The possibility of a China and United States “trade war” and its historical significance will be explored in a lecture sponsored by Wilkes University’s Contemporary History Project. “Beyond the Trade War: Historical Reflections on U.S.-China Relations” will be the topic of the lecture by Yanqiu Zheng, assistant professor of history and government at Misericordia University. He will speak on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. in the Miller room of the Henry Student Center, 84 W. South St. Wilkes-Barre.
As the talk of “trade war” between China and the United States dominates policy discussions and mass media, it has become difficult to imagine an alternative relationship between the two largest economies other than the seemingly inevitable collision. This talk draws upon historical precedents from the engagement between the two countries dating back to the late 1700s. It argues that neither trade nor war alone defines an agreement between the parties to coexist peacefully, as arguably the most critical bilateral relationship in the early twenty-first century. A more well-rounded understanding will be rooted in the two nations’ economic, military, and cultural encounters amid their evolving power balance in all these areas in the past.
Zheng received his doctorate in East Asian history from Northwestern University. As a historian of modern China, he is broadly interested in the country’s multifaceted engagement with the outside world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is now preparing a book manuscript on the history of Chinese cultural diplomacy, focusing on the United States, between the age of high imperialism and the changing global Cold War order in the 1970s.