Wednesday, May 15, 2024 | 9:00 AM EDT - 9:30 AM EDT

Zoom Interview | Noah Barkin, Janka Oertel, Jason Kelly

In the wake of Xi Jinping’s first visit to Europe in five years, the European Union and China continue to navigate an increasingly challenging period in relations. Concerns over growing trade imbalances, unfair subsidies in key industries, high-profile espionage cases, and China’s continued support for Russia and its war on Ukraine place increasing strain on this pivotal relationship. At the same time, economic interconnectivity and shared concerns over transnational issues like climate change and AI governance compel coordination and cooperation. President Xi’s recent visits to France, Hungary, and Serbia have underscored the divisions within the European Union regarding China policy, leaving the path forward uncertain.

At this critical juncture, on May 15, 2024, Jason Kelly sat down with Noah Barkin and Janka Oertel to unpack recent developments, key issues, and the road ahead for China and the European Union.  


Noah Barkin

Noah Barkin is a senior advisor in Rhodium Group’s China practice, based in Berlin, where he focuses on Europe-China relations and transatlantic China policy. He is also a visiting senior fellow in the Indo-Pacific Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and creator of the popular “Watching China in Europe” newsletter. Previously, he worked as a bureau chief, regional editor and Europe correspondent for Reuters, based in Berlin, Paris, London and New York. He has also written for The Atlantic, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Politico, and other leading European publications. Mr. Barkin is a regular speaker and moderator on European foreign policy issues, is quoted widely in the press, and is the author of a book on the Euro. He has been a visiting fellow at the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin and the American-German Institute in Washington.

A native Californian, Mr. Barkin has a bachelor’s degree in political science and French from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.  

Janka Oertel

Janka Oertel is the director of the Asia Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations. She previously worked as a senior fellow in the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Berlin office, where she focused on transatlantic China policy including on emerging technologies, Chinese foreign policy, and security in East Asia. Prior to joining GMF, she served as a program director at the Körber Foundation’s Berlin office.   

Dr. Oertel holds a Ph.D. from the University of Jena (Germany). She was a visiting fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP Berlin) and worked at United Nations Headquarters in New York as a Carlo-Schmid-Fellow. She has published widely on topics related to EU-China relations, U.S.-China relations, security in the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese foreign policy, 5G and emerging technologies, as well as climate cooperation.  


Jason M. Kelly

Jason M. Kelly is a modern China historian focusing on 20th and 21st century Chinese foreign relations, commerce, and diplomacy, U.S.-China relations, and East Asian international history. He is currently a senior lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Cardiff University, an associate in research at Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, and a fellow in the NCUSCR Public Intellectuals Program.

Before joining Cardiff University in 2022, Dr. Kelly was an assistant professor in the Strategy & Policy Department at the U.S. Naval War College (2018-2022), and an Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School (2016-2018). Prior to becoming a historian, he was a foreign service officer posted to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Dr. Kelly’s first book, Market Maoists: The Communist Origins of China’s Capitalist Ascent (2021), examines the overlooked commercial relationships that linked the Chinese Communist Party to international capitalism from the early days of the Pacific War to the waning years of the Cultural Revolution.

Dr. Kelly has a B.A. from Dartmouth College, an M.A. from Yale University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University.