Handbook of US–China Relations
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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.
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Chapter 3: US relations with the PRC during the Cold War

Andrea Benvenuti


This chapter examines the United States’ relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from the establishment of a communist regime on the Mainland of China to the collapse of the Cold War bipolar order in the late 1980s. In charting four decades of Sino–US relations, it provides a broad historical overview of the main issues and problems that characterized the political and economic interactions between Washington and Beijing during a turbulent phase in twentieth-century international politics. The chapter is divided into three main key sections: the first and second explain why, during the early Cold War, in the 1950s and 1960s, relations between Washington and Beijing remained largely antagonistic notwithstanding some behind-the-scene efforts to reduce conflict. The third section, on the other hand, covers Nixon’s ‘opening to China’ and Washington’s subsequent rapprochement with Beijing. In so doing, it shows how Beijing and Washington managed to overcome their mutual suspicions and establish a mutually satisfactory political and economic relationship.

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