Prospects for US-China Relations in the Biden Era

April 21, 2021

Despite recent difficulties in US-China relations, today’s global challenges demand international cooperation. Finding a balance between domestic interests and global needs when engaging with China will be a top priority for the administration of US President Joe Biden. At a panel discussion on April 7 titled “Prospects for US-China Relations in the Biden Era” organized by the Columbia Alumni Association and Weatherhead East Asian Institute, experts from disciplinary backgrounds in political science, social work, law, and history, considered potential areas of collaboration and concern for US-Sino relations moving forward.

Panelists discussed the possibilities for cooperation between the United States and China on issues of global public health, social welfare, poverty elimination, and nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, and expressed hope for progress on educational exchange. But they noted major challenges in the human rights, trade, and security arenas, in addition to domestic pressures which influence leadership in Beijing and Washington. 

The panel featured political scientists Thomas J. Christensen, Professor of Public and International Affairs and Director of the China and the World Program at Columbia University; Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science; and Xiaobo Lu, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science at Barnard College; along with Qin Gao, Professor of Social Policy and Social Work and Director of the China Center for Social Policy; Benjamin L. Liebman, Robert L. Lieff Professor of Law and director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies at the Columbia Law School; and Eugenia Y. Lean, Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute.