Special Lecture by Peter PETRI (Brandeis U.) and David DOLLAR (Brookings Institute)
Race for Supremacy: US-China Competition and Northeast Asia

2019.08.20 15:00 - 17:00

On August 20, 2019, the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies invited Professor Peter Petri (Brandeis University), Dr. David Dollar (Brookings Institution), and Professor Gary Samore (Brandeis University) for a special lecture titled “Race for Supremacy: US-China Competition and Northeast Asia.” As suggested in the title, this special lecture examined the US-China strategic competition from the economic and technological viewpoints and assessed its impact on Northeast Asia, especially the Korean Peninsula.

Professor Petri made three points. First, he observed that we are living in a new era of innovation and technology, and that the United States and China have been engaged in a race to become the sole global leader in this area. Second, the policies pursued by these two countries over the past two years have been costly and ultimately dangerous. Third, he stressed the importance of de-escalating the decoupling process that is currently underway between the two countries and returning to a point where negotiations and some forms of control guide our future. He also proposed a global effort to develop a more rational technology regime.

Dr. Dollar followed Professor Petri by assessing the current US-China trade conflict and its impact on the global value chains of manufacturing. He identified technology as China’s biggest export. However, China is still dependent on other countries. This has key implications as the United States continues to implement tariffs on Chinese products. Most importantly, these tariffs will hamper China’s ability to export and shift value chains elsewhere, but they will not achieve their intended target, which is to bring production back to the United States. Dr. Dollar added that there will be serious consequences if the effects of the trade war interact with existing domestic risks.

Professor Gary Samore claimed that China’s nuclear weapons program remains a “role model” for North Korea to follow. Currently, the United States possesses more weapons and more sophisticated weapons delivery systems than China. However, China has been able to achieve a stable nuclear deterrent by improving its nuclear forces. It did so by transitioning from atomic bombs to hydrogen bombs, from liquid fuel to solid fuel, from silo-based missiles to road mobile missiles, from a land-based force to sea-based force, and from single warheads to multiple warheads that are capable of inflicting greater damage and evading missile defenses. North Korea’s nuclear weapons development follows a similar pattern. In response, the United States has pursued both regional and national defense mechanisms designed to deny North Korea’s ability to strike the United States. Even if the U.S. can reach an agreement to hamper North Korea’s nuclear program, however, Professor Samore claimed that the North will likely continue to develop a more credible nuclear deterrent.

Peter PETRI, David DOLLAR, Gary SAMORE, CHOI Byung-il

Lectures and Topics

  • Speaker: Peter PETRI,

    US-China Technological Rivalry

  • Speaker: David DOLLAR, Brookings Institution

    U.S.-China Trade Conflict and the Impact on Value Chains and Manufacturing

  • Speaker: Gary SAMORE, Brandeis University

    US-China Strategic Weapons Competition

  • Panelist: CHOI Byung-il, GSIS, Ewha Womans University