As Donald Trump’s inauguration approaches, uncertainty looms over the future of U.S.-China policy. In the second half of this two-part podcast, Paul Haenle spoke with Chen Dingding, an international relations professor at Jinan University and founding director of the Intellisia Institute, about the Chinese reaction to Trump’s election and his views on how it could impact future bilateral relations.

Looking to North Korea, one of the most pressing agenda items for the incoming administration, Chen said the claim that China has not done enough to address the problem is both true and false. While China could place tougher sanctions on North Korea, it does not have the leverage that the United States believes it possesses to prevent Pyongyang from continuing its nuclear weapons program development. Although tensions are likely to intensify in areas like the South China Sea, Chen said China’s leaders will focus on maintaining stable relations with the United States and will not want to “pick a fight.” Indeed, he believes that perceived Chinese aggression would lend Washington more cause to intervene in the region. Moreover, Chen said China’s leaders will turn their focus to domestic matters in the run up to the 19th Party Congress, the most important political event of the year for China.

Paul Haenle

Paul Haenle is the director of the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy based at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Haenle’s research focuses on Chinese foreign policy and U.S.-China relations.

Chen Dingding

Chen Dingding is a professor of international relations at Jinan University and a nonresident fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin, Germany.