The China-Europe-U.S. Trialogue

For the next generation or more, Americans will be confronted by a critical test in the practice of American foreign policy: how to address China’s almost certain rise to great power status.  China’s ascent to great power status has happened with greater suddenness and significance than perhaps any other international development of comparable consequence.  This is not a single issue of concern for the United States.  Many of the challenges – trade and economic competitiveness, the environment and energy usage, global governance, military ambitions and regional rivalries – are global challenges.  China’s emergence on the international stage, and these shared concerns, has underscored the importance of cultivating a robust relationship between China, Europe, and the United States.  How the United States and Europe approach a rapidly evolving China will not only influence the direction that China takes but also will have significant implications for global peace and security.

Against this backdrop, the Aspen Strategy Group, in conjunction with Aspen Institute Italia and the China Central Party School, convened the first “China-Europe-U.S Trialogue” in Beijing in 2010.  The Trialogue launched at a time when discord over controversial issues like U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, the trade deficit and artificial value of Chinese currency, and the Chinese position on global issues such as climate change and international security matters had hindered cooperation and engendered distrust.  The Trialogue helps to reverse this trend by providing a unique trilateral forum in which high-level officials have the rare opportunity to engage in open, productive discussion on the most complex global challenges facing the world today.