Chapter 1: Challenges in US–China relations
The rise of China and the challenge it poses to US dominance is regarded as one of the most important issues in international relations today due to its implications not just on the dominant position of the United States but also the stability of the evolving post–Cold War international system. The relationship between the world’s two largest economies is crucial. Should they succeed in coming to an understanding, war will be avoided and a new regional and global equilibrium will be the result. While Henry Kissinger concluded that ‘the appropriate label for the Sino–American relationship is less partnership than co-evolution’ the process of working out the entente cordiale that would underpin such a co-evolution is complicated by a number of serious challenges, such as economic disputes, human rights issues, China’s emerging military power, the rise of Chinese nationalism, the apprehensions in Washington over China’s rise and growing Chinese assertiveness in Asia. It remains to be seen if an entente cordiale could be achieved before growing mutual mistrust and misperception lead to open conflict.