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China 2025: Opening Remarks

Speakers: Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow And Director For Asia Studies, Council On Foreign Relations, and Randy Schriver, President And CEO, Project 2049 Institute
Introductory Speaker: Kay King, Vice President Of The Washington Program, Council On Foreign Relations
October 19, 2009, Washington D.C.
Council on Foreign Relations

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KAY KING: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Kay King, and I am vice president of the Washington Program of the Council on Foreign Relations, and I'm just here this morning to take a brief moment to welcome all of you, and most important to thank Liz Economy and Randy Schriver for organizing this conference today.

The Council has long wanted to focus a day on China, and they have organized this event, and I think it looks like a terrific event looking at the future of China and the U.S./China relationship. And they will fill you in on all of the details.

For those of you who are Council members, this is a way for you to see the many benefits of our new building. For those of you who are not Council members, we welcome you and hope you enjoy this wonderful facility, but more important, the really terrific program that Liz and Randy have put together.

Liz is our C.V. Starr Senior Fellow, and she is the director of our Asia Program; and Randy is the CEO of Project 2049, and with that I am going to turn things over to them.

Thank you very much.

ELIZABETH ECONOMY: Thank you, Kay.

I'm Liz Economy and let me add my welcome to all of you coming here today this morning to the Council to our conference on China 2025, which is co-sponsored by the Council and the Project 2049 Institute.

The genesis of this conference is really an idea that Randy had: while we spend a lot of time thinking about where China is today, we don't spend enough time thinking about where China may be going and projecting out trying to discern the trends that are likely to define China's domestic and foreign policy in the future.

As we talked, I think we found that we had very similar views as to the core issues that were likely to shape China's future as well as the key people that would help us best understand where China might be going. So we're both, I think, very excited today to have the opportunity to set out what we think is really a terrific set of panels and keynote addresses that will help us all, I think, move along the path of understanding China, its rise, its global implications.

So I'm going to turn it over to Randy who is going to talk a little bit more about the intellectual underpinnings of the agenda. Let me also just note I will offer some thanks to everybody involved a little bit later, and if you would at this moment just turn off your cell phones and Blackberries and other things so that we can avoid a number of, you know, ringing interruptions throughout the day. That would be terrific.

RANDALL SCHRIVER: Well, thank you very much, Liz, and thank you very much to the Council for co-hosting this event with us.

When we came up with the idea about doing a China 2025 conference from a small organization, it kind of had that -- if you remember the old Mickey Rooney films you know, we can just do it all in our backyard.

Well, you really can't do an event like this just in your backyard. This is a major undertaking and having the Council's support on this has been terrific in not only providing a wonderful facility but helping us develop the program and putting the speakers together. This has been a great collaboration, and thank you once again for helping us with that.

Project 2049 is a futures organization, and we think it's well worth our time to give serious consideration to future trends, and China, in particular, is an issue that lends itself to this kind of analysis, because there are so much unfolding in a very dynamic way and it really -- it's worth our time to pause and try to understand these trend lines as they unfold and, more importantly, what the consequences of these trend lines will be for the United States, for our security partners and others.

So that is what we're endeavoring to do today. If you look at the agenda, I think you'll notice a few things. Number one, we are trying to be very comprehensive. Rather than put panels together where we have three or four people giving you their views all on the same topic, we have panels where everybody is speaking on different subjects within a same general topic.

So this will be very diverse within each panel. So that suggests a couple of things. Being comprehensive and relying on our panelists to give short introductory remarks, means that they are going to be just that, very brief introductions to the topics. But we're going to ask them to remain true to the theme and talk about trend lines and give their expertise to where we think trend lines are unfolding and the implications and consequences, but it also puts a special onus on our moderators.

We're calling our moderators, moderator/integrator/commentator because we want them to try to take these very diverse topics within the general subject matters and give some assessment to what the macro trends would be in each subject area. So that's, again, what we're attempting to do today. And again, we think this is important.

You know, China is, we all would acknowledge, very important to our collective futures, but sometimes it seems like policy strategies are crafted without a clear understanding of where things are going, and I realize that our predictive powers may be limited -- a great American philosopher Yogi Berra said predictions are very difficult to make, especially about the future -- we think it's at least worth the time and effort to try to identify the key trend lines and give our best assessment as to where they are going.

So we hope this is a valuable day for everybody. We appreciate everybody giving us your time to join us and with that I think we'll just dive into the agenda and introduce the first panel.

The first panel is in a way a foundation for the whole day, because we're going to talk about domestic trends in China, and we have some excellent panelists to help us do that.

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