Main content start

The U.S. and China in the Era of Donald Trump

Wed February 15th 2017, 4:15 - 5:30pm
Event Sponsor
Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Center for East Asian Studies
Bechtel Conference Center, Encina Hall, 616 Serra Street
The U.S. and China in the Era of Donald Trump
Speaker: John Pomfret

RSVP here by 5:00 pm on February 14.  Free and open to the public.

PLEASE NOTE: The venue for this event has changed.  It is now in Bechtel Conference Center.


The election of Donald Trump has introduced a big question mark into America’s relations with China. Will the new president start a trade war with the world’s second biggest economy? Will Trump attempt to refashion America’s relations with Taiwan and thus infuriate Beijing? Will Trump’s vow to build more U.S. naval vessels place the United States and China on a path to conflict in the South China Sea? How will Trump handle the prospects of a North Korea armed with nuclear weapons and an intercontinental ballistic missile with which to deliver them? As for China, how will it react to this new administration, which espouses a decidedly different view of China than the one that predominated in Washington over the past several decades? Will China adopt the role of “responsible [global] stakeholder” in contrast to Trump’s “America first” ideology? Or will China join the United States in a race to the bottom, precipitating further ideological, economic and geostrategic competition that pulls the world down with it?

John Pomfret is the author of the recently-published The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China from 1776 to the Present (2016). He is also the author of the best-seller Chinese Lessons: Five Classmates and the Story of the New China (2007) and an award-winning journalist who spent decades as a foreign correspondent with The Washington Post. He has lived in China for 20 years since the early 1980s and has also covered U.S.-China relations from Washington, DC. As The New York Times said of The Beautiful Country, “Donald Trump (or his next secretary of state) would be well advised to read this timely and comprehensively informative book.”