Begin typing your search above and press return to search. Press Esc to cancel.

Program on US-China Relations

The Program on US-China Relations (PUCR) seeks to develop extensive academic and policy-contingent networks and create a hub of research and exchange with regard to the theme of US-China relations. In order to provide a forum for active academic exchanges and policy dialogues between researchers at home and abroad, the PUCR holds monthly seminars and policy workshops and carries out a wide range of research projects. In 2016, PUCR conducted a research project on the theme of power transitions, leading to the publication of a volume entitled International Politics of Peaceful Power Transition (SNU Press).

The Sino-American Strategic Competition and Korea’s Positioning

Research Topics

The main themes of research for the PUCR include the rise of China, the prospect for a power transition between the US and China, East Asia’s responses to the rise of China, and Korea’s strategic positioning. During 2015-16, the PUCR conducted research on the peaceful power transition between Britain and the US in the 19th and 20th centuries and its implications for US-China relations of the 21st century. The project sought to identify the necessary conditions for a peaceful power transition by looking into the mutual perceptions between the hegemonic power and the rising power. The project also compared the UK-US case with US-China relations in the 21st century to see if there is room for a peaceful power transition.

As “ego-fighting” between the US and China is intensifying by the day—as seen in conflicts over the South China Sea, the Korean peninsula, Taiwan, and the East China Sea—, the PUCR also examined the current strategic dilemma befalling Korea as it strives to maintain the military alliance with the US while pursuing a strategic partnership with China. The PUCR also looked into the question of how Seoul could possibly mitigate the pressure exerted by both great powers.

Major Research Outcomes

The major research outcome of the PUCR in 2016 is the publication of International Politics of Peaceful Power Transition (SNU Press). As the first work published in Korea that deals with mutual perceptions between a hegemon and a rising power, the book is an investigation of the intricate preconditions for a peaceful transition process by way of comparing the case of the power transition between Britain and the US in the 19th and 20th centuries and US-China relations in the 21st century.

Another accomplishment of the PUCR in 2016 is the hosting of seven monthly seminars (which has become the Program’s signature event) and six academic and policy workshops, inviting scholars from the US, China, and Japan. The Program also organized several workshops and round tables regarding such dilemmas as RCEP/TPP, AIIB, CICA, participation in China’s V-Day celebrations, THAAD, and the South China Sea. Other notable events include the hosting of workshops with Peking University’s School of International Studies and the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, respectively, as well as the Fifth Korea-Japan Dialogue on US-China Relations and East Asian Security jointly organized with the Policy Alternatives Research Institute (PARI) of the University of Tokyo.

Future Challenges and Outlook

In 2017 and 2018, PUCR is planning to conduct research on the theme of “East Asian Response to US-China Strategic Competition.” Its main purpose is to identify how fifteen East Asian countries, including the nine countries of ASEAN (except Brunei), have positioned themselves in response to the rise of China and America’s reengagement with the region, and what factors are shaping their strategic choices. More specifically, the PUCR plans to analyze the factors that influence the choices of balancing, band-wagoning, and hedging with regard to the rise of an assertive China. An important part of the project is to derive academic and policy implications for Korea, which is repeatedly facing serious strategic dilemmas in its dealing with the US and China.


Doohwan Ahn (2016). From Hanover to Gibraltar: Cato’s Letters (1720-23) in International Context. History of European Ideas (A&HCi) Vol. 42, No. 8

Jae-Ho Chung (2016). Is South Korea in China’s Orbit?. Asia Policy No. 21 (Co-authored with Jiyoon Kim)

Jae-Ho Chung (2016) <Centrifugal Empire: Central-Local Relations in China>. New York: Columbia University Press

Hun Joon Kim (2016). The Globalization of Human Rights and State Sovereignty: The Role of Transitional Justice in Developing International Human Rights Norms. Korean Political Science Review Vol. 50, No. 3

Hun Joon Kim (2016). The Role of UN Commissions of Inquiry in Developing Global Human Rights: Prospects and Challenges. The Korean Journal of International Studies Vol. 14, No. 2

Hun Joon Kim (2016). Will IR Theory with Chinese Characteristic be a Powerful Alternate? The Chinese Journal of International Politics Vol. 9, No. 1

Jae-Ho Chung (2016). < International Politics of Peaceful Power Transition>. SNUPRESS


Jae-Ho Chung (Dept. of Political Science and Int’l Relations)

Hunjoon Kim (Korea Univ.)
Doohwan Ahn (Dept. of Political Science and Int’l Relations)

Research Assistants:
Wenyang Hao (Dept. of political Science and Int’l Relations)
Hanna Lee (Dept. of Political Science and Int’l Relations)