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CHINA: Is Engagement Still Working?

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On Thursday, October 23rd, the McCain Institute for International Leadership hosted the debate: “CHINA: Is Engagement Still Working?” at the U.S. Navy Memorial Heritage Center in Washington, DC.
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  p.1 CHINA: Is Engagement Still Working   Paris Dennard : Good evening. My name is Paris Dennard. I'm the Events Director here at the McCain Institute. We're delighted to have all of you here.I want you to do me a favor. If you have an iPhone, anything that's a device that rings, that buzzes, we want it to buzz tonight, so put it on vibrate for me. But I want you to participate throughout the course of tonight's debate.If you're on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, please, first, follow us, @McCainInstitute.I see some of you all from our last debate. I asked you if you followed us and you said, No. I hope tonight we can change your mind and you follow us, @McCainInstitute on Twitter, on Facebook and on Instagram, and our YouTube page as well.Throughout the course of tonight's event, you can look inside of here and you can see the Twitter hashtag for tonight's debate. That page, it says MIDebateChina. Use that hashtag. Our moderator @TomNagorski and the rest of our panelists have their Twitter handles there as well.I hope that you will be engaged tonight. Let people know where you are, let them know that you're excited, and let them know what you're listening to this evening.Last point. There will be a portion for question and answer, so please, if you have the microphone given to you, please stand up, let the audience know your name and your affiliation. Make it easier on everyone that's here.Without further ado, I'd like to introduce to you our ambassador, Kurt Volker.[applause] Kurt Volker : Thank you very much. I'm honored to be here myself, and I am delighted to see all of you. I see a lot of friends, I see a lot of repeat attendees, I see some new faces. Thank you for coming and supporting the McCain Institute.The McCain Institute was founded to honor the legacy of service to our country. Senator McCain, Mrs. Cindy McCain, the McCain family going back generations. It's part of Arizona State University based here in Washington, DC, with activities also in Arizona.One of the issues that we've taken on is promoting the next generation of character-driven, global leadership. We want to see emerging leaders around the world of good character and values. We're delighted that two of the participants in our program arehere tonight. I hope you get a chance to interact with them.  p.2 Another area that we've taken on is trying to re-establish a culture of serious, informed, structured debate about the greatest challenges facing our country, and the democratic community of nations around the world.We've launched this debate series. I can't count how many we've done now. This is probably about the 12th. I think you'll find there's a very interesting, very informative, very engaged debate this evening.Before I introduce our moderator, I'm delighted to have a special guest here tonight. I'd like to introduce to you Mrs. Cindy McCain.[applause] Cindy McCain : Thank you very much and welcome all of you. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to be here. I'm not here that often. To be able to be here tonight to enjoy this debate is especially special. I can't say that, I guess.Anyway, I bring greetings from two people. Of course, my husband who cannot be here tonight that sends his greetings. If there's anything John McCain loves more, it's the spiritof debate. But he does apologize for not being here.I also extend greetings from my mother-in-law, my 102-year-old mother-in-law, who when I said to her what I was doing tonight, she said, Well, can I come? I said, Well, of course, you can come. Oh, no, wait, I've got something else to do. [laughter] Cindy : I'm quite certain you'll see her at the next debate or whatever it may be. Welcome, enjoy, and we appreciate your continued involvement. Thank you.[applause] Kurt : Thank you, Cindy. We do have a few members of our board here this evening. We're delighted to have them here. One of them who is not here is the president of the Asia Society, Josette Sheeran. But we are delighted that we have the executive vice-president of the Asia Society, Mr. Tom Nagorski. He is the moderator for our debatetonight.He is a former managing editor for International Coverage at ABC. He brings a wealth of both [indecipherable 0:04:14] experience and media experience to this. I'll turn it over to him to introduce what is a very distinguished panel of debaters this evening. Thank you very much. I hope you enjoy our program.[applause] Tom Nagorski : Thank you Ambassador Volker and Mrs. McCain. I hope your mother-in-law watches online and isn't disappointed.  p.3 The McCain Institute has put a quite ambitious and bold policy question on the table for our great panel here tonight. It's really arguably one of the great policy questions of our time namely How best to engage with a very new and rising China. Should we deepen our collaborations and cooperations with the Chinese? Should we get tougher and more punitive as China asserts itself in all sorts of ways often rather aggressively?The implications in terms of how we answer that question are profound, obviously, for the United States' economy, for national security, for global efforts to deal with climate change, with trade, everything from food safety to terrorism and a lot more.As Ambassador Volker says, and you know because you've got your programs, I think, and you probably know many of these people already. We have a blue-ribbon group here to tackle all of this.Briefly, Sophie Richardson, two from my left, is China Director for Human Rights Watch. Mike Green, to her right, Senior Vice President for Asia, and the Japan Chair at CSIS. I should say, by the way, if you don't know, you're not familiar with the format here, they are a team.Although we're a little concerned that there may be some disagreements within the team, there may be some agreements across the aisle, but we'll honor Senator McCain's wish to have a spirited dialogue, if not an argument.[laughter] Tom : David Lampton, who is known, by the way, as Mike, just so you're not confused, is Director of China Studies at SAIS at Johns Hopkins. At the end, Deborah Lehr from the Paulson Institute, which has just recently, by the way, announced a major effort to combat environmental troubles in China.Why don't we start by giving them all a big hand?[applause] Tom : Before we begin, I just thought I'd set out some very basic propositions about whatwe're going to talk about. First of all, every nation of any size or import today, I think, needs a China strategy. Every conversation about Asia invariably comes around, at one moment or another, to China. I have first-hand experience with that in my current job at the Asia Society. We have programs like these, not necessarily debates, about everything from India's presidential elections to global trade, to climate change. China, whether they're there or not, get into the conversation one way or another.Just yesterday, actually, we launched a new report on the Chinese economic reforms. A trustee of ours, Jack Wadsworth, who used to run Morgan Stanley for all of Asia, said, hewas actually quoting a strategic document that Morgan Stanley had put out more than two  p.4 decades ago, You can get every country in Asia right. You get China wrong, you're going to fail. I thought that was a good setup for tonight.The other thing I'll say, just so we're clear, no-one on this stage, and I've just asked them, so I know this, is going to sit here and argue that we should cut ties with the Chinese. No-one is going to argue that the United States, on the other end of the spectrum, should sit idly by no matter what the Chinese do.In that spectrum, there's a whole range of policy options and recommendations that I hope we can get into tonight.I'll add one more thing about the format here. They run a tight ship at the McCain Institute. No pun intended, given where we are.[laughter] Tom : I feel like my colleague, Charlie Gibson at ABC, back when there were clocks all over the place, there's a clock there that says four minutes, which is really for the debate participants to see. I'm to frame a couple of propositions and policy statements, if you will. One side will have four minutes to tackle that, the other side, two minutes to rebut. If I seem rude, those are the rules and I'll interrupt as needed.I thought we'd start with a framing question about...it's very much derived from the news right now, and that has to do with Hong Kong.The showdown continues there. We have new developments almost every day. Very littlegive from China, defiance from the protesters. A lot of people in Hong Kong and beyond,all around the world, are looking for a far more robust response to this, not necessarily  just in terms of rhetoric and what's been seen so far, especially from the world's major democracies.Sophie Richardson, from Human Rights Watch, wrote just a couple of weeks ago, If youwere told the Chinese government, an unelected, one-party state, will decide who you canvote for, what would your response be, not only would you most likely object, you wouldexpect others, especially democracies, to loudly condemn the idea. Sophie, you accuse democracies, the UK in particular, of Appeasement of China and betrayal of Hong Kong. The premise for this first question, should the world's leading democracies, especially the United States, be far tougher than they have been on this? Should they set some red lines? If not, are they not, as Sophie suggests, betraying the people of Hong Kong?The team on the left, you have four minutes. Mike Green : I think we have to start by stipulating that we all would like to see the highest degree of democracy in Hong Kong as we could see. Secondly, I think we have tostipulate that the British when they negotiated for more than a decade on the
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