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China’s Power: Up for Debate 2021 - Debate 4: China’s Sphere of Influence in the Indo-Pacific

December 17, 2021 • 1:00 – 2:15 pm EST

As part of our sixth annual conference, the China Power Project will host a fourth and final debate on December 17 at 1:00 pm ET that will feature two experts debating the following proposition: “Given China’s growing power, China will have a sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific by 2027.”

China is increasingly utilizing its growing diplomatic, economic, and military power to shape developments along its periphery. Beijing has pushed in recent years to advance its economic agenda through the Belt and Road Initiative, and it has frequently sought to coerce countries through targeted economic and trade actions. China has also used its growing military power to assert its interests amid sovereignty and territorial disputes with a number of its neighbors. Yet Chinese officials have repeatedly emphasized that China is not seeking to establish a sphere of influence in the region, and instead is seeking to foster stability and economic growth in the Indo-Pacific. Among analysts of China, Beijing’s intentions and capabilities remain hotly debated. Some view Chinese activities as simply defending Beijing’s interests, while others argue that Beijing is actively making progress toward establishing a sphere of influence along its periphery.  

Dr. Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at Harvard University, will argue that China will establish a sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific by 2027. The Hon. David Stilwell, Former Assistant Secretary of State, East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the US Department of State, will argue that China will not establish a sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific by 2027.

For more information and to cast your vote for or against the debate topic, follow @ChinaPowerCSIS on Twitter. Polling during the event will take place through the Zoom Webinar platform. 

This event is made possible by the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Bonny Lin
Director, China Power Project and Senior Fellow, Asian Security

The Hon. David Stilwell

Former Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, US Department of State