US-China Relations: Two Double Games

Date: 21 May 2012, 5.45pm

Place: Lecture Theatre 1, Law School, Old Government Building, Pipitea Campus, Lambton Quay

Speaker: Professor Fei-Ling Wang, Georgia Institute of Technology

Jointly invited by the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre and the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Professor Fei-ling Wang of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta presented his research on current Sino-American relations at a seminar attended by University academics, students and invited guests on the evening of 21 May at the Victoria University of Wellington Law School.

In his seminar, Professor Wang depicted Sino-US relations as the most important bilateral link in today’s world and one which has profound implications on Asia-Pacific countries like New Zealand. Due to China’s rapid development over the last three decades, Sino-US relations are becoming an asymmetrical power relationship with distinct but comparable economic powers and political influences on each side. In Professor Wang’s words, these bilateral relations have developed the status of “dynamic stability”, but with plenty of uncertainties as well.

Professor Wang concluded that there are now “two double games” being played in China-US relations. The Americans wish to, on one hand, engage with China in terms of economy, trade and security, and on the other hand, “hedge” China on regional security. On the Chinese side, Beijing has worked within US-led international institutions as a means of assisting with its development agenda. However, China also seeks to balance American influences as Chinese power develops.

Professor Wang’s up-to-date examples and case studies, humorous anecdotes, and insightful analyses on Sino-US relations are warmly welcomed by waves of laughter and applause from more than a hundred guests. After the presentation, he took several questions from the audience, including a representative from the Chinese Embassy and the South Korean Ambassador to New Zealand. Although it was not his first visit to Wellington and the Contemporary China Research Centre, Professor Wang was nonetheless impressed by the audience’s enthusiasm about current international affairs and Sino-US relations. Professor Wang is an influential international relations specialist in the United States, and besides holding the Professorship at The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech, he has also taught at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and has published widely on China’s domestic and international politics.

About the speaker

Fei-Ling Wang (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) is a Professor at The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology, in Atlanta USA. He taught at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point), guest-lectured at more than thirty other universities in ten countries, and held visiting and adjunct positions in China, France, Italy, Korea, Japan, and Singapore. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Wang is the author of numerous articles, two-dozen book chapters, and six books of which the most recent ones are Organizing through Division and Exclusion: China's Hukou System and China Rising: Power and Motivation in Chinese Foreign Policy (co-editor). His articles have appeared in journals and newspapers such as The China Quarterly, Christian Science Monitor,Harvard International Review, International Herald Tribune, Journal of Contemporary China, The New York Times, Pacific Affairs and The Washington Quarterly as well as journals in China, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Korea and Singapore.

Wang has had numerous research grants including a Fulbright Senior Scholar grant and a Minerva Senior Fellowship. He has been interviewed by media outlets such as Al Jazeera, AP, BBC, Businessweek, CNN, Radio China International, The Financial Times, The New York Times, The South China Morning Post, UPI, and Xinhua.