As it celebrates its 35th anniversary, the EastWest Institute (EWI) welcomes its new leader – Cameron Munter. On a beautiful afternoon, our journalist had an interview with him.
Before joining the EastWest Institute, Mr. Munter served as U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan and to Serbia. His abundant experience in both Asian and European countries has helped him better understand the different histories and cultures of the East and the West, which has laid the foundation of his leadership at EWI.
“The EastWest Institute has been playing a very important role in promoting dialogues between the U.S. and China’s political parties and in the security and military fields.” Munter said that EWI will be doing more to help promote understanding and trust between both sides, and to establish more friendly relations in the diplomatic and academic fields. He revealed that he will lead a high-level delegation to China in the middle of this month. The delegation will be exchanging ideas with Chinese experts and scholars in fields including regional security, cybersecurity and others. In addition, aiming to promote exchanges and mutual understanding between the U.S. and Chinese militaries, Munter will also lead a delegation of retired U.S. four-star generals to Beijing in early December. This delegation will discuss a wide range of topics with some retired military generals of China.
Speaking of the U.S. role in cross-Strait relations, Munter said that the EastWest Institute seeks to study the true attitudes of all parties under the current state of cross-Strait relations, so as to avoid surprises by any new policies issued by any side. Although EWI is not a policy-making body, it can help all sides recognize what kinds of situations could lead to conflicts. Taiwan is in a sensitive period because of its upcoming elections, while U.S. arms sales to Taiwan could still occur. Munter thinks that this potential action (of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan) has more symbolic meaning than practical significance. He said that the U.S. and China should reach a common understanding of possible future tensions over the Taiwan Strait.
On the future direction of U.S.-China relations, Munter said that it will develop in a positive way for quite some time. He thinks that U.S.-China relations have been basically steady in the past; and during his official visit to the U.S., President Xi had discussed a wide range of important topics with President Obama. Although the two sides have different concerns about cybersecurity, the fact that they could sit together and have serious discussions about the problem is already a reflection of success. Speaking from the perspective of a scholar, Munter hopes that this kind of discussion can continue.
This article was translated by former EWI intern Qiyang Niu. The article was originally published in People's Daily on November 10.
To view the article on People's Daily, click here. (Chinese)