Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by David S.G. Goodman
Chapter 24: Admiration, ambivalence, antipathy: the past and future for US–China relations
The history of foreign relations between the United States and China is often dated to the voyage of the Empress of China which set sail from New York on George Washington’s birthday in February 1784 – just a few months following the Treaty of Paris formally ending the American Revolutionary War – and became the first American merchant vessel to enter Chinese waters. Now some 230 years later, the two Pacific nations look back on a complex and all-encompassing relationship; respectful and raucous, complex and calculating, aloof and attentive, at times close and at times bitterly hostile, a mix of admiration, ambivalence and antipathy. And the future looks to be no different, with the bilateral relationship between the United States and China already defining the future of the twenty-first century, for better or for worse. All the more reason, then, that a search of ‘WorldCat’, the online world library catalogue, turns up more than 26 000 books and articles on the topic of ‘United States – Foreign relations – China’. Remarkably, this is more than for ‘United States – Foreign relations – Soviet Union’ (16 730), and several times more than for US foreign relations with Great Britain, France, Canada or Australia.
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