May 8, 2017

U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Health Background Report

Over the past decade, outbreaks of infectious diseases and increased global mobility have given health challenges an increasingly transnational dimension. Infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, the Ebola and Zika viruses, malaria, and tuberculosis have no regard for borders and can easily spread around the world in the age of increasing international travel. Simultaneously, the growth in transnational migration and refugee flows generated by uneven economic development and political instability has increased exposure to transnational health threats and raised new challenges for national health systems. Public health is increasingly recognized as a critical issue on the global security agenda. The United States and China, as the world’s leading economies, have affirmed that they have an important role to play in combatting these new threats to global health, and cooperation is expanding at a rapid pace. China and the United States have a shared interest in addressing global health challenges and practicing health diplomacy for the sake of their own citizens and the world.

This document provides background on the evolution of global health issues since World War II and the challenges they have posed for the United States, China, and their relationship. It concludes with an overview of major contemporary health challenges and the prospects for deeper U.S.-China dialogue and cooperation to address them.