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Avoiding US-China Military Rivalry

Feb 23 , 2011

Despite the mostly friendly nature of President Hu Jintao’s state visit to Washington last month, the potential still exists for the US-China relationship to become much more adversarial, especially in the military-security arena.

A combination of deepening strategic distrust (found most notably within the militaries of the two countries), China’s steady acquisition of maritime power projection capabilities, the persistence of bilateral tensions associated with territorial issues along China’s maritime periphery, and a growing sense in China of the United States’ economic decline could prod both countries to view Asia as a zero-sum game and look for ways to counter each other’s military actions. If this is to be prevented, the two countries will need to start considering more long-range, strategic communication.

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