U.S.-China relations in a turbulent time: Can rivals cooperate?

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping shaking hands

The White House

Ambassador William C. Battle Symposium on American Diplomacy

U.S.-China relations in a turbulent time: Can rivals cooperate?

Monday, May 04, 2020
9:00AM - 1:00PM (EDT)
Event Details

Join us for a virtual edition of the Ambassador William C. Battle Symposium on American Diplomacy as we take an in-depth look at U.S.–Chinese relations during a time of global upheaval. You can join us for all of the presentations, or just some of them. Feel free to come and go as needed.

9:00 – 9:45 a.m.
Reflections on China's May Fourth movement: An American perspective

Matthew Pottinger, Deputy National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump
Moderated by Harry Harding and Shirley Lin

9:45 – 10:30 a.m.
Keynote Conversation

James Steinberg, professor of social science, international affairs, and law, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University; former deputy secretary of state
Moderated by Miller Center Director William Antholis

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Prospects for competition and cooperation in science and technology

Evan Feigenbaum, James R. Schlesinger Professor, Miller Center, on the national security challenges produced by new technologies
Aynne Kokas, assistant professor of media studies and Miller Center senior fellow, UVA, on the risks and opportunities in collecting personal data through new forms of surveillance
Yen Pottinger, senior lab advisor, ICAP, Columbia University; former HIV Incidence Team lead, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on the prospects for cooperation on COVID-19 and future pandemics
Melur Ramasubramanian, vice president for research, UVA, on the prospects for collaboration between Chinese and American scientists in light of U.S. government concerns on Chinese talent and intellectual property acquisition strategies
Moderated by Harry Harding, Miller Center senior fellow and specialist on Asia and U.S.-Asian relations

12:00 – 12:45 p.m.
Inside Robert Carl Cohen's China: A conversation with the filmmaker

Robert Carl Cohen, filmmaker, foreign correspondent, author
Moderated by William Antholis, Miller Center director and CEO

Fifteen minutes of excerpts from the film Inside Robert Carl Cohen's China, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker, the first U.S. journalist to film in China following the Communists coming to power in 1949.

Monday, May 04, 2020
9:00AM - 1:00PM (EDT)
Matthew Pottinger headshot

Matthew Pottinger

Matt Pottinger is deputy national security advisor to President Donald Trump. Educated at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Pottinger's first career was as a journalist. He was stationed in China for seven years, working for Reuters and then the Wall Street Journal, often writing on official corruption in China, and his reporting on SARS was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In September 2005, he left journalism and joined the United States Marines. He attained the rank of major and served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan before joining the National Security Council staff as senior director for Asia. He was appointed deputy national security advisor in September 2019.

James Steinberg headshot

James Steinberg

James Steinberg is University Professor of Social Science, International Affairs and Law at Syracuse University, where he was dean of the Maxwell School from July 2011 until June 2016. Prior to becoming dean, he served as deputy secretary of state, the principal deputy to Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, from 2009 to 2011. From 2005 to 2008, Steinberg was dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. From 2001 to 2005, Steinberg was vice president and director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution. He also was deputy national security advisor to President Clinton from 1996 to 2000.

Evan Feigenbaum headshot

Evan Feigenbaum

Evan Feigenbaum is the James R. Schlesinger Distinguished Professor at the Miller Center and is also vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. His prior positions include service on the State Department’s policy planning staff, and deputy assistant secretary of state, first for Central Asia and then for South Asia, in the George W. Bush administration and advisor to Deputy Secretary Robert B. Zoellick on the development of the U.S.-China Senior Dialogue on security issues. He is the author of China’s Techno-Warriors: National Security and Strategic Competition from the Nuclear to the Information Age. He will be discussing the national security challenges produced by new technologies and the prospects for both competition and cooperation between China and the U.S in this area.

Aynne Kokas headshot

Aynne Kokas

Aynne Kokas is assistant professor of media studies and faculty senior fellow at the Miller Center at UVA. Educated at the Beijing Film Academy, the University of Michigan, and with a Ph.D. from UCLA, Kokas has also participated in the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on U.S. China Relations. She is the author of Hollywood Made in China, a study of the partnerships between Chinese and American producers to produce feature films for global audiences. She will be discussing her current research, which she is conducting as a Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress and with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, on “Border Control on the Digital Frontier: China, the United States, and the Global Battle for Data Security.” Her work examines the risks and opportunities surrounding the collection and control of personal data through new forms of surveillance.

Yen Pottinger headshot

Yen Pottinger

Yen Pottinger is a virologist who previously served at the Centers for Disease Control in the Division of Global HIV and TB. At CDC, she developed a lab test to measure HIV incidence, which is now the global standard used in HIV surveillance studies. She is currently senior laboratory advisor at ICAP at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health where she focuses on implementing point-of-care rapid recency tests in PEFAR countries, a new tool for detecting and responding to HIV clusters of new infections. Educated at McGill University, she holds a Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology from University of California, Davis. She is married to Matt Pottinger and they have two sons. She will be discussing prospects for Sino-U.S. cooperation on COVID-19 and future pandemics.

Melur Ramasubramanian headshot

Melur Ramasubramanian

Ram Ramasubramanian is professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and vice president for research at UVA. He brings a vast set of experiences through his long career in academia (North Carolina State, Clemson), government (National Science Foundation), and industry R&D (Georgia-Pacific) to his current role. His own research has been highly interdisciplinary, at the interface of engineering, biology, physical sciences, and medicine. As UVA’s chief research officer, he is responsible for growing the research enterprise, ensuring regulatory compliance, animal welfare, environmental health and safety, managing contracts and grants operations, as well as research integrity and data security. He serves on the APLU Committee on Research (CoR) as an executive member. CoR monitors government rules and regulations affecting campus scientific and technical research and those concerning graduate education. It provides both formal and informal forums for the discussion of issues, the dissemination of information, and the assessment and development of policies that pertain to academic research and graduate education relevant to the member institutions. He will be discussing the prospects for cooperation between Chinese and American researchers on solutions to major global issues and the challenges to that cooperation posed by U.S. government concerns around China’s talent and intellectual property acquisition strategies.

Robert Carl Cohen in blue jacket

Robert Carl Cohen

Robert Carl Cohen has a professional career spanning 66 years as a filmmaker, foreign correspondent, public lecturer, and author. He earned his MA in Motion Pictures in 1954 at UCLA, and his master’s thesis film, a 10-minute documentary depicting the genetic-environmental basis for human skin color differences, later became the basis for his first book, The Color of Man. In 1957, he was hired by NBC-TV to accompany and film a group of young Americans visiting China in defiance of the US State Department’s then-existing travel ban, producing Inside Red China, a nationally syndicated TV special, upon his return. Among other subjects, his documentaries have explored East Germany, Cuba, the House Un-American Activities Committee, nuclear war, and Hollywood in the 1960s. He returned to China in 1978 and 2015.

William Antholis headshot

William Antholis (moderator)

William J. Antholis serves as director and CEO of the Miller Center. Immediately prior, he was managing director at The Brookings Institution, and from 1995 to 1999 he served in government. At the White House, he was director of international economic affairs on the staff of the National Security Council and National Economic Council, where he served as the chief staff person for the G8 Summits in 1997 and 1998. Antholis is the author of Inside Out India and China: Local Politics Go Global and, with Strobe Talbot, Fast Forward: Ethics and Politics in the Age of Global Warming.

Harry Harding headshot

Harry Harding (moderator)

Harry Harding, faculty senior fellow, is a specialist on Asia and U.S.-Asian relations. His major publications include Organizing China: The Problem of Bureaucracy, 1949-1966China’s Second Revolution: Reform after MaoA Fragile Relationship: The United States and China since 1972; and the chapter on the Cultural Revolution in the Cambridge History of China. Currently a University Professor and professor of public policy, Harding is also adjunct chair professor in the College of Social Science at National Chengchi University in Taipei, where he holds a Yushan Scholarship, the highest honor awarded by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education. Harding served as the founding dean of UVA’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy between 2009 and 2014.

Shirley Lin headshot

Syaru Shirley Lin (moderator)

Syaru Shirley Lin, Compton Visiting Professor in World Politics at the Miller Center, teaches at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Tsinghua University in Beijing and National Chengchi University in Taipei. Her book, Taiwan’s China Dilemma, on the impact of the evolution of Taiwanese national identity on cross-Strait economic policy, was published by Stanford University Press in 2016 and in Chinese in 2019. Lin is currently working on the high-income trap in East Asia. Her commentaries frequently appear in both English and Chinese media.