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Critical Issues Confronting China featuring Thomas J. Christensen – Thomas Schelling, the United States, and China’s Rise

March 21 @ 4:30 pm 5:45 pm

Speaker: Thomas J. Christensen, James T. Shotwell Professor of International Relations, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs


Thomas Schelling’s theoretical work on coercive diplomacy carries important lessons for U.S. security policy toward a rising China.  This talk will address the challenges in combining credible threats and credible assurances in deterring a PRC military attack on Taiwan and the need to differentiate clearly between unconditional restrictions on the transfer of militarily relevant technology to China and conditional threats to punish China economically if Beijing adopts certain proscribed policies.

Note: Thomas Christensen serves as a Senior Advisor to the Office of China Coordination at the U.S. Department of State.  All opinions expressed in this talk and in the discussion that follows are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.

Thomas J. Christensen is James T. Shotwell Professor of International Relations and Director of the China and the World program in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. From 2006 to 2008, he served as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, with responsibility for relations with China, Taiwan, and Mongolia.  He is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and editor of the Nancy B. Tucker and Warren I. Cohen book series on the United States in Asia at the Columbia University Press.  He received a Distinguished Public Service Award from the United States Department of State.

His research and teaching focuses on China’s foreign relations, the international relations of East Asia, and international security. Previously, he taught at Princeton University, MIT, and Cornell University. He received his bachelor’s from Haverford College, his master’s in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in political science from Columbia University.


March 21
4:30 pm – 5:45 pm
Event Categories:


Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies


CGIS South S020, Belfer Case Study Room

1730 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States

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