Transatlantic Dialogue on China

This project seeks to help increase understanding in the United States and Europe about different perceptions and responses to a rising China.


China’s rise is the strategic challenge of the twenty first century. From 5 per cent of the world GDP in 1978, to 17 per cent of global GDP today, China’s growth into the world’s second largest economy has transformed the economic geography of the planet within a few decades. At the same time, under President Xi Jinping in particular, the country has developed an increasingly assertive posture on the world stage. Alongside its evolving security footprint beyond its borders, China’s global Belt and Road projects present a new form of geopolitical influence whose impact can increasingly be felt in almost every domain.

The consequent shift in political power has implications in nearly every area of international affairs. It has recently in particular cast a light on tensions across the Atlantic. US and European states have started to drift apart in how to respond and interact with Beijing’s changing role. As quarrels over the intersection between national security and communications technology have illustrated, there is a risk that attitudes toward China become a major tension in the transatlantic relationship. At the same time, there is a reality that there are few major global issues that will get resolved without having China engaged in some way.

A broader reflection on how the US and Europe should approach China further down the horizon is needed. It must rise above the short-term disputes to assess the opportunity and challenge that Beijing presents, integrating perspectives from across the Atlantic on a range of key policy areas. In doing so, both the US and Europe can develop a response to China that is coherent and sustainable, while also ensuring to take advantage of the opportunities and responding to the tensions that Beijing’s influence presents in a growing range of international dimensions.

Aims and objectives

The Transatlantic Dialogue on China project led by RUSI and Chatham House seeks to address the stresses that have developed on China between the United States and Europe over the past few years. It focuses on four key sectors of international affairs in which China is playing an increasingly significant role:

  • Digital technology and R&D
  • Trade and investment
  • Governance of the Global Commons
  • Climate Change and Energy

Through a process of research, events, publications and targeted outreach, the Transatlantic Dialogue aims to increase understanding in the United States and Europe about different perceptions and responses to a rising China. The project explores whether and how European coherence in its approach to Beijing can be enhanced, as well as what opportunities exist for greater strategic alignment with Washington D.C., in order to develop shared capacity in meeting the China challenge of today and in the years ahead.


The project was made possible with the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Related project

Meeting the Challenge of China in the Indo-Pacific

This project explores the potential for transatlantic cooperation on Indo-Pacific policy to manage the implications of China’s influence for security, defence, technology and trade.

Project outputs

Our project is focused around the following pillars: Digital Technology and R&D; Trade and Investment; Governance of the Global Commons, and Climate Change and Energy. Access the outputs produced as part of this project.

The EU, China and the WTO

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The EU’s unsustainable China strategy

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An Inclusive Maritime Order

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What can Brussels and Washington do about the semiconductor problem?

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Episode 18: Taking on Chinese Tech: Can the EU and US Find Common Ground?

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A Holistic Approach to the Semiconductor Challenge with China

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Episode 16: A Fractured Transatlantic Approach to China and Space Policy

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The Political Dilemmas of Digitalisation in Poland

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Event Recording: Update on the South China Sea Disputes: A Transatlanti...

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The Critical Geopolitics of Standards Setting

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Episode 14: A Transatlantic Tech Talk

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Event recording: Semiconductors: A Foundational Technology Caught in ...

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A Baltic View on Transatlantic Tech Relations Towards China

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Blocking the Flow: Data Legislation and the EU-US-China Triangle

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Episode 12: A Transatlantic Dialogue on China

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China, EU and US cooperation on climate and energy

The Challenge of Chinese Technology

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How Europe Sees Engagement with China on Technology

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The Climate Briefing: The Shifting Politics of Climate Change

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