How to respond to China's rise

A La Trobe University event is set to debate the future of the political, diplomatic, defence and trade relationship with Asian superpower China.

The joint Ideas and Society Program and La Trobe Asia event will ask if the best option to deal with the tensions between China and the United States and its allies is to resist the rise of China in the Asia-Pacific region or to acknowledge and accommodate its growing power.

La Trobe Asia Executive Director, Professor Nick Bisley said China’s rise was continuing to transform the world.

“There are many impacts from the China’s growth in wealth and power. One of the most significant is the unsettled and yet to be resolved balance of power in the Asia Pacific region,” Professor Bisley said.

“How should the world respond to an increasingly powerful, wealthy and ambitious China? Should Washington try to retain the status quo in Asia, should it contest China's bid for influence or retreat, ceding the region as a whole to this authoritarian behemoth?”

Ideas and Society Convener Emeritus Professor Robert Manne said the US leadership’s response to China will be among the most important decisions that it has to make in coming years.

“Our next event will feature one of the world’s most influential scholars of international strategy, Hugh White, who argues that the most prudent response for Washington and its allies, including Australia, is to relinquish its old predominance and find new ways of sharing power in Asia with the People’s Republic.

“The ‘Hugh White thesis’, as it has been called, is a hotly contested idea in the United States and Australia, which White will debate with leading China foreign and defence policy expert, founder of China Matters and La Trobe Asia’s Advisory Board member Linda Jakobson.

“This is a unique opportunity to be listen to a discussion on a question that will help determine the shape of international relations in the twenty-first century.”

What: The China Choice

When: Thursday, 3 November 2016

Time: 6.30 PM to 8.00 PM (AEDT)

Where: State Library of Victoria - Theatrette (enter via entry 3)

Tickets for the event are available here.


Hugh White is the author of China Choice: Why America Should Share Power. He is Professor of Strategic Studies at the ANU and a former Senior Advisor to Defence Minister Kim Beazley and Prime Minister Bob Hawke. Between 1995 and 2000 he was deputy secretary for strategy and intelligence in the Department of Defence.

Linda Jakobson is Founding Director of China Matters, an Australian public policy initiative that aims to stimulate a nuanced and realistic discussion in Australia about China's rise, and to advance sound policy. The author of six books on China and Asia, Linda lived and worked in China for 22 years. She is also currently Visiting Professor at the United States Study Centre, University of Sydney and a member of La Trobe Asia’s Advisory Board.


Nick Bisley is Executive Director of La Trobe Asia and Professor of International Relations at La Trobe University.

Robert Manne is Emeritus Professor of Politics, Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow and Convenor of the Ideas & Society Program at La Trobe University.