The Perception Gap Poisoning China-US Relations
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The Perception Gap Poisoning China-US Relations



20 February 2023

This week, APLN’s activities have focused on the regional impact of deteriorating relations between the United States and China, as well as the war that Russia launched against Ukraine one year ago.

In publications, Tong Zhao warns that the growing perception gap between the United States and China could lead to more consequential outcomes than the Ukraine war. Salma Shaheen breaks down North Korea’s new nuclear weapons use law and shows how the law dangerously escalates tensions. And in a new Korea Times column, Kasit Piromya says it’s time for the international community to press all sides in the Russia-Ukraine war to return to the negotiating table.

We also highlight members’ activities below.

The Perception Gap and the China-US Relationship

Tong Zhao, APLN Board member and Senior Fellow at the Nuclear Policy Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, argues that the growing perception gap between the United States and China could lead to more consequential outcomes than the Ukraine war. He demonstrates how both sides see the other as engaged in a campaign of spreading deliberate falsehoods, making it impossible for the two powers to engage in constructive dialogue.

Read the Policy Brief

This report is a part of the APLN China-US-Asia Dialogue, a project exploring ways to improve understanding, reduce misperceptions, de-escalate risks and tensions, and build trust between the United States and China.

Changing Perceptions of Strategic Risk in the Asia-Pacific
and the Impact on the Non-Proliferation Regime

APLN and the European Leadership Network hosted a two-day conference in Seoul on changing perceptions of strategic risk in the Asia-Pacific region. The event featured senior experts and government officials who exchanged views on how Australian, Japanese, South Korean, and UK governments perceive and are responding to changes in the region’s security situation and how best to encourage risk reduction efforts and dialogue.

Addressing the Perception Gap in China-US relations:
Regional perspectives

APLN hosted a two-day event in Seoul as part of our China-US-Asia Dialogue project, an initiative to facilitate mutual trust-building and dialogue between scholars and experts in the Asia-Pacific region. At the event, a group of regional security experts engaged in candid discussions and reflexive thinking on the fundamental challenges in China-US relations, the role of regional actors, the impact on the Asia-Pacific region, and ways to address key challenges.

Visit the Project Page

North Korea’s Nuclear Use Doctrine

Salma Shaheen, a lecturer at the Department of Defence Studies, King’s College, London, discusses North Korea’s new nuclear weapons use law and explains how the new changes dangerously escalate tensions and increase the odds of a devastating miscalculation.

Read the Commentary

Ukraine-Russia conflict:
Outcome to be Settled on the Battlefield?

With one year passing since Russia launched its attack on Ukraine, Kasit Piromya, former Thai Foreign Minister and Ambassador to Russia, Malaysia, Germany, Japan, and the US, says the people of Ukraine have suffered enough and that it’s time for the international community, including Asia-Pacific actors, to press all sides in the Russia-Ukraine war to return to the negotiating table.

Read the Korea Times column

Japan’s New Security Policy: Normalizing or Remilitarizing?

Kim Won-soo, Chair of the international advisory board of the Taejae Academy, writes for The Korea Times on Japan’s new security policy and argues that it is time for Japan to reflect on the past in order to move forward in its quest for normal statehood.

Rethinking Arms Control with a Nuclear North Korea

Kim Jina, Dean of the Language and Diplomacy Division at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, co-published an article with Toby Dalton and discussed how policymakers should approach nuclear dangers on the Korean peninsula.

The Trouble With Japan’s Military Buildup Runs Deeper Than We Think

Cheong Wook-Sik, Director of the Hankyoreh Peace Institute, writes on Japan’s new national security strategy, arguing that now is the time to gather strength and wisdom to publicize a roadmap for disarmament while asking what truly matters.

Australia Stabilises Its Foreign Policy but Hard Choices Lie Ahead

Allan Gyngell, National President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs and an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University, writes for East Asia Forum on the Albanese government’s foreign policy. He argues that in 2023, the Labor government will likely face unprecedented decisions about the size of the defence budget and complex sovereignty choices.

The Chinese Spy Balloon Incident: An Urgent Need for Communication

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Director of the Centre for Security, Strategy, and Technology, writes for The Diplomat on the Chinese spy balloon incident and points out that there is an urgent need for standard operating procedures and open communication, especially when it comes to technology and space.

China-Us Balloon Fracas

C Uday Bhaskar, Director of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS), New Delhi, writes for The Tribune on the Chinese spy balloon incident and argues that it would have important cues for India in relation to the current standoff across the Line of Actual Control and the long-festering, unresolved territorial dispute.

Neutrality and Non-alignment Are the Way Forward For ASEAN

Kasit Piromya, former Thai Foreign Minister, points out in The Diplomat that the Southeast Asian regional bloc has ample experience in dealing with more powerful outside states – if only it can manage to draw on it.

What Are the Possible Endgames in Ukraine War?

Ramesh Thakur, Director of the Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament at the Australian National University, writes for The Japan Times and argues that prudent nations would do well to prepare for peace even in the midst of an armed conflict.



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