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Lunchtime Talk

Can China’s Intentions be Inferred? Credible Signaling and US-China Relations

How can the US and other states form accurate beliefs about the intentions of a rising China? Not only does the literature on China’s rise lack systematic criteria for inferring China’s intentions, but signaling during power shifts has also been dramatically undertheorized. This talk presents a novel theoretical framework for inferring the credibility of a rising state’s behavioral signals, and applies it to contemporary US-China relations. Most crucially, China’s behavioral signals are most credible when it faces low external constraints. This implies that there are unrecognized tradeoffs that undermine the current policy consensus in the literature on US-China relations: that the US should adopt some mix of positive inducements ("engagement") and deterrence ("containment") to constrain China’s behavior. Although these strategies induce China to behave cooperatively in the short-term, they increase its incentive to misrepresent its true aims, and thus increase US uncertainty about China's future intentions. The talk then introduces alternative US strategies that would remove constraints over China’s behavior and increase the credibility of its cooperative signals.

Speaker(s):
Dr Brandon Yoder
Research Fellow
Centre for Asia and Globalisation
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Seminar Room 2-2
Manasseh Meyer
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469C Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259772
Thu 14 September 2017
12:15 PM - 01:30 PM

Dr Brandon Yoder

Dr Brandon Yoder

Research Fellow Centre for Asia and Globalisation Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Please email to register for this seminar. Please note that we will cater lunch boxes only for those who have registered before 8 Sept 2017 (Friday) 2pm.