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Foreign Policy

The Evolution of the China-US Relationship

Feb 12, 2019
  • Cui Liru

    Former President, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations

The China-US relationship has evolved.

Whilst a tariff war between them is unfolding, negotiations between the two parties are on-going. Most of the change in the relationship has been at the strategic level.

The US has named China its main rival. The US blockade of Chinese acquisitions, investments, and technological exports, including Huawei, is all based on considerations of strategic competition. The relationship is no longer what it was, mainly because significant changes have taken place in comparative strength, strategic positions, and dynamics. Strategic competition has become a dominant aspect of bilateral ties in a complicated relationship where competition and collaboration are interwoven.

However, economic interdependence has increased. Interdependence between the world's two largest economies has reached such extent that, delinking is easier said than done in this age of globalization. From the perspective of its large size and its substantial impact on the global economy, the relationship is indeed too big to fail. This is why negotiations between the two parties must continue.

It is worth pointing out that the upsurge of nationalism and populism has affected diplomacy. Their influence on Trump's diplomatic policy-making deserves particular attention.

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