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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Trading Places: China and the US in the International System

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Richard Baum does not foresee China and the US “trading places” in the near future but does not rule out this scenario in twenty to thirty years. He evaluates China’s role in the international system. China’s strong economic growth continues, though probably slowing, and it has become powerful regional actor. Yet, China also faces problems with the United States and other sovereign nations in Asia as well as its membership in WTO, World Bank and IMF. Baum considers these and other tensions for China on the international front. He includes in his discussion the different positions of various China scholars take on these developments.

Barry Naughton argues that China has become the world’s Number Two superpower following three decades of record economic growth. It is unlikely that China wants to challenge US primacy in the near term but rather seeks to improve and build upon its regional standing. The Communist Party is in the process of recalibrating its relations with the US and the world but also has domestic challenges including consolidating its power, the slowing migration from rural to urban areas and the demographic transformation from a young to a more mature society. Professor Naughton goes on suggest what this portends for the Chinese economy and society.

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Richard Baum lecture


Barry Naughton lecture