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 9: US–China strategic rivalry

Angela Ming Yan Poh and Mingjiang Li


This chapter reviews the competition between the United States and China at the global level and in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as existing impetus and efforts by both countries to strengthen engagement. The authors argue that the US–China strategic rivalry at the global level will be more manageable, given that China appears to be more interested in reforming some elements of the existing international system, rather than in establishing a fundamentally different global order. The more problematic aspect will be the security contentions between China and the United States in the Asia-Pacific region, where the United States has been a dominant power over the past few decades, and where a rising China has increasing political and economic interests. Leaders from both countries will need to demonstrate extraordinary wisdom in order to delicately manage the security rivalry in the region. More specifically, China will have to manage nationalistic sentiments and avoid an overtly hostile foreign and security posture especially against countries that it has disputes with. China will also need to control the temptation to curb Washington’s presence in Asia. As for the United States, the challenge is to manage its allies in order to avoid being inadvertently drawn into a conflict with China. Countries in the region will also need to play constructive roles by seeking to incorporate both the United States and China into new and existing economic and security institutions, instead of forming ‘alliances’ that could lead to further conflict and divisions in the region.

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