Who’s Afraid of Xi Jinping? China’s Foreign Policy in the New Era

EVENT: 6pm Tues 20 August – In his first inaugural address, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorably said “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. Sometimes the same observation is made about China’s foreign policy.

Criticised by many for some aggressive posturing in the East and South China seas, for increasing its military, particularly naval, budgets, and for a variety of notorious excursions into cyber-warfare, China is sometimes painted as a threat. That was partly the thrust of the first Rudd government’s defence white paper, modified in the more recent document.

By contrast at an ASEAN meeting in Brunei last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China and south-east Asian nations were ”like members of one big family”. And China’s ambassador to the United States has insisted Beijing is ready to integrate into the international system and play by the rules.

China insists it does not seek hegemony, either globally or in the region, despite its rise to the world’s second largest economic power. Indeed some argue that China has neglected international affairs because of its concentration on economic growth. 

 In the last of our series on aspects of China, AIIA NSW is delighted to welcome Linda Jakobson, one of the region’s most lucid and best informed scholars on China’s politics and policies. Her evaluation of Chinese foreign policy under the new leadership of President Xi Jinping will follow hot on the heels of a two day conference on the issues of the South China Sea being staged in Sydney by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, to be attended by senior members of the AIIA NSW.

 Linda Jakobson is East Asia program director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, and will offer an appraisal of the future direction and potential focal points of China’s foreign policy under Xi Jinping’s leadership. Her credentials for doing so are first class.

Ms Jakobson has lived and worked in China for 20 years and written six books about China and East Asian society. A Mandarin speaker, she has published extensively on China’s foreign and security policy, the Taiwan Strait, China’s energy security, and science & technology polices. Prior to joining the Lowy Institute, Ms Jakobson served as director of the China and Global Security Program and senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). From 1998 to 2009 she worked for the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

Ms Jakobson was a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1990. The Finnish edition of her book, A Million Truths: A Decade in China (M. Evans, New York, 1998) won the Finnish Government Publication Award. Her SIPRI Policy Paper, New Foreign Policy Actors in China (co-authored with Dean Knox) was awarded an Albie in 2010. She has written two Lowy Institute publications: Australia-China Ties: in Search of Political Trust (2012) and China’s Foreign Policy Dilemma (2013).

Entry:  AIIA members $15.00; student members $10.00

           Visitors:  $25.00;   student visitors $15.00

Book now: http://www.aiia.asn.au/nsw-events/event/774-whos-afraid-of-xi-jinping

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