The above is a February 2017 Report prepared by a Task Force for the Asia Society’s Center on US-China Relations and the University of California San Diego’s 21st Century China Center.
Co-chaired by Orville Shell (Wealth and Power, China’s Long March to the 21st Century) and Elizabeth Economy, director for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, the Task Force comprises a host of distinguished international relations and China experts including Thomas Christensen (The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power), and David Shambaugh (China’s Future), with discussants such as Jeffrey Bader, Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution, and David Lampton, Professor and director of China Studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
The Report emphasizes the importance of America's network of alliances and partnerships and its robust set of multilateral institutions. It advocates that the United States should engage China from a position of strength, garnishing China's help in countering North Korea, brokering sound agreements for fairer trade and promoting compliance with international law and norms. In particular, it recognizes US national interest to maintain an active presence in the Asia-Pacific region and to strive, if possible, for stable and mutually beneficial relations with China.
The Report first and foremost flags up the overriding importance of maintaining the One China Policy, which has best served American national interests and those of Taiwan and the region for decades.
The Report lists six most immediate and urgent priorities - :
- Work with China to halt North Korea’s nuclear and missile program
- Reaffirm US commitments to Asia
- Deploy effective tools to address the lack of reciprocity in US trade and investment relations with China
- Intensify efforts to encourage a principled, rules-based approach to the management and settlement of Asia-Pacific maritime disputes
- Respond to Chinese civil society policies that harm US organizations, companies, individuals, and the broader relationship
- Sustain and broaden US-China collaboration on global climate change.
The Report also outlines 10 broad and long-term issues which need to be properly managed -
- Cyber issues
- Energy and climate change
- Global governance
- Asia-Pacific regional security
- North Korean nuclear threat
- Maritime disputes
- Taiwan and Hong Kong
- Human rights
- Defense and military relations
- Trade and investment relations
Overall, the Report doesn't amount to a major departure from the existing strategy, with a more robust approach to attain broadly similar objectives. Perhaps a new emphasis is to secure a quid pro quo treatment of American civil society organizations in China, including American equivalents to China's Confucius Institutes in the United States. This underscores the importance of American soft-power in forging better China relations amenable to US national interest.