The relationship between China and the United States is without a doubt the most important bilateral relationship in the world, which is why it is a subject of increasing interest for scholars at home and abroad. In particular, a variety of issues have emerged in recent years that have prompted strategists from both countries to set about mapping out the future of China-U.S. relations.
Wang Jisi, director of the Center for International and Strategic Studies at Peking University, has delivered his findings about this question in the recently published "Great Power Relations." This book illustrates various schools of thought and perspectives on Sino-U.S. relations, and summarizes the historical conflicts between established and the emerging powers. It looks back on the long but tortuous path of Sino-U.S. relations for the past century. But more importantly, it puts these relations in the new global context, striving to find ways and means to establish a new-type of major power relations and offering a clear road-map for the future.
The main argument of this book is that building a new-type Sino-U.S. relations is a "3D project" involving domestic politics, diplomacy and third parties. What will define the future path are these two countries' respective political, economic and social developments. Only through expanding common ground and solving disputes cautiously can we push forward the development of the new type of Sino-U.S. relations and avoid conflicts.
As regards the possibility of parting ways, the book expounds as follows: politically and ideologically, the differences and contentions are growing sharper; economically, the "ballast" effect is diminishing; and socially, domestic uncertainties are affecting bilateral relations and mutual distrust is increasing.
The central point of this book, however, is the discussion on how "all roads lead to Rome" - the building of the new type of Sino-U.S. great power relations. It propounds two key questions: Firstly, the United States is expected to respect China's sovereignty, while China is not necessarily going to challenge the fundamental international political and economic order advocated by the United States. Secondly, the new types of conflicts or confrontations - cyber warfare, the space war, the arms race and so on - should be avoided. Should they occur, strategic dialogue and an effective mechanism are called for.
In conclusion, this book is distinct in two respects. First, its strategic angle: comprehensively interpreting the past, the present and the future of Sino-U.S. relations. The second is its practical implications in the real world: helping us to identify the real international situation of our times. The book "Great Power Relations" not only dissects Sino-U.S. relations at present but also proposes a future development path. To me, it's a book inspiring and inspirational.
The writer is a research fellow with the Charhar Institute.
Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.