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A Post September 11th Reassessment of U.S. Relations with China

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During his presidential campaign, President Bush took a more confrontional stance toward China than had been followed by the Clinton administration. U.S. relations with China during the initial months of the Bush administration seemed to reflect President Bushs categorization of China as a strategic competitor. The low point in relations between the two countries came in April 2001 when China detained the crew of a U.S. reconnaissance plane that was forced to make an emergency landing on Hainan Island. Following September 11th, Sino-U.S. relations have taken an understandable back seat to the U.S. war on terrorists with global reach. China has been supportive of much of the U.S. response against terrorism while the broader confrontational issues defining the relationship over the last decade have been temporarily underscored. However, the basis for confrontation between the two countries remains, dictating that the U.S. cannot ignore the issues indefinitely since they pose a potential threat to U.S. Pacific and global interests. This paper, therefore assesses Chinas potential to become a peer competitor to the U.S. The driving force behind everything that the Chinese leadership does is the survival of the Communist Party as the sole legitimate source of political power in the country. While the near term stability of the country is still in question, it apparent that China views the U.S. as a threat. The strategic vision of the Chinese government is tied to its ability to challenge U.S. hegemony at least regionally and preferably globally. The communist government is currently pursuing a combination of strategies to improve Chinas power relative to the U.S. Combining Chinas latent capabilities with an intent to challenge the U.S., it is imperative that the U.S. respond.

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  • Government and Political Science

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