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Susan Thornton (center) and other top Asia-Pacific advisors meet with then-Secretary of State John Kerry ahead of the 2014 APEC forum in Beijing / U.S. State Department Flickr

What actually happened at Mar-a-Lago?

Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs at the U.S. State Department, on the development and current status of U.S.-China relations.

A
s a career U.S. foreign service officer and the acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs at the U.S. State Department, Susan Thornton has had a hand in the China policy of three successive American administrations. She was stationed in China for the years 2000-2007, and since then has held leadership positions in Washington connected to U.S.-China relations. Before 2000, she specialized in and was stationed in post-Soviet states, including Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

She is an excellent interpreter of how U.S.-China relations have developed in the 21st century, and a key player in current U.S.-China policy.

In this podcast: What really happened at Mar-a-Lago? Was the Trump team prepared? Was the timing of the Syria strike intentional? How does the U.S. administration plan to press China on North Korea, and will it continue to criticize China on human rights?

This podcast was recorded live on April 12 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., with the help of that university’s chapter of Global China Connection.

Recommendations:

Jeremy: “Logical Thinking” (逻辑思维 luóji sīwéi), a popular channel on WeChat that broadcasts a one-minute recording on an issue of society in mainland China every day. Search for “逻辑思维” on WeChat.

Susan: The Immobile Empire, by Alain Peyrefitte, a book on Lord George Macartney’s famous trip to visit the Qianlong Emperor in 1793 and cross-cultural perceptions between the British and Chinese empires.

Kaiser: Chinese History: A New Manual, by Endymion Wilkinson. The invaluable tome covering China from many different angles is often described as “magisterial.”

How to Listen

Download this episode. Subscribe on Overcast, iTunes or Stitcher, tune in with your favorite app using our feed or check out the Sinica archives.

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