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Yun Sun

Yun Sun is director of the China program and co-director of the East Asia program at the Stimson Center in Washington, DC. Her expertise is in Chinese foreign policy, US-China relations and China’s relations with neighboring countries and authoritarian regimes.
From 2011 to 2014, she was a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, jointly appointed by the foreign policy program and the global development program, where she focused on Chinese national security decision-making processes and China-Africa relations. From 2008 to 2011, Sun was based in Beijing as the China analyst for the International Crisis Group, specializing in China's foreign policy toward conflict countries and the developing world. Prior to ICG, she worked on US-Asia relations in Washington, DC for five years.

Articles By Yun Sun

Iran-Saudi deal showcases Xi’s alternative world order By Yun Sun - Mar 22, 2023

Diplomats and analysts around the world are still trying to decipher China’s stunning diplomatic coup in brokering a peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Other than the emergence of China with a new and unprecedented role as peacemaker in the Middle East, the most apparent takeaway for the Americans is that the United States is losing its influence in the region … Continue reading “Iran-Saudi deal showcases Xi’s alternative world order”

All Style, No Substance for Iran in China By Yun Sun - Feb 26, 2023

When Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visited Beijing for a three-day state visit last week, most headlines focused on prospects for reviving the Iran nuclear deal – known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – or how much oil China might buy from the Islamic Republic. But a careful review of what transpired reveals a more sobering, and … Continue reading “All Style, No Substance for Iran in China”

China’s COVID Recovery and Implications for the Middle East By Yun Sun - Jan 28, 2023

More than a month has passed since China abandoned its zero-COVID policy, reopening its doors after three years of self-imposed isolation. Even as the pandemic sweeps through the country like a tsunami, infecting millions, many inside China believe the worst is behind them. This positive outlook is reflected in the economic arena. China experienced the slowest GDP growth … Continue reading “China’s COVID Recovery and Implications for the Middle East”

Was Xi Jinping’s Saudi Arabia Trip a Game Changer? By Yun Sun - Dec 18, 2022

In geopolitics, as the saying goes, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests. More often than not, bilateral relations require a constant calibration of those interests from both sides. Such is China’s relationship with other superpowers, including the US and Russia. And it is the same for China’s relationship with powers … Continue reading “Was Xi Jinping’s Saudi Arabia Trip a Game Changer?”

What Xi Jinping’s Travel Plans Say About China’s Strategic Priorities By Yun Sun - Sep 9, 2022

Predicting the overseas travel plans of Chinese President Xi Jinping has become something of a parlor game for journalists and foreign policy observers. Xi has not left China since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the destination of his first post-pandemic trip – and who he meets – will speak volumes about China’s strategic priorities. In the … Continue reading “What Xi Jinping’s Travel Plans Say About China’s Strategic Priorities”