The Presidential Election and US-China Relations: at a crossroads?

While hawkishness on China is bi-partisan in the US, the 2020 presidential election will still have a major impact on US-China relations. What can we expect after November?

The Trump administration has taken a bilateral approach over the last 4 years, in some cases directly alienating potential allies in its opposition to China. On the opposite aisle of the US’ political system, presidential candidate Joe Biden has pledged a multilateral approach to China. When it comes to third parties to the US’ clash with China, the saying “When two bulls fight, the grass suffers” applies. The two great powers’ relations could not be more important for the rest of the world. This panel explores what we can expect for US-China relations depending on the outcome of the US presidential election, and what this implies for middling powers.



Event recorded 22 October 2020.


Gidon Gautel is China Foresight Project Coordinate and Economic Diplomacy Commission Project Manager.

Matthew Kroenig is a Professor in the Department of Government and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. A 2019 study in Perspectives on Politics ranked him as one of the top 25 most-cited political scientists of his generation.

Evan S. Medeiros is the Penner Family Chair in Asia Studies in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He has published several books and articles on the international politics of East Asia, US-China relations and China’s foreign and national security policies. He previously served for six years on the staff of the White House’s National Security Council as Director for China, Taiwan and Mongolia and then as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asia (2009-2015).

Yu Jie is Senior Research Fellow on China at the Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House, focusing on the decision-making process of Chinese foreign policy as well as China’s economic diplomacy.

Michael Cox is a Founding Director of LSE IDEAS and an Emeritus Professor in International Relations at LSE.