Summary:  Despite widespread fears about China's growing economic clout and political stature, Beijing remains committed to a "peaceful rise": bringing its people out of poverty by embracing economic globalization and improving relations with the rest of the world. As it emerges as a great power, China knows that its continued development depends on world peace -- a peace that its development will in turn reinforce.

  Zheng Bijian is Chair of the China Reform Forum, a nongovernmental and nonprofit academic organization that provides research on and analysis of domestic, international, and development issues related to China. He has drafted key reports for five Chinese national party congresses and held senior posts in academic and party organizations in China.

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GETTING THE FACTS RIGHT

China's rapid development has attracted worldwide attention in recent years. The implications of various aspects of China's rise, from its expanding influence and military muscle to its growing demand for energy supplies, are being heatedly debated in the international community as well as within China. Correctly understanding China's achievements and its path toward greater development is thus crucial.

Since starting to open up and reform its economy in 1978, China has averaged 9.4 percent annual GDP growth, one of the highest growth rates in the world. In 1978, it accounted for less than one percent of the world economy, and its total foreign trade was worth $20.6 billion. Today, it accounts for four percent of the world economy and has foreign trade worth $851 billion -- the third-largest national total in the world. China has also attracted hundreds of billions of dollars of foreign investment and more than a trillion dollars of domestic nonpublic investment. A dozen years ago, China barely had mobile telecommunications services. Now it claims more than 300 million mobile-phone subscribers, more than any other nation. As of June 2004, nearly 100 million people there had access to the Internet.

Indeed, China has achieved the goal it set for itself in 1978: it has significantly improved the well-being of its people, although its development has often been narrow and uneven. The last 27 years of reform and growth have also shown the world the magnitude of China's labor force, creativity, and purchasing power; its commitment to development; and its degree of national cohesion. Once all of its potential is mobilized, its contribution to the world as an engine of growth will be unprecedented.

One should not, however, lose sight of the other side of the coin. Economic growth alone does not provide a full picture of a country's development. China has a population of 1.3 billion. Any small difficulty in its economic or social development, spread over this vast group, could become a huge problem. And China's population has not yet peaked; it is not projected to decline until it reaches 1.5 billion in 2030. Moreover, China's economy is still just one-seventh the size of the United States' and one-third the size of Japan's. In per capita terms, China remains a low-income developing country, ranked roughly 100th in the world. Its impact on the world economy is still limited.

The formidable development challenges still facing China stem from the constraints it faces in pulling its population out of poverty. The scarcity of natural resources available to support such a huge population -- especially energy, raw materials, and water -- is increasingly an obstacle, especially when the efficiency of use and the rate of recycling of those materials are low. China's per capita water resources are one-fourth of the amount of the world average, and its per capita area of cultivatable farmland is 40 percent of the world average. China's oil, natural gas, copper, and aluminum resources in per capita terms amount to 8.3 percent, 4.1 percent, 25.5 percent, ...

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China's Global Hunt for Energy
David Zweig and Bi Jianhai
From Foreign Affairs, September/October 2005

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Summary:  Chinese foreign policy is now driven by China's unprecendented need for resources. In exchange for access to oil and other raw materials to fuel its booming economy, Beijing has boosted its bilateral relations with resource-rich states, sometimes striking deals with rogue governments or treading on U.S. turf. Beijing's hunger may worry some in Washington, but it also creates new grounds for cooperation.

  DAVID ZWEIG is Director of the Center on China's Transnational Relations at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the author of Internationalizing China: Domestic Interests and Global Linkages. BI JIANHAI is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the center.

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A NEW FOREIGN POLICY

An unprecedented need for resources is now driving China's foreign policy. A booming domestic economy, rapid urbanization, increased export processing, and the Chinese people's voracious appetite for cars are increasing the country's demand for oil and natural gas, industrial and construction materials, foreign capital and technology. Twenty years ago, China was East Asia's largest oil exporter. Now it is the world's second-largest importer; last year, it alone accounted for 31 percent of global growth in oil demand. Now that China is the workshop of the world, its hunger for electricity and industrial resources has soared. China's combined share of the world's consumption of aluminum, copper, nickel, and iron ore more than doubled within only ten years, from 7 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2000; it has now reached about 20 percent and is likely to double again by the end of the decade. Despite calls by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and other politicians to cut consumption of energy and other resources, there is little sign of this appetite abating. Justin Yifu Lin, director of the China Center for Economic Research at Peking University, in Beijing, says the country's economy could grow at 9 percent per year for the next 20 years.

These new needs already have serious implications for China's foreign policy. Beijing's access to foreign resources is necessary both for continued economic growth and, because growth is the cornerstone of China's social stability, for the survival of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Since China remains a relatively centralized, government-driven economy, Beijing has been able to adapt its foreign policy to its domestic development strategy. Traditional institutions, such as the Foreign Affairs Leading Small Group of the CCP, are still making the key decisions, but a more pluralistic environment is emerging and allowing business leaders to help shape foreign policy. The China Institute for International Studies, a government think tank, holds numerous conferences bringing together academics and leaders in business, the military, and the government to devise strategies for the top rung of the Communist Party.

Partly on these people's advice, Beijing has been encouraging representatives of state-controlled companies to secure exploration and supply agreements with states that produce oil, gas, and other resources. Meanwhile, it has been courting the governments of these states aggressively, building goodwill by strengthening bilateral trade relations, awarding aid, forgiving national debt, and helping build roads, bridges, stadiums, and harbors. In return, China has won access to key resources, from gold in Bolivia and coal in the Philippines to oil in Ecuador and natural gas in Australia.

China's resources hunt has been a boon to some states, especially developing countries, as it has allowed them to exploit as yet untapped resources or gain leverage to negotiate better deals with older customers. But for other states, particularly the United States and Japan, China's insatiability is causing concern. Some governments worry as Beijing enters their spheres of influence or strikes deals with states they have tried to marginalize. In some quarters in Washington, including the ...

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China's Search for Stability With America
Wang Jisi
From Foreign Affairs, September/October 2005

 

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Summary:  No country can affect China's fortunes more directly than the United States. Many potential flashpoints -- such as Taiwan, Japan, and North Korea -- remain, and true friendship between Washington and Beijing is unlikely. But their interests have grown so intertwined that cooperation is the best way to serve both countries.

  WANG JISI is Dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University and Director of the Institute of International Strategic Studies at the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China. This essay is an expanded and revised version of an article originally published in Zhongguo Dangzheng Ganbu Luntan, a journal of the Central Party School.

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By Sumit Ganguly
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Edited by Nancy Bernkopf Tucker. : Columbia University Press, 2005.


Understanding China
By Kishore Mahbubani
Foreign Affairs, September/October 2005


The Korean Conundrum: America's Troubled Relations With North and South Korea
Ted Galen and Doug Bandow. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.


Trouble in Taiwan
By Michael D. Swaine
Foreign Affairs, March/April 2004

AFTER 9/11

The United States is currently the only country with the capacity and the ambition to exercise global primacy, and it will remain so for a long time to come. This means that the United States is the country that can exert the greatest strategic pressure on China. Although in recent years Beijing has refrained from identifying Washington as an adversary or criticizing its "hegemonism" -- a pejorative Chinese code word for U.S. dominance -- many Chinese still view the United States as a major threat to their nation's security and domestic stability.

Yet the United States is a global leader in economics, education, culture, technology, and science. China, therefore, must maintain a close relationship with the United States if its modernization efforts are to succeed. Indeed, a cooperative partnership with Washington is of primary importance to Beijing, where economic prosperity and social stability are now top concerns.

Fortunately, greater cooperation with China is also in the United States' interests -- especially since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The United States now needs China's help on issues such as counterterrorism, nonproliferation, the reconstruction of Iraq, and the maintenance of stability in the Middle East. More and more, Washington has also started to seek China's cooperation in fields such as trade and finance, despite increased friction over currency exchange rates, intellectual property rights, and the textile trade.

Although there is room for further improvement in the relationship, the framework of basic stability established since September 11 should be sustainable. At least for the next several years, Washington will not regard Beijing as its main security threat, and China will avoid antagonizing the United States.

THE LONELY SUPERPOWER

To understand the forces that govern U.S.-Chinese relations, it helps first to understand U.S. power and Washington's current global strategy. Here is a Chinese view: in the long term, the decline of U.S. primacy and the subsequent transition to a multipolar world are inevitable; but in the short term, Washington's power is unlikely to decline, and its position in world affairs is unlikely to change.

Consider that the United States continues to lead other developed countries in economic growth, technological innovation, productivity, research and development, and the ability to cultivate human talent. Despite serious problems such as swelling trade and fiscal deficits, illegal immigration, inadequate health care, violent crime, major income disparities, a declining educational system, and a deeply divided electorate, the U.S. economy is healthy: last year, U.S. GDP grew an estimated 4.4 percent, and this year the growth rate is expected to be 3.5 percent, much greater than the corresponding figures for the eurozone (2.0 percent and 1.6 percent). Barring an unexpected sharp economic downturn, the size of the U.S. economy as a proportion of the global economy is likely to increase in the years to come.

Many other indexes of U.S. "hard power" are also on the rise. The U.S. defense budget, for example, has increased considerably in recent years. In 2004, it hit $437 billion, or roughly half of all military spending around the world. Yet as a percentage of U.S. GDP, the figure was lower than it was during the Cold War.


[continued...]

Further bolstering U.S. primacy is the fact that many of the country's potential competitors, such as the European Union, Russia, and Japan, face internal problems that will make it difficult for them to overtake the United States anytime soon. For a long time to come, the United States is likely to remain dominant, with sufficient hard power to back up aggressive diplomatic and military policies.

From a Chinese perspective, the United States' geopolitical superiority was strengthened in 2001 by Washington's victory in the Afghan war. The United States has now established political, military, and economic footholds in Central Asia and strengthened its military presence in Southeast Asia, in the Persian Gulf, and on the Arabian Peninsula. These moves have been part of a global security strategy that can be understood as having one center, two emphases. Fighting terrorism is the center. And the two emphases are securing the Middle East and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The greater Middle East, a region stretching from Kashmir to Morocco and from the Red Sea to the Caucasus, is vital to U.S. interests. Rich in oil and natural gas, the region is also beset by ethnic and religious conflicts and is a base for rampant international terrorism. None of the countries in the area is politically stable, and chaos there can affect the United States directly, as the country learned on September 11.

On the nonproliferation front, the United States' main concerns are Iran and North Korea, two states that are striving to develop nuclear technology and have long been antagonistic toward Washington. In 2004, the United States carried out the largest redeployment of its overseas forces since World War II in order to meet these challenges.

NOT INVULNERABLE

Despite its many advantages, the United States is not invincible. The war in Iraq, for example, resulted in international isolation of a sort that Washington had not faced since the beginning of the Cold War. The invasion was strongly condemned by people all over the world and explicitly opposed by the great majority of nations. Washington split with many of its traditional allies, such as Paris and Berlin, which refused to take part in the operation. And tensions with Islamic countries, especially in the Arab world, increased dramatically.

Since then, the extent of armed resistance to the U.S. occupation of Iraq has exceeded the Bush administration's expectations. Meanwhile, revelations of prisoner abuse by U.S. personnel in Iraq and elsewhere have undermined the credibility of U.S. rhetoric on human rights and further damaged the United States' image in the world. U.S. "soft power" -- the country's ability to influence indirectly the actions of other states -- has been weakened. The United States also faces serious competition and disagreement from Europe, Japan, and Russia on many economic and development-related issues, and there have been disputes on arms control, regional policies, and the role of the United Nations and other international organizations.

Nonetheless, the points in common between these powers and the United States in terms of ideology and strategic interests outweigh the differences. A pattern of coordination and cooperation among the world's major powers, institutionalized through the G-8 (the group of leading industrialized countries), has taken shape, and no great change in this pattern is likely in the next five to ten years. To be sure, some of the differences between the United States and the EU, Japan, Russia, and others will deepen, and Washington will at times face coordinated French, German, and Russian opposition, as it did during the war in Iraq. But no lasting united front aimed at confronting Washington is likely to emerge.

Meanwhile, many developing countries now boast higher growth rates than those found in the industrialized world, and they have enhanced their role in global affairs by strengthening themselves and coordinating their stances on major international issues. Rich countries, however -- especially the United States -- still occupy dominant positions in the UN, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other global institutions. Moreover, they continue to maintain the contemporary international order and rules that serve their economic and security interests.


[continued...]

All of the changes described above have provided China with new, albeit limited, opportunities for maneuver. So long as the United States' image remains tainted, China will have greater leverage in multilateral settings. It would be foolhardy, however, for Beijing to challenge directly the international order and the institutions favored by the Western world -- and, indeed, such a challenge is unlikely.

EYE ON ASIA

There is one region where the United States is most likely to come into close contact with China, leading to either major conflicts of interest or real cooperation (or both): in Asia and the Pacific. Divining the direction of relations between the two countries therefore requires a comprehensive analysis of the forces in the region. Of all the recent developments in Asia, China's rise is attracting the most attention at the moment. But several other important developments are occurring simultaneously.

Thanks to a period of internal reform, Japan has recovered from the doldrums of the 1990s and is reinforcing its status as Northeast Asia's most powerful economy. Meanwhile, India's economy is growing very rapidly, and New Delhi has sought rapprochement with Islamabad and improved relations with Washington and Beijing. The Russian economy is growing fast as well, due in large part to the surge in world energy prices. As a result of these and other forces, most Asia-Pacific countries are growing closer diplomatically, and economic cooperation in eastern Asia is speeding up. Two worrisome security problems remain, however: the North Korean nuclear program and the question of Taiwan.

Among all the nations in the region, Japan has the biggest effect on the Chinese-U.S. relationship. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S.-Japanese security alliance has strengthened, not weakened (as China once hoped it would). Unlike some other traditional U.S. allies, Tokyo has sent troops to support the occupation of Iraq and given substantive reconstruction assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan. In return, Washington has praised Tokyo's international role and endorsed (at least diplomatically) Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. The prospect of conflict between the two allies, which many in the media once predicted, seems to have disappeared from the scene.

In sharp contrast, Tokyo's ties to Beijing have cooled significantly. A series of recent irritants have exacerbated a relationship already strained by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine (where Japan's war dead, including a number of war criminals, are commemorated). These incidents have included the accidental intrusion of a Chinese submarine into Japanese territorial waters in November 2004; a visit by former Taiwanese leader and independence activist Lee Teng-hui to Japan in December 2004; Japan's ongoing publication of textbooks that downplay its World War II atrocities; and, this spring, anti-Japan demonstrations in a number of major Chinese cities. As such cases show, the historical conflicts between China and Japan and the mutual antagonism of their peoples can easily become political problems. Unless the issues are handled with care, they can evolve into serious crises.

Rather than play a helpful role, the United States has pushed China and Japan further apart. Beijing fears that the consolidation of the U.S.-Japanese alliance is coming at its expense and that the growing closeness is motivated by the allies' common concern about the increase of China's power. As the "China threat" theory gains followers in Japan, right-wing forces there are becoming more assertive by the day and turning increasingly toward the United States as their protector. Japan has also used the United States to exchange military intelligence with Taiwan; indeed, Japanese right-wing forces no longer shrink from offending Beijing by making overtures to pro-separation forces in Taipei.

Japan has also failed to respond warmly to China's sponsorship of more institutionalized economic cooperation in eastern Asia. As its reluctance suggests, Tokyo is wary of Beijing's growing role in the region and does not want to cooperate with any attempts to create regional structures that would exclude the United States. Hard-liners in Washington may think that the United States benefits from a souring of the Chinese-Japanese relationship. In the long run, however, conflict between Beijing and Tokyo helps no one, since it could destabilize Asia's existing economic and security arrangements, many of which benefit the United States.

In the field of international security, the primary focal point in Chinese-U.S. relations is the North Korean nuclear issue. On this question, the Bush administration has little choice but to act cautiously, relying on the six-party talks to exert pressure on Pyongyang and using various mechanisms (such as the U.S.-sponsored Proliferation Security Initiative) to stop North Korea from exporting nuclear materials or technology. China, in its own way, has tried to dissuade North Korea from developing nuclear weapons but so far has declined to support multilateral blockades or sanctions on Pyongyang. If North Korea ever publicly, explicitly, and unmistakably demonstrates that it does possess nuclear weapons, the policies of the United States, China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia -- all of which favor a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula -- will have failed. The United States might then call for much tougher actions against North Korea, which would increase tension and narrow China's options. The result could be new friction between China and the United States and a serious test of their relationship.


[continued...]

If, on the other hand, the six-party talks are resumed, tensions between the United States and North Korea may ease, and China's role will then be more favorably recognized. Should that occur, the countries involved in the process might even consider expanding the six-party mechanism into a permanent Northeast Asian security arrangement, a development that would serve the interests of all the countries concerned and one that China should favor. Under the current circumstances, however, such a possibility is slim. The more likely outcome is that tensions between Washington and Pyongyang will persist, although without an actual war breaking out.

Meanwhile, at a time when political relations between China and the United States are basically stable and economic and trade links are expanding, Taiwan remains a major source of unease. War between China and the United States over Taiwan would be a nightmare, and both sides will try hard to avoid it. Despite their differences, there is no reason the two sides should have to resort to force to resolve the matter. Yet some people in Taiwan, looking out for their own interests and supported by outsiders -- notably parts of the U.S. defense establishment and certain members of the U.S. Congress -- continue stubbornly to push for independence, ignoring the will of most Taiwanese. It is a mistake for Americans to support such separatists. If a clash occurs, these parties will be responsible.

China views the status of Taiwan as an internal matter. But only by coordinating its U.S. policy with its policy toward Taiwan can Beijing curb the separatist forces on the island. Despite U.S. displeasure at China's passage of an antisecession law in March 2005, policymakers in Washington have reiterated their opposition to Taiwan's independence and viewed favorably the spring 2005 visits by Taiwanese opposition leaders to the mainland, which eased cross-strait relations. Nonetheless, Washington has now asked Beijing to talk directly to Taipei's ruling party and its leader, Chen Shui-bian. To improve matters, Chinese and U.S. government agencies and their foreign policy think tanks should launch a sustained and thorough dialogue on the issue and explore ways to prevent separatist forces from making a rash move, dragging both countries toward a confrontation neither wants.

LONG-TERM INTERESTS

The Chinese-U.S. relationship remains beset by more profound differences than any other bilateral relationship between major powers in the world today. It is an extremely complex and highly paradoxical unity of opposites. It is not a relationship of confrontation and rivalry for primacy, as the U.S.-Soviet relationship was during the Cold War, but it does contain some of the same characteristics. In its pattern of interactions, it is a relationship between equals. But the tremendous gap between the two countries in national power and international status and the fundamental differences between their political systems and ideology have prevented the United States from viewing China as a peer. China's political, economic, social, and diplomatic influences on the United States are far smaller than the United States' influences on China. It is thus only natural that in their exchanges, the United States should take the offensive role and China the defensive one.

In terms of state-to-state affairs, China and the United States cannot hope to establish truly friendly relations. Yet the countries should be able to build friendly ties on nongovernmental and individual levels. Like all relations between states, the Chinese-U.S. relationship is fundamentally based on interests. But it also involves more intense, love-hate feelings than do the majority of state-to-state ties. The positive and negative factors in the links between China and the United States are closely interwoven and often run into one another.

As this complex dynamic suggests, trying to view the Chinese-U.S. relationship in traditional zero-sum terms is a mistake and will not guide policy well; indeed, such a simplistic view may threaten both countries' national interests. Black-and-white analyses inevitably fail to capture the nuances of the situation. If, for instance, the United States really aimed to hamper China's economic modernization -- as the University of Chicago's John Mearsheimer has argued should be done -- China would not be the only one to suffer. Many U.S. enterprises in China would lose the returns on their investments, and the American people would no longer be able to buy inexpensive high-quality Chinese products. On the other hand, although Americans' motives for developing economic and trade ties with China may be to help themselves, these ties have also helped China, spurring its economic prosperity and technological advancement.

This prosperity and advancement will naturally strengthen China's military power -- something that worries the United States. Indeed, this issue represents a paradox at the heart of Washington's long-term strategy toward Beijing. Unless China's economy collapses, its defense spending will continue to rise. Washington should recognize, however, that the important question is not how much China spends on its national defense but where it aims its military machine, which is still only a fraction of the size of the United States' own forces. The best way to reduce tensions is through candid and comprehensive strategic conversations; for this reason, military-to-military exchanges should be resumed.

China faces a similar paradox: only a U.S. economic decline would reduce Washington's strength (including its military muscle) and ease the strategic pressure on Beijing. Such a slide, however, would also harm China's economy. In addition, the increased U.S. sense of insecurity that might result could have other consequences that would not necessarily benefit China. If, for example, Washington's influence in the Middle East diminished, this could lead to instability there that might threaten China's oil supplies. Similarly, increased religious fundamentalism and terrorism in Central and South Asia could threaten China's own security, especially along its western borders, where ethnic relations have become tense and separatist tendencies remain a danger.

continued...]

The potential Chinese-U.S. conflict over energy supplies can be seen in a similar light. Each country should be sensitive to the other's energy needs and security interests worldwide. China is currently purchasing oil from countries such as Venezuela and Sudan, whose relations with the United States are far from amicable. Washington, meanwhile, is now thought to be eying Central Asian oil fields near China's border. Both Beijing and Washington should try to make sure that the other side understands its intentions and should explore ways to cooperate on energy issues through joint projects, such as building nuclear power plants in China.

History has already proved that the United States is not China's permanent enemy. Nor does China want the United States to see it as a foe. Deng Xiaoping's prediction that "things will be all right when Sino-U.S. relations eventually improve" was a cool judgment based on China's long-term interests. To be sure, aspirations cannot replace reality. The improvement of Chinese-U.S. relations will be slow, tortuous, limited, and conditional, and could even be reversed in the case of certain provocations (such as a Taiwanese declaration of independence). It is precisely for this reason that the thorny problems in the bilateral relationship must be handled delicately, and a stable new framework established to prevent troubles from disrupting an international environment favorable for building prosperous societies. China's leadership is set on achieving such prosperity by the middle of the twenty-first century; with Washington's cooperation, there is little to stand in its way.

Understanding China
Kishore Mahbubani
From Foreign Affairs, September/October 2005

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Summary:  The United States has done much to enable China's recent growth, but it has also sent mixed signals that have unnerved Beijing. More consistent engagement is in order, because the course of the twenty-first century will be determined by the relationship between the world's greatest power and the world's greatest emerging power.

  KISHORE MAHBUBANI is Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. This essay is adapted from his book Beyond the Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust Between America and the World.

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Will Kashmir Stop India's Rise?
By Sumit Ganguly
Foreign Affairs, July/August 2006


Dangerous Strait: The U.S.-Taiwan-China Crisis
Edited by Nancy Bernkopf Tucker. : Columbia University Press, 2005.


China's Search for Stability With America
By Wang Jisi
Foreign Affairs, September/October 2005


The Korean Conundrum: America's Troubled Relations With North and South Korea
Ted Galen and Doug Bandow. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.


Trouble in Taiwan
By Michael D. Swaine
Foreign Affairs, March/April 2004

THE WAKING DRAGON

China today is like a dragon that, waking up after centuries of slumber, suddenly realizes many nations have been trampling on its tail. With all that has happened to it over the past 200 years, China could be forgiven for awakening as an angry nation, and yet Beijing has declared that it will rise peacefully. This good disposition stems partly from China's awareness that it is relatively weak. But it is also a sign that Beijing has endorsed the vision of progress that the United States has extolled since World War II. States no longer need to pursue military conquest to prosper, the theory goes; trade and economic integration pave a surer path to growth. And Beijing has noted how much adhering to this philosophy helped Japan and Germany emerge from the ruins of World War II.

As the main architect of the world order today, the United States should be among the first to celebrate China's progress. For if Beijing continues to abide by Washington's rules, peace and stability could reign, and the United States, as both a society and an economy, could benefit a great deal from the renaissance of Chinese civilization. Curiously, however, the United States is doing more to destabilize China than any other power. And no one in Washington seems to be proposing, much less pursuing, a comprehensive new strategy for U.S.-Chinese relations. The working assumption appears to be that with a little tinkering here and there, the relationship will stay firmly on track. In fact, however, nagging suspicions and mutual misunderstandings are already threatening to derail it.

One key point needs to be emphasized at the outset: although there is almost nothing China can do to disrupt the political stability of the United States, the United States can do plenty to destabilize China. Hence, the signals that Washington sends to Beijing matter a great deal. Unfortunately, Washington's current China policy lacks coherence, and a conviction is growing among Chinese policymakers that the United States is bent on curtailing China's rise. Unlike most Americans, for example, the Chinese have not forgotten the 1999 missile attack on their embassy in Belgrade during the war in the Balkans. U.S. officials have claimed that it was a mistake, regretted it, and moved on, but many Chinese remain convinced that the bombing was deliberate. Pointing to the sophistication of U.S. surveillance technology, they hold on to the belief that the attack was intended as a message to China: beware of U.S. power.

Such mistrust is dangerous, for the history of the twenty-first century will largely be determined by the relationship that emerges between the world's greatest power and the world's greatest emerging power. History teaches that such transitions are inherently fraught with danger and that they are best managed with grand visions. Thus, it would serve the interests of the United States and China to rethink their relationship in terms as broad and bold as the 1972 understanding that then President Richard Nixon and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger worked ...

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