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Bipartisan Coalition Urges U.S.-China Cooperation to Combat COVID-19

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UC San Diego experts among key partners working to bridge the divide between Washington D.C. and Beijing

By Christine Clark | UC San Diego News

Over 90 bipartisan, high-level former government officials and experts in the U.S.-China relationship released a joint statement today urging cooperation between the United States and China in a much-needed effort to combat the COVID-19 global health crisis.

Signatories include Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of Homeland Defense under President George W. Bush, Jon Huntsman, Ambassador to Russia under President Donald Trump, Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor to the Obama admiration and Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State under the Clinton admiration, among many others.

The statement was released by Asia Society’s Center on U.S-China Relations and the 21st Century China Center at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy.

The statement seeks to encourage the recent cooperative steps taken between Washington and Beijing and to demonstrate that there is broad bipartisan support for furthering such cooperation.

Said Stephen Hadley, former National Security Advisor: “We want to encourage a global effort with America’s allies and friends and other nations to meet the coronavirus challenge.  This is all about saving lives –American lives at home, and the lives of others abroad.”

The statement acknowledges the serious differences in interests and values between the United States and China, but argues the United States need not concede its interests or values—or condone China’s handling of the crisis—to cooperate on the pandemic.  The statement cites the precedent set during the Cold War when the United States and Soviet Union worked together to vaccinate the world against smallpox.

Kurt Campbell, former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and UC San Diego alum explains, “Even with all the distrust and disharmony, it is possible for the leadership in the United States and China to find the necessary common ground to combat the coronavirus. The American people deserve no less.”

The joint statement identifies a range of applicable areas for collaboration—including through forums such as the G20—to develop a clear and transparent mechanism to share relevant scientific data; compare best medical practices; align efforts to ramp up production and distribution of medical supplies; and coordinate funds and clinical trials for vaccine and treatment research, testing, production, and distribution.

According to Susan Shirk, Chair of the 21st Century China Center and professor emeritus at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy, “Global challenges require global solutions, which must involve coordination between the world’s two largest economies. We are going to need a massive international effort on multiple fronts to help developing countriesdeal with the epidemic, develop a vaccine, and then vaccinate billions of people. Other nations will be hesitant to act unless they are convinced the United States and China are on the same page.”

“Whatever the state of grace in the bilateral U.S-China relationship,” says Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations, “a global challenge of the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic compels us to do everything we can to find ways to collaborate to save lives.”

UC San Diego signatories to the bipartisan statement in addition to Shirk include Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla, Tai Ming Cheung,  professor in the School of Global Policy and Strategy and director of the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC); Peter Cowhey, dean and Qualcomm Endowed Chair of the School of Global Policy and Strategy; Barry Naughton, professor at School of Global Policy and Strategy; and Victor Shih, associate professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy.

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About the 21st Century China Center at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy: The 21st Century China Center was established in 2011 at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. It is a leading university-based think tank that produces scholarly research and informs policy discussions on China and U.S.-China relations.

About the Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations: The Center on U.S.-China Relations was founded in 2006 and is based at Asia Society’s New York headquarters. The center undertakes projects and events which explore areas of common interest and divergent views between the two countries, focusing on policy, culture, business, media, economics, energy, and the environment.

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About author
Christine Clark is assistant director of communications and media relations for the School of Global and Strategy. Christine has been with the campus’ central University Communications office since 2007 and is a UC San Diego alumna. She directs external media relations for the school, sharing the depth and breadth of GPS research and its impacts with broad audiences around the globe. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Christine works with campus leadership and faculty at UC San Diego Health to lead communications efforts for UC San Diego’s Return to Learn program. Follow her on Twitter @christineeclark.
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