Sen. Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivered the keynote address Oct. 17 at the inaugural Nixon Forum on U.S.-China Relations, co-hosted by the Wilson Center and the Nixon Foundation.

In his remarks, Coons outlined his vision for a sustained, bipartisan American strategy for dealing with China.

“It is profoundly unrealistic to think that merely repeating our view of why we don’t like China’s behavior will somehow cause China to change,” said Coons. “Xi Jinping and the CCP are redoubling their dedication to their core model, and they believe they have a legitimate case to make to the rest of the world that their model of development works better.”

“We have to articulate and demonstrate why our ideas, our standards, and international practices are better for all nations,” said Coons. “We need to approach our role in this century with confidence in the American way, in our model that reflects the dignity of the individual, promotes freedom of navigation, fosters economic openness, innovation and competition through freer and fairer trade, and a model that promotes the free press and free exchange of ideas across an open internet. That is our alternative to a world based on authoritarian surveillance. That is the American model.”

Video of Coons’ remarks is available at