Zhu Zhiqun

Zhu Zhiqun

Political Scientist

Zhiqun Zhu, PhD, is Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Bucknell University, USA, where he chaired the International Relations Department (2017-2021), served as the inaugural director of the China Institute (2013-2017), and was MacArthur Chair in East Asian politics (2008-2014). He previously taught at University of Bridgeport, Hamilton College, University of South Carolina, and Shanghai International Studies University. In the early 1990s, he was Senior Assistant to Public Affairs Officer at the US Consulate General in Shanghai. Professor Zhu has received many research grants and fellowships including a Fulbright US Scholar award to Australia and a summer research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Dr. Zhu is a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations and is frequently quoted by international media on Chinese and East Asian affairs.


India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden along with world leaders arrive to pay their respect at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Raj Ghat on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi on 10 September, 2023. (PIB/AFP)

China and India are not playing a zero-sum game in the global south

With the announcement of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor at the recent G20 summit, it could be easy to assume that India has made its strategic decision to join the US-led West to counter China, or that the IMEC is a natural rival to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. But complementary multilateral structures may not be a thing of the past.
US President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 leaders' summit in Bali, Indonesia, 14 November 2022. (Kevin Lamarque/File Photo/Reuters)

Instead of seeking support from others, Xi and Biden must meet again

The world appears to be getting more fractured and polarised, with the US and its allies meeting at Camp David recently, and the BRICS summit in Johannesburg issuing invitations for admission to six countries. While both the US and China are building their own alliances and partnerships, now more than ever, they need to improve their direct communication with each other, says US academic Zhu Zhiqun.
Qin Gang attends a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (not pictured) at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, on 14 April 2023. (Suo Takekuma/Pool via Reuters)

The Qin Gang mystery and Chinese foreign policy

Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi has taken over former Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s position, but speculations are still rife about Qin's removal and the reverberations this will have on Chinese foreign affairs and politics. US academic Zhu Zhiqun weighs in.
This file combination of pictures created on 8 June 2021 shows Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) during a welcome ceremony for Bulgaria's President Rumen Radev in Beijing on 3 July 2019, and US President Joe Biden speaking at the White House in Washington, DC, on 17 May 2021. (Nicolas Asfouri and Nicholas Kamm/AFP)

An uptick in US-China relations? Not so fast

After US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited China, US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen followed suit, while US special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry is also expected to visit Beijing in the coming weeks. Despite the flurry of activity, says US academic Zhu Zhiqun, intractable issues remain in US-China relations.
Leaders of states and officials of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) are seen on a screen during a summit via a video conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 4 July 2023. (Sputnik/Alexander Kazakov/Kremlin via Reuters)

SCO summit showcases India’s rise as a major power

India has hosted the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) virtual summit for the first time, bringing together Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other heads of state in the grouping. This shows India’s growing influence and deft political navigation between China and the US, but the verdict is still out on whether it can play a larger role in easing global conflicts.
US Capitol Police officers patrol on bicycles at the US Capitol in Washington, US, 21 March 2023. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Peacemakers, not warmongers, are needed in US-China relations now

While it seems that policy makers in both the US and China hold entrenched antagonistic views, making “war talk” commonplace, one should not surrender to that perceived inevitability. Every effort should be made on both sides to start rebuilding trust from less controversial issues, says US academic Zhu Zhiqun.
Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou arrives at Taoyuan International Airport after concluding his 12-day trip to China in Taoyuan, Taiwan, 7 April 2023. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Ma Ying-jeou offered an alternative vision for Taiwan's future

Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou’s visit to China showed the potential of a peaceful, non-confrontational path to better cross-strait relations. Amid a changed political culture in Taiwan, however, his approach may not enjoy widespread support at the moment. The Taiwanese public will have to decide which vision of the future serves their best interest.
FBI Special Agents ready to process material recovered from the Chinese balloon that was shot down by the US military jet off the coast of South Carolina, in an image released by the FBI in Washington, US, 9 February 2023. (FBI/Handout via Reuters)

The balloon is down: Whither US-China relations now?

US academic Zhu Zhiqun notes that the Chinese balloon incident highlights just how fragile US-China relations are, and the uphill climb it will be to rebuild mutual trust.
China's Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang (right) is greeted by Gabon's Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Moussa Adamo (left) upon his arrival at the Leon Mba International Airport in Libreville on 11 January 2023. (Steeve Jordan/AFP)

A new broom sweeps clean? Qin Gang and Chinese diplomacy

While new Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang seems to be adopting continuity in Chinese foreign policy, there are subtle nuances that may augur well for China’s diplomacy. As for managing China’s relations with the US, courting US allies would be a good way forward, if China can resist responding with off-putting knee-jerk reactions.