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The Future of U.S.–China Relations and Its Impact on the Korean Peninsula


November 29, 2022 @ 6:00pm Central Time

Join the Bush China Foundation, Asia Society Texas, Council of Korean Americans and the Korea Foundation for a discussion of what the future of the U.S.–China relationship will look like, and the role that the Korean Peninsula will play in that relationship. The in-person discussion will feature Dr. Leif-Eric Easley, Associate Professor of International Studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul and Dr. Seong-Hyon Lee, senior fellow at the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.–China Relations and visiting scholar at Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies in conversation with David J. Firestein, president and CEO of the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.–China Relations.

East Asia is home to many of the most intractable and precarious global security issues. North Korea continues to test missiles, leading to speculation that these tests may be a precursor to another nuclear weapons test. Xi Jinping has recently begun his unprecedented third term as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, ushering in an era of a more emboldened China, particularly when it comes to its relationship with Taiwan. Meanwhile, some in Japan are calling for it to more rapidly modernize its military.

The United States, with its regional treaty and security obligations, has a vital role to play in the stability of the region. The outcomes of these East Asian security issues go far beyond the region itself as any one of these issues has the potential to create global conflict and instability.

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About the Speakers

Dr. Leif-Eric Easley

Dr. Leif-Eric Easley is an Associate Professor of International Studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. His research includes U.S.-South Korea-Japan trilateral coordination on engaging China and North Korea, and the geopolitical implications of domestic transitions (especially in Korea and Myanmar). Leif was a Northeast Asian History Fellow at Stanford University and a visiting scholar at the Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA) in Tokyo. He completed his B.A. in political science with a minor in mathematics at UCLA and received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Government. He has been involved in U.S.-Asia Track II diplomacy with the Asan Institute for Policy Studies and is an alumnus of leadership programs with the Pacific Forum, the Korea Foundation, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Dr. Seong –Hyon Lee

Dr. Seong – Hyon Lee is a senior fellow at the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations and a visiting scholar at Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. He is the former director of the Center for Chinese Studies at the Sejong Institute policy think tank in South Korea. He is a graduate from Grinnell College, Harvard University, and Tsinghua University (Ph.D. International Communication). He was 2013-14 Pantech Fellow at Stanford University (APARC), Salzburg Global Fellow, and James A. Kelly Korean Studies Fellow (non-resident) of Pacific Forum CSIS, and ICAS Fellow. His research areas include International Relations of East Asia, with a focus on China, North Korea, South Korea, and U.S. Relations with Asia. He is the author of the book, The U.S.-China competition: Who will rule the world? In 2020, he gave the JTBC television’s Distinguished Lecture (JTBC 차이나는클라스) on the U.S.-China relations.


About the Moderator  

David J. Firestein

David J. Firestein is the president and CEO of the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations. Previously, Firestein was the founding executive director of The University of Texas at Austin’s China Public Policy Center and a clinical professor at UT’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Before moving to UT, he served as senior vice president and Perot Fellowat the East West Institute, where he led the Institute’s Track 2 diplomacy work in the areas of U.S.-China relations, East Asian security and U.S.-Russia relations. From 1992–2010, Firestein was a decorated career U.S. diplomat, specializing primarily in U.S.-China relations. Firestein serves on over a dozen U.S. nonprofit boards of directors and advisors. Among other roles, he is a member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s Texas Advisory Committee, and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. A native and current resident of Austin, Texas, he holds degrees from Georgetown University and The University of Texas at Austin.