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Engaging Asia 2008: U.S. Strategic Interests, Priorities, and Policy Tools

On May 22, 2008, NBR hosted “Engaging Asia: U.S. Strategic Interests, Priorities, and Policy Tools,” bringing together senior policy leaders and experts to discuss the need for greater U.S. engagement with this increasingly vital region of the world.


EVENT AUDIO


Opening Remarks:

Richard J. Ellings
President, The National Bureau of Asian Research

Welcoming Address:

Rick Larsen
U.S. Congress


ASIA'S CHANGING ECONOMIC AND SECURITY LANDSCAPE: IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S. POLICY

Remarks:

Kevin Brady

U.S. Congress

Panelists:

Admiral Dennis C. Blair

U.S. Navy (ret.), inaugural holder of The John M. Shalikashvili Chair in National Security Studies at NBR

Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky
Senior International Partner at WilmerHale

Regional Views:

Ambassador Lee Tae-sik

Embassy of the Republic of Korea

Ambassador Chan Heng Chee

Embassy of Singapore

Questions and Answers:

Q&A

(Moderator: Eric Altbach, Vice President, Economic and Trade Affairs, The National Bureau of Asian Research)


U.S.-ASIA RELATIONS: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Remarks:

Ambassador Christopher R. Hill

Assistant Secretary, East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Questions and Answers:

Q&A

(Moderator: Richard J. Ellings, President, The National Bureau of Asian Research)

Though the distinguished participants approached U.S. engagement in Asia from a variety of perspectives, several common themes emerged. There was consensus on the increasing importance of the Asia-Pacific region both to the United States and to the world—with issues and interests more closely intertwined than ever before—as well as on the need for U.S. policymakers to invest greater attention and resources to Asia and to develop a more integrated strategy.

Reminding the audience that the United States is a Pacific nation, several speakers argued that policymakers should fully appreciate the depth and breadth of U.S. economic and security interests in Asia. Speakers also urged the next administration to build on existing, proven mechanisms, such as the Strategic Economic Dialogue with China, in order to foster more effective cooperation with Asian nations, rather than creating entirely new structures.

Some of the speakers also expressed concern about the rhetoric of the campaign season, and many remarked that rising protectionism threatens to damage not only U.S. economic interests but also long-term security relationships in the region with countries like South Korea.

Finally, there was general agreement that the U.S.-China relationship is particularly important and deserves increased U.S. attention.

Background on the Conference

Engaging Asia is a comprehensive initiative that provides analysis and policy recommendations for U.S. engagement with the region and seeks to encourage integrated high-level discussion of U.S. interests and policy.

Whose Pacific Century? The 113th Congress and Asia

Engaging Asia: The Future of U.S. Leadership

Engaging Asia: Strategies for Success