 and 2018 Taiwan’s exports of goods to NSP partner countries grew by 15% and over 85% of these exports went to ASEAN countries.

Bonnie Glaser:
So that’s what this one represents. Then there’s the students that have been coming to Taiwan, and as of 2018 students from NSP partner countries outnumbered students from mainland China studying in Taiwan. There are about 127,000 international students studying in Taiwan’s colleges and universities. That’s as of 2018 and 41% were from NSP partner countries. This is the share of inbound international students from New Southbound Policy countries. There were nearly 52,000 college and university students from NSP partner countries that were studying in Taiwan in 2018, and Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia account for 80% of these students. So it’s a really significant number that’s coming from these New Southbound Policy countries. This takes a look at, by the way, we have a website on CSIS, a sort of micro website. All of these are up there. It’s a microsite that’s on the New Southbound Policy program, because it is part of a research project that we’re doing.

Bonnie Glaser:
So these are all taken from that website. Tourists. This looks like a really good story. When we get 2019 data that the story’s not going to be as good, right? Because the Chinese originally were just reducing the number of groups that were coming to Taiwan, but now it’s individual tourists as well. But you can see this that between 2016 to 2018 new tourists visiting Taiwan from the NSP countries increased by 45%, and over the same period tourists from mainland China dropped by over 23%. So, I think that’s all that I have on the, yeah, this is, this is inbound tourists from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and from the rest of the world. So, my summary of the NSP is this is a work in progress. They’re not going to reduce reliance on their economic ties to China overnight.

Bonnie Glaser:
My understanding, although I can find this in any public information, but I was told by somebody at Taiwan is they decrease their exports now. It was about 40-41% of them that went to China, Macau and Hong Kong. It’s now down to about 38. It’s still pretty high, but the policy itself is aimed at more than just that, and I think they’re doing a good job with strengthening their people to people ties with countries in the region. My view is they do need to assign more resources to it. So wrapping up, the biggest challenge to Taiwan’s quest for international participation is definitely China. But as the same it is also true that as pressure from China on Taiwan increases, what we see I think is, a trend of other countries demonstrating a willingness to partner with Taiwan, and we see this in the global cooperation training framework context and I think we see it in other ways as well.

Bonnie Glaser:
If the DPP remains in power another four years, I think it’s unlikely we’re going to see Taiwan make much headway and expanding its role in international organizations. It may well lose more of its diplomatic allies to Beijing. And I was asked to address the question, well, if the KMT returns to power, would it make a difference? So maybe we could have a return to something like the diplomatic truce that we have under my NGO and maybe Taiwan would lose more diplomatic allies. Maybe Taiwan would be able to resume it’s observer status in the world health assembly, also a big question for me. But [inaudible 00:17:07] closed by saying that the PRC is unlikely to permit Taiwan broad participation in the international community. Indeed, even when [inaudible 00:17:16] was in power for eight years, Beijing did very little in terms of giving Taiwan international space IKO as jock said, a one off, it was a guest of the president. So if the PRC were to seek to extract concessions from Taiwan under a KMT leader for greater international space such as the opening of political talks, then one am I even positive that there would be little or no progress. So with that… [inaudible 00:17:56]

Christine M. Y. Hsueh:
Okay. So thank you to all of the panelists. That was a really terrific overview of some of the challenges and opportunities that Taiwan faces. And we have about 1520 minutes for question and answer from the audience. And I’m going to invoke my [inaudible 00:18:12] Chad to ask the first question if I may, which is prompted a little bit by Jock’s observation that Mark talked about things that we can’t see. He talked about things that we can see and Bonnie talked about things that we can sort of see. So I wanted to pose the questions to the panelists of whether this sort of covert or overt efforts to influence or coerce Taiwan easier or more difficult for Taiwan, Taiwan to respond to. So if Mark wants to speak a little bit about where the covert is a more difficult problem for Taiwan to deal with, and perhaps Bonnie if you can comment on whether or not our overt or covert responses on the part of Taiwan are preferable for dealing with Chinese pressure, and Jock given that you also spoke about overt whether that’s more difficult to easy problem Taiwan to deal with.

Mark Stokes:
I can’t really, Taiwan faces an uphill a people battle itself because it might be, and I agree with Jock. Beijing’s goal, the Chinese communist party’s goal is to effect in all but name perhaps one country, two systems, which is there’s one China, Taiwan is part of China and the PRC is your sole representative of China and international community. This is a zero sum game from Beijing’s perspective. In their view, there’s one China. Taiwan is part of China, but it’s a zero sum game that’s played out in Washington D.C. It’s a game played internationally. And part of our problems on terms of a definite example of how successful the communist party has been, is that whenever I make a statement of objective reality, and this is a statement, objective reality. I’ve lived in Beijing three years, I lived in Taipei for three years. Taiwan under it’s current republic of China constitution exists as an independent sovereign state.

Mark Stokes:
That is objective reality. It’s different this objective reality, but how we deal with this for you as policy perspective is different, but Beijing’s been very effective on countering and perception management by making, so when you make the statement people freak out because they don’t get the difference between policy and recognition and objective reality. Bearing in mind that between 1971, ’72, and 1979 we had relatively normal relations with both sides of that, of the Taiwan strait and we had a one, sort of a one China policy. One China policy doesn’t have to be a zero sum gain from U.S. policy perspective. I’m an advocate of a conscious, the best way to counter Chinese influence operations is, a conscious effort thinking in the future, 10 to 15 years from now, of not whether or not the USA should move toward a more normal, stable, and constructive relationship with Taiwan, formerly known as the ROC.

Mark Stokes:
But how without getting anybody killed in the process? That’s the best way to counter Beijing’s influence operations. And the best way in my view, to be able to resolve a whole range of issues.

Bonnie Glaser:
So you asked me whether Taiwan’s response, it should be sort of covert and overt. Now I would say they have to be both. If you have nothing that’s overt then your public doesn’t know. And when you’re a democracy, you want public legitimacy, you want them to have confidence that your government is defending sovereignty. So there’s some things you absolutely must do that are public. And then the question is what are those things? So one might cite as an example, when you have your secretary general, your national security council travel to Washington DC. Is that something you should just do because you’re going to strengthen your cooperation between the United States and Taiwan, or do you want to make it public? Because that then engages your own citizens, and then you might invite perhaps a stronger reaction from China. So you have to weigh what those costs and benefits are. There are some things that you do that are there absolutely covert. So I would guess Taiwan has intelligent sharing with some countries, but it’s not in their interest to say which ones.

Jacques deLisle:
That’s an interesting question. In some ways it’s harder for Taiwan to make gains in the overt space because that depends on support of others and sometimes acquiescence from China. But the game that Taiwan is engaged in, it’s the old saying of when nothing with clubs is lying, when nothing else has turned up, clubs are trump. Well Taiwan doesn’t have a lot of clubs, so it’s essentially got hearts, occasionally diamonds, can buy off a few. [crosstalk 00:22:39] [inaudible 00:22:39] But basically it’s playing to these overt things and you need, you need that. So it’s got to be part of the tactics. In some ways covert is easier to push back against because you can do it unilaterally. And I think you see sort of media literacy and you see sort of trying to fair it out where there is this kind of a problematic influence in elections.

Jacques deLisle:
And so, it’s more, it’s less dependent on outside world taking a stand. And Taiwan, my colleagues on the panel mentioned, has developed some expertise in how to push back against these kinds of, of operations. The problem with covert of course, is that it is impossible in international politics being the way they are. It is impossible for the U.S. To be more Taiwan than Taiwan. Right? So he said it’s always this, if you all can work out some kind of accommodation, who are we to stand in the way? And the problem is if the process by which Taiwan’s position on those issues is subverted through various kinds of influence, then you reach the problem of what is, how does the U.S. judge some more accommodating position toward the mainland from Taiwan as being illegitimate because of possible influence. I mean it makes our own practice on that part, I think look easy by comparison.

Christine M. Y. Hsueh:
Okay.

Christine M. Y. Hsueh:
Okay. So we’ll now turn it over to questions from the audience. If you could please raise your hand if you’d like to ask a question and make sure that you identify yourself, and provide a brief question with question mark at the end. That would be much appreciated. And also note if you’d like to direct your question to any of the panelist. Yes.

Speaker 8:
[inaudible 00:24:11] Disaster research and mostly in Japan and sometimes in Taiwan. Question for Dr. Glaser. To what extent is Japan getting involved in that GCTF business and is there any entree there for Taiwan and Japan to use that as a vehicle for looking at disaster preparedness for large scale earthquakes?

Speaker 1:
I don’t know much about Jisoo Kim

Bonnie Glaser:
I cited two examples in which Japan already co-hosted workshops with Taiwan and the United States. So they are involved as a host. I don’t know of any instance in which Japan has worked together with Taiwan on disaster response. There certainly is potential for that. Taiwan usually comes in, in a disaster response mode after the emergency. So it’s not the immediate first responder to an emergency like the US military would be, but it would come in afterwards to help perhaps with speed of resettlement or health issues, things like that.

Bonnie Glaser:
I’m not even sure. There were some efforts, I’m not [inaudible 00:00:54] we’d call them efforts. There were some instances where the US and Taiwan have simultaneously supplied some relief efforts. I don’t even know whether there was coordination. But there was one in Haiti where the United States provided I think it was a C130 to help Taiwan to deliver supplies. So that’s one case in which there at least was assistance. I don’t know if you’d really call it advanced coordination.

Bonnie Glaser:
Taiwan really wanted to get involved and couldn’t get there. And the United States provided the support. But I mean that is different than sort of real coordination exercises, having the capability to deploy together. I’m sure Taiwan has not done that. The question is whether or not Japan and Taiwan would want to engage in that kind of effort. But there could be some natural complementarities.

Fiona Cunningham:
Over here. Quick grab the microphone. Thank you. [crosstalk 00:02:00].

Bonnie Glaser:
It’s coming. It’s coming.

Deepa Ollapally:
Okay, thank you.

Fiona Cunningham:
Thank you.

Speaker 4:
Sorry, [inaudible 00:02:08]. Hi, my name is [inaudible 00:02:10] I’m just a visitor. But I wanted to ask when or if you think China might take the pressuring to a different level with regard to for profit companies operating in Taiwan. As those same companies at the same time wanting to do more in China to sell to China, at what point my China start to say, “Well, you want to sell in China, then you have to pull out of Taiwan.” Thank you.

Bonnie Glaser:
You want to take that?

Mark Stokes:
I’ll take that one because I was here for the first panel, where I touched on a little bit. I mean you can imagine that happening, but think specific pressure on companies to get out of Taiwan is the price of doing business in China. I think that would be sort of secondary to a much sharper deterioration in cross state relations. I think China’s approach in that general area has been much more to pressure multinational companies to posture alongside, to align with China’s position on the status of Taiwan.

Mark Stokes:
So the stuff we talked about in the morning panel about, you can’t list Taiwan as a country on where you have hotels, if you’re Marriott, the NBA fracas, things like that. I think actually it’s a more broad brush kind of attempt to influence expressions rather than particularly to hit them for that. And I think if company’s got way out front in being identifiably in some sense pro Taiwan rather than merely doing business both places, they could see where somebody might get picked up.

Bonnie Glaser:
I don’t know when you discussed it in the first panel, but there have already been three times that Beijing has threatened to impose sanctions on US defense companies that sell weapons to Taiwan. So we’ve just been chewed the third time and we have yet to see that actually implemented. Yeah.

Deepa Ollapally:
Thank you. So questions continue. There was one back here. You got to be nimble, like the [inaudible 00:04:19] says.

Chloe:
My name is Chloe and my question is considering the deteriorating relation between Korea and Japan, do you see how one has the potential to utilize [inaudible 00:04:37] and keeping its ties with [inaudible 00:04:40]?

Bonnie Glaser:
I don’t think that Taiwan has the potential to use that particular deteriorating relationship to reap advantage and support itself. There are steps that Taiwan has taken that has damaged its relations with Japan and if I were giving Taiwan advice, I would say, focus on implementing the right policies, like getting referendum passed by your people that then make it possible to import the agricultural goods from the Fukushima area, which would really, I think damage relations with Japan. That will be in place for three years now. I don’t think there’s any way that Taiwan can capitalize on tension between US allies. I don’t see how that serves Taiwan’s interests.

Fiona Cunningham:
Let me see. One here. That one and we might collect two and then two [crosstalk 00:05:43].

Speaker 2:
[inaudible 00:05:43] pitting history of Taiwan and George Mason. I want to come back to the point of loss diplomatic relations for Taiwan particularly in the South Pacific, Solomon Islands, Kiribati. Those have portrayed as being just a loss for Taiwan if you look at it in a narrow sense. But in the broader sense, the underlying reason basically Chinese intend to have a broader strategic presence in the Pacific. Australia is waking up to it. New Zealand just today put out a defense paper also highlighting that. So how would you assess the Chinese intent to extend its presence in the Pacific in particular, as related to Taiwan?

Fiona Cunningham:
The second is this gentleman there.

Speaker 3:
Thank you. [inaudible 00:06:33] with China the Daily News Agency, Hong Kong. My question Bonnie. I know you just came back from [inaudible 00:06:45] and I’d like to know what kind of impression or sensation did you pick by communicating with the Chinese scholars and officials, particularly in term of Beijing’s approach to Taiwan in the next several months and [inaudible 00:07:12]?

Fiona Cunningham:
We might turn back to the panelists and then we’ll take a lightning round of the last two questions and wrap up if we, yeah. Very lightening round. But, like to-

Mark Stokes:
[inaudible 00:07:23].

Speaker 4:
I don’t really have a lot to say about South Pacific, but I would say that there are two ways to look at Chinese coming as party strategy. One is geo strategic for example, South Pacific is as you were mentioning. The other one more political in nature. Again, the zero sum game about legitimacy. The campaigns to be able to poach diplomatic allies of Taiwan could be viewed as targets of opportunity, but the constant effort to be able to develop business relationships with, next could be who knows Marshall Islands or other locations. Haiti for example. It’s not just South Pacific.

Speaker 4:
But in general, there certainly could be a geo-strategic rationale for South Pacific. But in this case I would tend to look more toward targets of opportunity and just basically being able to put pressure on especially the current government to be able to make concessions on a one China principle or whatever.

Mark Stokes:
I guess I’d just add to that. It was sort of why two? You can sort of do both. But if you look at the sequencing of loss of diplomatic allies, it seems that it’s up until now, and it would be driven more by bias from calibration, right? Poach the big ones, Panama, Nicaragua, things like that, squeeze Europe down. Europe [inaudible 00:08:47] then squeeze African down to one. It seems to me that it’s kind of not going to, to put the maximum pressure on but sort of poke hard enough. And it’s kind of hard to read because of course the two concentrations of my allies are Latin American and Caribbean and Oceania and Latin America and Caribbean. At least at this point does not have a major strategic role for China.

Bonnie Glaser:
I’m not really sure I learned anything specific in my recent trip to China about their approach to Taiwan. But I think that the expectation in Beijing is the deciding when it’s likely to win. They are looking at the polls. They recognize that support for Han Kuo‑yu is not growing. They see what is happening in Hong Kong is really helping Tsai Ing‑wen. I think that there is a growing sentiment among some of the sort of more hard line experts that peaceful development as a strategy has not worked.

Bonnie Glaser:
Having listened to the things that Han Kuo-yu and other KMT leaders are saying like, Han statement of no one country, two systems over my dead body, and the recent statement, which I think is one of the most remarkable statements that has come out of a Han Kuo-yu yet, is part of the cross strait policy statement which has said that this is not a problem or relationship across the strait is not a problem that our generation should solve. That it should be passed down to the next generation.

Bonnie Glaser:
And all of us who pay attention to the major statements that have been made on this issue know that Xi Jinping’s very first statement was, “This is not something that should be passed down from generation to generation.” So this was almost pushing back against Xi Jinping and saying, “Don’t pressure us. We are not going to pursue political dialogue one country, two systems even if the KMT wins.” So I think that there is a sense of growing sense in the PRC that they may not have the willing partner that they used to have in Taiwan in the KMT. So I think there’s concern about the future. Who are they going to be able to work with? So it goes beyond just another four years of Tsai Ing-wen and DPP rule.

Mark Stokes:
I suggest the zone of overlap, a second generation [crosstalk 00:11:25]. Not our generation, not generation.

Fiona Cunningham:
Okay. So we might take just the last two questions and then I’ll give each of the panelists about 30 seconds to respond. There was one person who had a hand up right in the back and then Dr. Sutter up the front.

Neil:
[inaudible 00:11:42] this question for anybody. We have half a million to one million Taiwan residents resident in China, which is a 5% of the population in Taiwan. This figure is kind of extraordinary. But from your point of view, is this just totally in their factor and the relations in PRC in Taiwan, is it a net asset on either side? Are there factors which go your way? Or is it a balance in the relationship or at least in the area the coal mine if things start to go South. Is it a factor?

Robert Sutter:
Thanks very much. Just a quick question, just [crosstalk 00:12:24] a day or two ago.

Fiona Cunningham:
Bob was the other question. Yeah, sorry. Because you had your hand up before. Apologies. [crosstalk 00:12:29].

Robert Sutter:
Bob Sutter, George Washington University. Just a quick question probably from Mark, but maybe even Bonnie or Jack may have an idea on this too. In my section I was supposed to talk about US support for Taiwan and military. And the New York times ran a piece two days ago about the US Defense Department’s dependence on Taiwan for chips. And we didn’t touch on that at all. And how big a deal is that for the defense department? In other words, do you have this, it was in the way the account illustrated that the Defense Department is very heavily dependent on Taiwan for the chips that it uses. Otherwise it’s going to be a very antsy, they don’t have other means of a building the chips to run the machines that they have. So I just wondered if this in your experience, you’ve dealt with this kind of issue and or Bonnie may know something about this. I didn’t and so I didn’t talk about it. So I admit my flaw but I just wanted [inaudible 00:13:36].

Bonnie Glaser:
You want to start, Mark?

Mark Stokes:
Sure. I can tackle the second one. Maybe somebody else can go after Neil’s question. But how concerned is it? I’m not aware of any detailed study that’s been done that’s really broken down the supply chain. The supply chain analysis to see how dependent both of US DOD as well as the US defense industry, how dependent they are upon Taiwan for the components and particularly micro electronic components. It may be superficial, I think Rand has done a study, but that’s a long time ago.

Mark Stokes:
In my view, what really needs to be done is there need to be more concerned within DOD or National Security Council or whoever to be able to really get a handle on supply chain security. If all the way to the point of perhaps thinking about at a fairly senior level, having a US assessment team that goes over to be able to look at, do a major study on supply chain security and the role that Taiwan plays in the supply chain. And also the establishment of the bilateral committee on supply chain security and defense industrial cooperation between the US and Taiwan led by either DOD or NSC.

Bonnie Glaser:
I would not be surprised if China is more dependent on chips from Taiwan that the US is.

Mark Stokes:
Possible.

Bonnie Glaser:
Huawei is extremely dependent on TSMC. Right? And they’ve just increased, I think the percentage of that they’re going to be procuring from TSMC. So as soon as the tariffs hit, TSMC did their due diligence, all the lawyers looked at it and they said, “It’s okay, we can still sell to Huawei.” And the US has allowed that so far. Right? So this is not only a concern for the US, it’s also a concern China. My guess is that China is even more vulnerable than we are.

Bonnie Glaser:
Great question, Neil. I’m not really sure how to answer it because there probably aren’t any good polls that tell us about the attitudes of citizens. You know, you have students from Taiwan who go to China because they feel that the education will help them, they’ll get a better job. Maybe they’ll have a better career, but they still think that Taiwan is their country. They don’t become PRC citizens and they don’t even think of themselves as part of the PRC.

Bonnie Glaser:
But without that kind of data, I don’t know exactly how to answer it. And I would be surprised if Taiwan has even internal data like that. Some of the people who live in China live there like six months out of the year. Right? And then they come back to Taiwan. You have a lot of that. You have businessmen who have families on both sides of the strait. So I would guess it’s really hard to track. Shelly [inaudible 00:16:28] would be a good person to ask that question.

Fiona Cunningham:
Sure. Closing thoughts.

Mark Stokes:
[inaudible 00:16:32] really been a lot of work on this question of attitudes and my understanding is it’s not simple. Not surprisingly. And I think we’ve got a few things. One is it’s done nothing apparently to dense the ever upward march of Taiwan. Identification of people, critically younger people in Taiwan. Familiarity has bred I think both habituation and contempt. So it’s a sense that it’s part of what you have to do, but there’s not a lot of soft power appeal.

Mark Stokes:
And I think one of the interesting questions is what it does to Taiwan politics. Because there’s sort of folk wisdom that their presence on the mainland or dependence on the mainland, whether it’s people being there or broader economic relations creates leverage. On the other hand, the suspicion of overly close ties is kind of a political kiss of death with at least a big chunk of the electorate in Taiwan. So I think it’s really become quite messy. I think the belief that it was inexorably going to create this great tractor being toward integration, that at least has not happened.

Fiona Cunningham:
Okay, well, apologies for running a couple of minutes over. But this was a fascinating discussion. I hope you’ll join me in thanking our panelists and thanks also all of the terrific questions from the audience.

10/25/2019: Contemporary Japanese Culture: Social and Political Trends

Friday, October 25th, 2019

12:30 PM – 1:45 PM

Room 505

Elliott School of International Affairs 

1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052

You are cordially invited by the East Asia National Resource Center and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies to attend a discussion on the social and political trends of contemporary Japanese culture.

This event is free and open to the public.

Speakers

Hiromi Ishizawa
Professor of Sociology, George Washington University

Wataru Sawamura
Washington Bureau Chief, Asahi Shimbun

Takeshi Kurihara
Political Correspondent, NHK

Moderator

Andrew Krieger
Senior Adjunct Professor, Montgomery College

10/11/2019: Sino-Japanese Relations, 600-2019: Learning and Changing Places

Friday, October 11th, 2019

1:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Room B16

Elliott School of International Affairs 

1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052

The East Asia National Resource Center and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies welcome you to join us for the book launch of Professor Ezra F. Vogel’s new book, China and Japan: Facing History, recently published by Harvard University Press. He will examine the following historical phases in relations between China and Japan: 

·     Japan Learning from China (600-838)

·     Changing Places #1 (1895 when Japan defeats China) 

·     China Learning from Japan (1895-1937)

·     China Learning from Japan (1978-1992)

·     Changing Places #2 (2008-2012 when China passes Japan)

This panoramic perspective will help us better understand the context and challenges of contemporary Sino-Japanese relations.

Professor Ezra F. Vogel received his Ph.D. at Harvard in 1958 in Sociology in the Department of Social Relations and was professor at Harvard from 1967-2000. In 1973, he succeeded John Fairbank to become the second Director of Harvard’s East Asian Research Center. He served as director of the US-Japan Program, director of the Fairbank Center, and as the founding director of the Asia Center. He was the director of the undergraduate concentration in East Asian Studies from its inception in 1972 until 1991. He taught courses on Chinese society, Japanese society, and industrial East Asia. From fall 1993 to fall 1995, Vogel took a two-year leave of absence from Harvard to serve as the National Intelligence Officer for East Asia at the National Intelligence Council in Washington. In 1996, he chaired the American Assembly on China and edited the resulting volume, Living With China. Among his publications are: Japan As Number One, 1979, which in Japanese translation became a best seller in Japan, and Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, 2011, which in Chinese translation became a best seller in China. He lectures frequently in Asia, in both Chinese and Japanese. He has received numerous honors, including eleven honorary degrees.

9/27/2019 Film Screening, “Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue”

Friday, September 27, 2019

4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Room 602, Lindner Family Commons

Elliott School of International Affairs 

1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052

Synopsis

The “comfort women” issue is perhaps Japan’s most contentious present-day diplomatic quandary. Inside Japan, the issue is dividing the country across clear ideological lines. Supporters and detractors of “comfort women” are caught in a relentless battle over empirical evidence, the validity of oral testimony, the number of victims, the meaning of sexual slavery, and the definition of coercive recruitment. Credibility, legitimacy and influence serve as the rallying cry for all those involved in the battle. In addition, this largely domestic battleground has been shifted to the international arena, commanding the participation of various state and non-state actors and institutions from all over the world.  This film delves deep into the most contentious debates and uncovers the hidden intentions of the supporters and detractors of comfort women. Most importantly it finds answers to some of the biggest questions for Japanese and Koreans: Were comfort women prostitutes or sex slaves? Were they coercively recruited?  And, does Japan have a legal responsibility to apologize to the former comfort women?

 

Director

Miki Dezaki is a recent graduate of the Graduate Program in Global Studies at Sophia University in Tokyo.  He worked for the Japan Exchange Teaching Program for five years in Yamanashi and Okinawa before becoming a Buddhist monk in Thailand for one year.  He is also known as “Medamasensei” on Youtube, where he has made comedy videos and videos on social issues in Japan. His most notable video is “Racism in Japan,” which led to numerous online attacks by Japanese neo-nationalists who attempted to deny the existence of racism and discrimination against Zainichi Koreans (Koreans with permanent residency in Japan) and Burakumin (historical outcasts still discriminated today). “Shusenjo” is his directorial debut.

 

This event is on the record, and open to the public.

Photo credit to No Man Productions, LLC.

9/26/2019: Nuclear North Korea and Four Future Scenarios: A Japanese Perspective

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

12:30 PM – 1:45 PM

Chung-wen Shih Conference. Room – Suite 503

Elliott School of International Affairs 

1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052

What should we expect for the future of the Korean peninsula? There are at least four possible scenarios: one good, two bad, and one tricky. Dr. Michishita will discuss what happens in each scenario, and how Japan might respond to it.

Narushige Michishita is vice president of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo. He acquired his Ph.D. from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University. A specialist in Japanese security and foreign policy as well as security issues on the Korean Peninsula, he is the author of North Korea’s Military-Diplomatic Campaigns, 1966-2008 (Routledge, 2009) and Lessons of the Cold War in the Pacific: U.S. Maritime Strategy, Crisis Prevention, and Japan’s Role (Woodrow Wilson Center, 2016) (co-authored with Peter M. Swartz and David F. Winkler).

10/08/2019: Asymmetrical Neighbors: Borderland State-Building between China and Southeast Asia

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

12:30 PM-1:45 PM

Chung-wen Shih Conference. Room – Suite 503

Elliott School of International Affairs 

1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052

Event Description:
Is the process of state building a unilateral, national venture, or is it something more collaborative, taking place in the interstices between adjoining countries? To answer this question, this book takes a comparative look at the state building process along China, Myanmar, and Thailand’s common borderland area. It shows that the variations in state building among these neighboring countries are the result of an interactive process that occurs across national boundaries.

Departing from existing approaches that look at such processes from the angle of singular, bounded territorial states, the book argues that a more fruitful method is to examine how state and nation building in one country can influence, and be influenced by, the same processes across borders. It argues that the success or failure of one country’s state building is a process that extends beyond domestic factors such as war preparation, political institutions, and geographic and demographic variables. Rather, it shows that we should conceptualize state building as an interactive process heavily influenced by a “neighborhood effect.” Furthermore, the book moves beyond the academic boundaries that divide arbitrarily China studies and Southeast Asian studies by providing an analysis that ties the state and nation building processes in China with those of Southeast Asia.

About the Speaker:
Enze Han is an Associate Professor at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong. His research interests include ethnic politics in China, China’s relations with Southeast Asia, and the politics of state formation in the borderland area between China, Myanmar and Thailand. Previously he was Senior Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS, University of London. His research has been supported by the Leverhulme Research Fellowship, and British Council/Newton Fund. During 2015-2016, he was a Friends Founders’ Circle Member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, USA. He is the author of Asymmetrical Neighbours: Borderland State Building between China and Southeast Asia (Oxford University Press, 2019), and Contestation and Adaptation: The Politics of National Identity in China (Oxford University Press, 2013). 

10/02/2019: Asian International Politics in the 21st Century

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

12:30 PM – 1:45 PM

Room 505

Elliott School of International Affairs 

1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052

Following an evaluation of the legacy of the Cold War the author assesses the uncertainties of the post-Cold War era, the weakening of America by its prolonged warfare in the greater Middle East, by the enlarged war on terror and by the financial crisis of 2007-8. Amid the decline of the liberal world order and the rise of China, the author examines Chinese attempts to establish a new order. Analyzing politics in terms of the interplay between global, regional and local developments.

Michael Yahuda is a Professor Emeritus of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, where he served from 1973 to 2003. Since then he has been a visiting scholar at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, the Elliott School, George Washington University, except for 2005-2006 when he was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Australian National University 1976 and a Visiting Professor at the University of Adelaide, (South Australia) 1981-83 and the University of Michigan, 1985-1986. He has also been a Guest Scholar, 1988 and Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center Washington, DC, 2011-2012 and the Fairbank Center for East Asian Studies, Harvard, 2005. He was a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Singaporean Institute for South East Asian Studies (2005) and at the Chinese Foreign Affairs University, Beijing (Autumn 2007). He has acted as an adviser to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and as a consultant to organizations in London and Singapore. His main fields of interest are China’s politics, foreign policy and the international relations of the Asia Pacific. He enjoys an international reputation as a specialist on the politics of East Asia. He has published ten books and more than 200 articles and chapters in books. His latest book is The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific (4th and completely revised edition, 2019).

9/30/2019: Recognizing Reality: National Security Priorities and India-Pakistan Tensions

Monday, September 30, 2019

11:45 AM – 1:00 PM

Lindner Commons, Room 602

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

About the Speakers:
Dr. Tara Kartha has served in the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) for the Government of India during the tenure of 5 National Security Advisors. Her period of appointment at NSCS covered the Kargil War and the reform of the national security system that followed it. At NSCS she was also in charge of the National Security Advisory Board, which prepared the first Defense Review and the first National Security Review. Prior to this, she was nine years at the Institute of Defense Studies & Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi. She is now a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), New Delhi. At present, she is the Senior Jennings Randolph Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, where she is co-authoring a monograph with Ambassador Jalil Jillani, former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan. She writes regularly for the Indian media, and tweets at @kartha_tara.

Dr. Deepa Ollapally (moderator) is directing a major research project on power and identity and the worldviews of rising and aspiring powers in Asia and Eurasia, the Rising Powers Initiative. Her research focuses on domestic foreign policy debates in India and its implications for regional security and global leadership of the U.S. Dr. Ollapally has received major grants from the Carnegie Corporation, MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Asia Foundation for projects related to India and Asia. She is a frequent commentator in the media, including appearances on CNN, BBC, CBS, Reuters TV and the Diane Rehm Show. 

9/27/2019: Sigur Summer Language Fellows’ Roundtable

Friday, September 27, 2019

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Chung-win Shih Conference Room, Suite 503

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies welcome you to a discussion by our 6 Summer Language Fellows: Michael Kameras, Grayson Shor, Tracy Fu, Ander Tebbutt, Max Kaplan, and Josh Pope, covering Bahasa Indonesia and Mandarin Chinese in Indonesia and Taiwan. Our Fellows will share about their in-country learning experience and it will be followed by audience Q&A. Light refreshments will be served.

Interested in applying for grant money for next summer? Read more about our Research and Language Summer Grants at https://sigur.elliott.gwu.edu/sigur-center-grants-fellowships/

9/18/2019: Internal Displacement & Conflict: Kashmiri Pandits in Comparative Perspectives with author Sudha Rajput

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

12:00 PM – 1:15 PM

Room 505

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

Grounded in multidisciplinary and multi-pronged research, Dr. Rajput presents the results of an important scholarly work that enhances an understanding of conflict-induced internal displacement in comparative, institutional, and human perspectives. The content ranges from high-level interviews, ethnographic participant-observation and oral histories to policy analysis, taking the audience to not only the geographically dispersed societies across the globe, but across societal levels: comparing national elite policy and institutional actors with the lived experience of families within compartmentalized ‘migrant townships’. 

 

Focused primarily on the forcibly displaced Kashmiri Pandits, forced out from Kashmir Valley in 1989, the analysis also includes case studies of similarly displaced communities of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Serbia, and Sudan (Darfur). 

 

The book helps answer two of the most perplexing questions surrounding conflict-induced protracted displacement, namely:  how do positions embraced by key actors inform IDP policies, and why despite the official return policies, families remain reluctant to return and equally reluctant to embrace host communities?

 

About the Speaker:
Dr. Sudha G. Rajput is the author of Internal Displacement and Conflict: The Kashmiri Pandits in Comparative Perspective (Routledge). Her 31-year career at the World Bank touched on multiple aspects of international development, working on thirteen countries of the former Soviet Union. Her co-authored book chapters appear in Scientific Explorations of Cause and Consequence across Social Contexts (Praeger) and in State, Society, and Minorities in Southeast Asia (Lexington Books). She writes for the Forced Migration Review. Her doctoral research has investigated issues of conflict-induced displacement in Kashmir, with a focus on societal and policy reform, leading her efforts to the development of a graduate course, Refugees and IDP Issues, drawing students from fields of conflict resolution, international development, humanitarian assistance and peace-building.

She is a Senior Researcher at the Refugee Law Initiative, a U.K. based think-tank. She is a Consultant/Trainer for USAID, designing and conducting capacity building workshops in Khartoum, Sudan, promoting cross-border co-existence. As a Professional Lecturer, at George Washington University, she teaches at the
Elliott School of International Affairs, where she brings multi-disciplinary approaches to her course on Refugee and Migrant Crisis. She is a trainer for the Forage Center for Peacebuilding Education, where during a 4-day humanitarian assistance simulation, she coaches students on systematic understanding of protracted displacements. She teaches at the University of Maryland Global Campus, delivering the MBA program for the military students. Her interests on post-conflict issues include her past travels to: Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Sudan, and Ukraine. Sudha’s blog on internal displacement can be found at www.internaldisplacement.info. Dr. Rajput lives in Washington, D.C. and can be reached at sudha_rajput@yahoo.com.

9/10/2019: Sigur Summer Research Fellows’ Roundtable

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

2:15 PM – 3:45 PM

Chung-win Shih Conference Room, Suite 503,

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies welcome you to a discussion by our 3 Summer Research Fellows, Abhilasha Sahay, Erica Sedlander, and Paromita De. Our Fellows will share about their in-country research experience and findings, followed by audience Q&A.

Interested in applying for grant money for next summer? Read more about our Research and Language Summer Grants at https://sigur.elliott.gwu.edu/sigur-center-grants-fellowships/

7/10/2019 Critical Pedagogy in International Relations

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

12:30 PM – 1:45 PM

Chung-wen Shih Conference Room, Suite 503

Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies would like to cordially invite you to a discussion with Fulbright Visiting Scholar Navnita Behera on why critical pedagogues in International Relations have thus far resulted in limited outcomes.

 

This seminar grapples with the need to foreground the diversity of local contexts when developing critical pedagogies in international relations. The foundational bases of Euro-centrism have persisted in this realm, despite the growing sway of critical theories in IR. Professor Behera will draw upon teaching experiences of faculty in different parts of the world especially—though not exclusively—in the Global South, to show the disjuncture between the Euro-centric textbook knowledge and diverse ground life realities of the students. The idea is to explore the role of classroom teaching practices in this context.

Can we make our classrooms into a site of knowledge creation instead of merely as knowledge reproduction?

 

Guest Speaker:
Navnita Chadha Behera is a Visiting Fulbright Fellow at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at the George Washington University and a Professor of International Relations at the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi. She is also Vice President of the International Studies Association (2019-2020) and an Honorary Director of Institute for Research on India and International Studies. Earlier, she has been a Visiting Fellow at University of Warsaw (2015), University of Uppsala (2012), University of Bologna and the Central European University (2010), and the Brookings Institution (2001-2002).

Professor Behera has published widely in India and abroad. Her book on Demystifying Kashmir (Brookings Press, 2006) topped the non-fiction charts in India. Her other books include India Engages the World (Editor, Oxford University Press: 2013), International Relations in South Asia: Search for an Alternative Paradigm (Editor, Sage: 2008), Gender, Conflict and Migration (Editor, Sage: 2006) and State, Identity and Violence: Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh (Manohar, 2002). Her research interests include International Relations Theory, Knowledge Systems and the Global South, and International Politics of South Asia especially issues of War, Conflict & Political Violence, Gender Studies, and the Kashmir Conflict.

 

This event is free and open to the media.

6/12/19: TRA@40: Taiwan-U.S. Cooperation in Women’s Economic Empowerment

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019
12:00 PM – 2:30 PM

State Room, 7th Floor
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies, East Asia National Resource Center, and the Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs invite you to a panel on women’s economic empowerment featuring new and unique efforts by Taiwan and the United States.

Please RSVP by 5pm on Sunday, June 9th for any dietary restriction accommodations for the luncheon.

About the Event:
The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) has been a strong foundation for Taiwan-U.S. relations for forty years. Since 2015, the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) has served as a high profile joint U.S.-Taiwan vehicle to provide training and capacity-building to third-party countries on critical, emerging challenges including women’s empowerment. Following the recent GCTF workshop held in Taiwan on women’s economic empowerment, speakers will provide an update on efforts underway and their broader context.

Attendees are also invited to view an exclusive photo exhibit documenting the 40th Anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act on the second floor of the Elliott School.

This event is part of the Sigur Center’s Taiwan Roundtable Series and affiliated with the East Asia NRC’s Current Issues in East Asia Series.

Agenda:
12:00 PM
Lunch

12:45 PM
Welcome remarks: Benjamin D. Hopkins, Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies; Associate Professor of History and International Affairs

Opening remarks: Christine M. Y. Hsueh, Deputy Representative, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.

1:00 PM
Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment

Katie Kaufman, Managing Director for Global Women’s Issues, Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Eugene Cornelius Jr., Senior Director of International Relations and Strategic Alliances, International Council for Small Business

Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Special Representative on Gender Issues, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe; Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security

Deepa Ollapally (moderator), Associate Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies; Research Professor of International Affairs

This event is free and open to the public.

5/30/19: National Committee on U.S.-China Relations’ 16th Foreign Policy Colloquium: Reception and Keynote Address with Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering

Thursday, May 30th, 2019
6:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Jack Morton Auditorium
School of Media and Public Affairs
805 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

We are honored and pleased that Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering will be the keynote speaker at this year’s U.S. Foreign Policy Colloquium (FPC). The annual event will take place Thursday, May 30, at 6:30 p.m. at The George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium.

National Committee Chair Carla A. Hills and representatives from the Elliott School of International Affairs, the Chinese Embassy, and Chubb, one of FPC’s sponsors, will make brief welcoming remarks prior to Ambassador Pickering’s remarks and Q&A. A reception for guests and participants will follow. We hope you will join us to hear this distinguished speaker, as well as to meet the terrific Chinese graduate students who make up this year’s FPC cohort.
 
FPC brings together some of China’s best and brightest graduate students to help them develop a more nuanced understanding of the American foreign policy-making process. Now in its sixteenth year, the Colloquium provides opportunities for Chinese students in a variety of disciplines at universities across the United States to interact with current and former administration officials, members of Congress, and representatives from academia, business, think tanks, the military, and the media through lectures and site visits. These provide a firsthand look at how ideals, interests, history, institutions, and individuals influence U.S. foreign policy.
 
The keynote program and reception is co-sponsored by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and The George Washington University’s Sigur Center for Asian Studies and East Asia National Resource Center. This event is free and open to the public and media. However, as seating is limited, all attendees must RSVP by Monday, May 27th to be able to attend the event. We cannot admit participants without a completed RSVP. Registration begins at 6:00 PM. If you have any questions, please contact Madeline Bauer at (646) 781-8485 or mbauer@ncuscr.org

This event is free and open to the public and media.

Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering is vice chair of Hills & Company, an international consulting firm providing advice to U.S. businesses on investment, trade, and risk assessment issues abroad. Ambassador Pickering holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service, having served as undersecretary of state for political affairs under President Clinton and as U.S. ambassador to Russia, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, Jordan and the United Nations. Other senior positions included assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Oceans, Environmental and Scientific Affairs, and special assistant to secretaries of state William Rogers and Henry Kissinger. After government service, Ambassador Pickering joined The Boeing Company as senior vice president for international relations and led its transition internationally to a global organization. He chairs or serves on many not-for-profit boards, including The International Crisis Group and the American Academy of Diplomacy. Ambassador Pickering speaks French, Spanish, and Swahili fluently, and has working knowledge of Arabic, Hebrew, and Russian.

5/9/19: “Still fighting, seventy years later: The strange afterlife of World War Two in Russia and Japan”

Thursday, May 9th, 2019
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Chung-wen Shih Conference Room
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

Why is World War Two so present in the politics and diplomacy of Japan and Russia?  Three panelists come together to discuss this question. In Japan, the so-called history wars erupted in the 1980s and have only intensified since—making the history of Japanese colonialism in Asia and the conduct of the Asia-Pacific War a hot political issue within Japan and a tense diplomatic issue between Japan and its neighbors.  In Russia, the Great Patriotic War (as WWII is known there) faded from public prominence with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but under Vladimir Putin, commemoration of the conflict has returned to center stage–with annual ‘Victory Day’ celebrations on May 9 now one of the country’s most important national holidays, and the state’s version of the history of war elevated to a unifying myth and a source of legitimacy for the current leadership.

This event is free and open to the public and media. Light refreshments will be available. 

 

Peter Rollberg is a Professor of Slavic Languages, Film Studies, and International Affairs at the George Washington University. He is also the Director of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian studies at GW. He grew up in Halberstadt, Germany, and in Moscow. In 1988, he earned his Ph.D. in Russian Literature from the University of Leipzig. In 1990-1991, he taught at Duke University.In 1997, he published a Festschrift in honor of Charles Moser, And Meaning for a Life Entire (Slavica). He is the author of the Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema (Scarecrow Press, 2008), the second, enlarged edition of which was published in 2016 (Rowman and Littlefield). In 2014, he edited Media in Eurasia – a special issue of Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post- Soviet Democratization, and in 2015, with Marlène Laruelle, The Media Landscape in Central Asia, in the same journal.

Katie Stallard-Blanchette is a Fellow in the Asia Program and the History and Public Policy Program at the Wilson Center. She is a writer and TV foreign correspondent with experience reporting from more than 20 countries, currently working on a book about the use of wartime history in contemporary China, Russia and North Korea. Previously based in Beijing as head of British television news channel Sky News’ Asia Bureau, her work has taken her to Pyongyang and the DMZ, out into the disputed waters of the South China Sea, and to the front line of the battle for the southern Philippines city of Marawi, where she reported under sniper fire from ISIS-linked militants. She was previously based in Russia, where she led the channel’s coverage of the conflict in Ukraine, and Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea.

Izabella Tabarovsky is Senior Program Associate and Manager for Regional Engagement at the Kennan Institute. She is the managing editor of the Kennan Institute’s Russia File and Focus Ukraine blogs. In her research and writing, she focuses on the politics of historical memory in the post-Soviet space and Eastern Europe. From 2012 to 2014, she worked for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she led the implementation of the Euro-Atlantic Security–Next Generation initiative (EASI Next Generation). She also managed a track 2 Transnistria conflict resolution task force and a U.S.-Russian health cooperation task force. She previously worked for a private communications consultancy; Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; and Cambridge Energy Research Associates, where she published numerous papers on geopolitics of Eurasian energy. Izabella holds a Master of Arts degree in Russian History from Harvard University and Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder. She is a native Russian speaker with working knowledge of Hebrew, Spanish, French, and German. 

Daqing Yang is an Associate Professor of History and International Affairs at the George Washington University. He is a founding co-director of the Memory and Reconciliation in the Asia Pacific program at its Elliott School of International Affairs. A native of China, Professor Yang graduated from Nanjing University and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He has also taught at Harvard university, the University of Tokyo and Waseda University in Japan and Yonsei University in Korea. From 2004 to 2007, Professor Yang served as a Historical Consultant to The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group at the U.S. National Archives. He is a co-editor, with Professor Mike Mochizuki, of Memory, Identity, and Commemorations of World War II: Anniversary Politics in Asia Pacific (2018). He is currently working on a comparative study of “joint historians’ commissions” set up to address contested issues from the past in both Europe and East Asia.

Louise Young is currently a Fellow in the Asia Program at the Wilson Center. She is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at UW-Madison and is affiliated with the Center for East Asian Studies, where she served as director from 2005-2008. She earned her BA in Political Science at the UW-Madison in 1982 and her PhD in History from Columbia University in 1993. Before joining the faculty at the UW-Madison in 2003, she taught at NYU and Georgetown. She is a social and cultural historian of modern Japan, with research and teaching interests that include international relations, World War Two in Asia, comparative imperialism, urban history, and social thought. Her successive major research projects have focused on the relationship between culture and empire, urban modernism between the wars, and most recently, the idea of class in Modern Japan. She is currently working on a book of essays that examine Japan in the world as a history of the present.

5/15/19: India’s Indo-Pacific Vision and Ties with Japan

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019
10:00 AM – 11:30 PM

Chung-wen Shih Conference Room
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

The Sigur Center would like to invite you to attend a conversation led by Ambassador Sujan R. Chinoy on India’s Indo-Pacific Vision

 

Sujan R. Chinoy is the Director General of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi, since 3 January 2019. A career diplomat of the Indian Foreign Service from 1981-2018, he was India’s Ambassador to Japan and the Republic of the Marshall Islands from 2015-2018, and earlier, the Ambassador to Mexico and High Commissioner to Belize.

A specialist with over 25 years of experience on China, East Asia and the Asia-Pacific, he served in Indian Missions in Hong Kong and Beijing and as Consul General in Shanghai and Sydney. He also served as India’s representative to the First Committee at the United Nations in New York dealing with Disarmament & International Security Affairs and in the Indian Mission in Riyadh. At Headquarters, in the Ministry of External Affairs, he served as Director (China) as well as Head of the Expert Group of Diplomatic & Military Officials tasked with CBMs and boundary-related issues with China. He also served on the Americas Desk dealing with the USA and Canada, and as Officer on Special Duty in charge of press relations in the External Publicity Division. On deputation with the National Security Council Secretariat under the Prime Minister’s Office, he worked on internal and external national security policy and anchored strategic dialogues with key interlocutors around the world.

He is fluent in English, Chinese (Mandarin) and conversant in French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Arabic, Urdu and French-Creole. He also speaks Hindi and Gujarati. His long career includes extensive involvement in economic issues. He has contributed to Indian newspapers and journals, besides lecturing at numerous Govt. Institutions, think-tanks and universities in India and overseas.

He schooled at the Rajkumar College (Rajkot), read English Literature at the Maharaja Sayajirao University in Vadodara, Gujarat, and gained his Master of Business Administration from Gujarat University in Ahmedabad. He has an advanced Diploma in Chinese (Mandarin) from the New Asia Yale-in-China Chinese Language Centre of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He was an Exchange Student at the Otemon Gakuin University in Osaka in 1978.

05/06/2019 “North Korea and Myanmar: Divergent Paths”

Monday, May 6th, 2019
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Room 505
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

About the Event:

This event is open to the public and media. Light Refreshments will be served.

The stories of North Korea and Myanmar (Burma) are two of Asia’s most difficult. For decades they were infamous as the region’s most militarized and repressed, self-isolated and under sanctions by the international community while, from Singapore to Japan, the rest of Asia saw historic wealth creation. Andray Abrahamian, author of the recent book North Korea and Myanmar: Divergent Paths (McFarland, 2018), examines and compares the recent histories of North Korea and Myanmar, asking how both became pariahs and why Myanmar has been able to find a path out of isolation while North Korea has not. He finds that both countries were faced with severe security threats following decolonization. Myanmar was able to largely take care of its main threats in the 1990s and 2000s, allowing it the space to address the reasons for its pariah status. North Korea’s response to its security threat has been to develop nuclear weapons, which in turn perpetuates and exacerbates its isolation and pariah status. In addition, Pyongyang has developed a state ideology and a coercive apparatus unmatched by Myanmar, insulating its decision makers from political pressures and issues of legitimacy to a greater degree.

 

 

Andray Abrahamian, Stanford University

Andray Abrahamian is the 2018-2019 Koret Fellow at Stanford University. He is also an Adjunct Fellow at Pacific Forum and an Adjunct Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. Working for a non-profit, Choson Exchange, has taken him to the DPRK over 30 times; he has also lived in Myanmar and written a book comparing the two countries. He is the co-founder of Coreana Connect, a non-profit dedicated to increasing positive, cooperative US-DPRK exchanges through a focus on women’s issues.

 

 

Moderator: Jisoo M. Kim, GW Institute for Korean Studies

Jisoo M. Kim is Korea Foundation Associate Professor of History, International Affairs, and East Asian Languages and Literatures and Director of the Institute for Korean Studies at GW. She received her Ph.D. in Korean History from Columbia University. She is a specialist in gender and legal history of early modern Korea. Her broader research interests include gender and sexuality, crime and justice, forensic medicine, literary representations of the law, history of emotions, vernacular, and gender writing. She is the author of The Emotions of Justice: Gender, Status, and Legal Performance in Chosŏn Korea (University of Washington Press, 2015), which was awarded the 2017 James Palais Prize of the Association for Asian Studies. She is also the co-editor of The Great East Asian War and the Birth of the Korean Nation by JaHyun Kim Haboush (Columbia University Press, 2016). She is currently working on a new book project titled Suspicious Deaths: Forensic Medicine, Dead Bodies, and Criminal Justice in Chosŏn Korea.

 

4/25/19: The 24th Annual Gaston Sigur Memorial Lecture | Water and the Making of Modern India

Check out the recordings of the event below!

Thursday, April 25, 2019
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

State Room, 7th floor
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

About the Event:

This event is open to the public and media. Light Refreshments will be served.

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies holds an annual memorial lecture to honor the legacy of the Center’s namesake — Gaston J. Sigur. The Gaston Sigur Memorial Lecture has featured many distinguished and high-level experts from various backgrounds and professions related to Asia. You are cordially invited to attend this year’s Annual Gaston Sigur Center Memorial Lecture with Dr. Sumil Amrith to discuss “Water and the Making of Modern India.”

Agenda:

5:00 PM – 5:30 PM | Registration and Welcome Reception

5:30 PM – 5:45 PM | Opening Remarks and Introductions (Professor Benjamin Hopkins)

5:45 PM – 7:00 PM | Gaston Sigur Memorial Lecture and Q&A Discussion (Professor Sunil Amrith)

 

 

Professor Sunil Amrith is Mehra Family Professor of South Asian Studies and Professor of History, and a Director of the Joint Center for History and Economics at Harvard University. His research is on the trans-regional movement of people, ideas, and institutions, and has focused most recently on the Bay of Bengal as a region connecting South and Southeast Asia. Amrith’s areas of particular interest include the history of migration, environmental history, and the history of public health. He is a 2017 MacArthur Fellow, and received the 2016 Infosys Prize in Humanities. Amrith sits on the editorial boards of Modern Asian Studies. Sunil Amrith grew up in Singapore, and received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Cambridge. Before coming to Harvard in 2015, he spent nine years teaching at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Professor Benjamin Hopkins, pictured in professional attire

Professor Benjamin D. Hopkins, Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and Associate Professor of History and International Affairs, is a specialist in modern South Asian history, in particular that of Afghanistan, as well as British imperialism. His research focuses on the role of the colonial state in creating the modern states inhabiting the region. Professor Hopkins regularly teaches courses on South Asian history, the geopolitics of South and Central Asia, as well as World history.

Transcript

 

Ben Hopkins:
Good evening everyone. Why don’t we go ahead and get to the goods, as it were. It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you this evening to what is the 24th annual Gaston Sigur Lecture, which celebrates and is done in memoriam of the life work and achievement of Gaston Sigur, who is also the namesake of the Sigur Center, which I am the director of.

Ben Hopkins:
I’m Ben Hopkins, the Director of the Sigur Center, and it is my great pleasure this evening to welcome a distinguished guest and a very old friend, Professor Sunil Amrith from Harvard University.

Ben Hopkins:
Before we get to Sunil, it is my duty and pleasure to talk a little bit about our namesake, Gaston Sigur, give you some background on the Sigur Center, as well as Professor Sigur himself, who arrived here at George Washington University in 1972 to be the first head of what was then the Institute of Sino-Soviet Studies, and has subsequently transformed into being the Center that carries his name today.

Ben Hopkins:
Gaston Sigur was tapped by President Ronald Reagan in 1982 to be the Senior Director of Asian Affairs on the National Security Council, and in 1983 he was appointed as Special Assistant to the President on Asian Affairs. By 1986 he moved real estate down across the street to Foggy Bottom, being appointed and approved by the Senate as the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. He’s remembered for his strengthening of the American-Japanese alliance, as well as his push for democratization in Korea. He finished his illustrious career in public service in 1989, having carried through into the first Bush administration, and returned here to GWU, where he ended up retiring in 1992.

Ben Hopkins:
In light of his service, both to the University and the country, the elders of GW decided to name the newly established Center for East Asian Studies, which is today the Center for Asian Studies, after him: The Sigur Center.

Ben Hopkins:
Gaston Sigur passed away in 1995, and in memory of his longstanding works and contributions intellectually and to the policy world, we gather here today annually for our lecture, partly in his memory. His son Paul sends his regards; he could not attend this evening, and we do miss him, but we look forward to sharing this event through the website with him as soon as possible.

Ben Hopkins:
Now the Sigur Center today is the largest center for Asian Studies in the DC area. We focus no longer solely on East Asia, but as we can see from today’s topic, right the way across Asia, including South, Southeast Asia, and even venture as far afield as Central Asia.

Ben Hopkins:
I would also draw your attention to the back of the program, which announces, for those of you that have not heard, our success in recently winning a National Resource Center Title VI grant, which has designated us as one of 15 National Resource Centers in the country, joining Columbia, Harvard, and a few other universities you may have heard of. And as he’s here, it is also my pleasure to point out that much of the work for that was done by Ed McCord, who is going to be retiring next month.

Ben Hopkins:
So with that said, let me turn to the business of the day. As I mentioned, it is a distinct pleasure to welcome a distinguished academic. Very rarely is it that I actually get to say I stand in the presence of a genius. But as you can see from his featured speaker bio, Sunil won the MacArthur Fellowship, known as the Genius Award, in 2017, and a well-deserved win it was. I’ve known Sunil for a number of years; we were at Cambridge together. And apart from being an incredibly acute mind, he is also a very, very nice person, so it’s with that warmth that I also welcome him.

Ben Hopkins:
Sunil is currently the Mehra Family Professor of South Asian studies, and to my horror I just found out he’s the Chair of the South Asian Studies Department at Harvard; apparently even if you’re a genius, you get sentenced for your sins. And he is Director of the Joint Center for History and Economics [at Harvard].

Ben Hopkins:
Sunil has written a number of award-winning and truly groundbreaking books, the latest of which will, I think, form the basis of his talk this evening. His latest book, which he will address in his talk this evening, is Unruly Waters, which just recently came out with Basic Books and Penguin, is a history of the struggle to understand and control water in the South Asian subcontinent.

Ben Hopkins:
His previous extremely well received book, Crossing The Bay of Bengal, was published with Harvard University Press in 2013, and was recognized by the American Historical Association with the John F. Richards Prize for South Asian History in 2014. He also is the author of Migration and Diaspora in Modern Asia with Cambridge University Press in 2011. His first book, Decolonizing International Health: South and Southeast Asia, was published with Palgrave Macmillan in 2006, and in fact, that was the first time I remember hearing Sunil speak on Dr. Malaria, which was a long time ago, back in Cambridge.

Ben Hopkins:
Additionally, Sunil has authored a number of articles in the American Historical Review, Past & Present, and EPW. He’s on the editorial board at Modern Asian Studies, is a book editor for Cambridge University Press, as well as Princeton University Press.

Ben Hopkins:
Sunil arrived at Harvard in 2015, having served his time at Birkbeck, one of the University of London colleges, for nine years, and he has a longstanding connection as well, familial and professional, to Singapore, where he grew up.

Ben Hopkins:
With that, it is my great pleasure to cede the floor to a true genius, Sunil Amrith.

Sunil Amrith:
Thank you so much Ben, for a very, very kind introduction, which I will struggle to live up to. But it’s very, very nice, it’s a particular honor to be here on the invitation of Professor Hopkins, whom I’ve known for—I don’t want to count how many years, but close to 20, I think. It’s an honor to be here giving the Sigur Memorial Lecture. Thank you all for being here at a busy time at the end of the semester.

Sunil Amrith:
My subject today is “Water and the Making of Modern India,” and I’d like to begin with a well-worn cliche. In 1909, the finance minister in the British Imperial government of India declared that, “Every budget is a gamble on the rains.” That phrase has been repeated countless times since then. It still appears in Indian newspaper reports every year.

Sunil Amrith:
Half a century later, the sentiment held. “For us in India, scarcity is only a missed monsoon away,” Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said in the late 1960s. And then just last year, in a lecture that she presented at Harvard, one of India’s best known environmentalists, Sunita Narain, declared in an off-the-cuff remark, “India’s Finance Minister is the monsoon.”

Sunil Amrith:
At ground level, this is to simply state a basic truth. Even today, close to 60% of India’s agriculture is rain-fed, subject to a monsoon climate that has always been intensely seasonal, and subject to a good deal of internal variability. But the story I want to tell this evening is not one of climate as destiny. Rather, it’s a story of how the idea of climate as destiny has had significant political implications in modern India.

Sunil Amrith:
When I mentioned recently to somebody that I was working on the history of the monsoon, they asked, “Does the monsoon need a history? What sort of history?”

Sunil Amrith:
For a start, the monsoon has a natural history, and we can see this in Pranay Lal’s wonderful book, Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent. And in that, Lal sketches a story of a monsoon that has evolved over tens of millions of years, leaving an archive of its natural history on the seabed and on land. Traces embedded in tree rings tell us that the Asian summer monsoon has strengthened during warm inter-glacial periods, and weakened during periods of planetary cooling, as during the so-called Little Ice Age that lasted through the middle of the 16th to the early 18th centuries.

Sunil Amrith:
Since the late 19th century, meteorologists in India have pioneered the study of the periodicity of the monsoon’s internal variability, leading to the discovery of how the monsoon is tele-connected, as they say, with other parts of the planet’s climate, including especially through the El Nino-Southern Oscillation.

Sunil Amrith:
But the monsoon also has a modern history, a human history, which is what I will be concerned with this evening. The monsoon has shaped, and continues to shape patterns of economic life in India, but one of the most fundamental shifts over the past half century is really the coming together of the monsoon’s natural and human histories, reflected in mounting evidence that human activity is itself reshaping the monsoon.

Sunil Amrith:
It has a human history in the sense that this is also a history of science, a history of climate science in India. It has a history in the sense that it is part of a history of ideas about climate, nature, and society. And I shall suggest this evening that water has been central to different conceptions of India’s freedom and India’s future.

Sunil Amrith:
The monsoon has long evoked many emotions: Anxiety, longing, wistfulness. This is a very well known photograph of Raghubir Singh, which hangs in MoMA: Monsoon Rains, Munger, Bihar. I’ll focus on the prosaic in my lecture today, but I think we also need histories of the monsoon in Indian art, literature, music, photography.

Sunil Amrith:
I’d like to begin with a moment where, really for the first time, it seemed that the monsoon might just be a problem that could be solved. Reflecting on the state of India’s development, the members of the Indian Industrial Commission wrote confidently in 1918, that: “The terrible calamities, which from time to time depopulated wide stretches of the country, need no longer be feared. In a monsoon climate,” they said, “failure of the rains must always mean privation and hardship, but no longer need it lead to wholesale starvation and loss of life.”

Sunil Amrith:
This conveyed a strong sense that something fundamental had changed in India over the first two decades of the 20th century. The risk posed by climate had been mitigated, both by policy, by the early warning system of the famine codes, and by technology; above all, by irrigation. As long as India remained predominantly agrarian, some level of risk would remain, but the Commissioners envisaged a future in which industrialization would provide new employment and greater security as India’s population moved from the countryside to the cities.

Sunil Amrith:
In the 1870s, the idea that famine was inevitable in India prevailed amongst British administrators. By the 1920s, most observers believed that India had conquered famine, and yet the worry about water did not go away. We can see this deep anxiety about the material underpinnings of life in the ways that many leaders in Indian politics, leaders in the nationalist movement, scientists, engineers, thinkers wrote about freedom, because in many of these conceptions of freedom, water was crucial.

Sunil Amrith:
“Modern science claims to have curbed the tyranny and the vagaries of nature,” Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in 1929, but there remained a large gap between that potential and the reality of life for millions of Indians. Nehru, amongst others, was clear about the material urgency behind every vision of freedom. “Our desire for freedom is more a thing of the mind than the body,” Nehru said. He was talking to his colleagues. “But for most Indians,” he said, “they suffer hunger and deepest poverty, an empty stomach, and a bare back.” “For most of India’s population,” he said, “freedom was not the thing of the mind, but a vital bodily necessity.”

Sunil Amrith:
For his part, Mahatma Gandhi made a different sort of link between nature and freedom. We see this during his iconic Salt March. Choosing the British Salt Tax as the symbolic focus of his nonviolent protest, Gandhi observed that next to air and water, salt is perhaps the greatest necessity of life. The vital properties of salt linked the coastal ecosystem with the lives of millions inland. Gandhi’s was an argument about climate and society. He pointed out that the poorest who labored outdoors in the heat, were those most in need of salt and sustenance.

Sunil Amrith:
So a wide range of Indian thinkers, scientists, activists, drew different lessons from their awareness of this pressing material need, and the centrality of water to that need.

Sunil Amrith:
We can see this, for example, in the divergence of opinion between the sociologist, Radhakamal Mukerjee, and the scientist, the astrophysicist, Meghnad Saha. Both of them were concerned with Bengal’s rivers. Both of them recognized the centrality of water to the livelihood of people, to agriculture, to health. And both of them saw the importance of water to India’s future, but they saw that future very differently.

Sunil Amrith:
Mukerjee believed that a restoration of what he called writing in the 1920s and thirties “ecological balance and respect for the distinctive nature of each riverine ecosystem” would provide the seeds for revival.

Sunil Amrith:
Saha’s prescription could not have been more different. Saha was scathing in response to those like Mukherjee, who’d argued that afforestation and local efforts of soil conservation would strip the Damodar river, for example, of its destructive power. He called the claim – which was widely believed in the 19th century – that deforestation affected rainfall, absurd. Saha wrote that this was a claim for which there was not a single iota of positive proof. If changes in forest cover and land use had any effect on local climate, Saha argued, these must be extremely small compared to the huge monsoon currents, which are responsible for India’s rainfall. So rainfall, in Saha’s imagination, was beyond human intervention.

Sunil Amrith:
But human intervention to transform the landscape could neutralize the threat posed by hydraulic uncertainty, securing rivers from the alternating paucity and excess of water. And here Saha was confident about the future. “We are fortunate,” he wrote, “to live in a time where the large-scale experience of thousands of dams constructed in the United States are at our disposal.” He believed that the global circulation of ideas and technology, a process of learning would come to India’s aid.

Sunil Amrith:
In valorizing the Tennessee Valley Authority, and also the Soviet example, Saha indicated that his dreams for India extended beyond anything that the sluggish British colonial stage could carry out. He envisaged the construction of dams in eastern India that would last for hundreds of years.

Sunil Amrith:
My invocation of Saha brings us to the topic that, I think more than any other, has dominated discussion of India’s water policy, and that is large dams. As I’ll discuss in a moment, large dams have undoubtedly been of pivotal importance symbolically, socially, ecologically, but I think it’s also a mistake to search the early 20th century only for the roots of India’s later enthusiasm for large dams. Instead, what we see, I think, is a multiplicity of ways of addressing India’s dependence on the monsoon, and these were at once more vocal and more global than the exclusive focus on large dams as a matter of national policy would suggest.

Sunil Amrith:
In 1951, India carried out its first census after independence. It was, at that time, the largest census ever undertaken in the world. The average life expectancy in India stood at just 31 years for men and 30 years for women. Already in the US, at that time, that figure was 65 years for men, and 71 for women. For every thousand live births in India at the time, more than 140 infants died. And in the minds of many of India’s leaders, this was an indictment of two centuries of British rule.

Sunil Amrith:
The political theorist, Pratap Mehta, has argued that the immediate converts of political power in post-colonial India was dictated by the intensity of mere life. That is to say, poverty and destitution put most Indians – and Mehta in this sense echoes the quotation from Nehru that I gave out just a few minutes earlier – under the pressing dictates of their bodies, and the imperative to address these needs, Mehta observed, can have no limiting balance. “This simple logic,” quoting Mehta, “transports power from a traditional concern with freedom to a concern with life and its necessities.” In this quest, the conquest of nature was pivotal.

Sunil Amrith:
The 1950s were characterized by a newfound ambition and confidence that the dictates of nature might be conquered. There’s no question that large dams, perhaps more than any other technology, came to symbolize progress and freedom in post-independence India. It was an era when, in Sunil Khilnani’s memorable phrase, “India fell in love with concrete.” Excellent visual illustration of the allure of large dams that was mounted an exhibition held at the Nehru Memorial Museum a few years ago, called Dams in the Nation. And a lot of this was really about the symbolic power of dams as symbols of freedom and independence in newly post-independence India.

Sunil Amrith:
This is a picture of Nehru at the ceremonial inauguration of the Bhakra Dam in Punjab, addressing a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people. This is taken from one of dozens of public information films which played before the feature blockbusters in the cinemas of the 1950s, telling a heroic story of India’s war against nature.

Sunil Amrith:
Nehru’s reflection that these dams were the temples of new India has often been cited. Kanwar Sain, the second head of India’s Water Authority, wrote that, “These river valley projects constitute the biggest single effort since independence to meet the material wants of the people, for full irrigation brings ultimately, the sinews of the man from power to sinews of industry. And these were multipurpose projects designed simultaneously to provide irrigation, water, and hydropower. Cruel reality: More than 90% of the dams of India have been used primarily for irrigation.

Sunil Amrith:
Sain voiced the hopes of many of India’s planners and architects when he declared that dams are indeed the symbols of the aspirations of new India, and the blessings – note this shift to a religious language – that stream forth from them are the enduring gifts of our generation to posterity. Note the fusion of the language of science and faith, reason and eco-rapture.

Sunil Amrith:
So one aspect of the story has been very well studied, and that’s the very tangible influence of American hydraulic engineers, people like David […]. On the Damodar Valley Corporation in particular, Dan Klingensmith wrote an excellent book on this. And my friend David Engerman’s exhaustive recent history of India in the Cold War adds a lot of detail to that. But the point I’d like to make here is that the Americans and the Soviets were not the only influences on India’s love affair with dams. India in turn shaped approaches to the challenge of water across Southeast Asia.

Sunil Amrith:
So in May 1954, Kanwar Sain – who I just quoted – chairman of India’s Water Commission, and KL Rao embarked on an official visit to China. Their goal was to report back on China’s water projects in the first years of the People’s Republic. They focused in particular on Chinese attempts to use dams to control flooding along the Yangtze and other rivers.

Sunil Amrith:
Sain and Rao were in fact amongst the first outsiders to see firsthand China’s massive hydraulic experiment. They arrived in China in May 1954, and they stayed for two months. They spent much of their time on the water. They actually traveled by boat along the Yangtze for most of their journey. They were the protagonists of India’s colossal efforts to control water, and yet the scale of work that they saw in China dazzled them. They undertook their tour of China exactly half a century after the Indian irrigation Commission had traveled through India in search of water. And in a sense, theirs was part of the same quest. The farmers of the late 19th century had unleashed in India a desperate and continuing search for sources of water to mitigate the dependence on the monsoon.

Sunil Amrith:
Sain and Rao were both trained squarely within a colonial tradition of Indian water engineering, but now they represented an independent nation, and for inspiration they looked not only to Europe, to America, but to revolutionary China.

Sunil Amrith:
And consider the contrast between the two tours. When the Indian irrigation Commission, at the beginning of the 20th century, traveled with a retinue of servants and specially chartered trains, Sain and Rao were given strictly limited foreign exchange and accompanied by just two interpreters.

Sunil Amrith:
Their report contains an extended list of every single Chinese official they met, from ministers to field engineers to water scientists at the College of Hydraulic Engineering. They were struck by the quality of China’s hydraulic engineering. They delighted in the firm emphasis given to technical education in China. They praised the Chinese capacity for improvisation, building huge dams from local materials when imports were in short supply. Naturally, their thoughts turned to comparisons with India.

Sunil Amrith:
There were clear differences in the challenges that each country faced. One sharp contrast between India and China was indeed climatic. Once again, what made India distinctive was the monsoon. “Unlike India, hemmed in by the Himalayas,” they wrote, “China is open to Central Asia. This meant that in the summer, China, unlike India, is not the single objective of the air circulation of a whole ocean.”

Sunil Amrith:
By contrast, China’s rivers were more menacing than India’s, more prone to burst their banks. So in Sain and Rao’s stark comparison, India’s great need was irrigation, China’s was flood control. Both our countries bide an industrial future. Of course, the promise of hydroelectric power attracted them both.

Sunil Amrith:
Sain and Rao returned to India with a firm sense that there were lessons that India should learn from China. But there were ominous portents, too. In his farewell speech bidding Sain and Rao farewell, the Chinese Director of Water Resources had described how China’s water projects had been extended to the border regions of our fraternal minorities to promote national unity. There was no attempt on the Chinese side to disguise the fact that water was intrinsic to political power. The conquest of water meant the conquest of space. Unspoken at the time was the sense that some day the border regions in question may include China’s borders with India.

Sunil Amrith:
Sain and Rao faced another problem when they returned with the first ever maps of China’s water projects to be seen outside China. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs was rankled by what Sain and Rao had missed; that the maps they’d been given by Chinese water officials claimed as Chinese territory a large part of the borderland that the Indian state saw as integral to India. The maps were destroyed.

Sunil Amrith:
Interestingly enough, in the Indian edition of my book, Unruly Waters, the maps were deleted at the very last minute, before it was published. These are still very, very sensitive issues, particularly the maps illustrating that chapter on India and China in the 1950s. The maps were destroyed, redrawn to accord with India’s understanding of its territorial boundaries.

Sunil Amrith:
Sain later wrote in his memoirs that he was deeply grateful this had been done before the volume was published. If it had not, it would have been a source of great embarrassment a few years later, when India and China went to war over just those borders. Tellingly, Sain and Rao’s report was, after 1962, treated as a classified document until the 21st century.

Sunil Amrith:
Just as China’s experiences inspired India’s water engineers, so India became a model to the rest of Southeast Asia. In 1955, the director of the UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, the South Indian economist […], commissioned Kanwar Sen to join the UN mission to survey the Mekong river. “The prick has gone too deep to be halted.” That’s how Sen described his sense that large scale hydraulic engineering was inevitable now in the Mekong as elsewhere in Asia, given the bold claims that had been made on behalf of big dams, given the hunger for progress and development that he saw wherever in the world he went.

Sunil Amrith:
The Mekong commission was quickly overshadowed by the escalation of American involvement in Indochina as the US became caught up in military conflict in Vietnam, then engulfed Vietnam’s neighbors as well. But Sen actually continued in his job. He was a patriotic Indian engineer at the pinnacle of his profession, enamored of China, but with close personal and professional links to the US Bureau of Reclamation. He chose to spend a decade of his career with what became the Mekong River Commission, trying to coordinate the development of Asia’s most international river, notwithstanding the palace politics that the scheme was stymied by.

Sunil Amrith:
In his memoir, Sen hints the material reward of working with the UN might have been one incentive for him to stay, but his motivations went much deeper than that. He believed, like so many of his generation, that taming the waters was a goal beyond ideology. Working for the UN alongside many former colonial civil servants, engineers now turned to development consultants, Sen held a vision of Asian nations working together to claim their rightful place in the community of nations.

Sunil Amrith:
In a memoir that is detached, even clinical in tone, a rare moment of emotion comes when Sen describes what he says was his pilgrimage to the site of Angkor Wat in Cambodia while on his first Mekong mission. “I was very much moved by the ancient glory and culture of India reflected in Angkor Wat,” he wrote. Just as many of India’s water engineers at home presented their new temples as really standing within an ancient historical tradition of Indian water engineering, so here Sen appealed to a deep history of cultural exchange across borders to provide ballast for his vision of an Asia united by the challenge of water.

Sunil Amrith:
By the mid 1960s, this approach to water that had epitomized the post-independence period ran into trouble. In 1965 and ’66, large parts of India suffered from drought. This threatened food shortages, even led to famine being declared in Bihar, the first since Indian independence. India’s growing and uncomfortable dependence on American food aid was clearly illustrated by the monsoon fairies of the 1960s. “How helplessly we are at the mercy of the elements,” a newspaper editorial lamented in 1965, arguing that really all India had to show for the previous decade of development efforts were some shallow and tentative improvements in irrigation.

Sunil Amrith:
The crux of the Indian government strategy from the mid 1960s onwards was to concentrate modern inputs in irrigated areas. This is a very prosaic way to describe a fundamental change. From the 19th century India’s geography of water had shaped plans for the country’s future. Now the difference between irrigated and rain fed lands would be accepted as a necessary inequality even as a matter of strategy. It drove what we know as the green revolution, which combined the substantive irrigation inputs with new high yielding seeds that had first been tried in Mexico and the Philippines. The precondition for the growth of the green revolution in India was a massive expansion in irrigation, and however large the downs, however monumental, they were insufficient.

Sunil Amrith:
Cultivators in arid parts of India have known for centuries, and the British recognized the 19th century that India’s groundwater resources provided perhaps a better insurance against drought. As early as the 1880s British authorities in Bombay and Madras had experimented with electric pumps to extract groundwater. In 1950, there were already around 150,000 electric pumps in use in India. By the end of the century that number was 20 million, and India was the largest user of groundwater in the world. Until the 1960s groundwater could not be mobilized on a large enough scale to meet India’s requirements. The widespread use of tube wells and electric pumps changed that decisively. And if you look at this graph of irrigated India, you see a very sharp increase around the end of the 1960s. All of that is groundwater.

Sunil Amrith:
As a lawyer for the […] show, India’s groundwater law, however, continues to be shaped by colonial precedence that accorded absolute rights over groundwater to property owners, with no recognition of its growing public importance for Indian agriculture. I’ll talk about some of the consequences of this in the last part of my talk. Large dams had held out the promise of irrigation water plus hydroelectric power. In the groundwater era, demands for water and energy came together in a different way. State governments encouraged the pursuit of productivity by subsidizing the capital costs of infrastructure for this intensive exploitation of groundwater.

Sunil Amrith:
State electricity boards reduced the cost of electricity. By the 1970s, unable to bear the cost of monitoring energy use by millions of farmers dispersed across the country, state electricity boards opted for flat tariffs. As a result, agriculture’s share of total energy use in India grew from 10% in 1970 to 30% by 1995, even as the state electricity boards accumulated huge losses. Groundwater today accounts for 60% of India’s irrigated area, surface irrigation. The large dams only 30%. All the while, and despite the declining importance of surface irrigation, the profusion of large dams continued.

Sunil Amrith:
In fact, the 1970s were the peak decade of dam construction in India, and the social and ecological costs have multiplied. Since the 1950s, large dams have displaced millions of people in India compounding the loss of land and livelihood with the rupture of communities through the process of resettlement. The range of estimates for the number of people displaced specifically by dam projects in India ranges from 16 to 40 million people since 1947. These estimates come from the World Commission on Dams. The Red Cross, in 2012, went for the higher end of that range, as has the work of activists like Warren Fernandez and the geographer Sanjay Chakraborty.

Sunil Amrith:
So between 16 and 40 million people displaced by large dams. Under classes have been by far the worst affected, least able to negotiate adequate compensation from state and local governments. The environmental consequences of large dams have also been concentrated in the areas of the dam’s construction. Reservoirs have drowned millions of hectares of forest. Canals and barrels have disruptive water flow and drainage, often accompanied by a rise in vegetable diseases.

Sunil Amrith:
There was nothing inevitable about this outcome. I think we should not lose sight of the ambivalence and complexity with which these questions were viewed, even as these policies were being enacted. Even as large projects were pushed forward heedless to protests, this was accompanied by a growing consciousness of sustainability and loss, and the rise in India of one of the world’s most diverse and large environmental movements. It’s the first UN conference on the environment, as many of you know, it was held in 1972 in Stockholm. And Indira Gandhi was actually one of the very few heads of state to attend that first conference on the environment.

Sunil Amrith:
And in her speech to the plenary session she discussed the ecological problems that were already a matter of public discussion in India. She set out a position that saw environmental degradation is primarily a problem of poverty, a problem of distribution, not of numbness. She reminded her audience that we inhabit a divided world, and I think rightly many scholars have drawn a straight line from Indira Gandhi’s speech to the sorts of positions that the Indian government took right through the nineties and two thousands in climate negotiations. Indira Gandhi attributed historical responsibility for environmental destruction to the wealthy countries of the world. Many of the advanced countries of today reached their present affluence by their domination of other races and countries, she said, and through the exploitation of natural resources.

Sunil Amrith:
“We do you not wish to impoverish the environment any further,” she insisted, and yet we cannot for a moment forget the grim poverty of large numbers of people. Her most resonate phrase, the one for which the speech is usually quoted, was in the form of a question. “Are not poverty and need the greatest polluters?” She concluded by describing to her audience how she saw India’s quest since independence. “For the last quarter of a century,” she said, “we’ve been engaged in an enterprise unparalleled in human history. The provision of basic needs to one sixth of mankind within the span of one or two generations.”

Sunil Amrith:
It is such a startlingly simple insight, but one that we’ve perhaps forgotten in this application of speed, urgency, and scale by her recognition of the demographic and material transformations that were sweeping the world in the 1970s. She was pointing to a phrase that subsequent environmental historians have really labeled the great acceleration. As I mentioned a minute ago, the 1970s were also the moment that India saw the rise of a diverse but interlinked set of environmental activists. These included rural movements like the famous Chipko movement as well as urban activism. A group in Bombay in the 1960s and 70s, for example, called so clean, which took an early interest in air and water pollution.

Sunil Amrith:
Since the 1970s the wave of local opposition to large dams, in particular, has grown into one of the largest social and political mobilizations that India has seeds since independence. The best known of them is the non mother movement, but there are many others alongside it. The first citizens report on the state of the Indian environment, which was published in 1982, was something of a landmark intellectually in the development of India’s environmental movement, and articulated this very specific connection between social justice and environmental protection, which I think has characterized environmentalism in India. Interestingly for me as a historian, many environmental activists in India in the 1980s began to look to the past.

Sunil Amrith:
They began to look to what we can probably conclude is a romanticized idea of a past of harmony and ecological balance. This is a very influential publication from the mid-1980s, “Ding wisdom, the rise fall and potential of India’s traditional water harvesting systems.” They drew on a tradition of thought that went back to rather common Mukherjee and Gandhi. They sought the principles of ecological balance and traditional practices of farming, fishing, and artisanal production.

Sunil Amrith:
Their edition of the past was in many ways a useful fiction. It doesn’t really accord with what environmental historians and archaeologists have shown us about the environmental history of South Asia over many centuries. But nevertheless, this particular vision of a past of ecological balance was mobilized in a very powerful way politically. So let me come to a conclusion. I suggested at the beginning that from the beginning of the 20th century, the monsoon has been seen as a fundamental problem in modern India. Geological research has shown that the monsoon over the last twenty, thirty years has exhibited increasingly erratic behavior.

Sunil Amrith:
Regional drivers of changes in the monsoon circulation, chiefly driven by aerosol emissions and land use change interacts with planetary warming to make the monsoon increasingly erratic, increasingly prone to extremes. The monsoon does less well than almost any other climatic phenomenon in global climate models because it is so complex. As ever, most attention has been given to solutions that are squarely in the tradition of top down water engineering. For example, a river linking project, which is underway now in India with the strong support of the current government to build tens of thousands of kilometers of canals to link India’s Himalayan rivers right down to the Southern tip of the peninsula.

Sunil Amrith:
Interestingly enough, the architects of the river linking project quite explicitly see their inspiration as the 19th century British water engineer, Arthur Cotton. In constant, we’d see that Arthur Cotton in the 1870s wrote about: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could bring the Himalayan rivers down to the tip of the peninsula?” It embodies a view that the civil servant Ramaswami Iyer, who was a big proponent of large dams, but towards the end of his life changed his mind, decried just a few years before he died, as reflecting a Promethean attitude to the control of water. The space of dam building in the Himalayas in particular has met with resistance, and it comes with heightened risks. And this is a map from a few years ago of all the proposed dam sites in the Himalayas. And this was from the geological mapping that on top of the most seismically active zones in the Himalayas.

Sunil Amrith:
The risks are ecological, the risks are geopolitical, given that each one of these rivers is transnational and crosses boundaries in a part of Asia where there are very few treaties governing water sharing. Meanwhile, groundwater levels in parts of Northwestern and South Eastern India are particularly depleted, and this is a NASA satellite image that shows the shift just from 2002 to 2008 in ground water levels in India’s agriculturally most productive region. I am neither a water policy expert nor an engineer. I am concerned with what the perspective of history can bring to illuminating some of our public debates about water and climate.

Sunil Amrith:
So a few words and conclusion on what I think a historical perspective can bring. Living with the uncertainty of the monsoon has been an inherent part of life in South Asia from the earliest times. Over centuries, South Asian societies have evolved complex social and economic institutions, including, not limited to sophisticated irrigation systems to mitigate the fundamental problem of uneven rainfall and variable river flow. Between the mid 19th and the mid 20th century, the management of India’s water resources changed scale, underpinned by confidence and technology’s capacity to channel, even maybe to conquer nature. The intellectual and infrastructural legacies of that era epitomized by a belief and an investment in massive hydraulic engineering still shape water policy in South Asia. As the legal scholar Jed Perdy has argued in a wonderful book called After Nature, the material world that we inhabit is in many ways a memorial to a long running legacy of contested ideas about nature.

Sunil Amrith:
And in just this way, the current landscape of water in modern India is an outcome of a legacy of contested ideas. Colonial responses to an unfamiliar and unpredictable climate, in the context of agricultural capitalism, nationalist ideas about securing India from famine and deprivation, provisions of scientists and engineers who imagined new ways to harness water, and not least, the claims of hundreds of millions of Indian voters who demanded for their communities and their regions the fruits of progress and development. It is also an outcome of vast inequalities.

Sunil Amrith:
Inequalities in access to land, to water, and to energy. Inequalities in different groups’ ability to participate in the decisions that govern their lives and livelihoods. So we contend today with the consequences both of success and of failure in that endeavor. And by extension with the successes and failures of Indian democracy, in what Indira Gandhi called its unparalleled effort to provide for the basic needs of one sixth of mankind within the span of one or two generations. The scale of the water crisis facing India today is sobering. But the most important lesson that I think a historical perspective holds is that water management never has been and never can be a purely technical or scientific question. Ideas about the distribution and management of water in India are deeply inflected with cultural values, with notions of justice, with hopes and fears of nature.

Sunil Amrith:
Thank you very much.

Ben Hopkins:
I think Sunil just – I think Sunil just demonstrated why we won a 2017 corporate prize. Thank you for a very thought-provoking talk, Sunil, and I’m sure there’s many questions for all of you’s fine privilege, just briefly.

Ben Hopkins:
But I’ve got one question for you, and that is very clearly sketched out a tradition of technocratic modernism for water management in India the water dam maintenance, economic development. But then my attention was drawn in particular to your picture of the overlay of seismic zones and dams. And actually, Dan Hanes a while ago gave a little presentation that had something similar, and that drew my attention to that map was also a map of security issues for South Asia, right?

Ben Hopkins:
You mentioned, of course, that Adivasi threshold being disproportionately affected by displacement, which makes me wonder how does that feed into state insecurity domestically, along frontiers and the borders. Then even talking about geopolitics – who’s going to control the […] for the Indus that the part of governing water isn’t intimately linked with the art of governing the hills.

Ben Hopkins:
And, so I wonder if you might comment on a third area you hinted at in your talk, and that is perhaps, the security, securitization of the water.

Sunil Amrith:
That’s a vastly important dimension of this. One thing that strikes me is really how relating 20th century the hills came to be the focus of this water engineer. And I’ll get into that specifically, precisely as you asked, that it’s only as both Beijing and Delhi have sought to position themselves in this frontier area that this infrastructure is part, and that part of that establishing presence in the stage.

Sunil Amrith:
Road building usually precedes dam building, almost every one of these cases. I think you have many ways Chinese instance of the post-1980s liberation dams, perhaps even a better example than the Indian one I have given today of how close the security, governability, governance and water management are.

Sunil Amrith:
So then we turn the question that the frontiers of water engineering in this entire India are also regions which central governance have the disingenuous hold over, which are regions where local populations are being disenfranchised. Often feel alienated from exactly those kinds of nation-building, modernizing projects from the 20th century on, providing and aligning logical moves […].

Ben Hopkins:
Now, let’s open it to the floor. My questions, my only request would be if you could identify yourself before you ask your question. Yes?

Speaker 3:
Hello. Hi. My name is […]. I am a senior and double majoring in history and international affairs. My question is sort of related to the question that Dr. Hopkins asked. The rationale is that dams in India are a symbol of progress and modernity, and also the indigenous peoples and central tribes seem to be disproportionately affected by these.

Speaker 3:
I was wondering if you thought there was some sort of connection between the fact that internal development for roads in India conceptualize […] backwards populations? And […] progress, as related to the fact that there are the people who are most easily displaced in this vulnerable are you find, because of these symbols of progress.

Sunil Amrith:
I think you put more eloquently than I did, and that’s because it is exactly one of the reasons why they have been disproportionately affected is because their state’s view of themselves to progress is something that’s rooted. […] doesn’t change very much after Indian independence. So if in a sense, there are many scholars and then Adivasi activists who almost write some new channel for those and these are often I think some of the terms of the state’s approaches to those communities.

Sunil Amrith:
So there’s that, but there’s also the fact that of course, the Adivasis’ lifestyles and livelihoods depend on forests. And it those forests that are both economically valuable, but also precisely where these dams are to be built, make way for a different kind of primitive landscape and for a different kind of infrastructure. But I think that […] is important.

Sunil Amrith:
We know people are asking the question, but why are they not heard? Why does it take until the 1970s, 1980s for there to be large-scale protests against these types of displacements? But I think a lot of that has to do, also it has to do with more so that has to do with inequalities of power, and it has to do with precisely that. I think Mary says in the late 1940s the very first group people who are displaced in India was for the […]. “If you want to suffer, at least you suffered for the issues.”

Sunil Amrith:
And I think that that mentality is still current, that these are necessary costs for progress. But perhaps, the question that isn’t asked so much is well progress, but who is going to be disadvantaged for this? And who is there are certain groups disproportionately burying those costs.

Linda Yarr:
I’m Linda Yarr, here at the Sigur Center. You mentioned that the two engineers went to the Ghaghara River, you mentioned. So as you know, there is a quite pushback of civil society throughout Southeast Asia, the international rivers network, any number of organizations in Thailand, Vietnam, in Laos and elsewhere. To what extent do you see a connection between civil society and anti-movements in Southeast Asia and South Asia?

Sunil Amrith:
Very good question. And it’s something that is very close to my heart, in terms that it’s one aspect of the story they’re continuing to delve into. I think there are lots of connections, and they actually go back to the 1970s. One of the interesting things about this publication and other publications in this group is […].

Sunil Amrith:
Their first publication was called Citizen’s Report on Saving the Environment, and it was published in 1982. And it was a very short preface which says something that I find profoundly interesting, which is that their inspiration for that book actually came from Malaysia. And that it was actually going to Penan, which in ’70s was a real center of consumer activism, which by the late ’70s had turned into consumer/environmental activism that they got the idea because it had to be this consumer’s association of the lying cup, it had to be late ’70s published a citizen’s report of the state of Malaysia’s environment. Focusing particularly on deforestation, on how vastly the tribal peoples of Malaysia were being impacted by some of this development.

Sunil Amrith:
The same network around Penan, it morphs into something a little bit above the network. By the 1980s, they’re the ones who published Bruno Manser’s first book. I mean, Bruno Manser becomes perhaps the best-known environmentalist in the ’80s and ’90s. Really a spokesperson for the anti-localization movement. And in fact, he’s also first published out of Malaysia, and these networks that I think really are really important to the 1980s and ’90s.

Sunil Amrith:
I don’t know that the intent of the situations around the Indian environment that those links are as strong as they might have been on both sides. I suspect that through the 2000s these kinds of networks between civil society groups and trying to come together to see a shared government and were in search of these things.

Deepa Ollapally:
Deepa Ollapally from the Sigur Center, as well. But similarly we spent our possible alternative scenario to a securitization of water. And I will, I may suggest, that when you look at the China, India area that looks valuable in the area, one of the things that comes up is, of course, the Tibetan water tower, where all these rivers are in fact flowing from the headwaters. But then, when you look beyond the India, China and go further into Pakistan as well as Bangladesh, India is a midway area.

Deepa Ollapally:
So, the point is that when you look at relationships among these countries, your political relationships, because that’s what I look at. The idea that somehow China being the argument of control and having other forms of water, and so, if there’s dam building that constrains water to India, it’s also constrained to Pakistan and Bangladesh, who happen to be very good friends of China.

Deepa Ollapally:
So there is, I see a more complex set of relationships that then, perhaps the technical and political coming-together, where they only have to sort it out in a way that it could be an area of cooperation, rather than competition. How do you see that?

Sunil Amrith:
I mean, I think the goal of the whole confluence on that emphasis is sometimes neglect, but this is seen as a deal by both Indians and the Chinese are heavily invested in that construction in that part of the job. And I think that it’s precisely that level of complication.

Sunil Amrith:
It certainly led me not to conclude in my book that geopolitical conflict is the only way to get this to work out. I mean, I know some people are very strongly of that view, but I think I really agree with the theme dealing more around the geopolitical scenarios in that there are such complicated relationships.

Sunil Amrith:
Now, obviously, they’re also very much private sector investors involved. That’s one way we see things very different from that period of […] I was talking about when this was all state-financed or bank-financed, into such demand. I mean, now you have, of course Chinese engineering companies they’re such role models in the region, in parts of Africa. But there are also some private interests, too. So I think it’s become a much more complicated scenario than simply thinking about it in such a simple way.

Kristen:
Hi. My name is Kristen, and I’m studying history. I was particularly moved by your conclusion that […] provides the goods to alternative fuels to think about these problems, cultural to […]. Preservation issues in thinking about certainly the way that water has been controlled and incorporated into architecture, as these advanced use cases.

Kristen:
But also, the symbolic power of water, and particularly that the Indians should have a […] from the rivers. And I was thinking about river […] and the wonderful depictions that we have, and especially for it.

Kristen:
Did you find in any time of your research thinking maybe about what they do […]? In what ways have this cultural power, this sacred power of rivers, of these waters, has that come to play in these kinds of conversations about dam building or not?

Sunil Amrith:
That’s a wonderful question. What I’m struck by is that the sacred and spiritual power of the water is very edited in the 50s and 60s. And yet, somehow completely distinct from the conversation about dams, developers and the future. It’s not that one displaces the other, but that it’s that it’s sort of – so my colleague Diana Eck wrote that wonderful book India: A Sacred Geography, the chapters on rivers ends on the discussion: how could the Ghangra be the most revered and the most the future river of the world?

Sunil Amrith:
And she works through, without focusing a clear answer, she works through that question. And so the 50s, just when they’re building these big dams, there’s a massive complement out of the 1950s, which the burst after independence, which brings so many tens of millions of people to converge precisely on some sacred carrier river.

Sunil Amrith:
[…] in his last will and testament, he writes in a sort of spiritual sense about the Ghangra and about how he wishes his ashes to be buried there, not because he’s religious but because nevertheless, it represents the continuity within history. The narrative recalls that the dams are the temples of India comes this other side, there is this other vocabulary, there is this other way of thinking about water. Really in everyday life, the sacred power of the waters means as much as any of these infrastructure projects do to a lot of people in that area of existence.

Sunil Amrith:
And it’s sometimes when these things clash with one another, as I think they start to do in the 1980s that you see interesting ways of trying to address the relationship between the two. I think the main thing that’s happening is actually in the Indian courts.

Sunil Amrith:
So the National Green Tribunal of India actually recognized sacred groves, the preservation of sacred groves, as falling under the region of religion in the constitution. And there are ways in which even some decisions in Indian Supreme Court are almost personified nature in a way, not quite giving it rights in the way that some communities do it. But nevertheless, bringing in these arguments about the spiritual and sacred value of these rivers. It interestingly enough, is in the courts post-1908s that you see that tension really coming into form.

Harmony:
Hi, my name is Harmony Gale I’m a student at this school. The question I explore in my project, as you mentioned it, it is given a right and it is starting with the British power. Why do you think it’s getting that wide revival? I mean, we took the […] when in 2015 started and it began, but based along an opponent of it. There’s not opposition on it, and it started in 1917, and it’s a bit more […]. Why is that?

Sunil Amrith:
It really is an idea that just won’t go away. I mean, it was there in the 1870s, and there’s a moment in the 1960s where they start talking about it again. And I think some of it is just this profound sense that India is so shaped by the real inequalities of the water there, that it really does condense the waters in some of the driest places on earth. And that has clearly been something that’s wrangled in the minds, particularly of water engineers, of how we fix this?

Sunil Amrith:
I mean, I think there is that sense starting around the late 19th, early 20th century that the technology is there to do something about this. I think Madden makes the same comment in the 1950s, he says: “So much river in certain part of China, we need the gods to give us some.”

Sunil Amrith:
Across the ideological spectrum, I think there’s something profoundly attractive about this. I don’t think it will ever happen, and one of the reasons is purely that we think we controlled little today about water conservation and transform a way, but profound water advantage within it today. And I think that is what more than anything else, will stop a project like this. The common dispute has been going on since, depending on how you look at it, 1920s or 1950s. It continues to escalate to take on others, but nobody knows what they want.

Sunil Amrith:
How the river damming project will be governed on a integral level, is I think one of the things why it keeps running into trouble, and quite a large cost of it which is estimated now to […] dollars. And of course, there are profound concerns about being able to handle the impact and not taking rights. But even if those are featured in the compilations of both forms of government, I think these are these federal obstacles in this kind of project in India that are always a subject.

Speaker 8:
This is a question about – when I was in Chennai a few years ago, it seemed like there was a revolutionary water, rain water collection technology that was really changing the face of local water environments. Before actually having water for people in particular, on a regular basis was before, to buy it at a very dear price. Has it indeed changed things in […]? Has it changed things throughout India?

Sunil Amrith:
It has certainly not changed things throughout India. I think there are particular regions where there really has been a far greater investment in managing just thinking about water and I think Gangnam is one of them, Rajasthan is another. Meera Subramanian wrote a book called A River Runs Again, in which she investigated and interviewed some deeper […].

Sunil Amrith:
She investigated the revival of all water valleys in parts around Rajasthan, which did rely on these large technologies. But I mean, there is this about this romantic return to a […]. And some things are very new technologies, but then small-scale technologies, technologies that really do bring water to progress in ways that even the large dams often can’t.

Sunil Amrith:
And I think this is part she is very concentrated. I think it has a lot to do with particular political cultures, as well as particular other cultures, and Gangnam how the water activists since the 1990s have been pushing in this kind of direction.

Sunil Amrith:
They’ve got major public figures involved, including musicians and authors. And there’s a lot of brands about these things. But there is also an infrastructure of chance in Gangnam, which even if it was in decay, and it had been in neglect for a long time, some of which can be used in way to save Rajasthan. But by and large, if you read the work of the architect of this story, and […], it’s not happening.

Speaker 9:
I wonder if I can get you to go back to actually your starting point when your colleague asked you about the history of the monsoons about what sort of history. And I look at the title and you have Water and the Making of Modern India, and to be slightly provocative and push back, evocative national history in a way. And I wonder, what are the opportunities, but also the consequences of giving an ecological history with a national frame?

Sunil Amrith:
I’m not sure we really can. I mean, I think this is one of the things that gave this particular frame where a project and the book that this is from, one of the things that we again think is, we can’t write this story with a national lens. Not least because the monsoon – […] of monsoon is a dramatic phenomenon […] wants in science, wants specifically the story of monsoon sands from centuries of realization in the fact that monsoon has gotten a whole planet’s worth. And that is not something that can be delivered in the Indian subcontinent in say the 1850s or the 1860s.

Sunil Amrith:
But that it’s a real issue and that the issue and it’s effect on climate, as well as arguing on health. Every single one of these is regional trans-national sort of issue. And this is one of my challenges in starting to write my book. What would it mean to go to those certain areas, which there are a lot of people here.

Sunil Amrith:
We are so concerned with regions, how regions come about, what binds them together, where the boundaries are, how flexible their boundaries are. What would happen if we married that area of misconception with building an ecological conception?

Sunil Amrith:
So one of the things that started me on this whole project was the fact that in the social sciences, we all can agree monsoon Asia. There’s not one that we use. It’s one that colonial geographers used in the 1920s and 1930s, but it was a conversation. But that’s what is uncontroversially used by water scientists.

Sunil Amrith:
And, so that for me, really is one of the things that got me thinking about the monsoon, national distance of the monsoon, and how do you put scenarios that have perspective on this, with the focus on the fact that it is for a period in the 19th century the national states, which most tribes intervene to reshape the landscape of water. And yet, this is all what is seen in the boundaries.

Speaker 10:
I have a question about the politics of big dams. When I think about the politics of irrigation in India, I think of the Green Revolution: seeds, to wells, subsidies, and the farmer’s movements in the 1980s and 1990s that lead to a lot of that type of provisioning in that cultural sector.

Speaker 10:
Your talk portrays the politics of water; it’s very top-down, very technocratic. And I’m wondering if there is at all a broader politics of what public sentiment is with respect to dams? And how affluent parties have positions on dams, beyond just the Adivasi issue?

Sunil Amrith:
I think there absolutely is growing politics with water. I think it’s a very important politics of water. I think a lot of this does come down to who the groups that have benefited from these dams. And I think a lot of those farmers movements in the 1980s, 1990s were calling for more subsidies, for more two worlds, and I think as they were beneficiaries of this.

Sunil Amrith:
On the other hand, you have the farms who presented in the more recent past, the generation in un-irrigated parts of India, and who – maybe they want more irrigation? I mean, I don’t think this by any means had […] coming from the ground up. It’s not a story of top-down position dams. I think the opposition to dams is very specific and very pragmatic about the environmental level. You have those displaced by particular projects, like […], which of course, was huge at its peak.

Sunil Amrith:
But in some sense, there’s allowed nominees, because some of its supporters probably found that element of project might not have been in their interest, and water was not very often a major platform. But now, I think you will know this as more than I do about this perhaps, but I very rarely see water issues on election manifestos. Certainly elections have water like health, which is in fact both valuable but often politically invisible.

Sunil Amrith:
I don’t think most political parties have a major position on – I think most of the main political parties are more in favor of dams. Except those, who can make political capital out of a specific dam project, which perhaps […] constituents. And the politics of dams is also, I think in the interstate politics of dam building. So it’s a bit of a huge […] politics over the particular plans that the other side might have for those river waters.

Sunil Amrith:
So in that sense, there’s a politics of dams which has to do with control, which has to do with state boundaries, the state interests, the state rights. So I think every level of farmers movements to the geopolitical, which some of the other questions were suggesting towards.

Speaker 1:
We have time for one more question.

Joshua:
I’m Joshua […], I’m an undergraduate history major. So my question has to do with the economics of Pakistan, and taking time along their water scarcity crisis. Are there any lessons you can take away from what India’s doing, in how they’re working on the preservation of water? Anything specific that you can think of in how that might be something worthwhile […]?

Sunil Amrith:
I think Pakistan’s water crisis isn’t anything worse than India’s case. But there is measures that list them as the most stressed country in the world … Whether there are direct lessons from India, and whether those lessons would be palatable is another question. Particularly, given the rise in tension over the … in the recent months, that the Indians tried to withdraw the industry for the second time in the last four or five years.

Sunil Amrith:
I think there are conversations that are happening in other levels, going back to the earlier question. Indian and Pakistani environmental activists talk to each other. I think they exchange information. There are forums, neither in India nor Pakistan, where they can actually share the fact that some of these are very much shared problems and there are solutions to them.

Sunil Amrith:
I think there is a movement in Pakistan, particularly after the terrible floods of 2010, to think about the implications of climate change, thinking about the implications of that particular water infrastructure that Pakistan has become so dependent upon. And how it is in fact, the intensely engineered landscape that made floods so bad. And I think there is a movement within Pakistan, albeit on a small scale, that allows you think about perhaps other models. They may not come from India, I think there are many other places that re just as lacking.

Speaker 1:
Well, I think that takes us to the end of this evening’s formal program. Please, join me in thanking Sunil for his insights and really thoughtful questions about water in this part of Asia.

 

4/16/19: Emerging Environmental Issues in South Asia

 

Room 505
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

About the Event:

Out of respect for our excellent panelists, and in order to facilitate a more open and candid discussion, we would like to make you aware that this event will be off the record and not for attribution. Please refrain from bringing any media or recording devices, and please do not publish the content of the event.

As the nations in South Asia continue their progress in development, environmental issues are often neglected or relegated to lesser importance than economic issues. Our esteemed panel will discuss emerging issues in South Asia related to: water scarcity, renewable energy, climate mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable growth, international trade, and more.

About the Speakers:

Ashley Johnson is a project manager with the Trade, Economic, and Energy Affairs group at NBR. In this capacity, Ms. Johnson provides research and management support for the Pacific Energy Summit and Innovative Asia initiatives. Her research interests include environmental sustainability in China and South Asia, energy security, and economic trends in the Asia-Pacific. Her expertise has been featured in various media outlets, including Nikkei Asian Review, the Guardian, the Associated Press, and BBC World News. Prior to joining NBR, she interned in the Consular Section of the Consulate General of the United States in Shanghai, China.

Michael Kugelman, the Deputy Director of the Asia Program and Senior Associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center, is a leading specialist on Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan and their relations with the United States. The editor or co-editor of 11 books, he has written for The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and other publications, covering topics ranging from U.S. policy in Afghanistan to terrorism to water, energy, and food security in the region.

Maesea McCalpin is a program manager and research associate with the CSIS Simon Chair in Political Economy’s Reconnecting Asia Project. In this role, she helps lead a team of researchers that map and analyze new infrastructure developments across the Eurasian supercontinent. She provides research and program support on a range of issues impacted by Asia’s evolving connectivity landscape, including trade, development, geostrategy, and China’s Belt and Road initiative. Previously, she worked as a program coordinator and research assistant for the Reconnecting Asia Project. She received her B.A. in international studies from Virginia Commonwealth University and her M.A. in international relations from American University’s School of International Service.

Elijah Patton
George Washington University | Elliott School of International affairs
Organization of Asian Studies, Director of South Asia Affairs

4/15/19: A Conversation with T.V. Paul

 

Monday, April 15, 2019
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Room 113
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

About the Event:

This event is open to the public and off the record.

Join the Security Policy Studies Program in welcoming Dr. T.V. Paul, James Mcgill Professor of International Relations at McGill University in Montreal, for our Guest Speakers’ Series in Security Policy Analysis. 

The speakers’ series offers SPS and Elliott School students the opportunity to experience and learn from some of the most influential security experts and scholars in security policy. In particular, it provides our students with a forum to sharpen their analytical skills by being exposed to critical ideas and debates from some of the top critical thinkers. Guest speakers include both practitioners and scholars; primarily people who are contributing pioneering research and shaping the study of peace and conflict. Such people are not only intrinsically interesting to hear, but are role models well suited to demonstrating the importance of studying peace and conflict matters rigorously and applying analytical training to policy analysis.

About the Speaker:

T.V. Paul is James McGill Professor of International Relations in the department of Political Science at McGill University. Paul specializes and teaches courses in international relations, especially international security, regional security and South Asia. He is the author or editor of 18 books (all published through major university presses) and nearly 60 journal articles or book chapters. In September 2018, Paul became a Fellow (Elected) of the Royal Society of Canada. T.V. Paul was elected as the 56th President of International Studies Association and on March 17, 2016 he took charge as ISA President for 2016-17.

4/23/2019: Shared Values in U.S.-Taiwan Relations: Strengthening Democracy Through Open Governance

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Lindner Commons, 6th floor
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

About the Event:

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the Institute for International Economic Policy cordially invite you to “Shared Values in U.S.-Taiwan Relations.”

Open. Collective. Experimental. Sustainable. Taiwan’s first Digital Minister Audrey Tang will address what happens when people who grew up on the internet get their hands on the building blocks of government. As a self-described “conservative anarchist” and a so-called “white-hat hacker,” Minister Tang will show how she works with her team to channel greater combinations of intelligence into policy-making decisions and the delivery of public services. Minister Tang will also discuss “tech for good” and how Taiwan is “SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) indexing everything.

Agenda:

12:00 – 12:05: Welcome remarks and introduction by Sigur Center for Asian Studies Director Benjamin Hopkins
12:05 – 12:25: Keynote Address by Minister Audrey Tang
12:25 – 12:45: Discussant commentary from Prof. Susan Aaronson and Prof. Scott White (both with GW)
12:45 – 1:15: Moderated Q&A with the audience – Dr. Deepa Ollapally
1:15 – 1:45: Conclusion and lunch

 

 

Audrey Tang (唐鳳) is the Digital Minister of Taiwan. Minister Tang is known for revitalizing the computer languages Perl and Haskell, as well as building the online spreadsheet system EtherCalc in collaboration with Dan Bricklin. In the public sector, Minister Tang serves on the Taiwan National Development Council’s open data committee and K-12 curriculum committee; and led Taiwan’s first e-Rulemaking project. Minister Tang joined the cabinet as the Digital Minister on October 1st, 2016. In the private sector, Minister Tang works as a consultant with Apple on computational linguistics, with Oxford University Press on crowd lexicography, and with Socialtext on social interaction design. In the third sector, Minister Tang actively contributes to Taiwan’s g0v (“gov-zero”), a vibrant community focusing on creating tools for the civil society, with the call to “fork the government”. 

Dr. Scott J. White is an Associate Professor and Director of the Cybersecurity Program and Cyber Academy, George Washington University. He holds a Queen’s Commission and was an Officer with the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command. In addition, following his doctoral studies, Dr. White was an Officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. In 2010, Dr. White joined MONAD Security Audit Systems as an Associate Consultant. Dr. White has consulted with a variety of law enforcement agencies in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Bristol (Bristol, England).

Susan Ariel Aaronson is a Research Professor of International Affairs and GWU Cross-Disciplinary Fellow at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. She is also a Senior Fellow at the think tank Center for International Governance Innovation (GIGI) in Canada. Aaronson’s research examines the relationship between economic change and human rights. She is currently directing projects on digital trade and protectionism, and she also works on AI and trade and a new human rights approach to data. She holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. 

Dr. Deepa M. Ollapally is the Associate Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and Director of the Rising Powers Initiative. As Research Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University, Dr. Ollapally is directing a major research project on power and identity and the worldviews of rising and aspiring powers in the Indo-Pacific. Her research focuses on domestic foreign policy debates in India and its implications for regional security and global leadership of the U.S. She holds a PhD from Columbia University.

 

Transcript

Benjamin Hopkins, Director, Sigur Center:
All right, well I see it’s 10 after 12:00, so why don’t we go ahead and get started. It is my great privilege to welcome everyone to today’s event, which, fortunately, we are able to host Minister Tang from Taiwan who has joined us today. I should note today’s event is being not only held in-person, but it is also being live-streamed and actually what you see up here is the Minister has very kindly set up, as part of the live-streaming, the opportunity to ask questions, submit questions online. So either please scan the barcode, or go to Sli.do, and have your questions coming in during the presentation, and at the end when we open up to Q&A, we’ll take some of those questions from online. My name is professor Ben Hopkins. I’m the director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. We are the university center for Asian Studies, and we have a long lasting and close relationship with TECRO, and a great interest in Taiwan, so it’s a great privilege today to welcome you all to one of our annual Taiwan events. That’s really all I have to say except to introduce Deepa Ollapally [Associate Director], who is today’s moderator and will introduce the Minister herself. So, Deepa.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Good morning everyone, or good afternoon. I’m really honored to be able to do the introduction for Minister Audrey Tang. When I was looking at her bio, there’s so many things that one could talk about. The first word that came to my mind was, “wow,” so here’s somebody who has that wow factor, if I may. Minister Tang is the first Digital Minister of Taiwan, and I would say one of Asia’s most innovative and exciting thought leaders and activists on governance and the use of digital space for that. Minister Tang serves on the Taiwan National Development Council’s Open Data Committee, the K-12 Curriculum Committee, and she also led Taiwan’s first e- Rulemaking project. Minister Tang works on a variety of consulting with Apple, works with Oxford University Press on crowd lexicography, and with social text on social interaction design. Also, actively still contributes to gov-

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Zero.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
“g0v-zero,” a vibrant community with the call to “fork” the government, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t mispronounce that word. Careful to say that. Let me just say a few things up about Minister Tang that I found particularly interesting. Minister Tang started her work with computers at a very early age. I think the first thing that she did was create a educational game for the Minister’s younger brother. Also showed, I think, a lot of personal courage because at 15, she left school, with the blessings of the head teachers, and went on to start a company out of many companies along the way, and at the ripe old age of 33, I think, decided to retire from the private sector and focus on the public sector. And so, I really wanted to – what I think the Minister has called “deliberative democracy,” to start that kind of a movement on that. And finally when, in 2016, when the Minister was asked to be the first Digital Minister and joined the government, apparently she was asked to write a job description, and I happened to read the job description online.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
It was a poem, which was I think very innovative, very inspirational, and very intelligent, and kind of irreverent and fun, and I had a feeling that those words probably describe the Minister herself personally and professionally. With that, I would invite you to come up, and just one small thing. I just also wanted to mention that I haven’t – If you look around the room, there are some very interesting photographs that TECRO has kindly brought with them. These are in the back, on these easels in the back, and some of them have photos of the Minister as well, engaging in dialogue between US and Taiwan on things that some of you may know about, the GCTF [Global Cooperation and Training Framework] and so forth, which has been in the forefront of fighting fake news, which certainly in Washington it would be very welcome. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Thank you so much. All right, really a pleasure to be here to share with you some stories and I see that people online have, even in this room, have already started asking questions, and so may I remind people to like each other’s questions. The questions with the most number of likes flow to the top, and top questions get answered faster like this one. So what does “fork the government” even mean? So in computer programming, “fork” means taking something that’s going to a direction, and change its governance model by splitting the governance committee and developing it in the other way, but it doesn’t actually destroy the original work, it actually creates a copy. So you’ll hear it in Bitcoin, blockchain governance in other ways that basically says take something and run to a different direction with the hope to merge in the future. And so the G0v community does that professionally. G0v is a domain name that is literally G-0-V dot T-W [g0v.tw], And for each of the government services that a G0v activist doesn’t like, or think the government should do but haven’t been doing, that G0v activist does a shadow government website. For example, the legislative is L-Y dot G-O-V dot T-W [ly.gov.tw]. Predictably the shadow legislative in G0v is L-Y dot G-0-V dot T-W [ly.g0v.tw]. So it solves the discover problem. You don’t have to Google search for anything. You just take a existing government website, change a O to a zero, and get to the shadow government, and the government that’s built by the G0v always relinquish copyright, so by the next procurement cycle, the government can just merge it back right in. And I’ll show a few examples of the G0v project that became national websites and national services, so it’s a way to gently push the government by creating essentially a standby version that is the “fork” of the service with the intention to be merged back. So keep the questions coming because we’re right now at zero questions. I’ll resume my ordinarily programmed slides, which is my talk.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
All right, today I would like to talk about the shared values in the US-Taiwan relations, and strengthening democracy through open governance. Now just to begin things, when we talk about crowdsourcing, or crowd collective intelligence, and things like that, usually what we say is that it’s a consultation about a specific domestic matter. Very rarely do we share the real agenda-setting power of what exactly are we going forward, why we’re going forward, the important priorities and so on, in a online way, mostly because of trolls. Now in Taiwan we’ve been perfecting the tool that is originally developed in San Francisco, I think in Seattle, called Polis. Polis is basically AI-moderated conversation that lets people resonate with each other’s statements, without the possibility to troll. Just last week actually we launched with the AIT [American Institute in Taiwan] the first of its kind, a digital dialogue of how Taiwan’s role in global community can be promoted, and we just crowdsourced people’s ideas and there’s zero trolls so far, just hundreds of very useful suggestions. So if you go to talkto dot A-I-T dot O-R-G dot T-W [talkto.ait.org.tw], you can see the system. This system very simply put, is that when you get there, you see one statement from a fellow, for example, Dr. Kharis Templeman from Stanford. And you can either agree or disagree with that statement, but there’s no reply button. As you press agree or disagree, the next statement shows up, and you can just press agree or disagree. As you do that, the avatar, that’s the blue circle, moves along the axis of different camps, you can see how close you are to your social media friends, and so on, and it produces automatically a chart that lists the divisive statements as well as the consensus statements. Now, most of the social media, indeed mainstream media over-focus on divisive statements, and essentially waste people’s time because people are not going to agree overnight on the divisive statements. Actually letting people have a reflective view of what people’s really consensus are gives us a pointer of which that we can say most of the people do agree on most of the things most of the time.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
That enables the US-Taiwan relations to go forward, because by the end of each two month cycle, the AIT would run a public forum that invites live experts and AIT personnel to discuss the top resonating statements, and how it may be integrated into the US-Taiwan relationship. And so the forum promotes what is going to be the four topics the next eight months or so, and I welcome everybody to participate. One of the most resonating statements, colored red here, it’s from Dr. Templeman here, so I’ll just read it aloud. “Taiwan is on the front lines of global confrontation with authoritarianism. Taiwan can work with the US to promote our shared values of protection of rule of law, freedom of speech and assembly, religious tolerance and pluralism, and the voice of ordinary citizens in government.” I think this kind of system explained the part about voice of ordinary citizens in government, but of course the other shared values are very important as well, especially there we’re really in the front line confronting authoritarianism. This is from a website called a CIVICUS monitor, where the human rights activists use to monitor how free any given county are, and it’s in the level of open, narrow, obstructed, repressed to closed based on how many human rights violations, or violations on freedom of speech and assembly and incidents and so on. As you can see, in our part of the world, Taiwan is really the only place that can be called at fully open, meaning that there’s no obstruction whatsoever on people’s freedom of speech and assembly. This is in direct contrast with a nearby jurisdiction, the PRC [People’s Republic of China, colloquially “mainland China”], which is evolving very quickly to a different direction. I’ll just make a couple quick contrasts. For example, with the relationship between the state and the citizen, people have perhaps heard of the social credit system that is covered with a mandatory education app, and that is in the PRC, and people are blocked from the freedom of traveling and of assembly and so on because of their lack of conformation to the social credit system.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Whereas in Taiwan, we use exactly the same internet technology, but the other way around, we make the government transparent to the people, and this is the inaugural G0v project, actually, it starts as budget dot G0v dot T-W [budget.g0v.tw]. This shows a interactive chart of all the different budget items in the national budget, and people can draw down to each of the thousands of year-long projects, and see all the KPIs [key performance indicators], all the procurements made, all the different assessments that a national DEMA council did and so on, and the for real time commentary. Back in 2012, the commentary is mostly people chatting among themselves. Now it’s part of the national regulations. So in an e-participation sent to join the G-O-V dot T-W, not only you can see the budget, but you can also participate in the agenda setting. Once people comment on any piece of budget there are career public servants dedicated to just respond immediately without actually going through middle persons, like the MPs [members of Parliament] or the mainstream media. That actually enabled the MPs and the mainstream media to have a lot more open source intelligence and to work on top of that to give more good investigative reporting, and the public servant doesn’t have to pick up 30 phone calls, one after another, asking about the same thing essentially. While there was initially some resistance, now all the different ministries have adopted it, and so you can see literally all our budgets there, making the government transparent to the people not the other way around. Another contrast could be made between the state and the private sector. Whereas, as we understand doubts now, even in Hong Kong, but mostly in PRC, any company above a certain size need to have a CCP [Chinese Communist Party] party branch. Now, in Taiwan, it’s the other way around. Our regulatory co-creation system, our sandbox system, is designed so that instead of the party, or the ruling party, or the state directing the direction of the companies, as those party branches are want to do, we asked the companies to essentially break regulations and let us know about it.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
The sandbox system is designed so that anyone can work with any municipality and say, “Hey, I want to experiment in platform economy, and AI [artificial intelligence]-based banking, and self-driving vehicles, and whatever that our regulators did not think about.” And so we agree to not fine them or punish them for a year. But in return, they must engage in open innovation and share all the data and assessments with the wider public. By the end of the year, if the public thinks it’s a good idea, then it becomes regulation basically. And if the public doesn’t think it’s a good idea, where we thank the investors for paying the tuitions for everyone, and the next innovator need to start somewhere after that. This is basically having the social innovation leading regulatory innovation. It’s planning in the UK with Fintech, but we’re now really using this model for pretty much everything.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
As Vice President [Mike] Pence said last October, I believe, Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows the better path for all the Chinese people. Indeed, I would say all the people. But on the other hand, this actually creates a contrast to the kind of legitimacy, or lack thereof, of the PRC, which is I think partly why the PRC have been kind of aggressing lately. This background is kind of a inside joke, it’s a censorship of a pretty harmless popular game, called “Devotion” on the Steam gaming platform, just because the red seal there happened to contain the name of the president, Xi Jinping, and that’s the only reason. Otherwise it’s a really harmless game, but it gets censored nevertheless. We see a lot of such kind of bravado in all sorts of different confrontations, and even flying the jets over the middle of the Strait, and things like that. I think none of these are a projection of power, none of these are power projections. They are projection of insecurity. But of course Taiwan is not alone in facing such aggressions, especially around the AIT@40 Event, we have many supporters coming from the US, and we launched a digital dialogue, even though the day we launched the digital dialogue, there’s large scale military action in our surroundings by the PRC. I think that again shows the insecurity. But in any case, we are very welcome, our international like-minded countries in support of furthering our democracy.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
I’ll just say a couple of things about protecting the security of our democracy that we’ve been developing in the past couple years. First, we’re securing our elections against foreign tampering, and tampering takes many, many forms. It could take forms of precision targeted advertisement over social media or regular media. This is actually something that we’ve seen worldwide, that people basically weaponize social media in order to influence elections. I think that is also because Taiwan has one of the world’s most advanced campaign donation laws, the most transparent one, so that all the donation records are actually going to be released, I think, this June for the previous election in machine readable format, essentially Excel spreadsheets. It’s individual records, not just summaries and so on. Because we are that transparent, that means that people, and of course only domestic people can donate to campaigns. And so people with other means of influence usually choose advertisements over campaign donations in order to support their candidates. We’re changing our laws, quite a few laws. We introduced the equivalent of the Honest Ad Act here in Taiwan’s legal system. It’s currently in the parliament and going to be passed soon, that we hold campaign donations and advertisement over social or any other digital media to the same standard for radical transparency. We’re making sure that any disinformation campaign narratives gets exposed, and we’ve developed a notice and public notice system, partnering with the E2E [end to end] encrypted chat application vendor LINE in order to put additional accountability, so that when people see a spreading of disinformation, there is a counter-narrative showing in the same tab in the same app. We attach such clarifications in real time in partnership with our civil society fact checkers. And in this, I think the US has played a really good role, a positive role, through the GCTF training framework. I think I’m in that photo. That’s when we trained the journalists in the Indo-Pacific region, not just bilaterally, but everybody in the region, about how to expose disinformation, how to basically communicate effectively on various information manipulation campaign, and the GEC, the Global Engagement Center, has also provided ample funding opportunity for the civic tech, and other developers in the private and social sector to develop component measures for this regard, and we’re very grateful about that.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Of course we’re also working on cyber security. You may have heard that just last week we published the so called Black List of non-security visor spying they use in our government properties and by the government personnel, and people working in critical infrastructures, and this is actually just the latest of a progression of development. I remember around six years ago when we were just deploying the 4G networks. There was a question from one of the telecommunication vendors that whether they can use devices from the PRC, and our National Security Council and the National Communication Commission at the time decided that while they are market players, at that point, when there is escalation, everybody knows that in the PRC market, actors become non-market actors through one means or another. So because of that, during the 4G deployment, we said explicitly that nobody in critical infrastructure or communication infrastructure in forward use should use PRC components, market actor, or otherwise. Of course we continued this into 5G, and now people are waking up to it. We’re really happy that people are waking up to it. And so we of course again work closely with the US automated indicator sharing, and on US CERRT, that’s the Computer Emergency Rapid Response Team, and things like that. We also share our training frameworks. But of course protecting the facilities and institutions of democracy, the basic cybersecurity and election security, is really so that we can do innovation. And the innovation that I’m particularly in charge of, it’s called Open Government. The US, of course, is the founding member of the Open Government Partnership, currently at the fourth national action plan from the Trump administration. We use the same ideas of Open Government internally in Taiwan as well, that is to say to make the government transparent, participative, accountable, and also inclusive in a sense that we bring the technology to the space of people, rather than asking people to come to the space of technology, and so perhaps, unique in the world.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
We establish what we call the Participation Office (PO) in that wake. I think that Italy is copying this network with their Ministry for Direct Democracy. The idea is very simple. In every ministry there is a team of people, just like offices talking with media, or offices talking with the parliament. There’s offices talking with emergent issues that are going to be a network to collective action. Basically we meet with the protesters before they actually go to the street, because maybe they just want an invitation to the kitchen, so to speak, so we co-create solutions on any and all emergent social and cross-ministry or inter-agency issues. Indeed my office is 22 people, and in Taiwan’s 32 ministries I can poach at most one person from each ministry, and so this is an entirely horizontal cross-cutting, inter-agency digital strategy. The PO network, extended network, is about a hundred people strong in each and every ministry. So whenever there is a, for example e-petition and so on, we work on collaborative meetings that invites all the stakeholders together, and we indeed travel to the place. For example, this is Hengchun, the south most of Taiwan, a popular tourism place. They petitioned, many thousand people petitioned, for the deployment of Black Hawk helicopters to their local airport to serve as ambulance cars, because they’re 90 minutes away from any major hospital, and diving accidents are sometimes fatal because of that. But the Minister of Health and Welfare has said, “Okay, we apply for a larger hospital, and at the different deployment, but there’s no funding from the NDC [National Development Council]. Maybe the NDC can consider working with the Minister of Transportation.” And the Transportation said, “Building a faster highway. We’re still evaluating on that, maybe not this year. The budget, it’s really not there, maybe the Aviation Committee can say something.”

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
The Aviation Committee says, “We don’t have extra Black Hawks, and the Minister of Interior, maybe Ministry of Defense can say something,” and so on. This is the usual shape of inter agency things, but because of Participation Officers, now we’re the PO network, we have, on the regulator level what we call the Ice Bucket Challenge Clause. This is if a Agency or Ministry A think B should own it, if B think C should own it, if C thinks D and D thinks A should own it, then I’m sorry but everybody travels to Hengchun, everybody owns it. And so six, seven actually, ministries all traveled with me to Hengchun, and we met with all the local stakeholder and youth in exactly the same livestream, Sli.do, and so on, with technologies to pinpoint exactly the common values across all those different positions. Then we understood finally that people want to trust their local clinicians more and that outside, they don’t even have the place to serve as dormitory, or to do training, and things like that. So we settled on a plan that is actually what we call Pareto improvement that leaves nobody worse off, and improves people’s life generally. Because this was live-streamed, so the legitimacy is really, really high. People can really see that all the different factions locally have, after summoning us to Hengchun, agreed on this solution and I talk with the Premier. Every couple weeks, we do a collaboration meeting, and next Monday I meet with the Premier and send a synthetic document to the Premier’s office, and so they commit to really a large amount of money.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of Taiwan:
I think $400 million Taiwan New Dollars or something to really drastically rebuild that local hospital facility and fly over the doctors from Kaohsiung to train there instead of flying people to Kaohsiung which, of course, this new solution is much safer. In OCP-TW you can see 43 or so cases that we’ve done in a radically transparent manner. I joined the cabinets to work with, not for, the government and there were three conditions for me to work in the cabinet and that our (1) radical transparency, everything that I hold as a chair, every meeting that I convene, we publish the entire transcript in 10 working days to the internet, and with (2) location independence I would get to work anywhere so this is my office in the social innovation lab in Taiwan and (3) anyone can apply for 40 minutes of chunk of my time. It’s my office hours every Wednesday from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM and the only conditions that you need is to agree for me to publish our conversation online. And so that’s my office hour. Finally, voluntary association as I said, I don’t command my colleagues, they come literally from each and every ministry. So we use pure horizontalism to make sure that we figure out if our projects are of use to everybody. So the regional association of innovation organization tour, which we re-index all our work using the sustainability development goal [SDG] logos that we really put everywhere on name cards, tee shirts, and whatever. We made sure that we travel to the local association innovators working on one or more SDGs and telecommunicate back to the association innovation lab and making sure all the 12 ministries are there. People see each other across the screen and can really solve across a ministry of issues that are related to regional revitalization.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of Taiwan:
There’s many, many other networks internally that we’re expanding outreach and even citywide participation office in LX. This methodology, we of course publish on this social archive “dot-archive” as papers and also as comic books. That’s our training material in six languages including indigenous, because everything is publicly online, we do get a lot of inquiries from the Civic Tech and Gulf Tech communities in all these great cities that are experimenting with this kind of open governance. We have lots of allies, we run workshops, and we’re very happy to share our open confidence approaches in the Indo-Pacific and also abroad. I would just like to conclude with the new consultation platform that the AIT in Taiwan has established to gather the Indo-Pacific democratic governance consultation. I think the first one will be in September around human rights and other issues concerning regional democracy and we’re very happy to share what we have learned to regionally and do whatever we can to assist others around the world who are pursuing progress in their own countries. Thank you very much.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Thank you very much, if you could join us at the table for the next part. Thank you so much for that really vivid talk. All I can say is that it’s too bad we can’t clone you and send you across the globe to start this kind of a movement. Following the minister’s talk we have two of my colleagues from George Washington University to give a short commentary and some reflections on digital space and governance issues and their own views on some of those and their own findings too round out the remarks. First we will start with Dr. Susan Aaronson. She’s a research professor of international affairs at the Elliott School. She’s also a senior fellow at the Think Tank Center for International Governance Innovation in Canada. Susan is currently directing projects on digital trade and protectionism. She also works on artificial intelligence, trade, and a new human rights approach to data. It dovetails very nicely with what the Minister just laid out and Susan holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins University. Following Dr. Aaronson, Dr. Scott White will give his remarks. He is an associate professor here at the George Washington and also he directs the new Cybersecurity Program and Cyber Academy, which is an interesting and new educational platform. Dr. White holds a Queen’s Commission and was an officer of the Canadian Force’s Intelligence Command. So he brings a securities background to this discussion as well. After he did his PhD, he was an officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency. He has consulted with a variety of law enforcement agencies across the globe and he yields a PhD from University of Bristol in the UK. With that, let me ask Susan to lead off.

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
Hi everybody and nice to see you here. And thank you Minister Tang. It’s an honor to come follow you given all the good that you’ve done in the world. So Deepa asked me to try to focus my presentation thinking about this in the context, both of my own research and also of China and China’s thinking -You should know this by now right? You need a mic- but I decided to do something different from what Deepa asked, and what I’d like to do is put it in a larger context of the world in which we live today and the role of technology and then what can the United States – an aging democracy – learn from this vibrant new democracy.

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
The reason I’m saying that is because I used to teach corruption, and when I taught it, I learned that attacking corruption is all about trust. It’s all about building trust and forging, anti-corruption counterweights built on trust. It’s in that context that I’ll comment on some of the innovations that Minister Tang has done. So thinking about this in terms of technologies, we can be techno-optimist so we can be techno-pessimists and I’d rather be neither because I think technologies, especially data driven technologies, have given us both the best and the worst of times. I would say today, almost every democratic society from Sweden to Taiwan to the United States, is threatened by corruption, inequality, terrorism, and technology tools that both improve our lives and threaten our quality of life. And one reason I think is that these new technologies contribute to a decline in trust and a rise in distrust. They’re not the same thing. They’re two very distinct things. Trust is the social capital that enables good governance in the rule of law, but no one knows how to build trust once it’s lost. That I think is a key problem if you want to achieve good governance. So let’s compare the United States and Taiwan. Trust in government has been declining and in institutions in the United States have been declining for a really long time. In Taiwan obviously in some areas it’s declining, but in other areas it’s on the rise. So Minister Tang has said her approach builds on trust. And her premise is, from what I read that you wrote: if the government trusts the people with agenda setting power, then the people can make democracy work.

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
What has she done to achieve that objective? Again I’m not criticizing it, I want to highlight it. So she’s created a multi-prong strategy and infrastructure for a more effective feedback loop. Individuals can influence government and government, hopefully, hears what the people are saying and responds to it. I think her idea of participation officers is really quite brilliant. The problem is, it does nothing to really build that trust. And I think that’s something that you need to figure out how to do in a time of misinformation, which is another different thing in alternative facts. Another thing that Taiwan has done, the minister spoke about this, is using crowdsourcing to improve law and regulation. And a lot of governments have been experimenting with this. I’m ambivalent about it because it tends to be special interests that care about this that are involved in it. Nonetheless, I think it can build the trust; that’s why I’m ambivalent. On one hand you don’t get average people, but you do get them to see the government is responsive and get them involved. I think that’s a really, really good thing. It also seems like it started to work on issues in Taiwan. That is really impressive, a consensus approach built on dialogue. Okay. It’s interesting to see. We looked at where is Taiwan in terms of open government, governing data, and honestly to my amazement, Taiwan, if you like beauty contests, ranking, perception metrics, Taiwan ranks number one in the open data governance index score and that’s pretty impressive. All those things are things that Minister Tang has achieved and Taiwan has achieved. But I want to just put it in the larger context of technological things and then I’ll shut up.

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
Misuse of data is forcing us to rethink a lot of things that we took for granted as goods; and a good #1 is trade. In terms of trade, every government, and believe me I’ve been looking, I’ve spent two years looking, every government has some degree of what I call data nationalism. They want to control certain types of data and they have all sorts of excuses: “because it’s personal data”, “because it’s a secret data”, etc., and that challenges us to rethink whether or not openness is an inherent good and if trade is an inherent good. We have to think “what is a barrier today in openness and what isn’t”? “What is necessary public policy”? That’s just something to think about and I don’t know if Taiwan has thought about that. Number two, more and more companies, and strangely enough these companies have meant to be US and Chinese, are organizing and owning more and more of the world’s data. I find that deeply scary and I don’t understand why more and more scholars are not thinking about this. So Google’s mission as an example, is to organize the world’s data. That’s the mission statement of the company? Is that appropriate? And that company, which I think is to do good, but certainly doesn’t in everything, has so much of the world’s public, personal, and proprietary data. And just so that you know it, anytime a company takes your personal data and creates an algorithm and tries to come up with whether it’s an ad or it’s a solution to a problem, that company owns that solution and owns that data. So much data and so much of the solutions to many of the world’s problems are going to reside in companies. And that’s going to have huge effects on democracy. But it’s also what we call information asymmetry, if you study economics.

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
Other nations and companies can’t effectively challenge the market power of these firms. And then finally we have seen some of these firms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have become tools that both, on one hand support democracy, and undermine democracy. More and more of these companies are being asked to do the job of government and what do I mean by that? That is to make decisions about data, in your data and my data, but also data that is essential to knowledge. There, they have to make decisions as to when to take it down, how to take it down, and what to take down. I find that deeply disturbing in the future we’re going to need strategies to better help the public govern these companies as well as our governments. To better understand data use and misleads, to better understand the mixing of public, proprietary, and personal data sets. How will democracies like the United States and Taiwan educate our citizens about this? I have no idea, but I do know this: that is going to be an essential good governance and open governance question. Thank you.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
All right. Thank you. Thanks Susan for that broader context and for touching on your research at least and now to Scott White for further context and however he wants to contextualize that.

Scott White, Director, Cyber Security Program, GW:
Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you, Minister, they were lovely words. These are challenging times, for me personally. They are challenging times because I built a career on secrecy. I was in the intelligence services and secrecy of information is what we do and what we collect. But ultimately somewhere along that chain you have to disseminate that information, tell him that his officers realize that at some point along the continuum that information is going to be a value, must be disseminated to other partners to share and then operationalize. That in itself is a dichotomy. For me, having spent my career in secrecy to now find the optimal path is one of openness. You’re challenging me, Minister, at my very core. The problem we have is governments need to confront the challenge of cyberspace whilst being equal and just. Preserving innovation and honoring the social contract that it has between the citizens and the state whilst at the same time maintain security. Responsible governance then is new to cyberspace, but ultimately imperative. The model that our friends in Taiwan have expressed one of openness and accountability is a utopian state for us. But how do we get there? How do we get there, sir? Ma’am, ladies, and gentlemen? How do we get there? How do we get there whilst at the same time have security? We are confronted by a government, Madam Minister, were right beside you, that has spent a great amount of time and a great amount of money in creating probably the most dynamic social security force that we have seen. China has been very open with its concept of cyber sovereignty and the desire to extend its own ideas and its own ways of social governance to the cyber world. They’re in the midst of building the most expensive governance regime for cyberspace and information telecommunications that any country has seen in the world, recognizing that technology and the advances that are being made so quickly can not be controlled relatively easily by the government.

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
So as we have the expansion of technology and the growth of technology, so to do we have the desire to control in China. This leads us to a variety of issues that we have to deal with. How do we in democratic societies advocate for openness? Whilst at the same time, one of our large adversaries is moving mountains to create an environment of security and dare I say even social repression? When we do a security audit for Beijing, we find that the extent to government is well beyond that of just the society, just beyond the local governance, through the companies. And we see this presently in my old country of Canada, well the Americans asked for the arrest and detention of the vice president of Huawei. Huawei has just moved to 5G. Will we meet them there? Against this challenge we have a government that is an expansionist. We see China mobilizing in much of Africa now to assist the developing world and large projects, whilst at the same time we see Chinese government control in those societies. The social contract is there for China and its people. The social governance that they extend through the Communist Party makes it very clear, the ambitions of the Chinese government. How then do we confront this government whilst at the same time, as the Minister has said, create an open, honest environment for the people? That’s not just an academic question for us, it is a real life question. It is a real life question because democracy is being challenged around the world today. In fact, dare I say it’s being challenged here. Dare I say when we have a president who on occasion will ask members of his cabinet to engage in activities which we would deem not prejudicial to the best interest of the democracy.

Scott White, Director, Cyber Security Program, GW:
I know that we’re going to go to questions, so I won’t spend too much time. But the challenge again, for us, is: “How do we create a secure environment?” We know that model. Our friends in China are very cognizant of the model they use. It is the largest model that we see. Taiwan and India have introduced a new model for us. The Taiwan model is one of openness, fairness, accountability, all the things that we would like to see, and yet on the other hand, we have a very aggressive state moving, equally as dynamically, throughout the world to impose a different system. How do we engage in the cyber world? Commerce. Democracy. It is probably the greatest democratic tool we have right now. How do we engage there whilst at the same time protect our national security and therein protect the values that we share here in the United States, we share with our friends in Taiwan? Openness. Justice. All of the things that we were raised on and all of the things that our security forces spend a career maintaining. This is the dichotomy. This is the problem that we are confronted with. This is ultimately the challenge for security services. I’ll leave you with that and we’ll look forward to taking questions. Thank you very much.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Thank you very much, Scott. I’m delighted that we have two commentators who, one coming from much more radical openness to a more tempered set of views that are necessary to raise at this forum. So I think Minister Tang, you’ve opened an extraordinary conversation here that we have now a variety of ways in which to address it. And I know there are many questions. I don’t know what kind of your questions we have coming in, but if you don’t mind, I would actually like to take the first question, although I know there are many questions out here, I can’t resist. It’s a sort of straightforward question for you and that is the fact that this kind of open governance and your innovative system that you’ve introduced provides Taiwan a very important, what I would call, soft power in the international arena regionally in particular. Especially when, as you lay out, the difference between the PRC and Taiwan, there is that huge asymmetry of soft power in your favor. How does one, because I teach it, look at these things and how important is soft power at the end of the day? How would you formulate the use of soft power in projecting Taiwan in the international and regions surrounding?

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of Taiwan:
Certainly. My name card literally has a picture of the United Nations and which are there also and printed underneath it are the slogan: “How can I help,” which is a trending hashtag in Taiwan occasionally. “How can I help” summarizes how we’re postiring to the international community, basically saying that in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, because it is collectively agreed by PRC alike. By the year 2030 we’re going to focus on 169 issues in certain categories. Mainly the issues are structured and they can only be solved if across sectors people have reliable data, people can build partnerships on the reliable data, and get the innovation started and Taiwan starts to offer in medical governance, in the air quality, water quality, and what we call the CEBEL IOT [Internet of things] System, were all built in a open source way system that people can readily use without getting controlled by people in Taiwan. So you don’t have to be subservient to our innovations and networks to use and contribute to our open collaborative innovations. That’s actually the main message during the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) that was in New York, that I sent to our partners and my counterparts, in other countries that in any and each Sustainable Development Goals, there are models in Taiwan that we can offer to help in a non-colonial way.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Okay. Thank you so much. All right, I will now open the floor to questions as well as the virtual space here.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of Taiwan:
Anyone from the audience? “In the flesh” always takes priority.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Yes, and when you ask the question, please do identify yourself. Yes that gentlemen. I think we have a mic.

Leo Bosner, Q&A #1:
Thanks, I’m Leo Bosner, a disaster researcher doing work in Taiwan and Japan. My question for Dr. Aaronson, I think, how do we deal with this conflict I see, between soft power and trade? When President Trump just put in the tariffs against China, there was big article in the paper about a soybean farmer out West who’s really upset because now he can’t ship his soybeans to China and get the money he wants. And it seems like that fella really doesn’t care that China is throwing Muslims into concentration camps or undermining universities around the world. He just wants to sell the soybeans and make money. So how do we deal with that? How can that be addressed? But this way that trade in a way is undermining the whole democratization and soft power business. Or to put it is I think Lenin said, what’d he say? The capitalist will sell the rope that they use to hang them with, something like that?

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
Actually my true area of expertise, the bulk of my research has been on the relationship between trade rules and human rights. And it’s very difficult to measure how trade affects human rights. And I think your question is such an important one and I very much appreciate it, but I think you’re comparing two very different things. If I may? First thing is, is the problem that the farmer doesn’t think about the connections between trade and human rights? Is the problem that George, excuse me, that Donald Trump doesn’t care about human rights and is using trade policy as his main tool to bash a wide range of countries, including our allies? Is the problem that we all don’t understand how trade can enhance human rights and they can do so directly, indirectly, and overtime? And I would argue that China teaches a lesson that you do have more leverage with more trade, but I think we’re losing that leverage. But that doesn’t mean that it will directly enhance human rights. And in fact it can have simultaneously terrible effects on many human rights. But it doesn’t seem to me that the problem is with the farmer. The problem is us, that we didn’t do a good job of educating the farmer about the relationship between trade and human rights, which is complex and not so black and white. I have strong views on it, which is, I think more trade over time can instill more human rights, but it depends on the human right, and we just can’t bully China into changing. That authoritarian regime is determined to stay in power. More trade, less trade, whatever we do. Given that that’s a reality, how do we have more leverage over China on these issues? I believe it’s by partnering with other nations to work together to change the behavior of China, but we’re not doing that. And I think that’s the more worrisome problem. I think it’s very hard as more try. I mean I was recently in Switzerland and it looked to me, like I said, an awful lot of Chinese tourists. So should more Chinese people have the right to freedom to see other countries to get educated in other countries. I hope they’ll learn something about democratic values. That’s human nature, what a long way to the answer.

Leo Bosner, Q&A #1:
Okay.

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
Thank you for asking.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
All right, thank you. Yes, gentleman in the back. And then we’ll take a question from online.

Q&A #2:
I’ve wondered in Taiwan, are they addressing the situation in transportation, such as airbag issues, by using digital technology to track and follow problems like this and require repairs to the vehicles? It’s an international issue. We have the problem here with MITSA. It says here it’s been generally, fairly decent I understand, in automobile repairs. But now, with the new situation, with problems with aircraft repairs and issues on a new aircraft and this sort of occasion. Are they looking at this in Taiwan or US aircraft and are the, say, Toyota and Lexus vehicles, which have suffered many problems with unattended acceleration, has that been addressed at all? I think digital is a way of following all of this.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Mm-hmm (affirmative) yeah sure. So yes, but I don’t have many specific details but I do personally work on two cases that may be relevant. One is, we do use distributed ledger technology. People call it blockchain. Feel free to continue calling it blockchain, but I’m going to say it’s a district of ledgers. So we’re using DLTs [Distributed Ledger Technologies] to trend supply chain, but, honestly speaking, it starts with data that is not in the private sector but rather people’s measurements of air quality, water quality, like atmospheric, free of privacy concern data. Let’s do that, it’s very important because when Dr. Aaronson says that intel is number one in a global open data index, I want to emphasize that open data in Taiwan doesn’t only mean open government data, it means open data from the citizens’ side, from the private sectors in a true collaborative data-collaborative play. And so how do you generate trust between a supply chain of any manufacturing of a shipping line of so-called the “code storage” between a manufacturing of foods to its final safety space, and organic food and things like that? All of this needs people who don’t have implicit trust in each other to contribute data to account on, that people trust that cannot be mutated by any other party and when it makes sense to use distributed ledger technology, we do use the distributed ledger technology. And so how it is, I think one of them is in an advanced place t use blockchains for governance, maybe behind Estonia, who retroactively renamed the ID system to speed, to say that they were on blockchain before it had turned blockchain on PS . I think that we can’t really fight with that but in any case, we’re really progressing using distributed ledgers to give accountability across the different sectors. The other thing that I mentioned about a sandbox system. It’s really, the sandbox system is a data collaborative system designed to have trust of the entire, for example, self-driving cars just like the MCD, we have a proving ground for self-driving cars and other kinds of vehicles, and again the data arrangement as such, there are people who partner in such a data collective do – have not just the visibility to each other’s data, but for private data – they also have the ability to ship algorithms to one another and run the algorithms locally by the data operators and give out statistics that we can mathematically say it’s provably true or true within reasonable doubt. People did not fake it, that during their proving grounds, you start to mix it in the same box and so that’s a lot of technical detail. But basically, we incentivized by giving essentially one year monopolies, free from penalties from law, in exchange for such data collaboratives. And so that’s the two cases I have that may be potentially related to the question that you have. It was a business point of Aaronson’s question.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Scott White has a question…

Scott White, Director, Cyber Security Program, GW:
Madam Minister. How do you, and again the bravery is so apparent to me, how do you address the openness, the trust that you hold so true within your own security services?

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Well, very carefully.

Scott White, Director, Cyber Security Program, GW:
What is the solution?

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Well, the solution is really a hack. So as part of my running-for-transparency working condition, I don’t even look at state secrets. No state secret passes my office. My office has a dedicated personnel to handle confidential information. I don’t see any state secret whatsoever and when there is a military drill where the cabinet members are asked to go to the bunkers, I just take a day off. And so this is called physical isolation. So basically I don’t know anything about state secrets and therefore I cannot accidentally compromise them. I’m not advocating that everybody follows suit. There’s going to be people working on national security, but for example, on my work on cyber security and so on, I’m working on the general outline without getting into specific cases, which actually gets pretty far. I’m always on alert.

Scott White, Director, Cyber Security Program, GW:
Thank you.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Okay thank you. I’m going to ask Richard to read out one of the questions. I hear the second one on disinformation looks particularly interesting.

Richard Haddock, Program Coordinator, Q&A #4:
All right, so a threat of disinformation is that people could be persuaded, not necessarily that they are. How can g0v-zero help reveal how influential disinformation actually is?

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Okay, so I get to wear my civic hacker tech because the question asks about g0v-zero, not government, which gives us a much wider range to talk about. There are certain limitations to what a state can do for disinformation without going into state propaganda or censorship of information and say on. But a g0v-zero community has come up with a pretty good innovative solution and it’s called co-facts or collaborative fact-checking and there’s a bot called vocab, Cofacts bot. And so many people go the Cofacts website, which is Cofacts, not G-zero-V-dot-T-W. It’s not a government website that basically asks people to install bots basically and bots’ friends and whenever they see on WhatsApp, like channels in Taiwan, it’s called Line. It’s end to end encrypted. So the state doesn’t get to view what’s inside the envelope. But nevertheless, whenever people feel unsure about any information that people have passed to them, they can just simply forward to that bot and that bot will forward it to a group of collective fact checkers that basically just does two things.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
First, anything that’s flagged by two or more people gets a public URL. So that basically anything that’s trending, before they get weaponized, they get exposed. And so people inoculate against what’s potentially weaponizable misinformation and so that it doesn’t actually turn into disinformation. And a second thing is that once the collective fact checkers adds up the, you know, materials and write a clarification message to fact check if it’s false, partly true or things like that, the bots gets back to everybody who had forwarded that to the bot. And so it adds to the conversation without censoring anything away. And there’s many derivative point checkers. One on BBC and I think CNN got a mini e-bot, the LP Jade bot, that basically you can invite to your family chat rooms and channels and basically it takes every incoming message. It doesn’t store it, but it compares what’s inside the database of Cofacts. And if it’s fact checked as false, above a certain similarity, it just says on the family chat channel that this is fact checked as false and things are not what this says it’s are, and please view this no more. And so I think the idea is that it saves people from the effort to correct dear parents and their children that bought that stuff for them. And it’s so effective that we can literally see the trending map of the disinformation or misinformation campaigns. And also the data deadline economy. So after seeing the success of this civic tech, innovation now agrees, I think by June or so, to basically have this as one of their built-in features so that for anything, any message you can long press and forward it to the Cofacts and other fact-checking community as a built in function of the Line app itself and they’re going to allocate a time for real time clarification so that there’s a balance of views for everybody using that end to end encrypted system. And so the beauty of this is just as how we solve spam. We don’t solve spam by forcing everybody to disclose peoples’ emails’ contents to the government, rather we ask all this to email agents, what we say to the user agent, which is the vendors, to put a flag button too, so that people can flag something as spam and therefore voluntarily contribute to the international spam blocking network, the spam house project. And once it’s rated as spam, it’s not censored. It still goes to your mail box. It just goes to the junk mail folders so that you can check it when you have too much time. So it doesn’t waste people’s time on average, and this is the kind of agreement we’re reaching with social media companies such as Facebook that’s going to bow down the virality of things that are fact-checked as false by the international fact-checking network of which Taiwan is a member.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Thank you. I just want to follow up and ask, to what extent this is being adopted by other countries because it seems like a such a widespread problem, especially during elections, especially in India right now, there’s a lot of disinformation going on.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
That’s right. So I don’t actually manage the Cofacts project, but from what I’ve seen on GitHub and the public development that it’s been imported, adapted to WhatsApp. And I think because this really is a social construct. We have received a lot of interest from, like the coders of Japan, and the coders of Cofacts work internationally as long as there is at least three or four people who agree to meet every week to look at people’s flagged as rumor messages, you can get this crowdsourced fact-checking going. And so I think there’s many early attempts at the moment. But I don’t have any numbers as to whether it gets to the same degree as Line in Taiwan. I think that’s also because Line is not operating in the entire world, as entirely within the East Asia region. And so we basically chose Taiwan as the pilot site and see whether this does show accountability. Does Line actually make this information issue at least more visible to every search community and if it does work, I’m sure that other easily encrypted channels like WhatsApp and so on, will learn from this effort.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Okay. Thank you. Other questions from the audience? Yes. In the front, that one. There’s the mic back there.

Milo Hsieh, Intern, Q&A #5:
I’m Milo Hsieh. I’m an intern at the US-Taiwan Business Council. So I’m wondering if Taiwan is complying with the Sustainable Development Goals and has also complied with several other committees, like GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] –

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Of course.

Milo Hsieh, Intern, Q&A #5:
– and the UN’s two covenants. So I’m wondering what is the rationale between why Taiwan is so committed to complying to these international conventions and where you see this compliance going in the future?

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Well, because we can help, and I mean, if we’re not compliant ourselves, there’s no way that we can offer help to our diplomatic allies and like-minded countries. And so we really SDG [Sustainable Development Goal]-index everything, our CSR [corporate social responsibility] reports that our SDG index, I think, is ranked one of the highest in the world and also I think over 50% now. And our universities also index their working in social responsibility again within the SDG framework. So if you look at our voluntary national report that only outlines what the state commits to do, but, there’s very comparable reports on a dashboard. We’re going to introduce a dashboard shortly that you can just select any of the goals and see the different sectors in Taiwan and what they are they’re capable of contributing to. And we’re also giving out regional awards like the APSIPA, the Asia Pacific Social Innovation Partnership Award. Then it gives awards not to specific organizations or individuals, but to unlikely partnerships across countries and across different sectors in advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals. And so I think our top prize this year went to the “Stigondewa” fashion village lab that is part of the UN Creative City network. And so to answer your question, first step, we really have to be compliant because there’s a common language that allows sectors to talk to each other. It’s just common vocabulary. And the second thing is that because we’re willing to help, we also use this as a extended way to mark our existing efforts that you can see in our BMR and other social responsibility efforts.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
All right. Any other queries?

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Yes. Inside, gentleman over there.

Steve Travor, Congressional Staffer, Q&A #6:
My name’s Steve Traver. I work mostly on security issues related to Taiwan. And of course our primary concern are physical kinetic attacks and making sure the country’s prepared to deal with that. But our discussion today gets to a whole different sort of threat that we’re very worried about, and supporting our allies and Taiwan, which is a cyber attack, which we’ve brought up – and I don’t want to get into the details of the nature of that attack and what might happen and so on and so forth. What I’d really like to hear from someone who is dedicating their life to working with the young people in Taiwan: any kind of a sense from you of, do the young people in Taiwan have any sense of the threat that they’re under and do they feel a sense of urgency? So this is my question. Do they feel a sense of urgency in being prepared both individually and as part of a generation that’s going to have to confront this thing?

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Right. The answer is in an equivocal yes. But I wouldn’t say that before 2014 – I think 2014 really is the watershed year – it was the Sunflower Movement and the Occupy Movement where young people literally occupied the parliament for 22 days to put a stop to the Cross-Strait Service And Trade Agreement that was just fast-tracked through the parliament because, somehow constitutionally, a loophole makes that it doesn’t have to be subject to the same process that all the bilateral agreements have to go through because Beijing is a domestic city of Taiwan, you see? But in any case, in 2014, that constitutional loophole was viewed with some tolerance by the general population, but the Occupy [Movement] really brought it to everybody’s mind that we do have this constitutional loophole going on and people are willing to go to the street, half a million people on the street, many more online. And I was one of the persons who maintained a communication framework during the Occupy [Movement]. And so after the Occupy [Movement], I would say the younger generation do feel a sense of urgency of protecting our democratic way of life. And also that it made, for example, cyber security, a very popular choice of career for young people. Really being a white hat hacker in Taiwan ensured that you can get paid well, 5-7% of all government project procurement goes to cyber security, that you get to meet with president, additional minister personally once in a while and so on, so that they don’t fall to the dark side – which always has cookies – but in any case it makes cyber security and general awareness, a very popular thing in a young generation and they do see the PRC [People’s Republic of China] more as a conquering force. They don’t have any conception of the overlapping sovereignty and other kinds of ideologies that basically still appears in the mind of people who still remember the martial law.

Steve Travor, Congressional Staffer, Q&A #6:
Thank you.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
All right. We’ve actually come to the end of the program. I wanted just to make a couple of announcements. One, this is the last week of class, so I want to thank those of you who I know are very busy. Those of you came to hear the Minister and others speak. I also want to say that the photo exhibit, there are only eight of them right here, but we are working on a study of a larger, 40 plus set of photo exhibits in the future so stay tuned. We’re still working on trying to get that, to have an exhibit here at the Elliott School on that, kind of a journey of US-Taiwan relations, some of the key elements appear. And also we are having lunch right after. Yes, thanks for waiting patiently. Right outside in the hallway, we collect it and you can sit outside or come in here. And also – a thank you to IIEP [Institute for International Economic Policy] for advertising the event and joining us. And finally, let me just say what a tremendous honor and privilege it was to have you, Minister Tang, to grace us with your presence. And really I can see that you can ignite a movement almost on the sort of digital governance. And even I’m so inspired and excited. I’m someone who is a political scientist who shuns technology as much as I can. But you have really made it so accessible and so exciting. So thank you and thank you also to my fellow analysts here. Please join me.

11/21/2019: The Social Organization of the Unspoken: “Informal Organizations in Tajik/Afghan Badakhshan”

Thursday, November 21, 2019
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Lindner Commons, Room 602
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

About the Event:

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies would like to invite you to attend this discussion in celebration of the forthcoming book, Informal Organizations in Tajik/Afghan Badakhshan by Suzanne Levi-Sanchez, Ph.D. This book explores the relationship of informal organizations to the state, civil society, and kinship networks. The fieldwork spanned six years on and off along both sides of the Tajik/Afghan border in Badakhshan doing ethnographic fieldwork, interviewing informal leaders, state officials, civil society leaders, and activists as well as doing focus group discussions. While in both Tajik and Afghan Badakhshan there are various civil society organizations and at the same time, strong kinship networks, there is also this layer in-between – the informal organizations. The context in which the informal organizations interact with the state and/or kinship ties changes their role and influence. Through detailed case studies, this research examines how informal organizations operate. Specifically, the book describes how they intersect with kinship networks and the state, and/or provide a buffer from state control as well as how they mediate between civil society and the state and familial networks, and how they differ depending on the context in which they are embedded.

Associate Director Dr. Deepa Ollapally will moderate the Q&A. 

The event is free and open to the public. Chatham House rules apply; not for public attribution. Lunch will be provided. 

Suzanne Levi-Sanchez, Ph.D. is the Assistant Professor for National Security Affairs at U.S. Naval War College. She is an experienced educator, field researcher, and analyst with subject matter expertise in Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, political identity, informal institutions, local leadership, borders, ethnographic methods, and gender. Her background includes intensive research on Iranian culture and politics as well as six years on and off on the border of Tajikistan and Afghanistan studying how local leaders and organizations impact border and state stability as well as drug, human, weapons, and gemstone trafficking.

Deepa Ollapally (moderator) is directing a major research project on power and identity and the worldviews of rising and aspiring powers in Asia and Eurasia. Her research focuses on domestic foreign policy debates in India and its implications for regional security and global leadership of the U.S.

Dr. Ollapally has received major grants from the Carnegie Corporation, MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Asia Foundation for projects related to India and Asia.

She is a frequent commentator in the media, including appearances on CNN, BBC, CBS, Reuters TV, and the Diane Rehm Show.

4/19/19: Creating a Life- Composing a Career: A Talk With Dr. Jennifer Hong of USDE

Friday, April 19, 2019
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Room 505
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

About the Book:

Love is all that is certain… As a fifteen-year-old coming of age during the Japanese colonial period in Korea (1910-1945), Sa Mi revels in her status as her parents’ youngest and most beloved daughter as she seeks to stave off her recent ascent into womanhood. Fate’s mighty hand, however, strikes down, leaving Sa Mi to grasp at love and memory as her life makes an abrupt and inevitable turn. Beloved Sa Mi is Book One of the series A River Han. This historical family drama follows Sa Mi as she navigates her life and raises her growing family amidst the threat of the Japanese and a society upended. Throughout her trials, her mother’s words regarding the certainty of love and love alone, echo within Sa Mi as she finds herself constrained in her roles as a wife to a man who cannot control his vice, and as a mother to a growing arsenal of strangers. At the end of the colonial period, Sa Mi’s children are forced to reckon with a new world order, a social status that is no longer relevant, and an ideological conflict that threatens to split their country and families apart. Beloved Sa Mi provides a glimmer into the folly, frailty, and fortitude of the human heart.

*Copies of A River Han: Beloved Sa Mi will be available for sale!

Dr. Jennifer Hong is the author of this book and currently has a role in education policy at the U.S. Department of Education.

4/8/2019: Japan’s defense buildup in 1980s: Back to the Balance of Power Politics?

Part of the East Asia NRC’s Current Issues in East Asia Series.

Monday, April 8, 2019
2:00 PM – 3:15 PM

Chung-wen Shih Conference Room, Suite 503
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

About the Event:

In the New Cold War era of the 1980s, Japan expanded its defense buildup. Japan began the common studies regarding the protection of 1000 miles Sea lane of communication with the United States. Moreover, SDF acquired the Aegis Combat System, the next generation support fighter (F-2) and increased the number of P-3C and F-15. Additionally, Nakasone administration abolished the 1% of GNP ceiling for defense budget.

Do those changes in Japan’s security policy imply a return to the balance of power politics? Could Soviet threat and pressure from United States explain Japan’s policy in 1980s? Are there any other more important factors? Mr. Wang will explain those questions in the seminar.

Mr. Wang Rui is a PhD student in Keio University, Japan. He is currently a visiting scholar in The Sigur Center for Asian Studies.

Mike M. Mochizuki – Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University, Specialist in Japanese politics