Trust-building between the US and China--Lessons from the Cold War
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Trust-building between the US and China--Lessons from the Cold War



18 November 2022

This week, we launch a new special report as part of our China-US-Asia Dialogue, a series of exchanges and publications exploring ways to ease strategic tensions in the Asia-Pacific region. Yu Tiejun shows how three past episodes of trust-building between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War could hold lessons for China’s leaders as Beijing seeks to improve its relations with the US.

On the same theme, two commentators previewed the first face-to-face bilateral national leaders’ summit between US President Joe Biden and China Communist Party Chairman Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 gathering in Bali, Indonesia. Jabin T. Jacob cautioned observers not to anticipate any major breakthroughs in US-China relations as a result of the meeting. Meanwhile, Hemant Adlakha provided an argument for why the onus was on President Biden to soothe US-China relations. We also highlight our members’ activities below.

US-Soviet Top-Down Trust-Building:
Lessons for the US-China Relationship

Yu Tiejun, President of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies at Peking University, reviews three case studies of crisis management between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He says these episodes provide clues for China’s policymakers to consider as Beijing and Washington might seek to develop mechanisms for trust-building to reduce the chances of conflict between the two powers.

Read the Special Report

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

The US and China at the G20 Summit:
Competition Will Dominate

Jabin T. Jacob, Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations and Governance Studies, Shiv Nadar University, cautioned observers not to expect any major breakthroughs to occur from the Biden-Xi bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. China’s leaders are overwhelmingly focused on ensuring their own survival in power, he says, while there is now broad bipartisan agreement in the US that China poses a strategic threat.

Read the Commentary

Bali G20: Why Xi and Biden are unlikely to ‘walk and chew gum together’

Hemant Adlakha, Professor of Chinese at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, argues that the onus was on President Biden to mend US-China relations ahead of his meeting with Chairman Xi at the Bali, Indonesia G20 summit. He recalls how Xi offered the public comments that the two sides have “a thousand reasons to make the China-US relationship a success,” while noting that President Biden has yet to reciprocate those remarks.

Read the Commentary

What Biden and Xi Can Agree On

Kevin Rudd, former Australian Prime Minister, writes for The Atlantic on how the leaders of the US and China could use their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Bali as an opportunity to stabilise the US-China relationship. 

The Conflict in Ukraine: Cushioning the Global Impact

Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, writes for The Jakarta Post on the impact of the war in Ukraine and argues that the APEC and G20 summits have a heavy responsibility for addressing the food insecurity crisis. 

Putin’s Ukraine Misadventure Will Undermine Moscow’s Asian Ambitions

C. Raja Mohan, Senior Fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute, writes for The Indian Express and analyses how Putin’s faltering invasion of Ukraine is reshaping Asian geopolitics in five ways.

Regional Voices on Escalating Tensions in the Taiwan Strait

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Director of the Centre for Security, Strategy, and Technology, wrote on the escalating tensions in the Taiwan Strait and Indian interests, and what the Taiwan dispute means for India. 



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