Sino-American Relations Essay -2300 Words - Essay Prowess

Sino-American Relations Essay -2300 Words


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Sino-American Relations


China and the US are two superpowers that have a lot of influence in the Asia-Pacific, hence, their engagement is very crucial. Sino-American relations are shaped by different factors such as polarization, shared powers, and deep integration.[1] The rise of China in the recent past has raised the strategic relationships with the U.S. In addition, China is only second to the U.S in terms of economic power. Furthermore, China technology has developed which challenges the position of the U.S in the pacific region.

Deep Integration

Deep integration between china and the United States refers to the circumstances where both countries develop efficient and powerful security systems because of economic cooperation.[2] In this respect, security engagement has become common and every development of interests and security of a country is assured of particular level of both. The US and China have established proper mechanism to deal and manage the security, sovereignty, as well as disputes that may arise.[3] Over the past few years, the Sino-American relationship has developed in terms of economic integration that is an essential for security cooperation. Because security threats still exist in the region deep integration is still very crucial. [4]


Moreover, polarization is a remaining factor that facilitates the Sino-American relationship. Polarization refers to the situation when the two nations fear of possibility of the confrontation between their military groups. In this regard, the United States and its allies on one side opposing China and Russia on the other hand. In the last few decades, the region has experienced a strategic differences and distrust in security interest between the US and China. Consequently, there is a likelihood of polarization.[5]

Shared Power

In addition, since the military power of China is growing rapidly, there is a point of concern and focus from the United States sides. Because of influence and development of capacity of China and the US in the region, there is a shared power of dominance. Therefore, both nations have an essential role in redesigning their security structures.[6] Furthermore, the two nations are considered to be most crucial stakeholders, which will consequently form a specific level of consensus and compromise via difficult interactions. Ultimately, it leads to the new approach of partnership. Again, each nation competes to guarantee its security interest in the region. As per now China redesigns the security order of the region and concentrates on future development of the region and effectively facilitates sustainable and cooperative security.[7]

In the current world, the U.S is the sole superpower. Besides, China has the second largest economy in the world after the United States. In this regard, good foreign and trade relations are beneficial not only to the two nations but also to the rest of the world. The U.S-Sino relations developed since 1949 from tense stalemates through difficult experiences of adverse diplomatic relations. Additionally, their relation has been influenced by international competitions and differences between capitalism and communism economies of the two nations.[8]

China joined the nuclear club members in 1964 when it performed its first atomic bomb test. The test came at the period of a crisis between the United States, which escalated the two nation’s relationships during Vietnam War. During this period, the Chinese government had deployed its troops along the border with Vietnam. China was a partner with the Soviet Union. However, the differences between ideology, security, and development models destroyed the relations between China and the Soviet Union. Consequently, the conflict between China and the Soviet Union forced Beijing consequential rapprochement with the U.S. [9]

The prospects that these three factors remain pre-eminent in shaping the bilateral relationship

Different prospects demonstrate that the three factors i.e. polarization, shared powers and deep integration remain pre-eminent in shaping the bilateral relationships between China and the U.S. China has carried out a number of significant reforms in its administration system that have facilitated more engagements with the U.S. For instance, the Ping-Pong Diplomacy was the first public symbol of good relations between Beijing and Washington. Chinese government allowed first group of journalists who was in the company of the U.S players for the first time since 1949. The United State Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made his first trip secretly to China. Eventually, the United Nations acknowledged the People’s Republic of China.[10] Fortunately, United Nations gave China a permanent Security Council seat. In 1972, President Richard Nixon made an eight-day trip in China where he met Chairman Zedong Mao.

Besides, he signed Shanghai Communiqué with China’s Prime Minister Zhou Enlai. The Shanghai communiqué set the foundation of good U.S-Sino relations by permitting the United States and China to share ideas, especially on Taiwan. Nonetheless, strong foreign relations establishment experienced slow progress in subsequent decade.[11]

Nevertheless, in April 1979, the U.S Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act. Pursuant to this act, the United States and Taiwan continued to have cultural and commercial relations. In addition, the Act ensured that the U.S. would continue supplying defensive arms to Taiwan but did not interrupt the policy of “One-China”. The U.S.-Sino relations suffered again in 1989 when the United States government suspended sales of military to Beijing. It occurred after Tiananmen Square Massacre when thousands of students were killed after peaceful demonstrations in Beijing.[12] They were demanding reforms on democratic processes and end of corruption in China. The incident caused adverse foreign relations between the two nations.

The US-Sino relationships were shaken again during the Belgrade Embassy Bombing. The NATO forces led by the United States bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. It occurred in 1999, during the operations against the Serbian forces that occupied Kosovo.[13] However, the NATO leaders and the United States provided formal apologize for continuous U.S intelligence errors that caused the deadly bombing. Unfortunately, thousands of Chinese demonstrated throughout the country destroying properties of the United States and its allies.

In October 2000, the United States President Bill Clinton assented to U.S.- China Relations Act of 2000. It awarded China permanent regular trade relations with the U.S, hence, broadening the way for China to become a member of World Trade Organization in 2001. The trade relations between China and the United States had improved from $5 billion to $231 billion between 1980 and 2004. In 2006, China passed Mexico as the second biggest trade partner of the United States.[14]

There was another conflict in 2001 between China and the U.S after the United States reconnaissance planes crashed with a Chinese fighter. This forced the spy plane to seek emergency landing in China. Eventually the Chinese authorities detained 24 crewmembers in Hainan Island in China. However, after tense stalemate that lasted for two-week between Chinese administrations, the US was forced to apologize for the death of Chinese pilot and the landing of plane in China.[15]

China has been a mediator between North Korea and South Korea and helps the two countries to  come to negotiation table. The US deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick initiated a strategic dialogue with China. The United States government recognized China as an emerging power.[16] The relationship has helped the U.S to draw countries such as North Korea, Sudan, and Iran into the international systems. It has helped to advocate the United States stance on nuclear arsenals.

In 2008, during Economic crisis in the U.S. China become the biggest U.S foreign creditor overtaking Japan. It held U.S treasuries approximately $60 billion. In 2010, China becomes the second country with the biggest economy surpassing Japan.[17] In second quarter of 2010, its economy valued $ 1.33 as compared to Japan’s economy of $ 1.28. In addition, in 2011, China had a total GDP of 5.88 trillion for 2010.[18]

U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in November 2011 launched the United States “pivot” from Middle East to Asia. This initiative was needed to increase economy, investment, and diplomatic relationship in the Asia-pacific region. However, the initiative was seen as a strategy to challenge the drastic economic and military growth in China in Asia-pacific region.[19]

In November 2011, U.S President Barrack Obama stated that his country and eight other countries have initiated cooperation on trans-pacific partnership. Most notably, this trade agreement does not include China. In December 2011, president Obama stated that the U.S. would increase the number of marines by 2 500 in Australia. It led to criticism from Chinese administrations.[20]

The trade tensions between China and United States emerged again in 2012 following trade deficits between the two countries. The trade deficit increased from $ 273.1 billion in 2010 to $ 295.5 in 2011. In February 2012, the European Union, United States, and China filed a case in WTO.[21]

They aimed to discuss the restrictions to export rare earth metals from China. The countries opposed the quota system in China on rare earth metals since it violated international trade practices and rights.[22] It forced many multinational companies that used rare earth metals as raw materials to be situated in China. However, China has called these allegations as rash and unfair and decided to protect its legitimate rights. [23]

Trading Partners

Americans are aware of the significant growth of Chinese economic influence. The Chinese economic growth is constantly above nine per cent. There is accusation that China is stealing U.S. jobs, selling its products at unfair prices, hence, exporting deflation and failing to meet the World Trade Organization commitments.[24] Many of the American firms have relocated to China in order to lower cost of production, and, consequently, offer better and competitive prices. The United States imports from China has increased, for instance, Wal-Mart purchased $18 billion worth of Chinese good in 2004.[25]

In 2013, President Obama and President Xi Jinping signed an agreement on new model of trade relations. The two leaders expressed commitment to create a new model of bilateral relations for the benefit of their citizens and world in general. The two nations have enhanced mutual understanding and shared polices on world issues.[26]

There are several theories that try to explain the highly competitive trade from China. For instance, reports indicate that China is constantly manipulating its trade currency in order to gain from uncompetitive trade benefits. The raw material prices and its products have drastically increased. In this respect, many imported raw materials such as aluminium, steel, and iron ore increased by two thirds in 2004.[27] The Chinese government used administrative control to reduce cost of imports that were contributing to the problem. It ensured that the country was able to reduce the number of imports and increase the exports. High number of exports from China helped to sustain the high economic growth and still surpassed any other nation in the number of exports. [28]

Secondly, economist suggests the theory of economic prosperity in China due to large population and geography. It increases the domestic direct investments and trade surplus. Many foreigners, who invest in China, grow the investment reserve. They keep the Yuan undervalued because of cheap labor and cheap currency. Many investors, who want huge multinational enterprises, are relocating to China because of huge profits. For instance, the biggest national bank across the globe is located in China.[29]

By 2014, the United States has filed 15 concerns at the World Trade Organization against China. The concerns are caused by China trade practices, for instance, treatment on tax for goods produced domestically or integrated designed circuits, foreign publication market access, and products designed for audio-visual entertainment. In addition, complaints include policies on production of wind power equipment.[30]

The two nations have settled some complaints through the mutual satisfactory solutions as well as memoranda of understanding. Further, the two nations have set their trade concerns through appellate judgment and panel reports. However, China has been winning some of the cases, and the United States has won others. Fortunately, China has shown willingness to comply with WTO judicial recommendations. In cases involving U.S firms in China, the two countries struck an agreement that provided mutual benefits.[31] Therefore, China has followed the WTO ruling on its importation and distributions policy in a timely manner.

Another source of trade conflict between China and United States is the difference in economic systems of both countries. Since 1978, China has embarked on serious reforms in the economy. The government officials refer the economic system as socialism with Chinese features or state capitalism.[32] Contrary, the economic system in United States is purely free-market where private businesses are given more power. However, the government controls developmental capacity. Large multinational corporations control the economy. Therefore, the difference causes frictions in the economic system.[33]


The best way to improve the U.S-Sino relations involves China to implement more reforms in its systems in order to improve the trade relations with United States. For instance, it should implement more strategic relations in order to prevent polarization that could result in a war between the two nations.[34] Similarly, the United States has a role to play in order to improve the trade relations. In this regard, it should encourage trading relations in China in order to improve the engagement. Further, the two nations should work together in order prevent challenges facing the region such as militarization especially in the pacific. Therefore, the best way for the two nations to improve their relations is to work together for a common goal.


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