Balancing Cooperation and Competition: A New in Era in U.S.-China Relations
Jeong, Geun Woo
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The dyadic pairing of the United States and China has emerged as the most important bilateral relationship of the twenty-first century. While the U.S. continues to dominate the post-Cold War world order as sole superpower, it is increasingly challenged by the burdens of global leadership. Chief among these challengers is China, whose increasing economic importance and rising political and military power on the world stage has created opportunities for both confrontation and cooperation. Whether the two countries will ultimately work together to promote international peace and economic development, or whether their relationship will devolve into acrimony as their respective national objectives increasingly collide, remains to be seen. Recent history has indicated that a positive bilateral relationship between the U.S. and China based on mutual respect and recognition of benefits is possible. Over the past decades the U.S. and China have developed ever-closer trade and investment ties as China has embraced free-market economic behavior, leading to profound economic interdependence between the two nations. In an increasingly globalized world, China’s integration into multilateral systems of financial governance such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) have demonstrated China’s willingness to conform to international norms and standards. In the security sphere, China’s evolving policy towards North Korea and nuclear proliferation have made positive strides despite recent setbacks. Despite the victory of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan’s January 2016 elections, both the U.S. and China have taken a pragmatic approach to maintaining current political and diplomatic arrangements. Bilateral cooperation on environmental policy, highlighted by a series of agreements culminating in last year’s 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) Paris Agreement, is another collaborative opportunity for both countries, as is increasing cooperation in emergent policy fields such as intellectual property (IP) and cybersecurity.
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