Seminar on shifting Sino-American relations: implications for Africa

On Friday 11 May 2018, the UJCI, in collaboration with the University of Johannesburg Library, hosted a seminar on ‘Battle of the Giants?: Shifting Sino-American Relations and Re-Globalisation: Implications for Africa’.

The event was chaired by Dr David Monyae, Co-Director, UJCI.

The keynote speakers were Prof Wang Dong, Associate Professor in the School of International Studies, and Executive Deputy Director of the Institute for China-US People to People Exchange at Peking University; and Prof Henry Sun, International Director of the Business Research Institute and Professor at the Business School, University of Chester, United Kingdom.

The discussant was Ms Sanusha Naidu, Foreign Policy Analyst.

The year 2018 will be a busy one for Sino-South African relations. First, these two countries are celebrating 20 years of formal diplomatic relations. Second, South Africa will host the 10th BRICS Summit to be held in Johannesburg on 25-27 July. As host of the Summit, South Africa will be able to set the agenda for this increasingly important alliance between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. In September, China and South Africa will co-chair the 2018 meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), to be hosted by China and held in Beijing. The Forum last met in Johannesburg in 2015.

Representatives of some 50 African countries are expected to meet with Chinese representatives to review their relations thus far and chart a way forward, following multiple changes in their domestic arrangements, including elections, re-elections and constitutional revisions on both sides.

All this will take place against the backdrop of major shifts in the international order, with many analysts now turning their attention to what Graham Allison has termed the ‘Thucydides Trap’ of an inevitable clash between the rising power of China and the United States, the global hegemon since 1945, and made more powerful by the end of the Cold War.

Most recently, in early April, 2018 a trade dispute erupted between the United States and China. Trump’s administration proposed 25 percent tariffs on $ 50 billion-worth of roughly 1,300 Chinese imports. This has invoked much debate and criticism, with some arguing that it is not so much about trade as about China’s rise as a technology power. To make sense of the above, UJCI has invited some of the best Chinese scholars to dissect this issue.

At this Public Dialogue, Professor Wang Dong of Peking University, the leading Chinese scholar on the history and development of Chinese foreign policy, will address these and many other questions, together with Professor Henry Sun, International Director of the Business Research Institute and Visiting Professor at Business School, University of Chester, United Kingdom.

Professor Dong and Professor Sun will be joined by the prominent South African Scholar Ms Sanusha Naidu, who will discuss the past, present and future of bilateral and multilateral areas of operation between African countries and China.