Between 1941 and 1991, the key significance of China to the U.S. had been one among the most lasting legends of Sino-American relationship. However, actually, China had had just a secondary significance, and its importance was in the context of crises with other nations, which had partially influenced the U.S diplomacy towards China during the 50 years. Accordingly, the cessation of the Cold War era needed the US foreign policy to reassess the significance of China. It has since become evident that future lasting stability in the Asia-Pacific area substantially rests on harmonious relationship among the U.S, Japan, and China. To the point that the three nations can join forces, they will establish a generally nonthreatening security atmosphere and manage the disputes sure to egress in the Asia-Pacific area. Otherwise, conflict and latent hostilities among the three nations will have a deeply threatening effect in the region (Hills, Blair, and Jannuzi 2007).
In the 1990s, the U.S. business community perceived China as a land of opportunity, but now the community has more divergent opinions. Smaller companies, for instance, are concerned about Chinese competition, currency manipulation, counterfeiting, and rampant piracy. What is more, even bigger U.S. businesses are troubled that the Chinese mercantile system will attempt directing controlled markets rather than opening free-enterprise markets. On the other hand, American workers are concerned about whether they can compete.
With the above concerns, for four years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the relationship between the U.S and China came along as advancing steadily. As U.S. administrators and policy makers turned their focus on the urgent risks of terrorism and development, they appeared less persuaded to view China as a real or likely strategic competitor and more promising that, in the post-9/11 world, every great power would unite to deal with common dangers and pursue the increasingly common goals and values. Accordingly, this union re-brought together the U.S and China. However, as George W. Bush progressed to his send term in office, it became apparent that there was a conflict between the U.S and China, as well as a gradual skepticism.
At least, on the U.S part, the relationship was as pleasant, while the two countries’ interests were as compatible as had often been claimed. Later, concerns about the potential lifting of the European arms restraint facilitated the withdrawal of reincarnated focus the pace and scope of building up China’s military. However, frustration with stuck negotiations over North Korea’s atomic weapons program made some observers to wonder whether Beijing really had the same commitment as the U.S. in halting proliferation. This clearly demonstrates a blurred relationship between China and the U.S., which also cannot give a precise picture of whether the future relationship will be smooth.
Accounts of a Chinese diplomatic charm offensive in Southeast Asia invoked concerns of declining U.S. influence and emerging Chinese regional domination. Besides, manifest that China was enhancing its relationships with Latin America, Middle East, Africa, and Europe aroused the threat of a new global contention for power and influence. An official squabble over currency values and trade balances was added to this explosive mix, in addition to a furry of unbelievable news stories concerning the influence of China’s unexpected demand on global energy and material prices, as well as the premeditated acquisitions of U.S. firms. Obviously, such demands would worsen the relationship between China and the U.S. Recent happenings concerning the two countries raise key questions regarding the future direction and fundamental determinants of the countries’ relations.
The questions that arise include: What is the likely characteristics of the U.S.-China over the next 20-30 years?; Will it be characterized by convergence toward compounding collaboration, stability, and serenity or by declension, leading to gradual open competition, and maybe even war? If latent hostilities between the two Pacific powers worsen, the Eastern Eurasia could wholly become split up in a new cold war as the predictions for confrontation and dispute would seem sure to rise. Then again, a compounding U.S.-China relation could come with it enhanced possibilities for sustained global economic development, the diplomatic resolution of unresolved regional conflicts, as well as the successful management of urgent global issues like terrorism and the increase of weapons of mass destruction. Regardless of whether it would be for good or bad, the most substantial bilateral international relations during the next numerous years is probably to be that between the U.S and China.
On 2011, January 19, Barack Obama and Hu Jintao (the Chinese President) published a common statement at the end of Hu’s visit to the U.S, which declared their common dedication to a positive, accommodative, and comprehensive relationship between their nations (Kissinger 2012, April 28). This move indicates the intention of the U.S and China maintaining a smoother relationship in future. The U.S. restated that it is ready to accommodate a China that is strong, successful, and prosperous, and which would take a greater responsibility in global affairs. On the other hand, China would accommodate a U.S that enhances peace, prosperity, and stability in the Asian-Pacific region. Undoubtedly, these commitments suggest a possible smother future for the two countries’ relationship.
Since 2011, January 19, the U.S and Chinese administrations have been pursuing the implementation of the determined objectives. On one hand, top American and Chinese functionaries have showed a possible good future for the two countries by exchanging visits and institutionalizing their exchanges on significant strategic and economic matters. The countries have restarted their military-to-military contacts, creating a significant channel of communication. On the other hand, unofficially, ostensible track-two assemblies have dug into likely developments of the U.S.-Chinese relation. Even as cooperation between the two countries has improved, so has controversy. For instance, there are concerns that a contention for supremacy between the two nations is unavoidable and possibly already ongoing. Based on this outlook, appeals for the two countries to cooperate are seemingly démodé and even naïve.
The United States and China have particularly common interests and objectives. Both states have a common interest to promote peace and stability within their respective regions and globally, ensuring a stop to religious, territorial, and ethnic disputes. U.S-China collaboration would stop proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Korean Peninsula and in other places and maintain a generally benignant Asian security environment. Future stable relations between the U.S and China would ensure continued economic growth and reform because both nations want the China-Taiwan matter to be settled peacefully. Both nations also have a stake in assuring navigation freedom and security in the vital Asia-Pacific sea-lanes that their respective markets depend on. Resultantly, both nations have a stake in maintaining a peaceful settlement within the South-China Sea territory by ending the dispute in that region.
The vision of American policymakers was that by the dawn of the twenty-first century, East Asia would be a stable and prosperous region, where the United States is would be a primary stabilizing factor as seen by most regional states. The vision is to have an Asia that would fully engage the United States economically, politically, and militarily; and an Asia that would continue to welcome the presence of United States military forces. The envisioned Asia would be one where military-to-military collaboration would be the order of the day with the U.S. forces and intra-regionally as well (Vogel 1997). An Asia where stability is countersigned in no part by the sustained security partnership between the United States and China.
From the United States perspective, the future Asia, and specifically China, has been taken hold by multilateral cooperation. This is where the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum has evolved to become an Asian Regional Forum. The reason for this has not been to demean the key role of ASEAN, but to emphasize that their legacy was to develop a means to allow all Asia-Pacific nations to congregate and deal their broad-based security concerns. Confidence-building measures agreed to have ensured greater security cooperation and shared trust throughout the region. However, in instances where emerging multifaceted administrations continue to accredit and build upon security concerns instead of undermining or replacing them, they provide the basis upon for peace, stability and mutual cooperation.