Launching Episode Two of ‘The U.S.-China Conversation’: The risks of armed conflict in the West Pacific

In a period of unprecedented tension between China and the United States, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue has launched a new podcast series, ‘The U.S.-China Conversation,’ to provide a platform for American and Chinese experts to discuss jointly and frankly future relations between these two powers. 

The podcast brings Chinese and American experts and practitioners together in conversation on issues around a relationship that is vital to global security and economic prosperity. 

In the second episode, HD’s Asia Director Michael Vatikiotis, explores the risk of armed conflict between the U.S. and China with Retired U.S. Navy Admiral Scott Swift who commanded the U.S. Pacific Fleet until 2018 and Zhu Feng, Executive Director of the China Centre for Collaborative Studies of the South China Sea, at Nanjing University.

At a time when diplomatic relations are acrimonious and military activities conducted by both the U.S. and Chinese navies in the West Pacific have increased, we ask whether the two governments are prepared to manage potential crises and prevent escalation to conflict. 

The idea for this series stemmed from a virtual dialogue between experts from China and the United States convened by HD in April. Over the course of the discussion, participants expressed frustration over the risks of escalating rhetoric and the lack of official channels for discussing and solving differences.  

With effective dialogue to mitigate the risks challenging for many reasons, including the pandemic, a constructive suggestion to highlight issues of common concern, participants agreed, would be to say more together in public. 

By jointly tackling critical U.S.-China bilateral issues such as security and economic cooperation on a public platform, HD hopes that direct exchange of views between experts can be encouraged, and constructive ideas and common ground can be identified for all to consider for the future. 

Listen to the second episode here.

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