Implications of Deepening US-China Competition for US Allies in Asia

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On December 3, the Center held a lunch discussion on the implications of intensifying US-China competition for America’s allies in Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea. The panelists were Dr. Robert Sutter, Professor of Practice of International Affairs at the George Washington University’s Elliott School and former National Intelligence Officer for East Asia; Dr. Michael Green, senior vice president for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a former special assistant to the President for national security affairs and senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council; and Mr. Scott Snyder, senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relation. The Center’s Senior Director for China and the Pacific Lieutenant General (USMC, ret.) Wallace “Chip” Gregson, Jr. moderated.

Over the past year, US-China competition has intensified. The Trump administration has characterized China as a strategic rival, bent on tilting the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region in its favor. The administration has backed its tougher stance towards Beijing with a series of economic, defense, and diplomatic actions intended to counter what it describes as predatory Chinese behavior. Amidst deepening US-China rivalry, the US’s main allies in Asia: Japan and South Korea, have sought to hold fast to their critical security relationships with America, while preserving key economic linkages to China. This intensifies pre-existing policy dilemmas for each.