11 September and the future of Sino-American relations

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While there is certainly reason to hope that the events of 11 September will lead to an improvement in Sino-American relations, there are at least three substantial reasons to doubt that, in the end, relations will really improve. On closer inspection, the war on terrorism provides at best a very limited basis for US-PRC cooperation. Moreover, despite some superficial improvements in the diplomatic climate, none of the persistent, underlying sources of contention between the two powers has been significantly altered or alleviated by the current crisis. Finally, and most importantly, in ways that could not initially have been foreseen, the events of recent months may actually end up intensifying the ongoing Sino-American strategic rivalry. The forces impelling the United States and the PRC toward continuing suspicion and competition are powerful and deeply rooted in their very different domestic political regimes and in their positions in the international system. These competitive tendencies will not be easily offset or overcome, even by acts that all Americans and most Chinese acknowledge as crimes against humanity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10071493
Pages (from-to)33-50
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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