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Devising a New Formula for Global Leadership

A China in the World Podcast

To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the China in the World podcast, Paul Haenle is interviewing five of the most respected Chinese international affairs scholars to discuss this important inflection point in U.S.-China relations. For the third episode in this series, Haenle spoke with Yan Xuetong, Dean of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University and Secretary General of the World Peace Forum.

Yan asserts the U.S.-China relationship is experiencing structural disruptions, the resolution of which will have a lasting impact on the two countries. China’s economic achievements over the past 40 years are based on market economy reforms and the development of the private sector, he argues. He says the tensions in the U.S.-China relationship are primarily due to the narrowing gap between the two countries’ national strength. Going forward, the United States and China need to address their own domestic problems related to economic growth and technological development before resolving foreign policy issues. Beijing was right to shift from its past policy of keeping a low international profile, Yan says. However, China should focus on strengthening its regional position before moving too quickly into other parts of the globe. The Trump administration has made clear that it will forsake traditional U.S. global leadership roles, Yan says, but China does not yet have the capacity to supplant the United States in the international arena. This new dynamic stresses the need for the two countries to establish a framework that allows for joint leadership, as neither is willing or able to lead unilaterally.

Listen to the Other China in the World Fifth Anniversary Podcasts: