China–United States relations

The relationship between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the United States of America (USA) has been complex and at times contentious since the establishment of the PRC and the retreat of the government of the Republic of China to Taiwan in 1949. Since the normalization of relations in the 1970s, the US–China relationship has been marked by numerous perennial disputes including the political status of Taiwan, territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and more recently the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. They have significant economic ties and are significantly intertwined, yet they also have a global hegemonic great power rivalry. As of 2023, China and the United States are the world's second-largest and largest economies by nominal GDP, as well as the largest and second-largest economies by GDP (PPP) respectively. Collectively, they account for 44.2% of the global nominal GDP, and 34.7% of global PPP-adjusted GDP.

Chinese–American relations
Map indicating locations of China and United States


United States
Diplomatic mission
Chinese Embassy, Washington, D.C.United States Embassy, Beijing
Ambassador Xie FengAmbassador R. Nicholas Burns
Chinese leader Xi Jinping with US President Joe Biden at the 17th G20 in Bali, November 2022.[1]

One of the first major events between the United States and Chinese governments was the 1845 Treaty of Wangxia. Trade grew slowly, with talk of a giant buyers' market in China always making the rounds among American capitalists. In 1900, Washington joined the imperial powers of Europe and the Empire of Japan in sending troops to crush the anti-imperialist Boxer Rebellion. The Open Door Policy ostensibly opposed the subsequent carving up of China into spheres of influence among the victorious powers. Hopes that American financial power would be ascendant failed to materialize, as efforts during the Taft presidency to aid American banks invest in Chinese railways failed. President Franklin D. Roosevelt made support of China during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The US allied itself with the Republic of China (ROC), under which the Chinese Civil War had paused, with the ROC and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forming a unified front to fight the Japanese—after the Americans joined the war against Japan in 1941. After the end of World War II and the resumption of the civil war, the US tried and failed to negotiate a settlement between the Nationalists and Communists, with the latter eventually achieving victory, driving the Nationalist government into exile on Taiwan, and proclaiming the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. Relations between the US and the new Chinese government quickly soured. An early setpiece of the emerging global Cold War was the American-led United Nations intervention in the Korean War: China reacted by joining the war against the UN, sending millions of Chinese fighters to prevent a US presence on the Chinese border. For decades, the US refused to recognize the PRC as China's legitimate government, in favor of the ROC based in Taiwan, and as such blocked the PRC's membership in the United Nations. After the Sino-Soviet split, the winding down of America's war in Vietnam, as well as of the Cultural Revolution, US President Nixon's 1972 visit to China came as a shock to many observers, ultimately marking a sea change in US–China relations. On 1 January 1979, the US formally established diplomatic relations with the PRC, and recognized it as the sole legitimate government of China. However, it did not cease its military support for the ROC on Taiwan, working within the framework of the Taiwan Relations Act, with this issue continuing as a major point of contention between the two countries to the present day.

Every US president since Nixon has toured China, with the exception of Jimmy Carter. The Obama administration signed a record number of bilateral agreements with China, particularly regarding climate change, even as its East Asian pivot strategy strained relations. The advent of the Xi administration would prefigure a sharp downturn in these relations, which was then further entrenched upon the election of President Donald Trump, who had promised a combative stance towards China as a part of his campaign, which began to be implemented upon his taking office. Issues included China's militarization of the South China Sea, alleged manipulation of the Chinese currency, and Chinese espionage in the United States.[2][3][4] The Trump administration would label China a "strategic competitor" in 2017.[5][6] In January 2018, Trump launched a trade war with China, which the Chinese characterized as part of the unjustified containment strategy begun by the American pivot towards Asia. The United States government banned American companies from selling equipment to various Chinese companies linked to human rights abuses in Xinjiang, among them which included Chinese technology conglomerates Huawei and ZTE.[7][8][9] The US revoked preferential treatment towards Hong Kong after the passage of a broad-reaching security law in the city, increased visa restrictions on students from China,[10][11] and strengthened relations with Taiwan. In response, China adopted a so-called 'wolf warrior diplomacy', countering American accusations of human rights abuses.[12] By early 2018, various geopolitical observers had begun to speak of a new Cold War between the two powers.[13][14][15][16] On the last day of the Trump administration in January 2021, the US officially recognized the Chinese government's treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang as a genocide.[17]

Following the election of Joe Biden in the 2020 United States presidential election, tensions between the two countries have continued to be strained. Biden prioritized competing with China as a priority in his foreign policy.[18][19] His administration imposed large-scale restrictions on the sale of semiconductor technology to China,[20] boosted regional alliances against China, and expanded support for Taiwan.[21][22] However, the Biden administration has also stated that the US seeks "competition, not conflict",[23] with Biden saying in late 2022 that "there need not be a new Cold War."[24]

History edit

Background & Chinese Civil War edit

The People's Republic of China was formed after the communist People's Liberation Army (PLA) won the Chinese Civil War against the Kuomintang nationalists (KMT). The defeated KMT fled to Taiwan, which they occupied under martial law until 1987, while the PLA secured control of mainland China.[25][26]

During the civil war, the communists petitioned the U.S. for support but were unsuccessful.[27][28] Instead, the U.S. offered both military and financial support to the KMT, under the hopes that a united, democratic, coalition government would be formed in China.[28]

The defeat of Japan in 1945 caused the U.S. to reevaluate their position in Asia. President Truman was worried that the collapse of the Japanese empire would cause a power vacuum which could be filled by the Soviet Union. However, the Soviet Union acted cautiously in the conflict, eventually withdrawing in May 1946, which left the U.S. feeling as though there was not a serious Soviet threat in the region.[27]

On 5 August 1949, the Truman administration released a white paper on relations with China.[29]: 80  Responding to domestic arguments about responsibility for the perceived loss of China to communism, Secretary of State Dean Acheson placed blame on Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist government for losing the confidence of its military and the Chinese people and stated that the United States could not have prevented the outcome of the Chinese Civil War.[29]: 80  This position failed to satisfy domestic critics.[29]: 80  It also harmed the prospect of diplomacy with the communists, and outraged Mao Zedong, who wrote a series of articles criticizing the white paper.[29]: 80  Mao criticized the Truman administration for providing huge amounts of support to Nationalist forces which the administration deemed demoralized and unpopular, stating that the only rationale basis must have therefore been the Truman administration's imperialist ambitions and desire to hurt the Chinese people by needlessly prolonging the civil war.[29]: 80 

Amidst successive PRC victories, the U.S. ambassador to China John Leighton Stewart left China in August 1949.[30] Mao Zedong penned an article directly addressing the ambassador, entitled "Farewell, Leighton Stewart!", writing that his departure represented "the complete defeat of the U.S. policy of aggression" and was "worth celebrating".[31][32]

On 1 October 1949, the People's Republic of China was officially established.

Following the civil war, America only recognized the KMT-controlled Republic of China in Taiwan as a legitimate government, not the communist People's Republic of China. However, in 1979, the U.S. switched their allegiances, choosing to recognize the communist PRC as legitimate, cutting diplomatic ties with the KMT's Taiwan.[25][26]

Korean War edit

On 25 June 1950, after the country failed to reunify following the settlements ending World War II, the China-aligned state of North Korea invaded America-aligned South Korea.[33] In response, the United States and its allies pushed the United Nations Security Council to pass Resolution 82, which authorized military action against North Korea. Although the Soviet Union had veto power, at the time it was boycotting Security Council proceedings over the UN's recognition of the ROC instead of the PRC as the representative of China.[34]

Initially, the U.S. government saw Chinese intervention as unlikely. The People's Republic was barely a year old, and it needed time to rollout new policies to begin its communist transformation. Furthermore, it appeared that, if China was going to engage in warfare, it would be in KMT-controlled Taiwan, not Korea.[35]

However, the PRC was not just focused on internal matters. They had been invaded via the China-North Korea border by Japan twice before. It was possible that, if the U.S. secured control of the Korean peninsula, they could do the same.[36] The US was also opposed to the PRC's interests in Taiwan. Within two days of the North invading the South, the US deployed forces to the Taiwan strait.[37]

After their defeat in the Chinese Civil War, parts of the Nationalist army retreated south and crossed the border into Burma.[38]: 65  The United States supported these Nationalist forces because the United States hoped they would harass the People's Republic of China from the southwest, thereby diverting Chinese resources from the Korean War.[38]: 65 

It seemed to the new Chinese leadership that stopping American encroachment into Asia was an important issue. In a speech to the Politburo in August, Mao stated, "if the American imperialists are victorious, they will become dizzy with success, and then be in a position to threaten us."[39] PRC Premier Zhou Enlai echoed this sentiment in a speech in September: "the Chinese people can never tolerate foreign invasion, nor allow the imperialist to invade our neighbour at will without response".[35] Chinese leadership under Mao Zedong could not tolerate an American-occupied state directly on its border:[40] Chinese premier and foreign minister Zhou Enlai warned that China would intervene in the war on national security grounds; this warning was dismissed by President Truman.[41][42]

On 30 September 1950, the UN offensive (for all intents and purposes under the direction of the United States) crossed the 38th parallel into North Korea.[43] Kim Il-Sung held an emergency meeting with Chinese officials, appealing desperately for their urgent entry into the conflict.[33] The UN authorized the reunification of Korea, meaning that the entire peninsula could fall into US control.[44] In October 1950, China attempted to make contact with the United States by way of its embassy in India.[45]: 42  The United States did not respond.[45]: 42  On 19 October 1950, Chinese forces crossed into North Korea.[46]

In response to the PRC's entry into the conflict, the US froze all Chinese assets in America. Then, in December 1950, the People's Republic seized all American assets and properties, totaling $196.8 million.[47]

In late October 1950, China began its intervention with the Battle of Onjong. During the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River, the People's Volunteer Army overran or outflanked the UN forces, leading to the defeat of the US Eighth Army.[48] A ceasefire presented by the UN to the PRC shortly after Ch'ongch'on River, on 11 December it was rejected by the Chinese, who were now convinced of their ability to defeat the UN forces, and wanted to demonstrate China's military power by driving them out of Korea altogether.[49][50] The Chinese achieved further victory at the Third Battle of Seoul and the Battle of Hoengsong, but UN forces recovered, pushing the front back to lands around the 38th parallel by July. A stalemate followed.[51] Even though the US Air Force would spend the entire war with total air supremacy, dropping over 635,000 tons of bombs and other ordinance on North Korea and killing millions of Koreans, the strategic impasse ultimately lasted until the Korean Armistice Agreement that ended the fighting was signed on 27 July 1953. Since then, a divided Korea has continued to feature in US-China relations, with large American forces still stationed in the South.[52]

In 1952, in the midst of the Korean War, the American army surveyed Chinese prisoners of war (POWs) asking them why they believed the PRC was involved in the conflict. Of 238 respondents, 60% agreed it was for the defense of China against the US, while only 17% said it was to defend North Korea.[35][53]

Vietnam War edit

The People's Republic of China provided resources and training to North Vietnam, and in the summer of 1962, Mao agreed to supply Hanoi with 90,000 rifles and guns free of charge. After the launch of America's Operation Rolling Thunder in 1965, China sent anti-aircraft units and engineering battalions to North Vietnam to repair the damage caused by American bombing, rebuild roads and railroads, and perform other engineering work, freeing additional hundreds of thousands North Vietnamese Army units for combat against American forces supporting South Vietnam.[54][55]

The Chinese presence in North Vietnam was well known to US officials. The Johnson administration sought to conceal China's involvement from the United States public, on the rationale that domestic backlash might compel the administration to expand the war to China or withdraw precipitously.[56]: 23  American planners accounted for China's involvement, with President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara opted not to invade North Vietnam, favoring a strategy of supporting South Vietnam in defending itself instead. The possibility of direct Chinese intervention a la Korean War was also ambiguous throughout the course of the war and remained in question as well. While Mao Zedong reportedly told journalist Edgar Snow in 1965 that China had no intention of fighting to save the Hanoi regime and would not engage the US military unless it crossed into Chinese territory, American officials nevertheless continued to remain alert for any potential changes in plan from China. Furthermore, Mao also made additional statements where he declared belief that the People's Liberation Army would win a confrontation with United States forces should the two enter military conflict with one another, citing the Korean War as one such reason he held this belief. Regardless of whatever intentions the China may have had, United States troops ultimately exited Vietnam as domestic opposition to American deployment in Vietnam increased, ending United States involvement in the Vietnam War.[57][58]

Freezing of relations edit

Between 1949 and 1971, US–China relations were uniformly hostile, with frequent propaganda attacks in both directions. At the 1954 Geneva Conference, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles forbade any contact with the Chinese delegation, refusing to shake hands with Zhou Enlai, the lead Chinese negotiator.[59] Relations deteriorated further under President John F. Kennedy (1961–1963).[60][61] Before the Cuban Missile Crisis, policymakers in Washington were uncertain whether or not China would break with the Soviet Union on the basis of ideology, national ambitions, and readiness for a role in guiding communist activities in many countries. New insight came with the Sino-Indian border war in November 1962 and Beijing's response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kennedy administration officials concluded that China was more militant and more dangerous than the Soviet Union, making better relations with Moscow desirable, with both nations trying to contain Chinese ambitions. Diplomatic recognition of China remained out of the question, as a crucial veto power on the UN Security Council was held by America's ally on Taiwan. The United States continued to work to prevent the PRC from taking China's seat in the United Nations and encouraged its allies not to deal with the PRC. The United States placed an embargo on trading with the PRC, and encouraged allies to follow it.[62]

The PRC developed nuclear weapons in 1964 and, as later declassified documents revealed, President Johnson considered preemptive attacks to halt its nuclear program. He ultimately decided the measure carried too much risk, and it was abandoned. Instead, Johnson looked for ways to improve relations. The American public seemed more open to the idea of expanding contacts with China, such as the relaxation of the trade embargo. But the War in Vietnam was raging, with China aiding North Vietnam. Mao's Great Leap Forward had failed in its goal to properly industrialize China and sparked a famine, and his Cultural Revolution exercised hostility to the US. In the end, Johnson made no move to change the standoff.[63]

Despite official non-recognition, the United States and the People's Republic of China held 136 meetings at the ambassadorial level beginning in 1954 and continuing until 1970, first in Geneva and in 1958–1970 in Warsaw.[64]

The Cultural Revolution brought about near-complete isolation of China from the outside world and vocal denunciations of both US imperialism and Soviet revisionism.

Beginning in 1967, the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission established the China Claims Program, in which American citizens could denominate the sum total of their lost assets and property following the Communist seizure of foreign property in 1950. American companies were reluctant to invest in China despite (future leader) Deng Xiaoping's reassurances of a stable business environment.[65]

Rapprochement edit

The end of the 1960s brought a period of transformation. For China, when American President Johnson decided to wind down the Vietnam War in 1968, it gave China the impression that the US had no interest in expanding throughout the Asia-Pacific anymore. Meanwhile, relations with the USSR rapidly worsened. This gave Richard Nixon—running for president in 1968—the idea of using that rivalry to improve Washington's relations with Moscow and Beijing, while each rival would cut back support for Hanoi.[66]

This became an especially important concern for the People's Republic of China after the Sino-Soviet border conflict of 1969. The PRC was diplomatically isolated and the leadership came to believe that improved relations with the United States would be a useful counterbalance to the Soviet threat. Zhou Enlai, the Premier of China, was at the forefront of this effort with the committed backing of Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party. In 1969, the United States initiated measures to relax trade restrictions and other impediments to bilateral contact, to which China responded. However, this rapprochement process was stalled by the Vietnam War, where China was supporting the enemies of the United States. Communication between Chinese and American leaders, however, was conducted through Romania, Pakistan[67] and Poland as intermediaries.[68]: 36 

Henry Kissinger, Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong. Kissinger made two secret trips to the PRC in 1971 before Nixon's groundbreaking visit in 1972.

In the United States, academics such as John K. Fairbank and A. Doak Barnett pointed to the need to deal realistically with the Beijing government, while organizations such as the National Committee on United States–China Relations sponsored debates to promote public awareness.[68]: 36–37  Many saw the specter of Communist China behind communist movements in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, but a growing number concluded that if the PRC would align with the US it would mean a major redistribution of global power against the Soviets. Mainland China's market of nearly one billion consumers appealed to American businesses. Senator J. William Fulbright, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, held a series of hearings on the matter.[69]

Richard M. Nixon mentioned in his inaugural address that the two countries were entering an era of negotiation after an era of confrontation. Although Nixon, during his 1960 presidential campaign, had vociferously supported Chiang Kai-Shek, by the second half of the decade, he increasingly began to speak of there "being no reason to leave China angry and isolated". Nixon's election as president in 1968 was initially met with hostility by Beijing—an editorial in the People's Daily denounced him as "a chieftain whom the capitalist world had turned to out of desperation".[70] Nixon believed it was in the American national interest to forge a relationship with China, even though there were enormous differences between the two countries.[71] He was assisted in this by his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. Domestic politics also entered into Nixon's thinking, as the boost from a successful courting of the PRC could help him in the 1972 American presidential election. He also worried that one of the Democrats would preempt him and go to the PRC before he had the opportunity.

In 1971, an unexpectedly friendly encounter between the American and Chinese ping-pong athletes called Glenn Cowan and Zhuang Zedong in Japan opened the way for a visit to China, which Chairman Mao personally approved.[72] In April 1971, the athletes became the first Americans to officially visit China since the communist takeover. The smooth acceptance of this created the term ping-pong diplomacy and gave confidence to both sides. Ping-pong diplomacy became one of the most prominent examples of people's diplomacy in China-US relations.[68]: 9  The ping-pong diplomacy allowed reporters into the country as well, opening up communication to both sides and breaking a barrier that had been there previously. This smoothed out the start of the trade partnership that was going to happen later.[73]

In July 1971, Henry Kissinger feigned illness while on a trip to Pakistan and did not appear in public for a day. He was actually on a top-secret mission to Beijing to negotiate with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai.

Kissinger and his aides did not receive a warm welcome in Beijing, and the hotel they stayed in was equipped with pamphlets excoriating US imperialism. However, the meeting with Zhou Enlai was productive, and the Chinese premier expressed his hope for improved China-US relations. He commented that the US had intentionally isolated China, not vice versa, and any initiative to restore diplomatic ties had to come from the American side. Zhou spoke of the late President Kennedy's plans to restore relations with China and told Kissinger, "We are willing to wait as long as we need to. If these negotiations fail, in time another Kennedy or another Nixon will come along."[74]

On 15 July 1971, President Richard Nixon revealed the mission to the world and that he had accepted an invitation to visit the PRC.[75]

This announcement[76] caused immediate shock around the world. In the United States, some hard-line anti-communists (most notably libertarian Republican Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater) denounced the decision, but most public opinions supported the move and Nixon saw the jump in the polls he had been hoping for. Since Nixon had sterling anti-communist credentials he was all but immune to being called "soft on communism". Nixon and his aides wanted to ensure that press coverage offered dramatic imagery.[77] Nixon was particularly eager for strong news coverage.

President Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon walk with the American delegation and their Chinese hosts on the Great Wall of China.
President Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai toast during Nixon's 1972 visit to China

Within the PRC there was also opposition from left-wing elements. This effort was allegedly led by Lin Biao, head of the military, who died in a mysterious plane crash over Mongolia while trying to defect to the Soviet Union. His death silenced most internal dissent over the visit.

Internationally, reactions varied. In the communist world, the Soviets were very concerned that two major enemies seemed to have resolved their differences, and the new world alignment contributed significantly to the policy of détente. Romania's president Nicolae Ceaușescu praised the US initiative as a "move for world peace".[This quote needs a citation] Several communist nations, including Cuba, Albania, and North Vietnam, accused China of "capitulationism to the imperialists".[This quote needs a citation] North Korea proclaimed that it was the reverse and that the US had been forced to capitulate to China, having failed to isolate it.

America's NATO allies were pleased by the initiative, especially since many of them had already recognized the PRC. Throughout the Asia-Pacific, the reaction was far more mixed. Japan was annoyed that it had not been told of the announcement until fifteen minutes before it had been made, and feared that the Americans were abandoning them in favor of the PRC. A short time later, Japan also recognized the PRC and committed to substantial trade with the continental power. South Korea and South Vietnam were both concerned that peace between the United States and the PRC could mean an end to American support for them against their communist enemies. Throughout the period of rapprochement, both countries had to be regularly assured that they would not be abandoned. Taiwan's Chiang Kai-Shek criticized the move, saying: "Today any international appease movement to evil power to seek for political power balance would never helpful for the world peace, instead it elongated the hardship of our 700 million people, and expand the disaster of the world."[78]

From 21 to 28 February 1972, President Nixon traveled to Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai. At the conclusion of his trip, the US and the PRC issued the Shanghai Communiqué, a statement of their respective foreign policy views. In the Communiqué, both nations pledged to work toward the full normalization of diplomatic relations. This did not lead to immediate recognition of the People's Republic of China but 'liaison offices' were established in Beijing and Washington.[79] The US acknowledged the PRC position that all Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait maintain that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of China. The statement enabled the US and PRC to temporarily set aside the issue of Taiwan and open trade and communication. Also, the US and China both agreed to take action against 'any country' that is to establish 'hegemony' in the Asia-Pacific. On several issues, such as the ongoing conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, and Israel, the US and China were unable to reach a common understanding.[79]

The rapprochement with the United States benefited the PRC immensely and greatly increased its security for the rest of the Cold War. It has been argued that the United States, on the other hand, saw fewer benefits than it had hoped for, inasmuch as China continued to back America's enemies in Hanoi and Pyongyang. Eventually, however, the PRC's suspicion of Vietnam's motives led to a break in China-Vietnamese cooperation and, upon the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1979, the Sino-Vietnamese War. Both China and the United States backed combatants in Africa against Soviet and Cuban-supported movements. The economic benefits of normalization were slow as it would take decades for American products to penetrate the vast Chinese market. While Nixon's China policy is regarded by many as the highlight of his presidency, others such as William Bundy have argued that it provided very little benefit to the United States.[citation needed]

Liaison Office (1973–1978) edit

President Gerald Ford makes remarks at a Reciprocal Dinner in Beijing on 4 December 1975.

In May 1973, in an effort to build toward formal diplomatic relations, the US and the PRC established the United States Liaison Office (USLO) in Beijing and a counterpart PRC office in Washington. From 1973 to 1978, such distinguished Americans as David K. E. Bruce, George H. W. Bush, Thomas S. Gates, Jr., and Leonard Woodcock served as chiefs of the USLO with the personal rank of ambassador. China made clear that it considered the Soviet Union its chief adversary and urged the United States to be powerful, thereby distracting Moscow. Liaison officer George Bush concluded, "China keeps wanting us to be strong, wanting us to defend Europe, wanting us to increase our defense budgets, etc."[80] Bush concluded that American engagement was essential to support markets, allies, and stability throughout the Asia Pacific and around the world.[81]

President Gerald Ford visited the PRC in 1975 and reaffirmed American interest in normalizing relations with Beijing. Shortly after taking office in 1977, President Jimmy Carter again reaffirmed the goals of the Shanghai Communiqué. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Carter's National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, and senior staff member of the National Security Council Michel Oksenberg encouraged Carter to seek full diplomatic and trade relations with China. Although Brzezinski sought to quickly establish a security relationship with Beijing to counter the Soviet Union, Carter sided with Vance in believing that such a deal would threaten existing U.S.-Soviet relations, including the SALT II negotiations. Thus, the administration decided to cautiously pursue political normalization and not military relations.[82] Vance, Brzezinski, and Oksenberg traveled to Beijing in early 1978 to work with Leonard Woodcock, then head of the liaison office, to lay the groundwork to do so. The United States and the People's Republic of China announced on 15 December 1978,[56]: 86  that the two governments would establish diplomatic relations on 1 January 1979.

Normalization edit

US president Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and other US officials meet in the White House Cabinet Room with Chinese vice-premier Deng Xiaoping, 29 January 1979

In the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, dated 1 January 1979, the United States transferred diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. The US reiterated the Shanghai Communiqué's acknowledgment of the Chinese position that there is only one China, and that Taiwan is a part of China; Beijing acknowledged that the American people would continue to carry on commercial, cultural, and other unofficial contacts with the people of Taiwan.[83]

Taiwan, although fully expecting this step, nonetheless expressed disappointment at having not been consulted first. The reaction of the communist world was similar to 1972, with the Soviet Union and its allies in Eastern Europe mostly being noncommittal, Romania welcoming the move, and Cuba and Albania being strongly against it. North Korea issued a statement congratulating "our brotherly neighbors for ending long-hostile relations with the US".[This quote needs a citation]

Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping's January 1979 visit to Washington initiated a series of important, high-level exchanges which continued until the spring of 1989. This resulted in many bilateral agreements, including the January 31, 1979 Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology.[56]: 90–91  Scientific cooperation greatly increased thereafter.[68]: 86–87  Since early 1979, the United States and the PRC have initiated hundreds of joint research projects and cooperative programs under the Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology, the largest bilateral program.[84]

On 1 March 1979, the two countries formally established embassies in each other's capitals. In 1979, outstanding private claims were resolved and a bilateral trade agreement was completed. Vice President Walter Mondale reciprocated Vice Premier Deng's visit with an August 1979 trip to China. This visit led to agreements in September 1980 on maritime affairs, civil aviation links, and textile matters, as well as a bilateral consular convention.

The threats of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia were major factors that brought Washington and Beijing closer than ever before.[85] In June 1979, US Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Josephn A. Califano Jr. led an American delegation to China; the trip resulted in the long-term institutionalization of health and education links between the two countries.[56]: 103  US-China military cooperation increased over the course of 1979 and 1980.[29]: 139  In 1980, China allowed the United States to establish electronic listening stations in Xinjiang so the United States could monitor Soviet rocket launches in Central Asia.[86] In exchange, the United States authorized the sale of dual-use civilian and military technology and nonlethal military equipment to China.[86]

Chinese demands for advanced technology from the US were not always met, in part due to opposition from Congressmen who either distrusted technology transfer to a communist nation out of principle or concern that there was no guarantee that such technology would not end up in the hands of unfriendly third parties. In 1983, the US State Department changed its classification of China to "a friendly, developing nation",[This quote needs a citation] thereby increasing the amount of technology and armaments that could be sold. The skepticism of some US Congressmen was not entirely unmerited as China, during the 1980s, continued to sell arms to Iran and other states that were openly hostile to American interests.

Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping with US President Jimmy Carter

As a consequence of high-level and working-level contacts initiated in 1980, US dialogue with the PRC broadened to cover a wide range of issues, including global and regional strategic problems, political-military questions, including arms control, UN, and other multilateral organization affairs, and international narcotics matters. New York City and Beijing became sister cities.[87]

High-level exchanges continued to be a significant means for developing US–PRC relations in the 1980s. President Ronald Reagan and Premier Zhao Ziyang made reciprocal visits in 1984. Reagan's visit to Beijing went well, however, a speech he made criticizing the Soviet Union and praising capitalism, democracy, and freedom of religion was not aired on Chinese state television. In July 1985, Chinese President Li Xiannian traveled to the United States, the first such visit by a PRC head of state. Vice President Bush visited the PRC in October 1985 and opened the US Consulate General in Chengdu, the US's fourth consular post in the PRC. Further exchanges of cabinet-level officials occurred between 1985 and 1989, capped by President Bush's visit to Beijing in February 1989.

President Ronald Reagan walking with Premier Zhao Ziyang during his visit to the White House on 10 January 1984.

Shortly after being elected president in 1980, Ronald Reagan made a speech criticizing the PRC and welcoming restoration of ties with Taiwan. These remarks aroused initial concern in Beijing, but Reagan's advisers quickly apologized for his comments, and the president-elect soon retracted them. Reagan's first two years in office saw some deterioration in US-China relations due to the president's vociferous anti-communism, as well as the inability of the two nations to come to a common understanding over the Korean conflict, the Israel–Palestine conflict, or the Falklands War. In 1982, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, in a reiteration of Mao Zedong's "Three Worlds" theory, criticized both the US and Soviet Union for imperialism. In 1983, there were quarrels over a Chinese tennis player, Hu Na, who defected to the US, and over an incident where an Olympic parade float in New York City displayed the flag of Taiwan rather than the PRC's flag. Relations in the early part of 1984 were strained over the issue of United States arms sales to Taiwan, but later improved.[56]: 142 

By the late 1980s, China was the US's largest partner for science and technology, which had become the largest type of government-to-government exchange between the two countries.[68]: 88 

In the period before the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, a growing number of cultural exchange activities gave the American and Chinese peoples broad exposure to each other's cultural, artistic, and educational achievements. Numerous mainland Chinese professionals and official delegations visited the United States each month. Many of these exchanges continued after the suppression of the Tiananmen protests.[88]

In the first decade after normalization, the US's policy towards China was largely driven by the Executive Branch of the United States, with the notable exception of the Taiwan Relations Act.[56]: 207  As a result of the Executive-branch driven approach during this period, China concluded that United States Presidents primarily raised Congressional issues as a negotiating tool and that Congress was not itself a significant force in China-US relations.[56]: 208  Consequently, China was slow to develop its Congressional liaison capacity.[56]: 208 

George H. W. Bush administration (1989–1993) edit

Americans who had been optimistic about the emergence of democratic characteristics in response to the rapid economic growth and China were stunned and disappointed by the brutal crackdown of the pro-democratic Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.[89] The US and other governments enacted a number of measures against China's violation of human rights. The US suspended high-level official exchanges with the PRC and weapons exports from the US to the PRC. The US also imposed a number of economic sanctions. In the summer of 1990, at the G7 Houston summit, the West called for renewed political and economic reforms in mainland China, particularly in the field of human rights.[90]

The Tiananmen event disrupted the US-China trade relationship, and US investors' interest in mainland China dropped dramatically. Tourist traffic fell off sharply.[91] The Bush administration denounced the repression and suspended certain trade and investment programs on 5 and 20 June 1989, however Congress was responsible for imposing many of these actions, and the White House itself took a far less critical attitude of Beijing, repeatedly expressing hope that the two countries could maintain normalized relations.[92] Generally, Bush's preference was for sanctions which were not formalized in law in order to provide flexibility for altering or removing them.[56]: 210  Some sanctions were legislated while others were executive actions. Examples include:

  • The US Trade and Development Agency (TDA): new activities in mainland China were suspended from June 1989 until January 2001, when President Bill Clinton lifted this suspension.
  • Overseas Private Insurance Corporation (OPIC): new activities have been suspended since June 1989.
  • Development Bank Lending/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Credits: the United States does not support development bank lending and will not support IMF credits to the PRC except for projects that address basic human needs.
  • Munitions List Exports: subject to certain exceptions, no licenses may be issued for the export of any defense article on the US Munitions List. This restriction may be waived upon a presidential national interest determination.
  • Arms Imports – import of defense articles from the PRC was banned after the imposition of the ban on arms exports to the PRC. The import ban was subsequently waived by the administration and reimposed on 26 May 1994. It covers all items on the BATFE's Munitions Import List. During this critical period, J. Stapleton Roy, a career US Foreign Service Officer, served as ambassador to Beijing.[93]

Debate within the United States also began on whether China should continue to receive the annual presidential waiver for most favored nation trading status under the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.[56]: 211 

US-China military ties and arms sales were terminated in 1989 and as of 2024 have never been restored. Chinese public opinion became more hostile to the United States after 1989, as typified by the 1996 manifesto China Can Say No. The authors called for Beijing to take more aggressive actions against the United States and Japan in order to build a stronger international position. The Chinese government at first endorsed the manifesto, then repudiated it as irresponsible.[94]

The end of the Cold War and dissolution of the Soviet Union removed the original motives underlying rapprochement between China and the United States.[95] Motivated by concerns that the United States might curtail support for China's modernization, Deng adopted a low-profile foreign policy to live with the fact of United States hegemony and focus primarily on domestic development.[95]

American president Bill Clinton and Chinese leader Jiang Zemin holding a joint press conference at the White House, 29 October 1997.

Clinton administration (1993–2001) edit

Running for president in 1992, Bill Clinton sharply criticized his predecessor George H. W. Bush for prioritizing profitable trade relationships over human rights issues in China.[96] Clinton's May 28, 1993 Executive Order 128950 linked future extension of China's most favored nation trading status to China's progress on U.S.-defined human rights measures.[56]: 222  China made virtually no effort to comply with the U.S. conditions and in mid-1994 Clinton changed his position,[56]: 223  de-linking the China's most favored nation status from human rights issues.[97]

Congressional pressure, especially from the Republican Party, prompted Clinton to approve arms sales to Taiwan, despite the strong displeasure voiced by Beijing.[98][99][100]

In July 1993, a symbolic United States Congressional resolution opposed China's efforts to be selected as the host country for the 2000 Summer Olympics.[29]: 153  The resolution became a major grievance among the Chinese public, which generally viewed the Resolution as an effort to humiliate China.[29]: 153–154 


In July 1993, the US Navy stopped the Yinhe, a Chinese container ship, en route to Kuwait in international waters, cut off its GPS so that it lost direction and was forced to anchor, and held it in place for twenty-four days.[97] The United States incorrectly alleged that the Yinhe was carrying precursors of chemical weapons for Iran.[97] It eventually forced an inspection of the ship in Saudi Arabia, but found no chemical precursors.[97] The United States refused China's request for a formal apology and refused to pay compensation.[97] This incident was viewed in China as international bullying by the United States.[101] Nonetheless, Chinese President Jiang Zemin adopted a diplomatic posture of goodwill and a "sixteen-characters formula" to working with the United States: "enhancing confidence, avoiding troubles, expanding cooperation, and avoiding confrontation".[97]

Anti-American protests in Nanjing following the U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, 1999

In 1996, the People's Liberation Army conducted military exercises in the Taiwan Strait in an apparent effort to intimidate the Republic of China electorate before the pending presidential elections, triggering the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis. The United States dispatched two aircraft carrier battle groups to the region. Subsequently, tensions in the Taiwan Strait diminished and relations between the US and the PRC improved, with increased high-level exchanges and progress on numerous bilateral issues, including human rights, nuclear proliferation, and trade.

China's leader Jiang Zemin visited the United States in the fall of 1997, the first state visit to the US by a paramount leader since 1979. In connection with that visit, the two sides came to a consensus on implementation of their 1985 agreement on Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation, as well as a number of other issues.[102] President Clinton visited the PRC in June 1998. He traveled extensively in mainland China, and had direct interaction with the Chinese people, including live speeches and a radio show which allowed the President to convey a sense of American ideals and values. In a speech at Peking University, he referred to the 21st century as "your century",[103] and expressed his view that technology, including the internet, would help ease any tensions China's economic growth might cause.[104][105] President Clinton was criticized by some, however, for failing to pay adequate attention to human rights abuses in mainland China.[106] When Clinton visited Shanghai, he declared the "three nos" for United States foreign policy towards China: (1) not recognizing two Chinas, (2) not supporting Taiwanese independence, and (3) not supporting Taiwanese efforts to join international organizations for which sovereignty is a membership requirement.[97]

Relations were damaged for a time by the United States bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade on May 7, 1999,[107] which was stated by the White House to be miscoordination between intelligence and the military. The bombing created outrage among Chinese people, who did not accept the United States claim that the bombing was accidental.[107] For several days, Beijing was rocked by massive anti-US demonstrations. Deeming the importance of the bilateral relationship too great to be harmed by the embassy bombing, President Jiang sought to calm the Chinese public outrage.[107] By the end of 1999, relations began to gradually improve. In October 1999, the two countries reached an agreement on compensation for families of those who were victims, as well as payments for damages to respective diplomatic properties in Belgrade and China. US-China relations in 1999 were also damaged by accusations that a Chinese-American scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory had given US nuclear secrets to Beijing.

George W. Bush administration (2001–2009) edit

American President George W. Bush, and Chinese leader Hu Jintao with first ladies Laura Bush, and Liu Yongqing wave from the White House in April 2006.

As a presidential candidate in 2000, George W. Bush repeatedly criticized the Clinton-Gore administration for being too friendly with China, which he warned was a strategic competitor.

In the Hainan Island incident of April 1, 2001, a United States US EP-3 surveillance aircraft collided mid-air with a Chinese Shenyang J-8 jet fighter over the South China Sea.[108] China sought a formal apology, and accepted United States Secretary of State Colin Powell's expression of "very sorry" as sufficient.[108] The incident nonetheless created negative feelings towards the United States by the Chinese public and increased public feelings of Chinese nationalism.[108]

Early on as President Bush increased arms sales to Taiwan, including 8 submarines. Bush's hostile position toward China was suddenly reversed after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and his friendly attitude toward Taiwan became a casualty. Soon he was calling China a strategic partner in the war on terror and postponing deals with Taiwan.[109]

Two PRC citizens died in the attacks on the World Trade Center.[110] President Jiang Zemin sent a telegram to Bush within hours of the attack expressing China's condolences and opposition to terror; Bush responded with a phone call the next day stating that he looked forward to working with Jiang and other world leaders to oppose terrorism.[108] Chinese companies and individuals also sent expressions of condolences to their American counterparts. The PRC, itself troubled by Muslim separatists in Xinjiang, offered strong public support for the War on Terror in APEC China 2001. The PRC voted in favor of UNSCR 1373, publicly supported the coalition campaign in Afghanistan,[111] and contributed $150 million of bilateral assistance to Afghan reconstruction following the defeat of the Taliban. Shortly after the 11 September terrorist attacks, the US and PRC also commenced a counterterrorism dialogue. In a March 2002 trip to Beijing, Bush articulated his desire for a "constructive, cooperative, and candid" relationship with China.[108] The third round of that dialogue was held in Beijing in February 2003.

In the United States, the threat of terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda greatly changed the nature of its security concerns.[108] It was no longer plausible to argue, as the Blue Team had earlier asserted, that the PRC was the primary security threat to the United States, and the need to focus on the Middle East and the War on Terror made the avoidance of potential distractions in East Asia a priority for the United States.

There were initial fears among the PRC leadership that the war on terrorism would lead to an anti-PRC effort by the US, especially as the US began establishing bases in Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and renewed efforts against Iraq. The Chinese government was relieved after the United States tied up major national resources with its 2003 invasion of Iraq.[112] China believed that the United States' Middle East meant that the United States would need China's help on issues such as counterterrorism, Middle Eastern stability, and nuclear non-proliferation and viewed the United States' focus as conducive to China's emphasis on stability and domestic development.[112]

China and the United States worked closely on regional issues, including those pertaining to North Korea and its nuclear weapons program. China has stressed its opposition to North Korea's decision to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, its concerns over North Korea's nuclear capabilities, and its desire for a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula. It also voted to refer North Korea's noncompliance with its International Atomic Energy Agency obligations to the UN Security Council.

In 2001, a presidential plane built in the United States for Chinese President Jiang Zemin was found to have listening devices installed.[113]: 53  Chinese authorities located at least 20 devices, including one in the headboard of the presidential bed.[114] The listening devices were capable of being operated via satellite.[114]

In the mid-2000s, the United States focused relatively less on China issues.[29]: 158  This approach was reinforced by the economic benefits to the United States from its relations with China, including cheaper consumer products like clothing and electronics.[29]: 158  During this period, the United States also issued significant debt to fund its military interventions and China became the largest foreign purchaser of U.S. government debt.[29]: 158 

Taiwan remained a volatile issue, but one that remained under control. The United States policy toward Taiwan involved emphasizing the Four Noes and One Without. On occasion the United States rebuked Republic of China (Taiwan) President Chen Shui-bian for provocative pro-independence rhetoric.[112] As Bush made his opposition to Taiwan independence clear, the PRC saw the United States as playing a positive role in restraining the separatist movement.[112] In 2005, the PRC passed the Anti-Secession Law which stated that the PRC would be prepared to resort to "non-peaceful means" if Taiwan declared formal independence. Many critics of the PRC, such as the Blue Team, argue that the PRC was trying to take advantage of the US war in Iraq to assert its claims on Republic of China's territory. In 2008, Taiwan voters elected Ma Ying-jeou. Ma, representing the Kuomintang, campaigned on a platform that included rapprochement with mainland China. His election has significant implications for the future of cross-strait relations.[115]

The 2003 United States invasion of Iraq and the failure of the United States to find evidence of weapons of mass destruction decreased China's respect for America's power and realism.[56]: 334 

China's paramount leader Hu Jintao visited the United States in April 2006.[116] Bush visited Beijing in August for four days to attend the 2008 Summer Olympics. The president and his wife Laura were accompanied by Bush's father, the former president, and his mother Barbara.[117]

Obama administration (2009–2017) edit

Vice Premier Wang Qishan, center, holds the autographed basketball given to him by President Obama following their Washington meeting 28 July 2009, to discuss the outcomes of the first US–China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Looking on at left is State Councilor Dai Bingguo.[118]

The 2008 US presidential election centered on issues of war and economic recession, but candidates Barack Obama and John McCain also spoke extensively regarding US policy toward China.[119] Both favored cooperation with China on major issues, but they differed with regard to trade policy. Obama expressed concern that the value of China's currency was being deliberately set low to benefit China's exporters. McCain argued that free trade was crucial and was having a transformative effect in China. Still, McCain noted that while China might have shared interests with the US, it did not share American values.[120]

The election of Barack Obama in 2008 generated positive reactions from most locals and state-run media outlets in China.[121][122][123] His presidency fostered hopes for increased co-operation and heightened levels of friendship between the two nations. On 8 November 2008, Chinese leader Hu Jintao and Obama shared a phone conversation in which Hu congratulated Obama on his election victory. During the conversation both parties agreed that the development of Sino-American relations is not only in the interest of both nations, but also in the interests of the international community.[124][125][126]

During the Obama administration, the US signed more bilateral agreements with China than it had during any other US administration, particularly with regard to addressing climate change.[127]: 2  The two countries signed seven clean energy agreements on November 17, 2009, during Obama's visit to China, including an agreement establishing the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC).[127]: 122–123  CERC was the most ambitious clean energy technology cooperation mechanism between the two.[127]: 117  The many technical exchanges on climate issues during the Obama era helped both sides of the relationship to better understand each other's emissions models and data, leading to increased mutual trust.[127]: 105 

Following the 2007-2008 global financial crisis, both US and Chinese governments addressed the economic downturn with massive stimulus initiatives. The Chinese expressed concern that "Buy American" components of the US plan discriminate against foreign producers, including those in China.[128]

As the two most influential and powerful countries in the world, there have been increasingly strong suggestions within American political circles of creating a G-2 (Chimerica) relationship for the United States and China to work out solutions to global problems together.[129]

Obama meets with Wen Jiabao and members of the Chinese delegation after a bilateral meeting at the United Nations in New York City in September 2010.

The Strategic Economic Dialogue initiated by then-US President Bush and Hu and led by US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi in 2006 was broadened by the Obama administration into the U.S.–China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.[130]: 288  It was then led by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner for the United States and Vice Premier Wang Qishan and Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo for China. The focus of the first set of meetings in July 2009 was in response to the economic crisis, finding ways to cooperate to stem global warming and addressing issues such as the proliferation of nuclear weapons and humanitarian crises.[131]

Obama visited China on 15–18 November 2009 to discuss economic worries, concerns over nuclear weapon proliferation, and the need for action against climate change.[132][133]

In January 2010, the US proposed a $6.4 billion arms sale to the Republic of China (Taiwan). In response, the PRC threatened to impose sanctions on US companies supplying arms to Taiwan and suspend cooperation on certain regional and international issues.[134]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, 9 October 2013.

On 19 February 2010, Obama met with the Dalai Lama, accused by China of "fomenting unrest in Tibet." After the meeting, China summoned the US ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman,[135] but Time has described the Chinese reaction as "muted", speculating that it could be because "the meeting came during the Chinese New Year... when most officials are on leave". Some activists criticized Obama for the relatively low profile of the visit.[136]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden with President Xi Jinping, 25 September 2015.

In 2012, the PRC criticized Obama's new defense strategy, which it said was aimed at isolating China in East Asia.[137] Obama is looking to increase US military influence in the area with a rotating presence of forces in friendly countries.[138]

In March 2012, China suddenly began cutting back its purchases of oil from Iran, which along with some signs on sensitive security issues like Syria and North Korea, showed some coordination with the Obama administration.[139]

In March 2013, the US and China agreed to impose stricter sanctions on North Korea for conducting nuclear tests, which sets the stage for UN Security Council vote. Such accord might signal a new level of cooperation between the US and China.[140]

In an effort to build a "new model" of relations, Obama met Paramount leader Xi Jinping for two days of meetings, between 6 and 8 June 2013, at the Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage, California.[141] The summit was considered "the most important meeting between an American president and a Chinese Communist leader in 40 years, since President Nixon and Chairman Mao," according to Joseph Nye, a political scientist at Harvard University.[142] The leaders concretely agreed to combat climate change and also found strong mutual interest in curtailing North Korea's nuclear program.[142] However, the leaders remained sharply divided over cyber espionage and US arms sales to Taiwan. Xi was dismissive of American complaints about cyber security.[143] Tom Donilon, the outgoing US National Security Adviser, stated that cyber security "is now at the center of the relationship", adding that if China's leaders were unaware of this fact, they know now.[143]

President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping in September 2015

Obama supported the One-China policy.[144] In 2014, Obama stated that "We recognize Tibet as part of the People's Republic of China. We are not in favor of independence."[145]

In May 2015, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter warned China to halt its rapid island-building in the South China Sea.[146]

Obama hosted Xi for a bilateral meeting on the margins of the Nuclear Security Summit on 31 March 2016.[147]

Trump administration (2017–2021) edit

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands with President Xi Jinping upon arrival in Beijing, 19 March 2017.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with President Xi Jinping upon arrival in Beijing, 14 June 2018.

The presidency of Donald Trump led to a negative shift in US relations with China.[148]

President-elect Trump's telephone conversation with the president of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen on 2 December 2016 was the first such contact with Taiwan by an American president-elect or president since 1979. It provoked Beijing to lodge a diplomatic protest ("stern representations").[149][150] Trump went on to clarify his move: "I fully understand the 'one China' policy, but I don't know why we have to be bound by a 'one China' policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade."[150]

On President Trump's inauguration day, an official from the China's People's Liberation Army wrote on the official website that the American military build-up in East Asia and the Asia Pacific, and its push to arm South Korea with the THAAD missile-defense system were provocative "hot spots getting closer to ignition" and that the chances of war had become "more real."[151][152]

On taking office, the Trump administration stopped negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty with China which had begun in 2008.[130]: 312  According to Michael Froman, the lead negotiator during the preceding four years, the effort to reach an agreement was "more than 90 percent complete."[130]: 312 

On 23 January, speaking about China's claims to sovereignty over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said, "It's a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we're going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country."[153]

President Trump arrives in China in November 2017

On 4 January, on a visit to Japan, US Defense Secretary James Mattis reaffirmed Washington's commitment under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan to defending Japan, including the Senkaku Islands (the East China Sea) that are claimed by China.[154]

On 9 February, Trump spoke with China's leader Xi Jinping over the phone discussing a wide range of issues; Trump was said to have re-iterated the United States' commitment to the status quo 'one-China' policy.[155]

In a 3 July 2017 telephone conversation with Trump, Xi stated, "China-US relations have made great progress in recent days, but they have also been affected by some negative factors."[156] By "negative factors", Geng Shuang, a Chinese government spokesmen, explained in a televised briefing: "Under the pretext of navigational freedom, the American side once again sent military vessels into the Chinese territorial waters of Xisha (Paracel) Islands. It has violated Chinese and international law, infringed upon Chinese sovereignty, and disrupted order, peace and security of the relevant waters and put in jeopardy facilities and personnel on the relevant Chinese islands. It is a serious political and military provocation. The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to the relevant actions by the US."[156]

In 2017, the Trump administration terminated the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) between China and the United States.[130]: 287–288  The JCCT had met annually from 1983 to 2016 and had been a generally effective mechanism to address various trade issues between the two countries.[130]: 287–288  The Trump administration also terminated the Strategic and Economic Dialogue after holding the June 2017 meeting under the name "Comprehensive Economic Dialogue."[130]: 288 

Trump and Xi at the G20 Buenos Aires summit in November 2018

China enforced punitive tariffs on 128 categories of American goods on 1 April 2018 in retaliation for the Trump administration's national-security levies on steel and aluminum imports the previous month. The Chinese Government's response is measured, affecting $3 billion in annual trade or about 2% of US goods exports to China. By late September 2018, the Trump administration had placed tariffs (25% tax increase) on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, in an attempt to offset the trade imbalance between the two major economic world powers.

In what put additional strain on US-China relations, Huawei's vice-chair and CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on 1 December 2018 at the behest of US authorities.[157] US Senator Ben Sasse accused China of undermining U.S. national security interests, often "using private sector entities" to by-pass US sanctions against the sale of telecom equipment to Iran.[158]

According to political analyst, Andrew Leung, "China is perceived as the antagonist and rival of the United States," and that China's economic growth is seen as a "threat to the world order underpinned by American dominance or American values."[159] He claimed, moreover, that the arrest of the CFO of Huawei on 1 December 2018 corresponded with the suspicious death on that same day of a leading Chinese national quantum physicist and venture capitalist at Stanford University, Shoucheng Zhang, who was on a H-1B visa, giving rise to conspiracy theories. In August 2018, the US government signed an update to legislation for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., broadening governmental scrutiny to vetting VC-backed, and especially Chinese state-funded, investments in US tech startups.[160]

U.S. lawmakers from both parties have voiced their support for pro-democracy Hong Kong protests in 2019
President Donald Trump and Vice Premier Liu He sign the Phase One Trade Deal in January 2020

Both sides signed the US–China Phase One trade deal on 15 January.[161] Unlike other trade agreements, the agreement did not rely on arbitration through an intergovernmental organization like the World Trade Organization, but rather through a bilateral mechanism.[162][163]

Rapid deterioration of relations (2019–2020) edit

Michael D. Swaine warned in 2019, "The often positive and optimistic forces, interests, and beliefs that sustained bilateral ties for decades are giving way to undue pessimism, hostility, and a zero-sum mindset in almost every area of engagement."[164]

The U.S.-China relationship is confronting its most daunting challenge in the forty years since the two countries established diplomatic ties. Current trends portend steadily worsening relations over the long term, with increasingly adverse consequences for all actors involved. Specifically, Beijing and Washington are transitioning from a sometimes contentious yet mutually beneficial relationship to an increasingly antagonistic, mutually destructive set of interactions. The often positive and optimistic forces, interests, and beliefs that sustained bilateral ties for decades are giving way to undue pessimism, hostility, and a zero-sum mindset in almost every area of engagement.[165]

According to two experts on US-China relations, Rosemary Foot and Amy King, the consensus of experts is that:

The relationship began to deteriorate in the second decade of the 21st century, and that the Trump administration has accelerated the deterioration. Explanations...have ranged over a large number of factors, all of which have played some role. Some relate to changes in official personnel in both the United States and China, others to the shifts and relative power between the two countries after the global financial crisis of 2007–2008, and yet others to China's greater determination to reform global governance institutions and to play more of a global leadership role.[166]

Foot and King emphasize China's aggressive efforts in developing cutting-edge technologies with significant military and commercial implications, while the United States sees the need to defend itself aggressively against technological theft.[167]

U.S. academics have made various policy prescriptions for the United States within the context of its deteriorating relationship with China.[168][169][170]

According to Lawrence J. Lau, a major cause of the deterioration is the growing battle between China and the United States for global economic and technological dominance. More generally, he argues, "It is also a reflection of the rise of populism, isolationism, nationalism and protectionism almost everywhere in the world, including in the US."[171] According to Ian Bremmer, the US and China are in a technology cold war[172] and Trump's technology war against the PRC has been his administration's biggest foreign policy win, saying, "on the issue of tech decoupling that it was America out front with most allies on board."[173] According to Greg Autry, an academic at the University of Southern California, Trump's China policy was working, pointing to increased revenue intakes by the Treasury Department and offshoring by US manufacturing supply chains from China, and crediting the administration for being the first to fully recognize that globalization hadn't delivered for Americans and that China was an existential threat.[174]

Former Obama administration officials Samantha Power and Susan Rice have criticized China's actions on trade, over the Meng Wenzhou affair and in Hong Kong while simultaneously criticizing the Trump administration for inadequate pushback.[175][176][177][178]

In 2018, the US Department of Justice initiated a "China Initiative" to "combat economic espionage".[179] DOJ ended the program on 23 February 2023.[180] No one was charged or convicted of spying in any China Initiative case.[181]

The Director of Policy Planning at the United States Department of State, Kiron Skinner drew international attention in April 2019 for stating at a foreign policy forum that the US competition with China would be especially bitter, because unlike the Cold War with the Soviet Union which is "a fight within the Western family", "it's the first time that we will have a great-power competitor that is not Caucasian".[182][183]

In 2019, prominent Americans, including some with ties to the administration, formed the Committee on the Present Danger: China (CPDC) to advocate for a more hawkish foreign policy against China.[184][185][186]

On 29 January 2020, the Interior Department's fleet of more than 800 Chinese-made drones, including those by DJI, were grounded, citing security concerns.[187][188]

On 18 February 2020, the US government announced five Chinese state media firms[note 1] would be designated "foreign missions", requiring them to be legally registered with the US government as a foreign government entity.[189] On the following day, China took action against three American journalists with The Wall Street Journal by revoking their press credentials over a coronavirus opinion column which their paper had run.[190] According to China, the column was racist and libelous; the CEO of the company that published the WSJ defended the article, as did the State department.[190] A March 2020 article by Reuters said that Washington slashed the number of journalists allowed to work at US offices of major Chinese media outlets to 100 from 160 due to Beijing's "long-standing intimidation and harassment of journalists". In response, China expelled about a dozen American correspondents with The New York Times, News Corp's Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, which prompted criticism from the State Department.[191][192] On 8 May, the US moved Chinese citizens at non-American news outlets from open-ended work visas to extendable 90-day work visas[193] and in June the State Department designated a further four Chinese media outlets as foreign embassies.[192]

In August 2020, Joe Biden's foreign policy adviser Tony Blinken described China as a "strategic competitor".[194]

By May 2020 relations had deteriorated as both sides were accusing the other of guilt for the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Washington has mobilized a campaign of investigations, prosecutions and export restrictions. Beijing, meanwhile, has stepped up military activities in the contested South China Sea, and launched denunciations of American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and publicly speculating that the American military deliberately unleashed the virus in China. In the growing aspersion, on 15 May 2020, the US blocked shipments of semi-conductors to Huawei, while China, for its part, has threatened to place Apple, Boeing, and other US firms on "unreliable entities" lists,[195][196] and has blamed the US government of using state power under the excuse of national security, and of abusing export control measures to continuously oppress and contain specific enterprises of other countries.[197] Orville Schell, the director of the Center on US-China Relations at the Asia Society, summed up the situation as follows: "The consequences of the breakdown in US-China relations is going to be very grave for the world and for the global economy because the ability of the US and China to work together was the keystone of the whole arch of globalization and global trade. With that pulled out, there's going to be a tremendous amount of disturbance", often compared to the Cold War. However Tony Blair noted there is "an interconnectedness, economically and in trade terms between the US and China that just wasn't there in the US-Soviet Cold War" that makes it an imperfect analogy. He further felt the China-U.S. relations would be the "determining geopolitical relationship of the 21st century."[198]

In June 2020, US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft sent a letter to the U.N. secretary general explaining the US position on China's "excessive maritime claims".[199]

On 17 June 2020, President Trump signed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act,[200] which authorizes the imposition of U.S. sanctions against Chinese government officials responsible for detention camps holding more than 1 million members of the country's Uyghur Muslim minority.[201] On 9 July 2020, the Trump administration imposed sanctions and visa restrictions against senior Chinese officials, including Chen Quanguo, a member of China's powerful Politburo.[202]

A research paper by the Begin–Sadat Center for Strategic Studies said that Chinese state-controlled media enthusiastically covered the protests and rioting attending the Murder of George Floyd, comparing the American protests to the protests in Hong Kong and used the rioting and violence in the United States as evidence that the democratic system was hypocritical and morally bankrupt.[203] A report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute said that racial tensions in the United States was a key area of focus for "a campaign of cross-platform inauthentic activity, conducted by Chinese-speaking actors and broadly in alignment with the political goal of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to denigrate the standing of the US."[204]

In July 2020, FBI Director Christopher Wray called China the "greatest long-term threat" to the United States. He said that "the FBI is now opening a new China-related counterintelligence case every 10 hours. Of the nearly 5,000 active counterintelligence cases currently under way across the country, almost half are related to China."[205]

In July 2020, the Trump administration ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston. In response, the Chinese government ordered the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu.

On 20 July 2020, the United States sanctioned 11 Chinese companies, restricting any trade deal with America for what the US government said was their involvement in human rights violations in Xinjiang, accusing them specifically of using Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in forced labor.[206]

On 23 July 2020, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the end of what he called "blind engagement" with the Chinese government. He also criticized CCP general secretary Xi Jinping as "a true believer in a bankrupt totalitarian ideology".[207]

In August 2020, Washington imposed sanctions on 11 Hong Kong and Chinese officials over what it said was their role in curtailing political freedoms in Hong Kong through the imposition[208] of the Hong Kong national security law; China retaliated[208] by sanctioning 6 Republican lawmakers and 5 individuals at non-profit and rights groups.[209][210]

In September 2020 the United States had under a 29 May presidential proclamation revoked more than 1,000 visas for PRC students and researchers visas who the US government said had ties to the Chinese military in order to prevent them from stealing and otherwise appropriating sensitive research.[211][212]

On 26 September 2020, the US Commerce Department put restrictions on Chinese chip maker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), following which the suppliers were required to have an export license for exporting the chip. The restrictions were imposed after the US concluded that an "unacceptable risk" equipment supplied to SMIC could potentially be used for military purposes.[213][214]

On 6 October 2020, Germany's ambassador to the UN, on behalf of the group of 39 countries including Germany, the U.K. and the U.S., made a statement to denounce China for its treatment of ethnic minorities and for curtailing freedoms in Hong Kong.[215]

Call for boycott of products from China's Xinjiang province, New York, 2020. The US officially recognized the Chinese government's treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang as a genocide.

On 9 October 2020, the Department of Justice disallowed the use of its fund to purchase DJI drones, which the DoJ classified as a "Covered Foreign Entity".[216]

On October 21, 2020, the US approved arms sales of $1.8 billion to Taiwan.[217] It involved three packages that included high technology weapons such as SLAM-ER missiles, HIMARS M142 Launchers and Recce Pods.[217] On 26 October 2020, China announced its intentions to impose sanctions on US businesses and individuals, including Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.[218] Taiwan welcomed the arms sales and disapproved of the sanctions.[217][219] Taiwan also said it would continue buying arms from America.[219]

In a December 2020 report, US intelligence officials claimed that China had supervised a bounty program that paid Afghan militants to kill US soldiers deployed in the country.[220]

On 5 December 2020, the US State Department ended five cultural exchange programs with China, which are - "the Policymakers Educational China Trip Program, the U.S.-China Friendship Program, the U.S.-China Leadership Exchange Program, the U.S.-China Transpacific Exchange Program and the Hong Kong Educational and Cultural Program." They described these programs as soft power propaganda tools of Chinese government.[221]

In December 2020, an investigation by Axios was published that detailed the suspected activities of Christine Fang, a Chinese national who has been suspected by US officials of having conducted political espionage for the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) while she was in the United States from 2011 to 2015.[222][223] While Fang's suspected activities prior to the Axios investigation had already drawn scrutiny from federal law enforcement agencies, the subsequent reactions to its publication drew further scrutiny from politicians and the media.[224][225][226]

Biden administration (2021–present) edit

Following his election, relations with the new Biden administration in 2021 included heightened tensions over trade, technology, and human rights, particularly regarding Hong Kong, and the treatment of minorities in China. In addition international tensions regarding control of the South China Sea remained high. Biden has largely continued the China policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump.[130]: 148  However, the Biden and Xi administrations agreed to collaborate on long-term projects regarding climate change, nuclear proliferation, and the global COVID-19 pandemic.[227]

On 20 January 2021, China imposed sanctions against outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former secretary of health and human services Alex Azar, former under secretary of state Keith J. Krach, outgoing US ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, and 24 other former Trump officials.[228] Biden's National Security Council called the sanctions "unproductive and cynical".[229] In his nomination hearing, Blinken endorsed Pompeo's report that China is committing a genocide against Uyghurs, reaffirming Biden's campaign stance.[17]

The new US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, called-out China on its treatment of the ethnic Uighurs.[230] President Biden, in his first foreign policy address, labeled China as "the most serious competitor" to the US.[231] During his first visit to the Pentagon on 9 February 2021, Biden urged the United States Department of Defense to review its national security policy concerning China.[232]

On March 12, 2021, Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua Technology were designated as national security threats by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).[233][234]

From March 18–19, 2021, bilateral talks in Alaska took place. Blinken and national security advisor Jake Sullivan met with Politburo member Yang Jiechi and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi. The Americans unleashed heated attacks on China's policies regarding human rights, cyberattacks, Taiwan, and its crackdown in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. The Chinese side countered by attacking the U.S's standing in the world and defending China's sovereign rights and model of development.[235][236] In the week ahead of the talks, the administration met with US allies in Asia and imposed sanctions on senior Chinese officials amidst Beijing's contemporaneous crackdown on Hong Kong.[235]

On March 22, 2021, in conjunction with the European Union, United Kingdom and Canada, the United States imposed sanctions against Chinese officials in relation to the human rights violations in Xinjiang. The sanctions marked the first time the Biden administration took such coordinated action against Beijing.[237]

On April 8, 2021, the US Commerce Department added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to its Entity List on national security grounds. This was the first action taken by the Biden administration to restrict Chinese access to US technology.[238]

On June 3, 2021, Biden signed Executive Order 14032 which saw the expansion of Executive Order 13959 signed by the Trump administration as preventing American investors from investing in Chinese companies identified by the US government as having ties to China's military or surveillance industry.[239]

On June 13, 2021, leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) democracies sharply criticized China for a series of abuses. The G7 nations—the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan—had been hesitant about acting separately. Pressured by US President Joe Biden they unanimously agreed on a sharp criticism, followed the next day by a similar strong unanimous attack by NATO members. The criticisms focused on the mistreatment of the Muslim Uyghur minority, the systematic destruction of democracy in Hong Kong, repeated military threats against Taiwan, unfair trade practices, and lack of transparency regarding the origins of COVID-19. China rejected the criticism as interference in what it considers to be its internal policy matters.[21][240][241][242]

In August 2021, China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile, hypothesized as part of a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System, that circled the globe before speeding towards its target.[243] The Financial Times reported that "the test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials realized."[244]

On August 18, while discussing the larger ramifications of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan on cross-strait relations, Biden said that the two cases were incomparable as the United States had an Article Five commitment to defend Taiwan. The remarks, which were the first by Biden to touch directly on US policy towards Taiwan, were interpreted as signalling a shift in the country's position of strategic ambiguity. A Biden administration official later said there had been no change to US policy on Taiwan, and analysts said Biden appeared to have mischaracterized America's defense commitment to Taiwan.[245][246][247]

On 15 September 2021, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia formed AUKUS. Australia will be provided with conventionally-armed submarines powered by nuclear energy. See SSN-AUKUS. These submarines will be based on Britain's advanced nuclear submarine design and will incorporate the latest technology from the United States. The partnership involves the construction and utilization of these submarines by both the U.K. and Australia. The long-term strategic goal is to help neutralize Chinese military expansion to the South. China has denounced the agreement as "extremely irresponsible".[248][249]

In November 2021, the United States updated its assessment of China's nuclear weapon stockpile, showing that China will have 700 nuclear warheads by 2027, and that number will reach 1,000 by 2030.[250]

Biden held his first virtual meeting with Xi on 15 November 2021.[251]

On 24 November 2021, the Biden administration invited Taiwan to attend the 'Summit for Democracy' - to be held in December 2021. China's Foreign Ministry reacted by saying it was "firmly opposed" to the invitation.[252]

On 2 December 2021, the US Securities and Exchange Commission finalized rules which would enable it to delist Chinese firms which have been determined to be non-compliant with the disclosure requirements as stipulated in the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act from US stock exchanges.[253]

On 6 December 2021, the United States announced that its diplomats would boycott the Beijing Olympics.[254]

On 23 December 2021, Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act into law.[255]

On 27 December 2021, Biden signed his first defense bill into law. Certain provisions of the act called for the enhancements to the security of Taiwan, including inviting the Taiwanese navy to the 2022 Rim of the Pacific exercise in the face of "increasingly coercive and aggressive behavior" by China.[256][257][258]

On 27 February 2022, the White House urged China to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine.[259] China accused the United States of being responsible for the war in Ukraine.[260][261]

ROC President Tsai Ing-wen with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on 3 August 2022

On 18 March 2022, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping directly communicated with each other for the first time since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.[262]

In May 2022, Chinese officials ordered government agencies and state-backed companies to remove personal computers produced by American corporations and replace them with equipment from domestic companies. Bloomberg said the decision was one of China's most aggressive moves to eliminate the usage of foreign technology from the most sensitive parts of its government and spur its campaign to substitute foreign technology with domestic ones.[263]

In late May 2022, the State Department restored a line on its fact sheet on US-Taiwan relations which it removed earlier in the month and stated it did not support Taiwanese independence. However,[264] another line which was also removed in the earlier fact sheet that acknowledged China's sovereignty claims over Taiwan was not restored while a line that stated the US would maintain its capacity to resist any efforts by China to undermine the security, sovereignty and prosperity of Taiwan in a manner that was consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act was added to the updated fact sheet.

On 11 June 2022, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin condemned China's "provocative, destabilising" military activity near Taiwan,[265] a day after China's Defence Minister Wei Fenghe warned Austin that "if anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost."[266]

Joe Biden met with Xi Jinping on 14 November 2022.

In July 2022, speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi announced that she would be leading a congressional delegation to the Indo-Pacific region.[267] She has planned to visit Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, as well as the island of Taiwan.[267] China has responded to this by saying "it would constitute a gross interference in China's internal affairs", and continued military exercises within Chinese territories.[268] When Pelosi visited the island the following month, the act was strongly condemned by China.[269] As a result, China severed ties in all cooperation activities with the United States in several areas, including military matters, global climate cooperation, and drug trafficking enforcement. Later the State Department summoned Chinese ambassadors to complain about Chinese aggression. China claimed that the Pelosi visit served no other purpose than to provoke China and to deteriorate Sino-American relations while the United States, pointing to past precedent, said that Pelosi had the right to visit Taiwan and attacked the Chinese response as disproportionate.[270][271][272] After Pelosi's departure, the PRC began military exercises encircling Taiwan.[273]

On 7 October 2022, the US implemented new export controls targeting China's ability to access and develop advanced computing and semiconductor manufacturing items.[274] The new export controls reflect the United States' ambition to counter the accelerating advancement of China's high-tech capabilities in these spaces to address foreign policy and national security concerns.[275]

On 14 November 2022, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali for their first in-person encounter since Biden became president. The meeting lasted for more than 3 hours and they discussed a range of issues which included tensions over Taiwan and North Korea, and the war in Ukraine.[276][277]

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (right) with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on 9 July 2022. Blinken dismissed China's claims to be neutral in the Russo-Ukrainian War and accused China of supporting Russia.[278]

Some geoeconomics experts see an acceleration of the US–China rivalry as "inevitable" given the tensions manifested openly in the last months of 2022 and early 2023. In a series of interviews with BBC News and Asharq News, Nicolas Firzli, director, EU ASEAN Centre, argued that "Cold War 2 with China [was] part of the Biden Doctrine, and the only remaining point of convergence between Biden and a Republic dominated Congress [...] January 2023 is the moment when things crystalized irreversibly".[279]

On 2 February 2023, a Chinese reconnaissance balloon was spotted flying over US airspace in the state of Montana, potentially to collect information related to nuclear silos in the area.[280] Two days later, the United States shot it down over the Atlantic Ocean, citing national security concerns.[281] The balloon incident followed previous Chinese government actions targeting the U.S., including the Chinese theft of the designs for the F-35 about fifteen years earlier and successful Chinese government-sponsored cyberattacks targeting the Office of Personnel Management security clearance files (2015), the healthcare company Anthem (2015), and the Marriott International system (2018).[282] In 2022, the US and its allies imposed stringent additional export controls on the sale of "foundational technologies" (including advanced semiconductor chips and related technology) to China, with the aim of inhibiting any Chinese military buildup.[283] The Biden administration has also sought to maintain critical-sector supply chains independent from China.[283] The Beijing government expressed strong dissatisfaction and protest against the US's use of force, calling it a violation of international practice. The US claimed the balloon was a violation of its sovereignty.[284]

A U.S. Air Force U-2 pilot takes a picture somewhere over the Central Continental U.S.; the Chinese balloon is in the background

On 11 February 2023, the US Commerce Department prohibited six Chinese companies connected to the aerospace programs of the Chinese army from acquiring US technology without authorization from the government. These six businesses include Nanjiang Aerospace Technology of Beijing; The 48th Research Institute of China Electronics Technology Group Corporation; Technology for Dongguan Lingkong Remote Sensing; Aviation Science and Technology Group of the Eagles Men; Tian-Hai-Xiang Aviation Technology in Guangzhou; together with the Shanxi Eagles Men Aviation Science and Technology Group.[285]

In April 2023, China sanctioned US Representative Michael McCaul in response to a legislative trip for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.[286]

In May 2023, an American citizen living in Hong Kong named John Shing-Wan Leung was sentenced to life in prison on charges of espionage. Leung was arrested in 2021 by China's counterintelligence agency.[287]

In mid 2023, both countries started to increase meetings between high-level officials in the hope of stabilizing the relationship; on 11 May, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, with the topics including Taiwan and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.[288] On 21 May, Biden commented during the G7 summit in Hiroshima that he expected a thaw in relations with China soon, commenting that the two countries were moving towards more dialogue but "this silly balloon that was carrying two freight cars worth of spy equipment was flying over the United States and it got shot down and everything changed in terms of talking to one another".[289] On 26 May, Chinese minister of commerce Wang Wentao met with US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo, where Raimondo raised concerns about treatment of US companies by China.[290] US officials also announced in June that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director William J. Burns travelled to China in May.[291] However, a meeting in the Shangri-La Dialogue between Chinese minister of national defense Li Shangfu and US secretary of defense Lloyd Austin failed to take place, after China rebuffed US requests to meet.[292] In late June 2023, Blinken traveled to China and met with Xi; subsequent public statements by both countries were largely positive, with Xi and Blinken emphasizing that both sides have a responsibility to manage relations.[293] However, relations became more contentious after Biden called Xi a "dictator".[294]

U.S Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen meeting with Vice Premier He Lifeng during Yellen's trip to Beijing, 8 July 2023

The trips further continued as between 6–9 July, United States secretary of treasury Janet Yellen visited China, her first trip to the country during her tenure as well as the first trip to the country by a US Treasury secretary in four years. During the visit, he met with various Chinese officials, including former vice premier Liu He, governor of the People's Bank of China (PBC) Yi Gang,[295] minister of finance Liu Kun,[296] CCP secretary of PBC Pan Gongsheng, vice premier He Lifeng, and premier Li Qiang.[297] During her visit to, Yellen criticized China's treatment of American companies with foreign connections,[298] stating to Li Qiang: "We seek healthy economic competition that is not winner-take-all but that, with a fair set of rules, can benefit both countries over time."[299] She also said that the US national security restrictions on investment in China were intended to be narrowly focused and not have broad effects on the Chinese economy.[296]

Antony Blinken with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Beijing, 18 June 2023

On July 13, 2023, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met the Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi in Jakarta at the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference at the request of Blinken to discuss the removal of obstacles that complicate US-China relations, such as the Taiwan question and sanctions the U.S. is imposing against China's high-technology sector, as well as to promote the pragmatic approach with regard to regional cooperation. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Qin Gang had just been replaced by his predecessor Wang Yi due to an extramarital affair of Mr. Gang in July of the same year. This meeting also paved the way for a further encounter of China's top diplomat Wang Yi before year's end when he will be invited to meet Mr. Blinken in Washington DC. Later on the sidelines of the U.N General Assembly (UNGA) in NY on September 26, Vice-president Han Zheng met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to further nurture the strained bilateral ties of both superpowers. The absence of Xi-Jinping at the 2023 G20 New Delhi summit in India on September 9 and 10 was regretful, according to a statement by U.S. President Joe Biden, however, recent news reports indicate that both Chinese Premier Xi as well as Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet Biden and Blinken before year's end to hopefully ease the strained relations between the two nations.[300]

Yellen's visit was followed by a visit by United States secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo between 27 and 30 August, where she met minister of culture and tourism Hu Heping, minister of commerce Wang Wentao, vice premier He Lifeng, and premier Li Qiang.[301] Raimondo also visited Shanghai, where she met with Shanghai Communist Party secretary Chen Jining, and visited Shanghai Disneyland.[302] During the meeting, the two sides announced a working group on commercial issues and an export control enforcement “information exchange” dialogue.[303] The working group, upon its launch on September 22, 2023, was divided into two segments: one economic subgroup and one financial subgroup.[304]

Biden's National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, 28 October 2023

On November 2, 2023, a report from the Wall Street Journal was released saying that the U.S. and China would hold nuclear arms talks, a rarity, ahead of Xi Jinping's visit to the United States.[305]

At the beginning of November 2023, insiders cautiously expressed hope for a climate agreement between China and United States ahead of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, similar to the agreement of 2014 which paved the way for the Paris Agreement. One contentious topic is a plan for reduction of methane emissions in China. According to China's climate envoy Xie Zhenhua "progress on a plan reflected the state of US-China relations." Another is a reduction in coal use in China. China says it expands coal use for improving energy security, even though many think there are better ways to improve it.[306] Talks between Janet Yellen and He Lifeng yielded a decision to enhance cooperation between China and the United States in several domains, including climate, debt relief. Much is expected from the meeting between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping. According to Kate Logan from the Asia Society Policy Institute, cooperation between the 2 countries, can "set the stage for a successful outcome at the COP28".[307]

On November 15, 2023, President Joe Biden met with Xi Jinping at the 2023 APEC Summit in San Francisco.[308] This was speculated to be their last meeting of 2023 before Biden's 2024 reelection campaign.[309]

Economic relations edit

As part of China's foreign-exchange reserves, China has a preference for dollar-denominated assets, including United States treasury securities.[130]: 44–45  In turn, the United States benefits because it lacks the domestic savings to fund its budget deficit.[130]: 44  After the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, Chinese policymakers and the general public viewed China's holdings of US debt as unwisely overexposing China to volatility.[310]: 61–62  China remains a major holder of United States treasury securities, although the amount has decreased as of at least 2022.[311]

Imports and exports between the United States and China. US data.
Foreign holders of U.S. Treasury securities (2009)

In trade matters, the United States has benefitted from China's demand for United States export products, which grew rapidly from 2000 to at least 2021.[130]: 44  As of 2021, China was the third largest market for United States export merchandise.[130]: 44  Inexpensive Chinese exports to the United States increase the purchasing power of American consumers and American business profits.[130]: 44  Both countries are benefitted by the demand for their respective exports to the other.[130]: 44–45 

In 1991, China only accounted for 1% of total imports to the United States.[312] For many years, China was the most important country which required an annual waiver to maintain free trade status. The waiver for the PRC had been in effect since 1980. Every year between 1989 and 1999, legislation was introduced in Congress to disapprove the President's waiver. The legislation had sought to tie free trade with China to meeting certain human rights conditions that go beyond freedom of emigration. All such attempted legislation failed to pass. The requirement of an annual waiver was inconsistent with the rules of the World Trade Organization, and for the PRC to join the WTO, congressional action was needed to grant permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to China. This was accomplished in 2000 (United States–China Relations Act of 2000), allowing China to join WTO in 2001.[313][314][315] China's most favoured nation (MFN) status was made permanent on 27 December 2001.[316]

Since the entry of entry of China into the WTO in December 2001, the decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs has accelerated (the China shock).[317][318] The Economic Policy Institute estimated that the trade deficit with China cost about 2.7 million jobs between 2001 and 2011, including manufacturing and other industries.[319]

The PRC and the US resumed trade relations in 1972 and 1973. Direct investment by the US in mainland China covers a wide range of manufacturing sectors, several large hotel projects, restaurant chains, and petrochemicals. US companies have entered agreements establishing more than 20,000 equity joint ventures, contractual joint ventures, and wholly foreign-owned enterprises in mainland China. More than 100 US-based multinationals have projects in mainland China, some with multiple investments. Cumulative US investment in mainland China is valued at $48 billion. The US trade deficit with mainland China exceeded $350 billion in 2006 and was the United States' largest bilateral trade deficit.[320] Some of the factors that influence the US trade deficit with mainland China include:

  • US Import Valuation Overcounts China: there has been a shift of low-end assembly industries to mainland China from newly industrialized countries in East Asia and the Asia-Pacific. Mainland China has increasingly become the last link in a long chain of value-added production. Because US trade data attributes the full value of a product to the final assembler, mainland Chinese value added is overcounted. Using a statistical model that eliminates these global value chain-related distortions, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) researchers and World Trade Organization (WTO) researchers conclude that the United States' measures may overstate the value of Chinese exports by as much as 35%.[130]: 39  According to Pascal Lamy: "The statistical bias created by attributing commercial value to the last country of origin perverts the true economic dimension of the bilateral trade imbalances. This affects the political debate, and leads to misguided perceptions. Take the bilateral deficit between China and the US. A series of estimates based on true domestic content can cut the overall deficit – which was $252bn in November 2010 – by half, if not more."[321]
  • US demand for labor-intensive goods exceeds domestic output: the PRC has restrictive trade practices in mainland China, which include a wide array of barriers to foreign goods and services, often aimed at protecting state-owned enterprises. These practices include high tariffs, lack of transparency, requiring firms to obtain special permission to import goods, inconsistent application of laws and regulations, and leveraging technology from foreign firms in return for market access. Mainland China's accession into the World Trade Organization is meant to help address these barriers.
  • The undervaluation of the Renminbi relative to the United States dollar.[322]

Beginning in 2009, the US and China agreed to hold regular high-level talks about economic issues and other mutual concerns by establishing the Strategic Economic Dialogue, which meets biannually. Five meetings have been held, the most recent in December 2008. Economic nationalism seems to be rising in both countries, a point the leaders of the two delegations noted in their opening presentations.[323][324][325] The United States and China have also established the high-level US-China Senior Dialogue to discuss international political issues and work out resolutions.

United States trade deficit

In September 2009 a trade dispute emerged between the United States and China, which came after the US imposed tariffs of 35 percent on Chinese tire imports. The Chinese commerce minister accused the United States of a "grave act of trade protectionism,"[326] while an USTR spokesperson said the tariff "was taken precisely in accordance with the law and our international trade agreements".[326] Additional issues were raised by both sides in subsequent months.[327][328]

When a country joins the World Trade Organization they commit to keep their Tariffs beneath the bound rate, which is generally around 39 percent. China's reaction is due to the fact that nations usually keep their Tariffs at an average of 9 percent, but when the US raised their Tariff on Chinese imported tires to 35 percent, it was still below the average bound rate.[329]

The first round of the U.S.–China Strategic and Economic Dialogue was held in Washington, D.C., from 27 to 28 July 2009
Countries by total wealth (trillions USD), Credit Suisse

In early 2012, a dispute over rare earth minerals was brought into the light between the two countries. President Obama made an announcement that the United States would be one of a few countries to file a trade dispute with China. Amongst the United States, Japan and other Western European countries would also be filing disputes as well. This is simply just one of few disputes between the United States and China. It is believed by many experts, including Chris Isidore, a writer for CNN Money, that "any one of the disputes could damage the economies of both countries as well as the relationship between them".[330] The dispute was filed, and China was charged with putting unfair restrictions on the exportation of rare earth minerals. These minerals were crucial and in high demand by all countries. President Obama believed the United States should have those minerals in the United States whereas China disagreed. China denied all of the said charges brought forth "saying its rules are defensible on grounds of environmental and economic sustainability, and suggests there would be consequences if the United States presses the case." It is important to understand the relationship between the United States and China, especially economically. There is not one without the other. China's state news agency commented that "past experiences have shown that policymakers in Washington should treat such issues with more prudence, because maintaining sound Sino-American trade relations is in the fundamental interests of both sides"[330]

Chinese leader Xi Jinping with US President Donald Trump at the 14th G20 in Osaka, June 2019.[1]

China was the biggest trading partner of the United States until 2019, when it dropped to the third place because of the ongoing trade war.[331]

In November 2021, US producer Venture Global LNG signed a twenty-year contract with China's state-owned Sinopec to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG).[332] China's imports of US natural gas will more than double.[333] US exports of liquefied natural gas to China and other Continental Asian countries surged in 2021, with Continental Asian buyers willing to pay higher prices than European importers.[334]

On 25 March 2023, Apple CEO Tim Cook made an official visit to Beijing to attend the China Development Forum. Cook praised China's innovation, and long history of cooperation with Apple Inc. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple supplier Foxconn was heavily disrupted by workers protesting China's zero-COVID policies. Cook also presented an expanded rural education program for 100 million yuan to further improve the skill-set of Chinese workers.[335]

Currency dispute edit

China engaged in currency manipulation[336] from 2003 to 2014.[337] Economist C. Fred Bergsten, writing for the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said that, during this period, "China bought more than $300 billion annually to resist upward movement of its currency by artificially keeping the exchange rate of the dollar strong and the renminbi's exchange rate weak. China's competitive position was thus strengthened by as much as 30 to 40 percent at the peak of the intervention. Currency manipulation explained most of China's large trade surpluses, which reached a staggering 10 percent of its entire GDP in 2007."[338] China's currency manipulation was a point of conflict with the United States. Domestic leaders within the United States pressured the Obama administration to take a hardline stance against China and compel China to raise the value of its currency, and legislation was introduced to the United States Congress calling on the President to impose tariffs on Chinese imports until China properly values its currency.[326][339] Nonetheless, the United States was not willing to label China as a "currency manipulator" at that time, on the theory that doing so would risk China's cooperation on other issues.[337]

In 2014, China stopped manipulating its currency,[338][340] as the growth in the Chinese economy slowed and Chinese investors made more investments outside the country, leading to a drop in the yuan's value in relation to the dollar, as well as a decline in China's reserves.[340]

In August 2019, five years after China had stopped manipulating its currency,[337] the US Treasury designated China as a currency manipulator.[341] Some US analysts characterized the belated designation as "embarrassing", "without factual basis", or "a stretch".[337][342] On 13 January 2020, the United States removed the designation as part of the Phase One[343] efforts to reach a deal on the trade war.[344]

Important issues edit

Relations between the two world powers have historically been stable, punctuated by several periods of open conflict, most notably during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The United States and China have mutual environmental, political, economic, and security interests, such as climate change and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, but there remain perennial concerns, such as human rights in China, as well as cross-strait relations and the US's attitude towards the One China policy. China is the second largest foreign creditor of the United States, after Japan.[345] China's expansion in the Indo-Pacific has triggered pushback from the US and its partners in the region. The two countries remain in dispute over territorial issues in the South China Sea;[346] China claims sovereignty over large swaths of the South China Sea; the United States instead sees much of this ocean as international waters, and as such claims the right of its warships and aircraft to conduct military operations within them.[347][348]

Military spending and planning edit

China's investment in its military is growing rapidly; the United States remains convinced that the PRC conceals the real extent of this expansion, a view shared by many independent analysts.[349][350] China claims it spent a total of $45 billion over the course of 2007, an average of $123 million per day.[351][352] That same year, the US military spent $548.8 billion, or an average $1.66 billion per day. US estimates of Chinese military expenditure[when?] range between $85 billion and $125 billion.

General Xu Caihou of the People's Liberation Army and US Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon

Concerns over the Chinese military budget may come from US worries that the PRC is attempting to threaten its neighbors or to challenge the United States. Concerns have been raised that China is developing a large naval base near the South China Sea and has diverted resources from the People's Liberation Army Ground Force to the People's Liberation Army Navy and to air force and missile development.[353][351][354]

On 27 October 2009, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates praised the steps China has taken to increase transparency of defense spending.[355] In June 2010, however, he said that the Chinese military was resisting efforts to improve military-to-military relations with the United States.[356] Gates also said that the United States would "assert freedom of navigation" in response to Chinese complaints about US Navy deployments in international waters near China.[citation needed] Admiral Michael Mullen said that the United States sought closer military ties to China but would continue to operate in the western Pacific.[357]

Territorial claims in the South China Sea

James R. Holmes, a specialist on China at the US Naval War College, has said that China's investments towards a potential future conflict are closer to those of the United States than may first appear because the Chinese understate their spending, the internal price structures of the two countries are different, and the Chinese need to concentrate only on projecting military force a short distance from their own shores. The balance may shift to the advantage of the Chinese very quickly if they continue double-digit annual growth, and the US and their allies cut back.[358]

In line with power transition theory, the idea that "wars tend to break out... when the upward trajectory of a rising power comes close to intersecting the downward trajectory of a declining power," some political scientists and international relations scholars have argued that a potential conflict between China, an emerging power, and the United States, the current superpower, is all but inevitable.[359]

Taiwan issue edit

Since the renewal of US-China relations in early 1979, the Taiwan issue remained a major source of contention. After the announcement of the intention to establish diplomatic relations with Mainland China (PRC) on 15 December 1978, the Republic of China (Taiwan) immediately condemned the United States, leading to rampant protests in both Taiwan and in the US.[360] In April 1979, the US Congress signed into law the Taiwan Relations Act,[361] permitting unofficial relations with Taiwan to flourish and granting the right to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character. Its passage prompted Deng to begin to view the United States as an insincere partner willing to abandon its prior commitments to China.[362] The expanding relationship that followed normalization was threatened in 1981 by PRC objections to the level of US arms sales to the Republic of China on Taiwan. Secretary of State Alexander Haig visited China in June 1981 in an effort to resolve Chinese concerns about America's unofficial relations with Taiwan. Vice President Bush visited the PRC in May 1982. Eight months of negotiations produced the US-PRC Joint Communiqué of 17 August 1982. In this third communiqué, the US stated its intention to gradually reduce the level of arms sales to the Republic of China, and the PRC described as a fundamental policy their effort to strive for a peaceful resolution to the Taiwan question.

When Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, contention over the Taiwan issue intensified; President Trump became the first sitting US president since Jimmy Carter in 1979 to have any formal political or diplomatic contacts with Taiwan when he decided to receive a phone call from president Tsai Ing-Wen. Trump expanded the duties of the US' de facto embassy in Taipei - the American Institute in Taiwan - by adding more security personnel, and oversaw increasing non-diplomatic visits of Tsai Ing-Wen and Congressmen to each other's countries/regions. In addition, American warships reportedly crossed the Taiwan strait and increased military drills with Taiwan, which mainland China views as a direct threat to its sovereignty.[363][364]

Human rights edit

Civil rights activist Chen Guangcheng (left) with former United States ambassador to China Gary Locke (center) and former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt M. Campbell (right) at the US Embassy in Beijing on 1 May 2012
Pro-Tibetan protesters clash with pro-Chinese protesters in San Francisco in 2008.

In 2003, the United States declared that despite some positive momentum that year and despite greater signs which showed that the People's Republic of China was willing to engage in discussions about human rights with the US and other nations, there was still serious backsliding. In principle, China has acknowledged the importance of the protection of human rights and it has claimed that it has taken steps to bring its own human rights practices into conformity with international norms. Among those steps are China's signing of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in October 1997, which was ratified in March 2001, and China's signing of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in October 1998, which has not been ratified yet. In 2002, China released a significant number of political and religious prisoners and it also agreed to hold discussions about torture, arbitrary detention, and religion with UN experts. However, international human rights groups assert that there has been virtually no movement with regard to those promises,[citation needed] with more people having been arrested for similar offences since then. Those groups maintain that China still has a long way to go in instituting the kind of fundamental systemic change that will protect the rights and liberties of all its citizens in mainland China. The US State Department publishes an annual report on human rights around the world, which includes an evaluation of China's human rights record.[365][366]

In a decision that was criticized by human rights groups, the United States State Department did not list China as one of the world's worst human rights violators in its 2007 report of human rights practices in countries and regions outside the United States.[367] However, the assistant secretary of the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Jonathan D. Farrar stated that China's overall human rights record in 2007 remained poor.[367]

Since 1998, China has annually published a White Paper detailing the human rights abuses by the United States[368][369][370] and since 2005 has also published a White Paper on its own political system and democratic progress.[371][372]

On 27 February 2014,[373] the United States released its China report on human rights practices for 2013, which, according to its executive summary, described the PRC as an authoritarian state and a place in which repression and coercion were routine.[374] On 28 February 2014, China published a report on human rights in the United States that cited surveillance on its own citizens, mistreatment of inmates, gun violence, and homelessness, despite having a vibrant economy, as important issues.[373]

American criticism of China on human rights, especially on the issue of the Xinjiang re-education camps, significantly expanded at the end of 2018 and in 2019.[375] In March 2019, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indirectly compared China to the Nazi Germany by saying that the roundup of Muslim minorities to into camps had not been seen "since the 1930s".[376][377] In May 2019, the United States government accused China of putting Uyghurs in "concentration camps".[378] The US government has also considered sanctioning Chinese officials involved in the camps, including Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party Secretary of Xinjiang and a member of the 19th Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party although no Chinese Politburo member has ever been sanctioned by the US government.[379][380] In July 2019, Vice President Mike Pence accused China of persecuting Christians, Muslims and Buddhists.[381]

On 4 October 2019, the Houston Rockets' general manager, Daryl Morey, issued a tweet that supported the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests.[382] Morey's tweet resulted in the Chinese Basketball Association's suspension of its relationship with the Houston Rockets and the issuance of a statement of dissatisfaction from the consulate office of China in Houston.[383] On 6 October, both Morey and the NBA issued separate statements addressing the original tweet. Morey said that he never intended his tweet to cause any offense, and the NBA said the tweet was "regrettable".[384][385] The statements were criticized by US politicians and third-party observers for the perceived exercise of economic statecraft by the PRC and insufficiency of the NBA's defense of Morey's tweet.[386] Critics also contrasted the league's disparate response to Morey's tweet with its history of political activism[387] The statements also drew criticism from PRC state-run media for their perceived insufficiency, as Morey did not apologize.[388][389]

In June 2020, the White House on 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, asked Beijing to respect human rights, carry out its due commitments on Hong Kong, as well as flog persecution of ethnic and religious minorities.[390] On 9 July 2020, the United States announced sanctions against Chinese politicians, who as per its record were responsible for human rights violations against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.[391]

On 20 July 2020, US government sanctioned 11 new Chinese companies from purchasing American technology and products over human rights violations in China targeting Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region.[392]

Many American companies, including Delta Air Lines, Coach New York, Marriott International, Calvin Klein and Tiffany & Co. have apologized to China after "offending" the country and China's ruling Communist Party.[393]

Xinjiang internment camps. The United States officially recognized the Chinese government's treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang as a genocide.

On September 15, 2020, the US government decided to take steps to block some exports from Xinjiang, over the country's alleged human rights abuses directed mostly against Uyghurs of the region.[394]

In 2020, Chinese diplomats increasingly adopted "wolf warrior diplomacy" to deny all accusations of human rights abuses.[12][395] Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian tweeted that as long as the US had problems itself, it "had no right" to criticize China on human rights abuses.[395]

On 19 January 2021, Mike Pompeo officially declared that China is committing a genocide against Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region.[396] Pompeo called for "all appropriate multilateral and relevant juridical bodies, to join the United States in our effort to promote accountability for those responsible for these atrocities".[397] Salih Hudayar, the prime minister of the East Turkistan Government-in-Exile (who claim to be the legitimate government of Xinjiang), has said, "We hope that this designation will lead to real strong actions to hold China accountable and bring an end to China's genocide."[398]

On 20 January 2021, China imposed sanctions against outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former secretary of health and human services Alex Azar, former under secretary of state Keith J. Krach, outgoing US ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, and 24 other former Trump officials.[228] Biden's National Security Council called the sanctions "unproductive and cynical".[229] In his nomination hearing, Blinken endorsed Pompeo's report that China is committing a genocide against Uyghurs, reaffirming Biden's campaign stance.[17]

Competition for regional influence edit

China's economic rise has led to some geo-political friction between the US and China in East Asia[399] as well as to an extent in Southeast Asia[400] and in Central Asia including Afghanistan.[401] For example, in response to China's response to the bombardment of Yeonpyeong by North Korea, "Washington is moving to redefine its relationship with South Korea and Japan, potentially creating an anti-China bloc in Northeast Asia that officials say they don't want but may need."[402] The Chinese government fears a conspiracy by the US to encircle it.[403][better source needed]

China and the United States have recently led competing efforts to gain Influence in East Asian and the Greater Asian-Pacific trade and development. In 2015, China led the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank with the goal of financing projects that would spur the development of the lower-tier Asian economies, thus facilitating improved economic ties across the region. It has been suggested that the United States considered the AIIB to be a challenge to the US-backed Asian Development Bank and the World Bank and saw the Chinese effort as an attempt to set the global economic agenda on terms that would be formulated by the Chinese government.[404] The Obama administration led an effort to enact the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a multilateral trade pact between a number of Pacific Rim countries, which excluded China. According to the US Trade Representative, the agreement was designed to "promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in the signatories' countries; and promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labor and environmental protections."[405] The Partnership was anticipated to impose costs on businesses dependent on regional markets.[406] The deal was placed on hold after the US withdrew from the agreement on 23 January 2017.[407] The efforts are among the attempts by both the US and China to increase their influence over the Asia-Pacific by strengthening their economic ties within the region.

In 2009, the United States requested China to open the Wakhjir Pass on the Sino-Afghan border as an alternative supply route for the US and NATO during their operations in Afghanistan.[408][409] China refused the request.[410]

ASEAN and the various Southeast Asian states have responded to Chinese claims for sea areas by seeking closer relations with the United States.[411] American Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that in spite of budget pressures, the United States would expand its influence in the region to counter China's military buildup.[412]

Shared concerns in the face of China have prompted the United States to step up cooperation with China's geopolitical rivals such as India, drawing greater opposition from China.[413]

In the Chinese view, the United States has broken trust in the bilateral relationship through a containment strategy implemented via the Obama administration's pivot to East Asia and the Asia-Pacific, the development of the TPP, and the trade war launched by the Trump administration.[130]: 293 

Cyberwarfare and election interference edit

The US Department of Justice investigation into fundraising activities uncovered evidence that Chinese agents sought to direct contributions from foreign sources to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) before the 1996 presidential campaign. The Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., was used to co-ordinate contributions to the DNC.[414][415]

In 2014, Chinese hackers hacked the computer system of the US Office of Personnel Management,[416] resulting in the theft of approximately 22 million personnel records that were handled by the office.[417] Former FBI Director James Comey stated, "It is a very big deal from a national security perspective and from a counterintelligence perspective. It's a treasure trove of information about everybody who has worked for, tried to work for, or works for the United States government."[417]

In October 2018, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on the threat to the US posed by China. Before the hearing, Bloomberg released an article that stated that China is embedding technology in microchips that are sent to America that collect data on American consumers. However, both FBI Director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen declined to confirm that statement. Nielsen said that China has become a major threat to the US and also confirmed, in an answer to a question from a senator, that China is trying to influence US elections.[418]

In 2019, two Chinese nationals were indicted for the Anthem medical data breach.[419] About 80 million company records were hacked, stoking fears that the stolen data could be used for identity theft.[420] In February 2020, the United States government indicted members of China's PLA for hacking into Equifax and plundering sensitive data as part of a massive heist that also included stealing trade secrets.[421][422] Private records of more than 145 million Americans were compromised in the 2017 Equifax data breach.[423]

Voice of America reported in April 2020 that "Internet security researchers say there have already been signs that China-allied hackers have engaged in so-called "spear-phishing" attacks on American political targets" ahead of the 2020 United States elections.[424] As of 7 July 2020, the US government was 'looking at' banning Chinese video streaming application, TikTok due to national security concerns. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration had been aware of the potential threat and has "worked on this issue for a long time".[425] On 19 September 2020, a complaint was filed in Washington by TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, challenging the recent moves made by the Trump administration to prevent the application from operating in the US. The court documents argued that the US government took the step for political reasons rather than to stop an "unusual and extraordinary threat".[426] In April 2024, the House of Representatives passed a bill requiring TikTok to divest from ByteDance within 9–12 months or face a potential ban, Biden signed the bill into law soon afterwards.[427]

Nuclear security edit

The field of nuclear security (preventing nuclear material from being used to make illicit weapons) is a well-established area of successful U.S.-China cooperation.[428]

Precipitated by a 2010 Nuclear Security Summit convened by the Obama administration, China and the United States launched a number of initiatives to secure potentially dangerous, Chinese-supplied, nuclear material in countries such as Ghana or Nigeria.[428] Through these initiatives, China and the US have converted Chinese-origin Miniature Neutron Source Reactors (MNSRs) from using highly enriched uranium to using low-enriched uranium fuel (which is not directly usable in weapons, thereby making reactors more proliferation resistant).[429]

In May 2023, Chinese Defense Spokesperson Tan Kefei urged the United States to fulfill its commitments and adhere to the Chemical Weapons Convention by taking "concrete actions".[430]

Opioid epidemic edit

Opioids were involved in 80,411 overdose deaths in 2021, up from around 10,000 in 1999.[431]

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency in 2023, China continued to be the primary source of fentanyl being imported into the United States, killing over 100 Americans every day.[432][433] Over a two-year period, close to $800 million worth of fentanyl pills were illegally sold online to the US by Chinese distributors.[434][435] The drug is usually manufactured in China, then shipped to Mexico, where it is processed and packaged, which is then smuggled into the US by Mexican drug cartels.[436] A large amount is also purchased online and shipped through the US Postal Service.[437] It can also be purchased directly from China, which has become a major manufacturer of various synthetic drugs illegal in the US.[438] According to Assistant US Attorney, Matt Cronin:

It is a fact that the People's Republic of China is the source for the vast majority of synthetic opioids that are flooding the streets of the United States and Western democracies. It is a fact that these synthetic opioids are responsible for the overwhelming increase in overdose deaths in the United States. It is a fact that if the People's Republic of China wanted to shut down the synthetic opioids industry, they could do so in a day.[439]

In June 2023, U.S. federal prosecutors announced criminal indictments of fentanyl precursor producers in China.[440] In October 2023, OFAC sanctioned a China-based network of fentanyl manufacturers and distributors.[441][442]

COVID-19 edit

In relation to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on politics, the Trump administration referred to the coronavirus as the "Wuhan virus", terms which have been criticized for being racist[443][444] and "distract[ing] from the Trump administration's failure to contain the disease".[445] In return, some Chinese officials, including Zhao Lijian, rejected an earlier acknowledgement of the coronavirus outbreak starting in Wuhan, in favor of conspiracy theories that the virus originated in the U.S.[446][447]The Daily Beast obtained a US government cable outlining a communications strategy with apparent origins in the National Security Council, quoted as "Everything is about China. We're being told to try and get this messaging out in any way possible".[448] Multiple U.S. intelligence agencies have reportedly been pressured by the Trump administration to find intelligence supporting conspiracy theories regarding the origins of the virus in China.[449]

According to a New York Times report in April 2020, the U.S. intelligence community says China intentionally under-reported its number of coronavirus cases.[450] Some outlets such as Politico and Foreign Policy have said China's efforts to send aid to virus-stricken countries is part of a propaganda push for global influence.[451][452] EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned there is "a geo-political component including a struggle for influence through spinning and the 'politics of generosity'".[453] Borrell also said "China is aggressively pushing the message that, unlike the U.S., it is a responsible and reliable partner."[454] China has also called for the US to lift its sanctions from Syria,[citation needed] Venezuela[455] and Iran,[456] while reportedly sending aid to the latter two countries.[457][458] Donations of 100,000 masks to Cuba made by Chinese businessman Jack Ma was blocked by US sanctions on April 3.[459] Trade in medical supplies between the United States and China has also become politically complicated. Exports of face masks and other medical equipment to China from the United States (and many other countries) spiked in February, according to statistics from Trade Data Monitor, prompting criticism from The Washington Post that the United States government failed to anticipate the domestic needs for that equipment.[460] Similarly, The Wall Street Journal, citing Trade Data Monitor to show that China is the leading source of many key medical supplies, raised concerns that US tariffs on imports from China threaten imports of medical supplies into the United States.[461]

By May 2020, the relationship had deteriorated to the lowest point as both sides were recruiting allies to attack the other regarding guilt for the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.[462] In September 2020, the trade war between China and the US alongside Beijing's behavior during the COVID-19 crisis have combined to worsen American public opinion about China.[463]

On September 22, 2020, President Donald Trump called on the United Nations to "hold China accountable for their actions", in a speech to the world body's General Assembly. President Trump blamed the Chinese government for the global spread of COVID-19, which had infected 31 million people worldwide and killed more than 965,000, by then.[464]

On May 26, 2021, Joe Biden tasked the US intelligence community with investigating the origins of the pandemic.[465] By August 2021, the intelligence probe assessed that the Chinese government did not have foreknowledge of the outbreak, yet the investigation did not render conclusive results on the origins.[466] Of eight assembled teams, one (the Federal Bureau of Investigation) leaned towards a lab leak theory, four others (and the National Intelligence Council) were inclined to uphold a zoonotic origin, and three were unable to reach a conclusion.[467][468][469] In February 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy revised its previous estimate of the origin from "undecided" to "low confidence" in favor of a laboratory leak.[470][471] Following the Energy Department's revised conclusion, the Chinese foreign ministry called on the United States to "stop defaming China" with the lab leak theory, adding that the US was politicizing a scientific issue.[472]

Origin theory US agencies supporting Confidence level References
Natural occurrence 5 (including the NIC) low: 5 [467][468][469]
Lab leak 2 low: 1; moderate: 1 [470][467][468][469]
Undecided 2 N/A [467][468][469]

Clean energy and climate change edit

The United States and China are the highest greenhouse gas emitters among developed countries and developing countries, respectively.[127]: 82  Clean energy and climate cooperation were generally viewed by both China and the United States as a relative safe harbor for cooperation, even during many of the most contentious periods in the bilateral relationship.[127]: 81–82  A record number of bilateral cooperation agreements, including related to climate issues, were signed during the tenure of US President Barack Obama.[127]: 2 

However, cooperation on clean energy and climate change issues were also limited by lack of consistent funding and lack of dialogue at high political levels,[127]: 94  and ended almost entirely after US President Donald Trump de-prioritized environmental issues during his term.[127]: 108  The subsequent Joseph Biden administration ended the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) established under Obama.[127]: 98  CERC had been the most ambitious clean energy cooperation platform between the two countries,[127]: 117  and one of the few cooperation mechanisms to have survived the Trump administration.[127]: 98 

On 18 July 2023, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry emphasized the goal of redefining the China-U.S. relationship through climate cooperation. The subsequent day's discussions centered on climate financing, coal consumption, and methane reduction. Kerry's visit signifies the renewed focus on high-level climate diplomacy between the two nations.[473]

In November 2023, The representatives of the United States and China issued the "Sunnylands Statement on Enhancing Cooperation to Address the Climate Crisis" published immediately in both countries. The statement contains a plan of further cooperation on climate issues between the sides. In the statement both countries pledged among others to:[474][475]

  • Make common efforts to stop climate change, limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees as defined in the Paris agreement.
  • Make the common efforts as at national so at the subnational level (cooperation between districts, cities in the 2 countries) including information exchange, dialog. The 2 countries will meet regularly for discussing the problem.
  • Activate a US-China climate group named "Working Group on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s" that will regularly coordinate those efforts.
  • Push for climate action at 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Ensure climate finance to low income countries, including the long-awaited 100 billion dollars per year, increase 2 times adaptation finance and create new financial pledges in COP 29.
  • Reactivate the US-China Energy Efficiency Forum, for coordinate bilateral efforts on energy conservation in the industry, buildings, transportation, equipment sectors, including cooling equipment.
  • Make efforts to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030, deploy it in the US and China replacing fossil fuels, so the emissions from energy sector will decline in the 2020s.
  • Reduce methane emissions and create immediately a special group dealing with this.
  • Manage nitrous oxide emission and implement the Kigali Amendment to zero emissions from hydrofluorocarbons.
  • Support efforts to achieve resource efficiency and circular economy.
  • End plastic pollution, fight Air pollution,
  • Stop and reverse deforestation by 2030, including by stopping illegal imports.
  • Create new, economy wide NDC for the year 2035, with targets, compatible with the Paris Agreement goals.

Public perceptions edit

California's Governor Gavin Newsom with Chinese President Xi Jinping on 25 October 2023. Newsom called for better relations between the U.S. and China.[476]

Despite tensions during Barack Obama's presidency, the Chinese population's favorability of the US stood at 51% in Obama's last year of 2016, only to fall during the Trump administration.[477][478]

Americans, especially older Republican voters, took an increasingly negative view of China and of Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping during the COVID-19 pandemic, expressing economic, human-rights, and environmental concerns.[479][480]

According to a 2020 survey by the Pew Research Center, 22% of Americans have a favorable view of China, with 73% expressing an unfavorable view, one of the most negative perceptions of China. The poll also found that 24% (plurality) of Americans see China as the top threat to the US.[481] Furthermore, surveys of the Chinese public also found a corresponding decrease in favorability towards the US, with 61% to 72% of them expressing an unfavorable view.[482][483] Unfavorable opinions of China among Americans are at a new high in 2022, with more than 90% of US adults saying China's partnership with Russia is a problem for the United States, a survey released by the Pew Research Center showed.[484] Gallup survey shows above 50% Americans are most likely to mention China as the United States’ greatest enemy in the world since 2021.[485] A February 2023 Gallup survey found that a record-low 15% of Americans view China favorably, marking a five-percentage-point, one-year decline in this rating, which Gallup has measured since 1979.[486]

Despite the mutually negative views, the public on both sides overwhelmingly want the relationship to improve.[487][488] Two-thirds of US respondents in a Harris poll published in 2023 agreed that the US should "engage in dialogue as much as possible to reduce tensions" with China.[489] US public support for engaging in dialogue increased by five percentage points since 2021.[489] According to 2023 polling by The Economist and YouGov, Americans aged 18–44 are much more likely than older age groups to have a friendly view of China.[490]

See also edit

Geostrategic edit

General edit

Historic edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, distribution company of China Daily newspaper, and the distribution company of The People's Daily

References edit

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Further reading edit

  • Burt, Sally. "The Ambassador, the General, and the President: FDR's mismanagement of interdepartmental relations in wartime China." Journal of American-East Asian Relations 19.3-4 (2012): 288–310.
  • Chang, Gordon H. Fateful Ties: A History of America's Preoccupation with China. (Harvard UP, 2015). excerpt
  • Cohen, Warren I. America's Response to China: A History of Sino-American Relations (5th ed. 2010) online
  • Dulles, Foster Rhea. China and America: The Story of Their Relations Since 1784 (1981), general survey online
  • Fairbank, John King. The United States and China (4th ed. Harvard UP, 1976). online
  • Green, Michael J. By more than providence: Grand strategy and American power in the Asia Pacific since 1783 (Columbia UP, 2017). online; 725pp; comprehensive scholarly survey.
  • Hunt, Michael H. "Americans in the China Market: Economic Opportunities and Economic Nationalism, 1890s-1931." Business History Review 51.3 (1977): 277–307. online
  • Jackson, Carl T. "The Influence of Asia upon American Thought: A Bibliographical Essay." American Studies International 22#1 (1984), pp. 3–31, online covers China, India & Japan
  • Matray, James I. ed. East Asia and the United States: An Encyclopedia of relations since 1784 (2 vol. Greenwood, 2002). excerpt v 2
  • Pomfret, John. The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present (2016) review
  • Schaller, Michael. The United States and China: Into the Twenty-First Century 4th ed 2015)
  • Song, Yuwu, ed. Encyclopedia of Chinese-American Relations (McFarland, 2006)
  • Spence, Jonathan D. To Change China: Western Advisers in China (1980) excerpt
  • Spence, Jonathan. "Western Perceptions of China from the Late Sixteenth Century to the Present" in Paul S. Ropp, ed.Heritage of China: Contemporary Perspectives on Chinese Civilization (1990) excerpts
  • Sutter, Robert G. Historical Dictionary of United States-China Relations (2005).
  • Varg, Paul A. "Sino-American Relations Past and Present." Diplomatic History 4.2 (1980): 101–112. online
  • Wang, Dong. The United States and China: A History from the Eighteenth Century to the Present (2013)
  • Westad, Odd Arne. Decisive encounters: the Chinese civil war, 1946-1950 (Stanford University Press, 2003). excerpt

Recent edit

  • Blanchard, Jean-Marc F., and Simon Shen, eds. Conflict and Cooperation in Sino-US Relations: Change and Continuity, Causes and Cures (Routledge, 2015)
  • Brazinsky, Gregg A. Winning the Third World: Sino-American Rivalry during the Cold War (U of North Carolina Press, 2017); four online reviews & author response Archived 13 May 2018 at the Wayback Machine
  • Chang, Gordon H. Friends and Enemies: The United States, China, and the Soviet Union, 1948–1972 (Stanford UP, 1990). online
  • deLisle, Jacques. "International law in the Obama administration's pivot to Asia: the China seas disputes, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, rivalry with the PRC, and status quo legal norms in US foreign policy." Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 48 (2016): 143+ online.
  • Del Rosso, Stephen J. Ask the Experts: How to Stabilize U.S.-China Relations online
  • Doshi, Rush. The Long Game: China's Grand Strategy to Displace American Order (Oxford UP, 2021) online review
  • Dulles, Foster Rhea. American policy toward Communist China, 1949-1969 (1972) online
  • Dumbaugh, Kerry. "China-U.S. relations: current issues and implications for U.S. policy." (Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports and Issue Briefs, Congressional Research Service, 2009) online
  • Fenby, Jonathan and Trey McArver. The Eagle and the Dragon: Donald Trump, Xi Jinping and the Fate of US/China Relations (2019)
  • Foot, Rosemary. The practice of power: US relations with China since 1949 (Oxford UP, 1995). online
  • Foot, Rosemary, and Amy King. "Assessing the deterioration in China–US relations: US governmental perspectives on the economic-security nexus." China International Strategy Review 1.1 (2019): 39–50. online
  • Foot, Rosemary; Walter, Andrew (2012). China, the United States, and Global Order. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521725194.
  • Fravel, M. Taylor. Active Defense: China's Military Strategy since 1949 (Princeton UP, 2019) online reviews
  • Friedberg, Aaron L. (2011). A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia. W.W. Norton. ISBN 9780393068283.
  • Garson, Robert. "The Road to Tiananmen Square: The United States and China, 1979-1989" Journal of Oriental Studies .ISSN 0022-331X (1992) 30#1/2 pp. 119–135
  • Garver, John W.
    • China's Quest: The History of the Foreign Relations of the People's Republic (2015), 59–91, 232–58, 286–314, 557–578. 607–673.
    • Foreign relations of the People's Republic of China (1992) online
  • Goh, Evelyn. "Nixon, Kissinger, and the 'Soviet card' in the US opening to China, 1971–1974." Diplomatic history 29.3 (2005): 475–502. online Archived 2 March 2022 at the Wayback Machine
  • Goldstein, Avery (Spring 2013). "First things first: the pressing danger of crisis instability in US-China relations". International Security. 37 (4): 49–89. doi:10.1162/ISEC_a_00114. S2CID 53549478. Pdf.
  • Haddick, Robert. Fire on the Water: China, America, and the Future of the Pacific (2nd ed. Naval Institute Press, 2022). online review
  • Hilsman, Roger. To move a nation; the politics of foreign policy in the administration of John F. Kennedy (1967) pp 275–357; on 1961–63. online
  • Hu, XueYing. "Legacy of Tiananmen Square Incident in Sino-US Relations (post-2000)." East Asia 33.3 (2016): 213–232. abstract
  • The International Institute for Strategic Studies (2022). The Military Balance 2022. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-032-27900-8.
  • Isaacs, Harold R. Scratches on Our Minds: American Images of China and India (1958) online
  • Kissinger, Henry. On China (2011) excerpt
  • Lasater, Martin L. The Taiwan Issue in Sino-American Strategic Relations (Routledge, 2019).
  • Li, Cheng. "Assessing US-China Relations Under the Obama Administration" (The Brookings Institution, 30 August 2016) online
  • MacMillan, Margaret. Nixon and Mao: the week that changed the world (2008). online
  • Mahbubani, Kishore, "What China Threat? How the United States and China can avoid war", Harper's Magazine, vol. 338, no. 2025 (February 2019), pp. 39–44. "China could... remain a different polity—... not a liberal democracy—and still not be a threatening one." (p. 44.)
  • Mann, Jim. About face: A history of America's curious relationship with China, from Nixon to Clinton (Knopf, 1999)
  • Mastanduno, Michael. "A grand strategic transition?: Obama, Trump and the Asia Pacific political economy." in The United States in the Indo-Pacific (Manchester UP, 2020) online.
  • Meltzer, Joshua P. "The U.S.-China trade agreement – a huge deal for China." Brookings (2017) online
  • Rich, Wilbur C. ed. Looking Back on President Barack Obama's Legacy: Hope and Change (2018) excerpt
  • Roach, Stephen S. Unbalanced: the codependency of America and China (Yale UP, 2015).
  • Roberts, Priscilla. "New Perspectives on Cold War History from China," Diplomatic History 41:2 (April 2017) online
  • Rose, Robert S. et al. Re-examining the Cold War: U.S.-China Diplomacy, 1954–1973 (2002)
  • Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister of Australia June - September 2013): The Avoidable War: The Dangers of a Catastrophic Conflict between the US and Xi Jinping's China (PublicAffairs, March 2022, ISBN 978-1541701298)
  • Shambaugh, David, ed. (2012). Tangled Titans: The United States and China. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1442219700.
  • Schmitt, Gary J. "The China Dream: America's, China's, and the Resulting Competition." AEI Paper & Studies (American Enterprise Institute, 2019), p. 1J+. online
  • Schoen, Douglas E. and Melik Kaylan. Return to Winter: Russia, China, and the New Cold War Against America (2015)
  • Steinberg, James and Michael E. O'Hanlon, eds. Strategic Reassurance and Resolve: US-China Relations in the Twenty-First Century (Princeton UP, 2014).
  • Suettinger, Robert. Beyond Tiananmen: The Politics of US-China Relations, 1989–2000 (Brookings Institution Press, 2004). online
  • Tucker, Nancy Bernkopf, ed. China confidential: American diplomats and Sino-American relations, 1945-1996 (Columbia University Press, 2001).
  • Tyler, Patrick. A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China (1999) online
  • Wang, Dong. "Grand Strategy, Power Politics, and China's Policy toward the United States in the 1960s," Diplomatic History 42:1 (April 2017): 265–287;
  • Westad, Odd Arne, "The Sources of Chinese Conduct: Are Washington and Beijing Fighting a New Cold War?", Foreign Affairs, 98#5 (September / October 2019), pp. 86–95. "If some unifying factor does not intervene, the decline in the United States' ability to act purposefully will, sooner than most people imagine, mean not just a multipolar world but an unruly world – one in which fear, hatred, and ambition hold everyone hostage to the basest instincts of the human imagination." (p. 95.) online
  • Wheeler, Norton. Role of American NGOs in China's Modernization: Invited Influence (Routledge, 2014) 240 pp. online review
  • Worden, Robert L. et al. eds. China: a country study (Federal Research Division, U.S. Library of Congress, 1986) comprehensive Library of Congress Country Studies 732pp report on Chinese history, society, economy, military and foreign relations; as a US government document it is not copyright. The Library produced separate reports on 82 countries; it ended the program in 1989. online
  • Xia, Yafeng and Zhi Liang. "China's Diplomacy toward the United States in the Twentieth Century: A Survey of the Literature," Diplomatic History 42:1 (April 2017): 241–264.
  • Yan, Xuetong (Autumn 2010). "The instability of China–US relations". The Chinese Journal of International Politics. 3 (3): 263–92. doi:10.1093/cjip/poq009. S2CID 154460100.
  • Yim, Kwan Ha.
    • China and the US: 1955-63 (1973). online
    • China 1964-72 (1975). online
    • China since Mao (1980) pp 129–60 online
  • Zhang, Biwu. Chinese Perceptions of the U.S.: An Exploration of China's Foreign Policy Motivations (Lexington Books; 2012) 266 pages; Chinese views of America's power, politics, and economics, as well as the country as a source of threat or opportunity.
  • Zhao, Quansheng (December 2005). "America's response to the rise of China and Sino-US relations". Asian Journal of Political Science. 13 (2): 1–27. doi:10.1080/02185370508434256. S2CID 155081636.

Historiography edit

  • Brazinsky, Gregg. "The Birth of a Rivalry: Sino-American Relations During the Truman Administration" in Daniel S. Margolies, ed. A Companion to Harry S. Truman (2012) pp 484–497; emphasis on historiography.
  • Sutter, Robert. "The Importance of the 'pan-Asian' versus the 'China-first' Emphasis in US Policy toward China, 1969-2008: A Review of the Literature." American Journal of Chinese Studies (2009): 1–18.
  • Sutter, Robert. "US Domestic Debate Over Policy Toward Mainland China and Taiwan: Key Findings, Outlook and Lessons." American Journal of Chinese Studies (2001): 133–144.
  • Zhu Yongtao. "American Studies in China" American Studies International 25#2 (1987) pp. 3–19 online

Primary sources edit

China White Paper 1949 edit

  • Lyman Van Slyke, ed. The China White Paper: August 1949 (1967: 2 vol. Stanford U.P.); 1124 pp.; copy of official US Department of State. China White Paper: 1949 vol 1 online at Google; online vol 1 pdf; vol 1 consists of history; vol 2 consists of primary sources and is not online; see library holdings via World Cat
    • excerpts appear in Barton Bernstein and Allen J. Matusow, eds. The Truman Administration: A Documentary History (1966) pp. 299–355