The 7th Session of Liangxiang Forum | Can Pakistan Be a Bridge between the US and China?

On January 7, 2022, the seventh lecture of “Liangxiang Forum” hosted by the Institute for International and Area Studies of Tsinghua University of the autumn semester of 2021 was successfully held. The lecture/forum was chaired by Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies , American University in Washington, D.C., and former Pakistani High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, and chaired by Wang Tingyi, an assistant professor of the IIAS.

Aizaz Chaudhry, former Minister of foreign affairs of Pakistan, Congressman Mushahid Hussain, chairman of the Military Commission of the national assembly of Pakistan, Professor Louis W. Goodman, Emeritus Dean of the school of international affairs of American University in Washington, Professor Amitav Acharya, Chair Professor of the school of international affairs of American University in Washington, Associate Professor Wang Xu, executive deputy director of the South Asia Research Center of Peking University, researcher Hu Shisheng, director of the South Asia Institute of the Chinese Academy of modern international relations, Baron Stephen Green, former British Minister of Commerce and investment, and Lei Dingkun, assistant professor of the IIAS, and other experts with different backgrounds participated in the lecture.

At the beginning, Dr. Wang Tingyi warmly welcomed the guests on behalf of the IIAS, briefly explained the original intention of the establishment of the “Liangxiang Forum”, and expressed his gratitude to the scholars participating. Subsequently, the chairman of the forum, Professor Akbar Ahmed, introduced the purpose of this discussion. Professor Akbar Ahmed said that Pakistan once played an important role in the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. Under the background of the coexistence of competition and cooperation between China and the United States, whether Pakistan, as an important country in South Asia, can once again become a bridge to promote communication between the two countries and create conditions to promote peaceful dialogue and stability is the core issue raised to the scholars attending the meeting. Professor Akbar Ahmed said that although there is no final conclusion at present, he hopes that scholars and diplomats will express their views on the subject from different angles, stimulate more thinking collisions through academic discussion, and promote a deeper understanding of the interaction between China, the United States and Pakistan.

Then, Professor Louis Goodman presided over the free discussion session, and more than ten scholars successively expressed their personal opinions on the subject. Among them, congressman Mushahid Hussain, Ambassador touqi Hussain, Minister Aizaz Chaudhry, Professor Wang Xu, Baron Stephen Green, Professor Hu Shisheng, Professor David Vine, Professor Amitav Acharya, Rabbi Bruce Lustig and Dr. Lei Dingkun spoke respectively. The participants actively expressed their views on this issue in combination with their political experience or research perspective. In addition, scholars gave specific suggestions on how Pakistan can play a constructive role.

At the end of the lecture, Professor Akbar Ahmed summarized the speeches of scholars from multiple perspectives. Professor Akbar Ahmed said that this international dialogue, which brings together scholars from professional fields from many countries around the world, is of great practical significance. The diverse views are deeply inspired, which is precisely the purpose of this dialogue. The participants sincerely thanked the Institute for International and Area Studies of Tsinghua University for building a platform for scholars to collide their views, and looked forward to more academic discussions in the future.

Text by: Wei Shiwen
Typesetting by: Cheng Yao
Reviewed by: Cheng Yao