Bush China Foundation joins U.S.-China Roundtable

October 8, 2020

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On October 8, David Firestein joined Lingling Wei, senior China correspondent for The Wall Street Journal; Bill Bishop, author of the Sinocism newsletter and co-founder of CBS MarketWatch; and Chris Fenton, media executive and author on a panel: “US-China – Past Mistakes, Present Problems, and Future Obstacles” hosted by Ryan Ray, owner of War Room Media LLC. 

The panelists explored a range of issues that have culminated in today’s low point in the U.S.-China relationship, while offering up measures that may help restore more favorable relations over time. A starting point in the webinar was the issue of trade and the concept of reciprocity in addressing various asymmetries in the relationship.  

On the forthcoming U.S. presidential election, each of the panelists expressed that the strategic rivalry will remain a key feature for whomever assumes the White House, while stressing that relations are a two-way street. Specifically, panelists conveyed that both countries are complicit in derailing the relationship, and each side now should recognize that it has made mistakes, refrain from using negative rhetoric and work together to restore a relationship that is so integral to global interests. 

The panelists examined specific issues including the trade agreement and use of tariffs, the competitive technological stance of the two countries and aspects of data and cybersecurity. Specifically, around the issues of Hong Kong, the speakers delved into Beijing’s perception of the protests; many concerns over the National Security Law; the uncertainty surrounding the U.S.-Hong Kong trade relationship; and the impact of Hong Kong’s developments on Taiwan, where the concept of “one country, two systems” is viewed as being problematic.  

Looking forward, the participants agreed that repairing and managing future U.S.-China relations requires clinical, strategic assessment of the relationship and underlying critical issues, with both sides refraining from an emotional response.