US Foreign Policy

Contests of Initiative: Countering China’s Gray Zone Strategy in the East and South China Seas

Join Stimson Center’s Defense Strategy and Planning Program and China Program for a discussion of the newly released monograph by Dr. Raymond Kuo, Contests of Initiative: Countering China’s Gray Zone Strategy in the East and South China Seas, on China’s maritime gray zone strategy and how the U.S. and its Asian security partners can preserve regional peace, uphold freedom of the seas, and deter conflict.

Across the Pacific, policymakers are increasingly concerned about China’s gray zone strategy in the East and South China Seas. China relies on sub-conventional military power to drive off challengers and prevent escalation, while simultaneously seizing territory and asserting maritime control. Yun Sun, Director of Stimson’s China program, will moderate a discussion about China’s activities and objectives, and the broader debate about how best to counter China’s gray zone strategy.

Featured Speakers

Dr. Raymond Kuo, an Independent Political Scientist.

Dr. Raymond Kuo is an independent political scientist researching international security and East Asia. He is the author of two books: Following the Leader from Stanford University Press and Contests of Initiative from George Mason University-Westphalia Press. He previously served as a tenure-track professor at Fordham University and the University at Albany, SUNY, as well as at the United Nations, the National Democratic Institute, and the Democratic Progressive Party (Taiwan). Dr. Kuo holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University.

James Siebens, Fellow with the Defense Strategy and Planning Program at the Stimson Center.

James Siebens is a Fellow with the Defense Strategy and Planning program, and an editor of Military Coercion and US Foreign Policy: The Use of Force Short of War (Routledge 2020), a book on US strategy and military operations since the end of the Cold War. Siebens’ research focuses on grand strategy, foreign military intervention, and gray zone conflict. He previously served as a Research Associate and as Special Assistant to the President and CEO at the Stimson Center. Prior to joining Stimson, Siebens worked as a Data Analyst at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland, where he contributed to a Defense Department project on Gray Zone conflict.

Pamela Kennedy, Research Analyst with the East Asia Program at the Stimson Center.

Pamela Kennedy holds a M.A. in International Relations and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. summa cum laude in Government and East Asian Studies from the College of William and Mary. Prior to joining Stimson, Kennedy interned with the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Japan Chair and the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies. She was also previously an Associate Examiner with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, where she reviewed Asian and American banks for safety and soundness.

Moderated By

Yun Sun, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the East Asia Program and Director of the China Program at the Stimson Center.

From 2011 to early 2014, Yun Sun was a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, jointly appointed by the Foreign Policy Program and the Global Development Program, where she focused on Chinese national security decision-making processes and China-Africa relations. From 2008 to 2011, Yun was the China Analyst for the International Crisis Group based in Beijing, specializing on China’s foreign policy towards conflict countries and the developing world. Prior to ICG, she worked on U.S.-Asia relations in Washington, DC for five years. Yun earned her master’s degree in international policy and practice from George Washington University, as well as an MA in Asia Pacific studies and a BA in international relations from Foreign Affairs College in Beijing.

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