North Korea is Asia’s most immediate security threat, but confrontation between China and the United States remains the main long-term risk to regional prosperity and stability. Even as prospects for a diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea brighten, dark clouds hover over China-U.S. relations.
In a meeting overlooking Beijing’s Forbidden City, I joined Chinese and U.S. scholars and practitioners last month to reassess growing strategic competition and a looming trade war. Participants on both sides voiced concern that the foundation of the China-U.S. relationship is more fragile than any time since the normalization of relations in 1979.
Chinese analysts argue that the United States refuses to accommodate China’s rise, while U.S. observers see China pursuing predatory economic policies and creeping acts of sovereignty. Given sharply different perceptions of each other and the rules for maintaining order, how will China and the United States manage strategic competition in the coming years, under U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping?
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