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Are China and Japan Heading Toward Conflict?

What to Do About Tensions in Asia

Speakers: Jeffrey Bader, John C. Whitehead Senior Fellow for International Diplomacy; Brookings Institution; Former Senior Director for East Asian Affairs, National Security Council
Karl W. Eikenberry, William J. Perry Fellow for International Studies, Stanford University; Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan; Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (Retired)
Michael J. Green, Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Former Senior Director, Asian Affairs, National Security Council
Presider: Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
January 28, 2014

Event Description

China's recent declaration of an air defense identification zone and territorial disputes in the East China and South China seas have led to increased tensions between China and its neighbors. Jeffrey Bader of the Brookings Institution, former ambassador Karl Eikenberry, and Michael Green from the Center for Strategic and International Studies sit down with CFR President Richard Haass to discuss what actions the United States can take to ensure stability in the region.

This meeting is part of the "What to Do About" series, which highlights specific issues and features experts who put forward competing analyses and policy prescriptions in a mock high-level U.S. government meeting.

Event Highlights

Michael Green on whether China's territorial claims in the East China Sea portend increasing disorder in East Asia:

"But in the middle of it, you have a rising China that, for the most part, is not a revisionist power, that wants to benefit from the international system, despite frustrations with not having had a role in creating it, but not trying to overturn the prevailing order, which is an American-led order."

Jeffrey Bader on how the United States has tried to reduce the risk of conflict over the Senkaku Islands while also demonstrating support for Japan:

"And, you know, what we've tried to communicate to the Japanese is, the alliance is firm and seamless, but please don't make rocks the centerpiece of the alliance."

Karl Eikenberry on the inter-connectedness of the U.S. and Chinese economies:

"So I've heard people now talk about, do you remember during the Cold War days that we had mutually assured destruction with nuclear weapons? Now people talk about mutually assured economic destruction. And that's the world that we live in."

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