Can Blinken’s Beijing Visit Cool Down U.S.-China Tensions?

Months after his first planned visit to China was postponed due to the detection of a Chinese spy balloon in American airspace, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to visit Beijing on June 18. The Biden administration has cast the visit as part of an ongoing effort to keep open communication and set guardrails as the geopolitical competition between the two countries deepens. But China has been reluctant to accept such overtures so long as the United States continues to adopt policies that China’s leadership perceives as containment of their country’s power and influence. Can the sustained high-level dialogue Blinken seeks in Beijing arrest this downward spiral of relations?  To explore this question and others, join us for a discussion ahead of Blinken’s visit featuring Michael Swaine, senior research fellow for East Asia, and Jake Werner, research fellow. Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, editorial director at Responsible Statecraft, will moderate.


Michael Swaine

Michael D. Swaine, a Senior Research Fellow at QI’s East Asia program, is one of the most prominent American scholars of Chinese security studies. He comes to QI from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he worked for nearly twenty years as a senior fellow specializing in Chinese defense and foreign policy, U.S.-China relations, and East Asian international relations. Swaine served as a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. Swaine has authored and edited more than a dozen books and monographs, including Remaining Aligned on the Challenges Facing Taiwan (with Ryo Sahashi; 2019), Conflict and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Strategic Net Assessment (with Nicholas Eberstadt et al; 2015) and many journal articles and book chapters.

Jake Werner

Jake Werner is a Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute. His research examines the emergence of great power conflict between the U.S. and China and develops policies to rebuild constructive economic relations. Prior to joining Quincy, Jake was a Postdoctoral Global China Research Fellow at the Boston University Global Development Policy Center, a Harper-Schmidt Fellow at the University of Chicago, a Fulbright Scholar at National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan, and a Fulbright-Hays Fellow at East China Normal University in Shanghai. Jake is also a cofounder of Justice Is Global, a project of the organizing network People’s Action that advocates for reforms to the global economy; a cofounder of Critical China Scholars, a network of academics engaged in public education on Chinese politics and society; and a steering committee member of the Committee for a Sane U.S.–China Policy.

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos (Moderator)

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is a senior advisor at the Quincy Institute and editorial director of its online magazine, Responsible Statecraft. Previously she served as executive editor managing editor, and longtime foreign policy/national security writer at the American Conservative magazine. She also spent 15 years as an online political reporter for Fox News.