At the height of the Cold War, the United States made a bold political gamble to engage with an underdeveloped and politically isolated China. Engagement policy transformed not only the Cold War political landscape, but the trajectory of history: China is now one of the largest and most powerful economies in the world, and is widely considered by Americans to be a rival.  

In this new era of U.S.-China relations, “engagement” has become a target for criticism in American political circles. Does it deserve this reputation? In an interview recorded on December 12, 2023, Diana Fu and Yun Sun discuss the legacy of engagement policy and what lessons Americans can learn from the past five decades of relations with China. 

U.S.-China Counterpoints explores common perspectives on the U.S.-China relationship held by those in both countries. Guided by leading experts, this series examines the facts behind common viewpoints, and the details that shape U.S.-China relations behind the headlines. 

About the speakers