Table of Contents

Handbook of US–China Relations

Handbook of US–China Relations

Edited by Andrew T.H. Tan

This Handbook addresses the key questions surrounding US–China relations: what are the historical and contemporary contexts that underpin this complex relationship? How has the strategic rivalry between the two evolved? What are the key flashpoints in their relationship? What are the key security issues between the two powers? The international contributors explore the historical, political, economic, military, and international and regional spheres of the US–China relationship. The topics they discuss include human rights, Chinese public perception of the United States, US–China strategic rivalry, China’s defence build-up and cyber war.

Chapter 17: Assessing the Sino–US power balance

Yee-Kuang Heng

Subjects: asian studies, asian politics and policy, politics and public policy, asian politics, international politics, international relations


As the world frets over a potential US–China conflict, how do China and the United States assess each other’s power capabilities? What are the conceptual frameworks, methodological tools, key actors and institutions involved in assessing the Sino–US power balance? Drawing on open source material, this chapter seeks to identify differences and similarities in how both parties attempt to gauge the existing power balance. It suggests, amongst other conclusions, that Cold War concepts of net assessment and AirLand Battle continue to exert an influence on the way the United States considers China’s military power capabilities. The Chinese side stresses the notion of ‘comprehensive power’, which also highlights the importance of ‘soft power’ far more than the US side does.

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