Wednesday, March 9th, 2022


Japan-U.S.-China triangular relations have been a source of economic growth since normalization in the 1970s. Today, this triangular relationship, while still an engine of economic growth and synergies, is being challenged by strategic competition between the U.S. and China, economic security concerns associated with the weaponization and monopolization of trade and supply changes, and geo-technological competition. This presentation argues that we are witnessing recalibration of the relationship and that it is being pulled three directions: 1) a Sino-centric reset based on the "Dual circulation" and the BRI; 2) a U.S.-centric reset based on competition, cooperation and resistance; and 3) a middle power way with countries like Japan crafting an economic security policy that aims to balance engagement and deterrence with China through a complex mix of multilateral relationships. The end destination of this trifurcation is yet to be written; however Japan's middle power way may garner traction with other middle powers and associations that wish to continue to benefit from economic engagement with China while preserving their strategic autonomy.


Dr. Stephen Nagy is a senior associate professor at the International Christian University in Tokyo, a fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI) and a visiting fellow with the Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA). His recent funded research projects are “Sino-Japanese Relations in the Wake of the 2012 Territorial Disputes: Investigating changes in Japanese Business’ trade and investment strategy in China”, and “Perceptions and drivers of Chinese view on Japanese and US Foreign Policy in the Region”. He is currently working on middle power approaches to great power competition in the Indo-Pacific.


Prof. Dr. Eberhard Sandschneider is a Partner at BGA (Berlin Global Advisors). From 2003 to 2016, he was the Director of the German Council on Foreign Relations, one of the leading European think tanks. He has held a chair in Chinese politics and international relations at the Freie Universität Berlin since 1998. Between 1995 and 1998, he was professor of international relations at the Johannes-Gutenberg Universität in Mainz. An author of numerous books he is a much sought after speaker on global risks and frequently appears in the media.


Chaoting Cheng, founder of Wenshe (an online community for humanities and social sciences), PhD candidate at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, currently working on the comparative study of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the US.