As tensions between the United States and China rise over security issues in the Asia-Pacific region, there are concerns about the possibility of conflict between the world’s two largest economies. Dennis Wilder, former senior director for East Asia on the George W. Bush administration’s national security council, has witnessed many high and low points in the U.S.-China relationship over his distinguished four-decade career in the U.S. government. In this podcast with Paul Haenle, Wilder acknowledged the real and difficult challenges facing Beijing and Washington today, but expressed optimism that the two governments can manage their differences and continue to advance relations along a peaceful and constructive path.

In part two of this two-part podcast, Wilder assessed the state of U.S.-China relations at the end of the Obama administration, comparing them with relations at the end of the Bush administration. He offered lessons that future administrations can glean from both President Bush and Obama’s relationships with foreign leaders. Looking forward, Dennis said that for the United States and China to strengthen their relations, the countries should continue to develop strong economic relations, cooperate on national security issues such as North Korea, and more broadly solve the problem of strategic mistrust.

Paul Haenle

Paul Haenle is the director of the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. Prior to joining Carnegie, he served from June 2007 to June 2009 as the director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolian Affairs on the National Security Council staffs of former president George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.

Dennis Wilder

Dennis Wilder is a senior fellow with the Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues at Georgetown University. Most recently, Dennis served as the CIA’s deputy assistant director for East Asia and the Pacific, and previous to that had roles as the senior editor of the president’s Daily Brief and National Security Council special assistant to the president and director for East Asian affairs.