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Yee-Kuang Heng and Kenneth McDonagh

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Yee-Kuang Heng

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.