Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner issued the following statement on the death of James R. Lilley:
“Jim Lilley was a giant in the China policy world. Both the experts who worked with him, and the amateurs, like me, who learned so much from him over the decades, have stood in awe of the mastery of the language, customs, influence, and subtle nuances of Asia policy by Jim. Everyone, of every political stripe, respected and admired Jim as America ’s premier ‘China hand,’ knowledgeable and principled, always keeping America’s interests at the core of his views.
As a child growing up in China and Korea, later in various government posts and as the head of America’s Liaison Office in Taipei, as our Ambassador in both Seoul and later in Beijing, Asia was in Jim’s blood. And Jim stood firm and tall, and taught us all.
As I have told my colleague, Arthur Brooks, the President of the American Enterprise Institute, one of the ways in which I really envy him is that he had Jim Lilley on his staff. And I know of no institution interested in Asia policy, left or right, that didn’t harbor the same jealousy.
The China debate – so often rancorous and generator of more heat than light – will sorely miss him.
Ambassador Lilley will no longer lead Washington policy debates on this vital bilateral relationship and on so many other Asian policy questions. But thankfully, he has left us generations of ‘China hands’ and ‘Asia hands’ who aspire to nothing more than to be the next Jim Lilley.
Linda and I extend our sincere condolences to Sally and the family.”