3rd Trilateral Conference
Northeast Asia and US-China Relations

2018.07.17 - 18

On July 17, 2018, the third round of Korea-US-China Trilateral Conference was held inviting renowned experts from the three countries to discuss US-China relations and recent developments surrounding the North Korean nuclear program. More than 300 audience gathered at KFAS’ Conference Hall to listen to the up-to-date analyses and insights from the panelists.

JIA Qingguo, CHUNG Jae Ho, William TOBEY, ZHANG Tuosheng, PARK In-Kook, Gary SAMORE, LEE Geunwook, Doug PAAL, ZHANG Yunling, CHOI Byung-il, SUNG Taeyoon, John PARK, Evan A. FEIGENBAUM

Session and Lectures

  • The first session, titled “US-China Relations: Destined for What?,” was joined by five distinguished panelists. The panelists acknowledged that the current situation is certainly grim, unlike never before. They agreed that it’s not just because of the unique – and sometimes eccentric – style of governance by President Donald Trump or the strong-man rule by President Xi Jinping, but the cause lies more in deeper structural changes – namely, China’s growing international clout both in economic and political realms – and institutional changes within the US. In order to avoid falling into a state of confrontation that neither side wants, the panelists called for more caution and close coordination.

    • JIA Qingguo, School of International Studies, Peking University
    • CHUNG Jae Ho, the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy, Seoul National University
    • William TOBEY, Harvard Belfer Center
  • In the second session titled “Seismic Shift of the Korean Peninsula,” six panelists discussed recent developments on the Korean peninsula starting from the April inter-Korean summit and the June Trump-Kim summit in Singapore. Even though the US participants were more skeptical than their Chinese counterparts about the result of the summits and prospects, all agreed that this is a unique momentum for Korea that calls for close coordination by related parties. Discussing implementation, one US panelist emphasized the importance of securing a moratorium on North Korea’s fissile material production. One Korean panelist suggested that we should ask for demobilization of the DPRK’s conventional forces.

    • ZHANG Tuosheng, Center for Foreign Policy Studies, China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies
    • PARK In-Kook, Chey Institue for Advanced Studies
    • Gary SAMORE, Brandeis University
    • LEE Geunwook, Sogang University
    • Doug PAAL, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • After a lunch break, six panelists joined the third session titled “US-China Trade War: How Far Will It Go?” The panelists discussed the future of US-China trade disputes, the role of state owned enterprises (SOEs) in China’s economic reforms, and the implication of its industrial policy initiative “Made in China 2025” for neighboring countries. The panelists voiced that current trade disputes will not end any time soon, and its impact on the American people will be more far-reaching and deeply felt than commonly expected.

    • ZHANG Yunling, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, CASS
    • CHOI Byung-il, GSIS, Ewha Womans University
    • SUNG Taeyoon, School of Economics, Yonsei University
    • John PARK, Harvard University, Kennedy School
    • Evan A. FEIGENBAUM, Caarnegie Endowment for International Peace