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This article, written by Initiative Senior Fellow James Green, was featured in ChinaFile, a project of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society.

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September 10, 2020

In Defense of Diplomacy with China

Author: James Green

In this piece, Initiative Senior Fellow James Green draws on his U.S.-China experience and research from his oral history podcast to explain the importance of continued diplomacy between the United States and China. Critics of the last four decades of China policy have incorrectly and simplistically labeled diplomacy a failure because the People’s Republic did not become a liberal democracy. That was never the goal or an achievable objective of U.S. policy. The goal was to shape Chinese policy to align more with U.S. objectives: a more open society, reduced overseas disruptive behavior, and increasingly transparent business operations. Since Nixon’s breakthrough trip to Beijing in 1972, the world has changed. China has changed. The United States has changed. But as long as the CCP leadership sits in Zhongnanhai, the U.S. should harness those decades of experience to assemble the right set of policies to advance American and global interests.

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