January 19, 2024, the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution hosted the launch of the research report "U.S.-China Relations and Their Impact on the Global Order to 2035" in Washington, D.C., discussing how to deal with the various uncertainties in U.S.-China relations in the coming decade. The report is the result of a months-long project undertaken by GVI and the PAX sapiens Foundation in 2023 with experts from both countries. The seminar was presided over by Mr. Ryan Hass, Director of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution. Mr. Ren Libo, Founder and President of GVI, one of the project's implementers, attended the seminar.
Mr. Ren said, the new normal of US-China relations, characterized by "limited cooperation and selective decoupling", has already taken shape and will probably last for a long time. Compared with the US, China is more flexible and more open to any opportunity to improve relations, and it is also more optimistic and confident about the possibility of this in the future. The recent Central Foreign Affairs Work Conference showed that China's diplomacy is becoming more balanced, open, and diversified. Scholars of Chinese and American think tanks should stand higher and see farther than the government, the media, and the public. They should not be riveted on contradictions and conflicts only; instead, they must be courageous enough to stand out, to find common interests, and take common actions, he said.
When asked by Ryan Hass, Director of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, “What kind of China-US relationship is ideal in terms of maximizing China's interests”, Mr. Ren believes that the ideal China-US relationship should have the following four features: rebuilding mutual trust in politics and minimizing misunderstandings; extensive cooperation in the economy and a clear negative list; continuous military exchanges and mutual enhancement of transparency in armaments; continuous people-to-people and cultural exchanges that are not easily interrupted by each other's conflicts and emergencies.
Mr. Connor Searle, Vice President of PAX sapiens, introduced the original purpose, implementation, and outcomes of the project "China-U.S. Relations and Their Impact on the Global Order to 2035", and briefly explained how to study the complex issues of China-U.S. relations from the perspective of system theory. Betty Sue Flowers, the chief editor of the research report and Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas, described the advantages of the Transformative Scenario Planning methodology used in the project over traditional scenarios. Dennis Wilder, a professor at Georgetown University who has held key positions in the CIA and the National Security Council, shared with the participants the basic process used by the U.S. government to assess the direction of the U.S.-China relationship through the analysis of variables and put forward the four pillars of this relationship that are in line with the best interests of the United States. Mr. Widler called for the two countries to strengthen cooperation in a series of areas in the meantime of competition. Patricia King, a research fellow at the John L. Thornton China Center, presented her observations and understanding of China's foreign policy drivers. Other participating experts also shared their views on the four possible scenarios for future U.S.-China relations envisioned in the report.