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Events - 10.10.2022

The View of the Taiwan Strait from the U.S.-Japan Alliance

A CH-47 carries a Taiwan flag over the city of Taipei, Taiwan
Photo by Ann Wang/Reuters

10.10.2022 (Mon.)


6:30 AM - 9:00 AM (PDT)





The threats posed by China and Russia to the peace and stability of the global order have been growing in recent years. The Russia – Ukraine crisis and the Chinese threat to Taiwan risk embroiling the United States and its allies in a two-front struggle to protect and preserve the liberal international order. How do American and Japanese experts view the connection between the war in Ukraine and a possible war over Taiwan and what should be done? Scholars and policymakers in the U.S. and Japan have been engaged in debates over how best to respond to these critical developments to ensure continued peace and stability. This conference will explore the perspectives of U.S. and Japanese specialists and contribute to public understanding of the key issues confronting Washington and Tokyo.

This year, RAND and JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles will host the "The U.S.-Japan Alliance Conference Series" consisting of two webinars. This second seminar will focus on The View of the Taiwan Strait from the U.S.-Japan Alliance. Mr. Matthew Pottinger, former United States Deputy National Security Advisor and Asia Director of the National Security Council will offer a set of keynote remarks focusing on the Taiwan Strait issue.

The recording of the first seminar, Impact of the War in Ukraine on the Indo-Pacific Region, featuring Admiral Harry Harris, U.S. Navy (Ret), 24th Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command (now called U.S. Indo-Pacific Command) and former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea will be made available in the fall.

*The content of this event does not represent the position and view of the Japanese Government.



Thinking About the Taiwan Strait Issue

Matthew Pottinger
United States Deputy National Security Advisor (2019-2021); Asia Director, National Security Council (2017-2019)

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Matt Pottinger is a Senior Advisor at the Marathon Initiative and Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Pottinger previously served at the White House for four years in senior roles on the National Security Council staff, including as Deputy National Security Advisor from 2019 to 2021. In that role, he coordinated the full spectrum of national security policy. Before that he served as Senior Director for Asia, where he led the administration’s work on Asia, and in particular its shift on China policy.

"Matt Pottinger conceptualized and drove the most important shift in U.S. foreign policy since the end of the Cold War," said former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster about Matt’s role in helping reorient the United States toward great-power competition with China.

Before his White House service, Matt spent the late 1990s and early 2000s in China as a reporter for Reuters and The Wall Street Journal. He then fought in Iraq and Afghanistan as a U.S. Marine during three combat deployments between 2007 and 2010. Following active duty, Matt founded and led an Asia-focused risk consultancy and ran Asia research at a multi-strategy investment fund in New York.


Understanding the Scope of the Taiwan Strait Issue

Cortez Cooper
Senior International/Defense Researcher, The RAND Corporation

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Cortez A. Cooper III is a senior international/defense researcher at the RAND Corporation and an affiliate faculty member at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He provides assessments of security challenges across political, military, economic, cultural, and informational arenas for a broad range of U.S. government clients.

Prior to joining RAND, Cooper was the director of the East Asia Studies Center for Hicks and Associates, Inc. He has also served in the U.S. Navy Executive Service as the senior analyst for the Joint Intelligence Center Pacific, U.S. Pacific Command. As the senior intelligence analyst and Asia regional specialist in the Pacific Theater, he advised Pacific Command leadership on trends and developments in the Command's area of responsibility. Before his Hawaii assignment, Cooper was a senior analyst with CENTRA Technology, Inc., specializing in Asia-Pacific political-military affairs.

Cooper's 20 years of military service included assignments as both an Army Signal Corps officer and a China Foreign Area officer. In addition to numerous military decorations, the Secretary of Defense awarded Cooper with the Exceptional Civilian Service Award in 2001. He holds an M.A. in Asian studies from the University of Hawaii.


Taiwan and the Japan - U.S. Alliance: A Japanese Perspective

Prof. Matsuda Yasuhiro
Professor of International Politics, University of Tokyo

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Yasuhiro MATSUDA (1965- ) is Professor of international politics at Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, the University of Tokyo. He received his Ph.D. in law from Graduate School of Law at Keio University in Tokyo. He spent sixteen years in the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS), Japan Defense Agency (later, Ministry of Defense), as an assistant and a senior research fellow. He moved to the Institute of Oriental Culture (later, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia) of the University of Tokyo in 2008. He is specializing in political and diplomatic history of Asia, politics and foreign relations in the PRC and Taiwan, the Cross-Strait Relations, and Japan’s foreign and security policies. He was a member of the Council on Security and Defense Capability in the New Era, the advisory group of the Prime Minister in 2010. He is the winner of the seventh Yasuhiro Nakasone Award of Excellence in 2011. He has published numerous books and articles in Japanese, English and Chinese. His most recent publications in English are the following. "China's UN Peacekeeping Operations Policy: Analysis of the Factors behind the Policy Shift toward Active Engagement," March 2016. “The Taiwan Policy of the Xi Jinping Administration in its Second Term: An Outlook on Cross-Strait Relations in the ‘New Era,’" Society of Security and Diplomatic Policy Studies (SSDP), September 2018. “Changes in the Dynamics of the Taiwan Strait due to Taiwan’s Success in Controlling the Novel Coronavirus,” Asia-Pacific Review, Volume 27, 2020, December 11, 2020, pp. 57-79.


Taiwan and the U.S. - Japan Alliance: An American Perspective

Dr. Sheila Smith
John E. Merow Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

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Sheila A. Smith is John E. Merow senior fellow for Asia-Pacific studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). An expert on Japanese politics and foreign policy, she is the author of Japan Rearmed: The Politics of Military Power, Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China (released in Japanese as 日中 親愛なる宿敵: 変容する日本政治と対中政策), and Japan's New Politics and the U.S.-Japan Alliance. She is also the author of the CFR interactive guide Constitutional Change in Japan. Smith is a regular contributor to the CFR blog Asia Unbound and a frequent contributor to major media outlets in the United States and Asia.

Smith joined CFR from the East-West Center in 2007, where she directed a multinational research team in a cross-national study of the domestic politics of the U.S. military presence in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. She was a visiting scholar at Keio University in 2007-08, where she researched Japan’s foreign policy towards China, supported by the Abe Fellowship. Smith has been a visiting researcher at two leading Japanese foreign and security policy think tanks, the Japan Institute of International Affairs and the Research Institute for Peace and Security, and at the University of Tokyo and the University of the Ryukyus.

Smith is chair of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) and the U.S. advisors to the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON), a binational advisory panel of government officials and private-sector members. She teaches as an adjunct professor at the Asian studies department of Georgetown University and serves on the board of its Journal of Asian Affairs. She also serves on the advisory committee for the U.S.-Japan Network for the Future program of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation.

Smith earned her MA and PhD from the political science department at Columbia University.


Dr. Jeffrey W. Hornung
Senior Political Scientist, The RAND Corporation

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Jeffrey Hornung specializes in Japanese security and foreign policies, East Asian security issues, and U.S. foreign and defense policies in the Indo-Pacific region, including its alliances.

Prior to joining RAND in April 2017, Hornung was the fellow for the Security and Foreign Affairs Program at Sasakawa USA from 2015 until 2017. From 2010 until 2015, Hornung worked as an associate professor for the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, a Department of Defense education facility in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Hornung has written extensively about Japanese security and foreign policy issues and broader Northeast Asia security issues for numerous media, policy, and academic outlets. This includes Washington Quarterly, Asian Survey, Foreign Policy, New York Times, Washington Post, War on the Rocks and many others, including the two major Japanese dailies Yomiuri Shimbun and Asahi Shimbun.

Hornung received his Ph.D. in political science from The George Washington University, where he wrote his thesis on Japanese decisionmaking to send the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War and 2003 Iraq War. During 2005–2006, Hornung was also a visiting scholar at the University of Tokyo where he conducted his doctoral research as a Fulbright Fellow. He also holds an M.A. in international relations with a concentration in Japan Studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

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