October 06, 2021
Ambassador William H. Itoh
Marking the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping celebrated China’s decades of spectacular economic growth and China’s return as a world power. Having successfully contained the pandemic, China has emerged even stronger while others, including the United States, have struggled. Citing the many victims of Covid in the U.S., the January 6 assault on the US Capitol and the chaotic end of the U.S. role in Afghanistan, Chinese leaders point to the shortcomings of western democracies while claiming an alternative vision of political leadership which offers prosperity and stability.
Can Xi achieve his goal of doubling the Chinese economy by 2035 while managing mounting debt and addressing income inequality? Can China’s new assertive foreign policy including its Belt and Road initiative bring it new friends and allies? What are China’s ultimate objectives in the South China Sea and Taiwan? U.S. -China relations are said to be at the lowest point since normalization in 1979. What can the U.S. do to reestablish a productive dialogue with China based on mutual respect?
Ambassador William H. Itoh is Professor of the Practice in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a Senior Advisor to McLarty Associates, an international business consulting firm.
He had a distinguished career in public service with the Department of State. From 1995-1999 he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand. Prior to his appointment to Bangkok, he was Executive Secretary of the National Security Council at the White House (1993‑1995).
During his career as a Foreign Service Officer, Ambassador Itoh served abroad in the U.S. Embassy in London (1976‑1978) and as the U.S. Consul General to Western Australia in Perth (1986‑1990), in addition to his assignment in Thailand. His Washington assignments, included service in the State Department’s Office of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and the Bureau of Congressional Relations. He was Deputy Executive Secretary and Acting Executive Secretary of the Department of State from 1991‑1993.
Ambassador Itoh is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Kenan Institute Asia in Bangkok. He is past Chairman of the Albuquerque Committee on Foreign Relations and past President of the World Affairs Council of Albuquerque. His most recent presentation for the Santa Fe World Affairs Forum was November 18, 2020 on “How the National Security Council Works.” See our Speakers and Videos Pages: Speakers | The Santa Fe World Affairs Forum (sfwaf.org) Videos | The Santa Fe World Affairs Forum (sfwaf.org)