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Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy presents

Yo-yo diplomacy: an American columnist tackles the ups-and-downs between China and the US

Book launch


23rd May 2018


Oei Tiong Ham Building (Lobby), Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore , 469C Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259772


Professor Tom Plate, Clinical Professor, Loyola Marymount University, Distinguished Scholar of Asian and Pacific Studies; Op-Ed columnist, South China Morning Post

Chaired by Dr Selina Ho, Assistant Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy



A central fact of our times is that China (a superpower trying to get its act together) and America (a superpower trying to keep it together) are linked by emotional and historical angst, substantive contemporary tension, and mutual economic and strategic needs. Which is to say: sometimes it seems as if China-US relations are absolutely in a yo-yo state, endless up and down pistons – and nobody knows where and when the yo-yo will stop. Forget what the president of China or the United States think of the relationship, what do we (you and I) think? What should we think? What is our moral obligation to think, even if we’re not so-called ‘leaders’?


Professor Tom Plate, author of the four-book ‘Giants of Asia’ series, which includes ‘Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew’ and the ‘Tom Plate on Asia’ series, is Loyola Marymount University’s Distinguished Scholar of Asian and Pacific Affairs, a South China Morning Post op-ed columnist, and vice president of the Pacific Century Institute. An MPP graduate of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School and Amherst College (political science), the Los Angeles based professor/journalist has written 13 books and has received a number of journalism awards, including from the American Society of Newspaper Editors.


Selina Ho is Assistant Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. She specialises in Chinese politics and foreign policy, with a focus on resources and infrastructures. Her book, Thirsty Cities: Social Contracts and Public Goods Provision in China and India, is under contract with Cambridge University Press and is expected to be published in Sep/Oct 2018. She is simultaneously working on a book project funded by the Smith Richardson Foundation on China’s construction of a high-speed railway from Kunming to Singapore. She has also published several peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on China’s international rivers. Selina has been appointed a Global Futures Council Fellow (Regional Governance) with the World Economic Forum from September 2017 to September 2018.

Selina received her PhD from The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, where she also received a Masters in International Public Policy (Honours). She did her undergraduate studies at the National University of Singapore, graduating with a BA in History (Honours). She was a Singapore public servant before joining academia.

Image by Micahel Mandiberg on Flickr.

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