【CISS Youth】Meet with Experts: Causes and Prospects of China-U.S. Competition


On September 20, the Center for International Security and Strategy (CISS) of Tsinghua University held the 8th “Meet with Experts” CISS Youth Lecture. Robert S. Ross, Professor of Political Science at Boston College and Associate of John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, was invited to be the keynote speaker of the lecture under the theme of “Causes and Prospects of China-U.S. Competition.” Da Wei, Director of CISS, moderated the lecture and delivered a welcoming speech with Xiao Qian and Chen Qi, Deputy Directors of CISS, Song Bo, Dong Ting, Sun Chenghao, and Shi Yan, Fellows of CISS, Wen Jodie, Postdoc Fellow of CISS, and nine CISS Youth representatives as participants.


In the lecture, Professor Robert S. Ross began with “the challenged global dominance of the United States” and clarified the core logic of the China-U.S. competition. He argued that mutual understandings, “tit for tat”, or a security dilemma did not lead to the current state of China-U.S. relations, which is actually the natural reaction of the United States to the conflict between China’s rise and its interests. He reviewed the form and effect of dialogues between the two countries, pointing out that China and the United States should not “dialog for the sake of dialog” and putting forward the necessity of further managing “competition” and “cooperation.” Afterward, Professor Robert S. Ross explained the U.S. policy towards China. In his view, unlike the Trump administration, the Biden administration’s foreign policy is more systematic and strategically forward-looking, and the legislative, administrative, and decision-making circles within the United States have already reached a consensus on the policy. The U.S. hopes to curb the development of China’s scientific and technological strength and economic growth through investment in science and technology and policy adjustments. According to him, the United States is trying to attract the support of its allies on the grounds that “China is challenging the rule-based international order.” In the long run, the competition between China and the United States will become a key factor affecting international relations, and China should actively promote domestic political and economic development and expand international cooperation on technology trade. In addition, Professor Robert S. Ross analyzed the crisis management scenarios between China and the United States, the face-saving issue, the Taiwan question, and the U.S.-Soviet technology competition.


During the interactive session, the participating research fellows and CISS Youth representatives had frank and in-depth exchanges with Professor Robert S. Ross on the topics of U.S. allies, NATO’s Asia-Pacificization, peace settlement, China-U.S. science and technology battles, the U.S.-Soviet space race, and the U.S. domestic crises.

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CISS Youth is a research and exchange organization for young students and professionals in the field of international studies. Operating under the guidance of the Center for International Security and Strategy (CISS), Tsinghua University, and independently organized by its members, CISS Youth seeks to foster young students and scholars with a strategic vision and international outlook, who will grow into active players in the international arena through a variety of forms, such as lectures, seminars, roundtables, and large-scale annual forums. CISS Youth also serves as a referrer and funder for the outstanding members to learn, observe, and speak at international forums, so as to tell great Chinese stories and make China’s voice heard.

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