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Dr. Evan S. Medeiros

Based in Washington D.C. USA

  • Served nearly 6 years in the White House National Security Council (2009-2015) as President Obama’s top advisor on Asia
  • Longest serving Asia advisor to President Obama and a key architect of Obama’s China policy   
  • Served in Treasury Department as Policy Advisor to U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue led by Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
  • Served as Senior Asia Analyst at the RAND Corporation for 7 years
  • Served nearly 6 years in the White House National Security Council (2009-2015) as President Obama’s top advisor on Asia
  • Longest serving Asia advisor to President Obama and a key architect of Obama’s China policy   
  • Served in Treasury Department as Policy Advisor to U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue led by Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
  • Served as Senior Asia Analyst at the RAND Corporation for 7 years

Dr. Evan S. MEDEIROS recently joined the Eurasia Group as Managing Director and Practice Head for Asia. In early June 2015, Dr. Evan S. Medeiros stepped down from the position of Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asian Affairs at the White House’s National Security Council (NSC). In that role, Dr. Medeiros served as President Obama’s top advisor on the Asia-­‐Pacific and was responsible for coordinating U.S. policy toward the Asia-­‐Pacific across the areas of diplomacy, defense policy, economic policy and intelligence affairs.

Dr. Medeiros is one of the longest serving officials on President’s Obama’s NSC staff and was his longest serving advisor on Asia-­‐Pacific affairs. He joined the National Security Council staff in Summer 2009 as Director for China, Taiwan and Mongolian Affairs. In total, he served on the NSC staff for nearly 6 years and he was actively involved in U.S.-­‐China relations throughout his NSC tenure, including by developing the initial proposal for the Sunnyland’s Summit, planning the President’s successful summit with Xi Jinping in Fall 2014, and numerous other high-­‐level U.S.-­‐China interactions.

Dr. Medeiros previously worked for seven years (2002-­‐2009) as a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. Dr. Medeiros specialized in research on the international politics of East Asia, China’s foreign and national security policies, U.S.-­‐China relations, and Chinese defense and security issues. From 2007 to 2008, he served as Policy Advisor to the Special Envoy for China and the U.S.-­‐China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) at the Treasury Department, serving Secretary Henry “Hank” Paulson.

Dr. Medeiros has written several books and journal articles on a broad range of Asian security issues. In 2009, he published the book China’s International Behavior: Activism, Opportunism and Diversification (RAND, 2009) and in 2008 co-­‐authored Pacific Currents: The Responses of U.S. Allies and Security Partners in East Asia to China’s Rise, (RAND, 2008). In 2007, he published the internationally recognized volume: Reluctant Restraint: The Evolution of China’s Nonproliferation Policies and Practices, 1980-­2004 (Stanford University Press, 2007).

Prior to joining RAND, Dr. Medeiros was a Senior Research Associate at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey CA. In 2000, he was a visiting fellow at the Institute of American Studies at the China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in Beijing and an adjunct lecturer at China’s Foreign Affairs College.

He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science, an M.Phil in International Relations from the University of Cambridge (where he was a Fulbright Scholar), an M.A. in China Studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and a B.A. in analytic philosophy from Bates College in Maine. He travels to Asia frequently and speaks, reads and writes Mandarin Chinese.

 

Photo of Dr. Medeiros: By Brookings Institute

Bloomberg Briefs

Q: How do you see the U.S.-China relationship evolving?

A: I am expecting a rise in U.S.-China tensions and volatility later this year. The Trump administration appears to be deeply divided about how to approach China, with both hawks and moderates voicing strong views. Trump has articulated fairly antagonistic views about China. The moderates have taken the lead right now, as seen in the reversal on the “One China policy,” invitation to Xi to Mar-a-Lago and not naming China a currency manipulator on Trump’s first day. I don’t think this approach is sustainable. The hawks on trade and security issues will assert themselves in part because the Chinese won’t give Trump what he wants on trade and investment liberalization, on North Korea, and on the South China Sea. The Trump administration will grow impatient with the difficulty of extracting meaningful cooperation from China.

Q: What would happen if Trump imposed high trade tariffs on China?

A: It is very unlikely Trump will impose a 45 percent across-the-board tariff on China. That threat was pure campaign rhetoric and many in Congress already oppose similar measures such as a border-adjustment tax. Rather, there is a high probability that Trump will adopt aggressive trade and investment restrictions on China in the form of antidumping and anti-subsidy actions.

Q: Has Trump’s about-face on the “One China policy” removed this issue as a potential source of tension?

A: Trump and his advisers are not yet done with the Taiwan issue. Trump did a U-turn on the “One China policy”
because he thinks Xi will give him something for it. If the Chinese don’t reciprocate on North Korea, Trump’s
team may revisit U.S.-Taiwan relations.

Q: Is there any merit in suggestions that China is a currency manipulator?

A: No, in the sense of manipulating for deliberate economic advantage. The Chinese have since mid-2014 been
selling foreign exchange reserves to prop up the RMB, not to keep it artificially low to generate an export benefit.

Q: Where do you see Japan’s relations with the U.S. going?

A: The U.S.-Japan relationship is a clear bright spot in Trump’s Asia policy. Trump and Abe have a strong personal
connection, which provides ballast and direction. This burgeoning “geopolitical bromance” will be a pillar of Trump’s Asia policy. However, the real bilateral challenge is trade. Abe wants the U.S. to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership and thinks he can persuade Trump to do so over the next year. Trump wants a bilateral free trade agreement.

Q: What Asia issue worries you most?

A: North Korea, full stop. It is the single biggest threat to regional stability and financial markets. The security threat to the United States and its Asian allies is growing and the window for Trump to deal with this is rapidly closing. At a minimum, we should expect major U.S.-China tensions over North Korea; and if the North takes very provocative actions like conducting an ICBM test, we could see broader instability. Trump will try enhanced sanctions for the next year but if they don’t work, I expect more coercive measures.

Q: Do you see the election of Carrie Lam as Hong Kong’s chief executive as a potential flashpoint?

A: I see it as a potential turning point, if Carrie Lam directly addresses the mounting economic and social
frustrations. The key challenge is how she will address the enduring frustrations — high property costs, few employment opportunities — at the heart of much of the social discontent.

Q: How do you see the South China Sea dispute playing out?

A: The South China Sea situation has largely stabilized due to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s efforts to
seek a diplomatic solution with Beijing. Also, China recognized that after the July 2016 international arbitration ruling against it, it was better off stabilizing the situation than pushing for more.

Q: Which Asian markets are most attractive for investors and why?

A: The most attractive are what I like to call the V-I-P: Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. For structural reasons, all three economies will continue to grow even amid a soft global growth outlook.

Interviewed by Colin Simpson on March 27, 2017 (Bloomberg Briefs).

Evan Medeiros talks to Tao Wang, Head of China Economic Research at UBS at the Greater China Conference 2016, about US-China relations, South China Sea and the US elections.

Evan Medeiros at UBS Greater China Conference

Click here to see the original video.

Source: UBS – 28 January 2016

 

This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping embarks on his first state visit to the United States at a complicated moment in the bilateral relationship. In this podcast with Paul Haenle, former senior director for Asian affairs on the U.S. National Security Council Evan Medeiros explains why he has modest expectations for Xi’s visit and why he believes that the most important aspect of the summit will be the private, strategic discussions between the two leaders.

Medeiros observes that frictions are not a new feature of the U.S.-China relationship, which has long been a mix of cooperation and competition. He says that the core challenge for U.S. policymakers is to balance these two elements by encouraging China to cooperate more while managing areas of competition so that they do not define the relationship. Medeiros notes that the relationship is highly resilient, due to the tireless efforts of U.S. and Chinese policymakers who have deepened communication channels while navigating difficult issues over the years. This strong track record provides what Medeiros believes is a solid foundation for a constructive relationship for the rest of the Obama administration.

 

To listen to the original podcast please click here.

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Books:

China’s International Behavior: Activism, Opportunism, Diversification, (Santa Monica, CA: The RAND Corporation, 2009)
China’s International Behavior: Activism, Opportunism, Diversification, (Santa Monica, CA: The RAND Corporation, 2009)
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Pacific Currents: The Responses of U.S. Allies and Security Partners in East Asia to China’s Rise, (Santa Monica, CA: The RAND Corporation, 2008)
41VYNMiVUQL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_
Reluctant Restraint: The Evolution of Chinese Nonproliferation Policies and Practices: 1980-2004, (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007)
Assessing the Threat: The Chinese Military and Taiwan’s Security, co-edited with Michael Swaine and Andrew N.D. Yang, (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2007)
Assessing the Threat: The Chinese Military and Taiwan’s Security, co-edited with Michael Swaine and Andrew N.D. Yang, (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2007)

 

“Generally people were VERY happy with their meetings with Evan. They found him personable and very smart. Everyone was happy to have met him.”

-International Banking Firm

“The reviews were all positive. He was rated as our best speaker in some cases. Our team also thought he was a really good speaker with very interesting content.”

-International Banking Firm