Transatlantic Perspectives on China: Consensus and Divergence

A conversation between Bonnie Glaser and Ben Bland discussing a recent Chatham House report on transatlantic policy convergence and divergence, with a focus on China.
April 02, 2024

In the past decade, policy toward China has hardened on both sides of the Atlantic. Governments and publics across Europe and in the United States view Xi Jinping as implementing more repressive policies domestically and more aggressive policies abroad. The US and most capitals in Europe see Beijing as seeking to revise the international order in ways that would be disadvantageous to democracies. They agree on the need for de-risking and to preserve the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.

Yet, despite the alignment in transatlantic assessments, cooperation on China remains limited. A new paper by experts from Chatham House and RUSI, leading think tanks in the United Kingdom, analyzes why transatlantic mechanisms have made slow progress, focusing on three domains: economics; security; and the multilateral system and global norms. The paper also offers ways to strengthen cooperation going forward.

The title of the report is “Transatlantic China Policy: In Search of an Endgame?” Host Bonnie Glaser is joined by one of its authors, Ben Bland who is the director of the Asia-Pacific program at Chatham House. His research focuses on the nexus of politics, economics, and international relations in Southeast Asia, as well as China’s growing role in the broader region and the contours of US–China strategic competition.

Episode Highlights:

[01:46] Why did you pursue this research on transatlantic mechanism?

[03:24] Importance of Agreeing on an Endgame

[06:30] Consensus and Divergence between the US and Europe

[10:10] De-risking: One Word, Many Meanings 

[15:00] Transatlantic Discussions on European and Indo-Pacific Security

[18:40] Can a regional division of labor strategy work?

[22:13] China, the Multilateral System, and Global Norms

[27:00] Tensions Between EU Multilateralism and Transatlantic Consensus

[31:10] What are the next steps for Chatham House?