Asian Studies Director Wins International Peace, Governance, Development Fellowship

Friday, May 16, 2014
Ka Zeng

Ka Zeng

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Ka Zeng, a professor of political science and director of the Asian studies program in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, has been named to the Fellows Program on Peace, Governance and Development in East Asia.

“The Fellows Program on Peace, Governance and Development in East Asia promotes scholarly exchange among established and next-generation East Asia specialists from all over the world,” said Todd Shields, dean of Fulbright College. “We’re thrilled that professor Zeng has been chosen for a program that fits so clearly with Sen. Fulbright’s legacy of peace through education.”

Non-Asian based East Asia specialists with cutting-edge expertise areas of political science, international relations, sociology, public policy and others, conduct research and interact with scholars and students of the countries they visit. This interdisciplinary research is coupled with a comparative perspective in the study of East Asia. Zeng will begin her fellowship during the summer of 2014.

“Dr. Zeng’s work has been seminal in examining the shifting nexus between foreign and domestic policy issues as the recognition of China’s ability to influence the global environment is now widely accepted,” said Margaret Reid, chair of the department of political science. “Managing resulting regional and international conflicts and exploring possible changes in negotiating strategies hinge on a better understanding of the thought processes of Chinese policy makers as they attempt to gage the political and economic motivations of their trading partners and frame their responses in such a manner that will leave China in the strongest negotiating position.”

Awardees give seminars and lectures based on their chosen research topic during a two- to three-week visit to two or more participating institutions of higher education in East Asia. During her tenure, Zeng will present and conduct research on the influence of domestic politics on U.S.-China trade disputes in alternative energy, especially in solar energy. 

Zeng’s research suggests that although the United States has exerted the most intense pressure on China to modify its trade practices in alternative energy compared to other sectors related to the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures such as automobiles or semiconductors, it has achieved the least success in eliciting positive Chinese responses in this sector. 

The study further attributes the relative ineffectiveness of U.S. market opening strategy in alternative energy to both the coalitional dynamics in the U.S. resulting from the specific bilateral trade and investment relationship in this sector and to Beijing’s willingness to use industrial policy to foster economic competitiveness in nascent industries. 

As China occupies the middle of the supply chain in the solar industry, both downstream users of low-cost Chinese imports and exporters of upstream products to China have voiced strong concerns about the U.S. trade action.  Such domestic opposition, coupled with the importance of industrial policy for defending the country’s long-term interests in a “strategic emerging” sector such as alternative energy, substantially constrains Washington’s ability to influence Chinese policies.  

The East Asia Institute based in Seoul, South Korea, launched the Fellows Program on Peace, Governance, and Development in East Asia in 2005. It received generous support from the Japan Foundation, the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange of Taiwan and an education institute of Korea called YBM/KIS.

Partnering educational institutions including the East Asia Institute in Seoul, Peking University in Beijing, Fudan University in Shanghai, Keio University in Tokyo and the National Taiwan University in Taipei host the fellows, hold seminars and lectures and support the fellows’ research activities in their own countries.

Contacts:

Ka Zeng, director, Asian studies program
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-6440, kzeng@uark.edu

Darinda Sharp, director of communications
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-3712, dsharp@uark.edu

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