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At the first annual Nixon Forum on U.S.-China Relations today in Washington D.C., Senator Chris Coons of Delaware offered a plan and united message to China which includes five concrete solutions to promote freedom and openness in China, including the development of American version of the Chinese so-called Belt and Road Initiative: 

  1. Enforce open sea lanes and freedom of navigation around the world. The U.S. must negotiate with China to establish a new maritime code of conduct.
  2. Transform the U.S. defense budget to adapt to the emergence of new technologies. The U.S. military needs to become more modern.
  3. Enforce rules governing the deployment of new technologies such as 5G, and strengthen U.S. capacity for innovation. 
  4. Develop an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative that uses international partnerships for its strategic advantage.
  5. Multilateral promotion of democratic values through international institutions like the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell also spoke on behalf of the Trump administration, declaring that democracy is a direct threat to Beijing’s authoritarian approach.

The jam-packed day of solutions-oriented discussion included excited back and forth between three of America’s most distinguished diplomats Winston Lord, Stapleton Roy and Chas Freeman, and the country’s top China scholars and experts, all of whom offered sometimes competing and conflicting ideas on how to better and strengthen the Sino-American relationship — advocating for both the adoption of tougher measures and more strategic cooperation on energy. All of this took place at a new kind of Forum uniquely suited to allay issues regarding the most important bilateral relationship in the world today.

The Richard Nixon Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson Center joined together in a unique partnership to organize this one-day conference that detailed and developed solutions to the most pressing contemporary issues that face the U.S.-China relationship today and for decades ahead: geostrategic tensions, the trade war, and human rights and religious freedom.

The Richard Nixon Foundation will host the next Nixon Forum in Orange County, California in Fall 2020 and more information will be issued on that soon.

Read coverage of the event in the South China Morning Post, the Washington Post, and China Daily.

Read additional summary key points from each of the panels HERE.