China–United States relations
China–United States relations, more often known as U.S.-China relations, China-U.S. relations or Sino-American relations, refer to international relations between the United States of America and the People's Republic of China, the countries with the two largest economies in the world.
- President Trump is myopically focused on trade with China, which is only part of the picture. There are many other areas where aides agree we should be holding the Communist government's feet to the fire. Yet the foreign policy team can't really get him to focus on anything but the trade war. Americans should ask: Where is his Chinese human rights policy? Why is he so silent about the most significant pro-democracy demonstrations in the regime in two decades, when folks around him are pushing him to act? Where is his proposal to contest China's influence region by region? Is there any long-term plan? There are government bureaucrats who care about these questions and have their own designs. We've discussed ideas around the table, but it doesn't matter if it isn't part of a bigger plan. The president can say he wants to keep his enemies guessing, but we all know those are the words of a man without a plan.
- Anonymous, A Warning (2019), p. 172-173
- China should be our biggest worry. In his first-ever speech on the Senate floor, Mitt Romney compared Beijing to "the cook that kills the frog in a pot of boiling water, smiling and cajoling as it slowly turns up the military and economic heat." Mitt is right. The United States is taking its eye off the ball with China, and our national response has been ad hoc and indecisive under President Trump. We have no serious plan to safeguard our "empire of liberty" against China's rise. There is only the ever-changing negotiating positions of a grifter in chief, which will not be enough to win what is fast becoming the next Cold War.
- Anonymous, A Warning (2019), p. 172-173
- The deepening cold war between the US and China will be a bigger worry for the world than coronavirus, according to influential economist Jeffrey Sachs. The world is headed for a period of "massive disruption without any leadership" in the aftermath of the pandemic, he told the BBC. The divide between the two superpowers will exacerbate this, he warned. The Columbia University professor blamed the US administration for the hostilities between the two countries...."The US is a force for division, not for cooperation," he told me in an interview with BBC's Asia Business Report. "It's a force for trying to create a new cold war with China. If this takes hold - if that kind of approach is used, then we won't go back to normal, indeed we will spiral into greater controversy and greater danger in fact."
- US China cold war 'bigger global threat than virus, BBC News (21 June 2020)
- I do think that the central political ideas articulated in Chinese culture ought to serve as the standard for evaluating political progress or regress in China. And I do think those values are different from the liberal ideas embraced in the United States. There is a huge gap between the ideal and the reality-that is always the case. But the more fundamental question is what should serve as the standard?
- But the other achievement of China is that it has not fought a war since 1979. Just compare that record with that of the U.S. So although there are those in Washington D.C. who worry about China emerging as a threatening military power, there is not much basis for that speculation in China’s recent historical record... But the sense of insecurity in China, however, is real. China thinks it is literally surrounded by American military bases, and there are some grounds for that concern. In the long term that sort of a build up, considering China’s desire to engage the world in trade and finance, is simply not sustainable for the long term... It is hard to imagine that the United States will remain the dominant military power in the region in thirty, forty, fifty years’ time. From the perspective of history, such anticipation simply does not make sense. It is natural that China will want to exercise more weight in this part of the world, meaning East Asia... Not only does the United States claim that their democratic model is best for them, but it's that it is best for the rest of the world. Some Americans assume that alternative systems are fundamentally illegitimate. Naturally this attitude upsets many Chinese... They think, who are you to lecture us about political systems, with only a few hundred years of history? You are bound by a constitution that is not fully appropriate for dealing with contemporary challenges. To my mind, both sides should work on areas of common concern while allowing that there may be justifiable differences regarding forms of government in different political contexts.
- Trump spoke with Xi Jinping by phone on June 18, ahead of 2019's Osaka G20 summit, when they would next meet. Trump began by telling Xi he missed him and then said that the most popular thing he had ever been involved with was making a trade deal with China, which would be a big plus politically. They agreed their economic teams could continue meeting. The G20 bilateral arrived, and during the usual media mayhem at the start, Trump said, "we've become friends. My trip to Beijing with my family was one of the most incredible of my life." With the press gone, Xi said this is the most important bilateral relationship in the world. He said that some (unnamed) political figures in the United States were making erroneous judgments by calling for a new cold war, this time between China and the United States. Whether Xi meant to finger the Democrats, or some of us sitting on the US side of the table, I don't know, but Trump immediately assumed Xi meant the Democrats. Trump said approvingly that there was great hostility among the Democrats. He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming US presidential election, alluding to China's economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he'd win. He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump's exact words, but the government's prepublication review process has decided otherwise.
- A 'superpower' is a country that wields enough military, political and economic might to convince nations in all parts of the world to do things they otherwise wouldn't. Pundits have rushed to label China the next superpower, and so have many ordinary Americans, but the rumors of America's decline have been greatly exaggerated. In the key categories of power, the U.S. will remain dominant for the foreseeable future... Facts show why America is still the world's only superpower, and why that won't change anytime soon... Little of China's dramatic economic growth is finding its way into the pockets of Chinese consumers; the byproduct of an economy driven by massive state-owned enterprises rather than private industry. China's headline growth may be higher, but it's the U.S. economy that's allowing its citizens to grow along with it.
- The United States of America and the Emperor of China cordially recognize the inherent and inalienable right of man to change his home and allegiance, and also the mutual advantage of the free migration and emigration of their citizens and subjects respectively from the one country to the other, for purposes of curiosity, of trade, or as permanent residents. The high contracting parties, therefore, join in reprobating any other than an entirely voluntary emigration for these purposes. They consequently agree to pass laws making it a penal offence for a citizen of the United States or Chinese subjects to take Chinese subjects either to the United States or to any other foreign country, or for a Chinese subject or citizen of the United States to take citizens of the United States to China or to any other foreign country, without their free and voluntary consent respectively.
- Burlingame-Seward Treaty (1868), Article V.
- The United States welcomes the emergence of a China that is peaceful and prosperous and that supports international institutions.
- I'm not one of these people that believes that conflict with China is inevitable or likely. It's certainly not desirable. But there is a tendency in parts of Chinese thinking which says, 'We need not only to be an important power in the region, we need to dominate the region!'. That's an impulse that the United States naturally will as it has in so many ways over the last seventy years, provide a counterweight to. Because we're the anchor there... The American approach is not to dominate... The system that we have promoted for security and also commerce in Asia for seventy years is one in which everyone gets to rise and prosper. Think about the history, there... Think about the history in which Japan recovered from World War II and became a great economic powerhouse, then South Korea, then Taiwan, then Southeast Asia. Today, China and India. Now, why was that? What was the security anchor underneath all of that. The answer is it has been the pivotal role of the United States and that's a role we intend to keep, to continue to play and if the Chinese actually think about it and many of them do, they know that's the environment in which China has gotten to find it's own way from poverty and isolation back in Mao's day to where they are today.
- Since 1979, do you know how many times China has been at war with anybody? None. And we have stayed at war. (The United States is) the most warlike nation in the history of the world... How many miles of high-speed railroad do we have in this country?... We have wasted, I think, $3 trillion (military spending) ... China has not wasted a single penny on war, and that's why they're ahead of us. In almost every way... And I think the difference is if you take $3 trillion and put it in American infrastructure, you'd probably have $2 trillion left over. We'd have high-speed railroad. We'd have bridges that aren't collapsing. We'd have roads that are maintained properly. Our education system would be as good as that of, say, South Korea or Hong Kong.
- Jimmy Carter quoted in President Trump Called Former President Jimmy Carter To Talk About China, Emma Hurt, NPR (April 15, 2019)
- We all know that if Russia or China were guilty of what we have done in Vietnam, we would be exploding with moral indignation at these monstrous crimes.
- ...I don't feel that they deserve a blanket condemnation at all. There are many things to object to in any society. But take China, modern China; one also finds many things that are really quite admirable. [...] There are even better examples than China. But I do think that China is an important example of a new society in which very interesting positive things happened at the local level, in which a good deal of the collectivization and communization was really based on mass participation and took place after a level of understanding had been reached in the peasantry that led to this next step.
- Noam Chomsky The Legitimacy of Violence as a Political Act? Noam Chomsky debates with Hannah Arendt, Susan Sontag, et al." in New York, December 15, 1967
- The threat of China is not military. The threat of China is they can't be intimidated... Europe you can intimidate. When the US tries to get people to stop investing in Iran, European companies pull out, China disregards it. You look at history and understand why — they've been around for 4,000 years, they have contempt for the barbarians, they just don't give a damn. OK, you scream, we'll go ahead and take over a big piece of Saudi or Iranian oil. And that's the threat, you can't intimidate them — it's driving people in Washington berserk. But, you know, of all the major powers, they've been the least aggressive militarily.
- China and Iran have drafted a “sweeping economic and security partnership,” according to The New York Times... This “strategic partnership” is the result of Donald Trump’s punishing sanctions against Iran... If China and Iran conclude their partnership agreement, Trump would presumably be less likely to use military force against Iran. If he did, he would have to be willing to take on China as well. That would be most unwise.
- People experienced in the 10 to 12 years before 9/11 an extraordinary transformation of the world. For the people involved, some of these were tremendous... the Chinese experiment which has steadily brought a large section of the population into a material abundance which they have never known before. None of the people in China had experienced the quality of life or the material affluence that the eastern seaboard of China now does. Perhaps 20 million people can now experience the material well-being of the more affluent parts of Europe and America. This is altogether new and has alleviated elsewhere in China a tremendous amount of poverty. It is true that there are sections of China which are still poor, but as a whole China has come out of the agonizing poverty which it knew before... People... have found a growing interdependence, a recognition of the oneness of humanity and the necessity of seeing the world as one, and that real changes are possible only on a global scale
- It is a national disgrace that having excluded Chinese immigration by law, the hundred thousand Chinese who are so unlucky as to be caught in the country are outraged by foreign mobs, while the government politely regrets that it can do nothing.
- We are ready to expand the friendly people-to-people exchanges and enhance exchanges and cooperation in science, technology, culture, education, and other areas... Enhanced interactions and cooperation between China and the United States serve the interests of our two peoples and are conducive to world peace and development. We should stay firmly rooted in the present while looking ahead to the future, and view and approach China-U.S. relations from a strategic and long-term perspective... We should... respect each other as equals and promote closer exchanges and cooperation. This will enable us to make steady progress in advancing constructive and cooperative China-U.S. relations, and bring more benefits to our two peoples and people of the world...
- What the Chinese want, I think, is respect for what they’ve created...What the Chinese want is acknowledgement of the validity of what they have done and what they have created: the legitimacy of the rise of China from its colonial past and from poverty... I actually believe in a community’s right to dismiss the government. But you’ve got to remember that China is broadly a Confucian society that believes in harmony, in authority, and it is with this background that it accepts, I think broadly, the role of the Chinese Communist party.
I mean, the idea that we have that if you don’t vote at the local ballot box, that is, if you are not a Jeffersonian liberal, then you are a savage, belies the fact that China has a 4,000-year history which has these characteristics about it.
- China faces a worrisome imbalance of intellectual trade with the United States. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Chinese know less about the United States than Americans know about China. Most Chinese students and scholars interested in the United States concentrate either on English language and literature or on Sino-American diplomatic history and policy studies... By contrast, Americans have done surveys, oral histories, and archival research in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences all across China, including such sensitive areas as Tibet and Xinjiang. Since China's opening to the West, 30 years ago, Americans have acquired remarkably detailed insights about nearly every aspect of traditional and contemporary China... The relative thinness of China's grasp of the American way of life should not be surprising. The serious study of the United States is still young, and China has lacked the resources to look beyond practical and immediate issues such as language, business, law, and diplomacy.
- Terry Lautz, "China's Deficit in American Studies" (12 August 2010), The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Cooperation must be based upon sound rules. This teaches orderliness; that is, it helps the acquirement of a rhythm. Thus even in daily work are expressed the great laws of the Universe. It is especially needed to become accustomed from childhood to continuous labor. Let the better evolution be built upon labor as the measure of value. Labor must be voluntary. Cooperation must be voluntary.
- Morya, New Era Community (1926)
- Cooperation is difficult in the absence of communication.
- Joseph Nye, Understanding International Conflicts - An Introduction to Theory and History (Sixth Edition), Chapter 1, Is There an Enduring Logic of Conflict in World Politics?, p. 16.
- No diplomatic relationship matters more to China's future than its dealings with the United States.
- Evan Osnos, "Born Red: How Xi Jinping, an unremarkable provincial administrator, became China’s most authoritarian leader since Mao." (6 April 2015), The New Yorker.
- From a Chinese point of view, an electoral system that produces somebody like Trump — utterly inexperienced in governance but a skilled demagogue — is an absurdity, the equivalent of picking a major company’s CEO through a horse race. In China, leaders need to be carefully chosen, groomed, and pushed, gaining experience at every level of the Communist Party system before being anointed for the top job. That comes amid a flurry of brutally nasty and corrupt internal struggles at each level, mind you... Although China regularly trashes the US, the country’s growth has been dependent, ironically enough, on a strong, stable and prosperous United States willing to trade with the world. Globalization, as Chinese authors have repeatedly argued in the last few months, is vital for a country that needs the markets of others to keep pushing its population into the middle class and achieve the dream of being a “moderately prosperous” country by 2020... China and the United States have often been compared to the two wings of the global economy; if one goes, they spiral down together.
- James Palmer, "China Just Won the U.S. Election" (9 November 2016), Foreign Policy
- The coming war on China is likely to happen by mistake or accident as a result of deliberate provocations by the US and its echoes. Under cover of the pandemic, the Trump regime is sending strategic bombers and spy drones within sight of China itself. Our silence is our peril.
- I grew up in the cold war. Third-rate academics and a rag bag of charlatans made fools of themselves with their mighty conspiracy theory of Chinese (aka the Yellow Peril) under our beds. They're back!
- It’s difficult to separate the Uygurs from the barrage of anti-China denunciations coming from the US, most of which have a script familiar to those who follow America’s ‘soft’ campaigns against its strategic enemies... The leading US media are invariably the cipher. ‘In China, every day is Kristallnacht’, declared The Washington Post [last November], likening China’s treatment of the Uygurs to that of the Nazi genocide of the Jews.... That’s not untypical; it reads as if it has been written by the US Agency for International Development or the National Endowment for Democracy, which fills in for the CIA. No one doubts the ruthless reaction of Beijing to separatists, but as a reporter, I would like to see for myself.
- When the thirteen stripes and stars first appeared at Canton, much curiosity was excited among the people. News was circulated that a strange ship had arrived from the further end of the world, bearing a flag 'as beautiful as a flower'. Every body went to see the kwa kee chuen, or 'flower flagship'. This name at once established itself in the language, and America is now called the kwa kee kwoh, the 'flower flag country', and an American, kwa kee kwoh yin, 'flower flag countryman', a more complimentary designation than that of 'red headed barbarian', the name first bestowed upon the Dutch.
- George Henry Preble, Our Flag: Origin and Progress of the Flag of the United States of America (1872), Albany: Joel Munsell, p. 217
- The history of all peoples is full of bloody and revolting pages. So much blood has been spilled for every new construction, every new teaching or religion! That is why humanity urgently must learn the two great concepts — Tolerance and Cooperation. On these two foundations the New Epoch will be built.
- Helena Roerich, Letters I, 6 June 1935
- Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.
- We cannot, if we would, play the part of China, and be content to rot by inches in ignoble ease within our borders, taking no interest in what goes on beyond them, sunk in a scrambling commercialism; heedless of the higher life, the life of aspiration, of toil and risk, busying ourselves only with the wants of our bodies for the day, until suddenly we should find, beyond a shadow of question, what China has already found, that in this world the nation that has trained itself to a career of un-warlike and isolated ease is bound, in the end, to go down before other nations which have not lost the manly and adventurous qualities. If we are to be a really great people, we must strive in good faith to play a great part in the world.
- The US is a force for division, not for cooperation... The US lost its step on 5G, which is a critical part of the new digital economy. And Huawei was taking a greater and greater share of global markets... The US concocted in my opinion, the view that Huawei is a global threat. And has leaned very hard on US allies... to try to break the relations with Huawei... Do I believe that China could do more to ease fears that are very real? I do.... The big choice frankly is in China's hands. If China is cooperative, if it engages in diplomacy, regional cooperation and multilateralism…. then I think that Asia has an incredibly bright future.
- Jeffrey Sachs quoted in US China cold war 'bigger global threat than virus' By Karishma Vaswani, BBC News (21 June 2020)
- If the Chinese come here, they will come for citizenship or merely for labor. If they come for citizenship, then in this desire do they give a pledge of loyalty to our institutions; and where is the peril in such vows? They are peaceful and industrious; how can their citizenship be the occasion of solicitude?
America’s Unholy Crusade Against China, Jeffrey Sachs, (5 August 2020)
- Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered an anti-China speech that was extremist, simplistic, and dangerous. If biblical literalists like Pompeo remain in power past November, they could well bring the world to the brink of a war that they expect and perhaps even seek.
According to Pompeo, Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) harbor a “decades-long desire for global hegemony.” This is ironic... Pompeo’s zealous excesses have deep roots in American history... Pompeo himself is a biblical literalist who believes that the end time, the apocalyptic battle between good and evil, is imminent. Pompeo described his beliefs...: America is a Judeo-Christian nation, the greatest in history, whose task is to fight God’s battles until the Rapture, when Christ’s born-again followers, like Pompeo, will be swept to heaven at the Last Judgment... Pompeo’s inflammatory anti-China rhetoric could become even more apocalyptic in the coming weeks, if only to fire up the Republican base ahead of the election.
- According to Pompeo [U.S. Secretary of State], Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) harbor a “decades-long desire for global hegemony.” This is ironic. Only one country – the US – has a defense strategy calling for it to be the “preeminent military power in the world,” with “favorable regional balances of power in the Indo-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and the Western Hemisphere.” China’s defense white paper, by contrast, states that “China will never follow the beaten track of big powers in seeking hegemony,” and that, “As economic globalization, the information society, and cultural diversification develop in an increasingly multi-polar world, peace, development, and win-win cooperation remain the irreversible trends of the times.”
- One is reminded of Jesus’s own admonition: “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).
- US military spending totaled $732 billion in 2019, nearly three times the $261 billion China spent. The US.. has around 800 overseas military bases, while China has just one (a small naval base in Djibouti). The US has many military bases close to China, which has none anywhere near the US. The US has 5,800 nuclear warheads; China has roughly 320. The US has 11 aircraft carriers; China has one. The US has launched many overseas wars in the past 40 years; China has launched none (though it has been criticized for border skirmishes, most recently with India, that stop short of war).
- The world took relatively little notice of Pompeo’s speech, which offered no evidence to back up his claims of China’s hegemonic ambition. China’s rejection of US hegemony does not mean that China itself seeks hegemony. Indeed, outside of the US, there is little belief that China aims for global dominance. China’s explicitly stated national goals are to be a “moderately prosperous society” by 2021 (the centenary of the CPC), and a “fully developed country” by 2049 (the centennial of the People’s Republic).
- Moreover, at an estimated $10,098 in 2019, China’s GDP per capita was less than one-sixth that of the US ($65,112) – hardly the basis for global supremacy. China still has a lot of catching up to do to achieve even its basic economic development goals. Assuming that Trump loses in November’s presidential election, Pompeo’s speech will likely receive no further notice. The Democrats will surely criticize China, but without Pompeo’s brazen exaggerations. Yet, if Trump wins, Pompeo’s speech could be a harbinger of chaos. Pompeo’s evangelism is real, and white evangelicals are the political base of today’s Republican Party. Pompeo’s zealous excesses have deep roots in American history.
- If Trump is defeated, as seems likely, the risk of a US confrontation with China will recede. But if he remains in power, whether by a true electoral victory, vote fraud, or even a coup (anything is possible), Pompeo’s crusade would probably proceed, and could well bring the world to the brink of a war that he expects and perhaps even seeks.
- Joe Kernen: It was a couple of years ago. Before we get started-- with- we're going talk about the economy and a lot of other things--the CDC-- has identified a case of coronavirus-- in Washington state. The Wuhan strain of this. If you remember SARS, that affected GDP. Travel-related effects. Do you-- have you been briefed by the CDC? And--
- Donald Trump: I have, and--
- Joe Kernen: --are there worries about a pandemic at this point?
- Donald Trump: No. Not at all. And-- we're-- we have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's—going to be just fine.
- Joe Kernen: Okay. And President Xi-- there's just some-- talk in China that maybe the transparency isn't everything that it's going to be. Do you trust that we're going to know everything we need to know from China?
- Donald Trump: I do. I do. I have a great relationship with President Xi. We just signed probably the biggest deal ever made. It certainly has the potential to be the biggest deal ever made. And-- it was a very interesting period of time time.
- Joe Kernen: Yeah. Let’s get into that--
- Donald Trump: But we got it done, and-- no, I do. I think-- the relationship is very, very good.
- China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!
- Donald Trump, in a Twitter post, 24 January 2020, quoted in Trump thanks China's Xi Jinping for handling of coronavirus by Tucker Higgins, CNBC
- Just had a long and very good conversation by phone with President Xi of China. He is strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus. He feels they are doing very well, even building hospitals in a matter of only days. Nothing is easy, but he will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone. Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!
- Donald Trump, in a Twitter thread, 7 February 2020, quoted in Trump Is Inciting a Coronavirus Culture War to Save Himself by Adam Serwer, 24 March 2020, The Atlantic.
- The delays the WHO experienced in declaring a public health emergency cost valuable time tremendous amounts of time; more time was lost in the delay it took to get a team of international experts and to examine the outbreak which we wanted to do which they should have done. The inability of the WHO to obtain virus samples to this date has deprived the scientific community of essential data. New data that emerges across the world on a daily basis points to the unreliability of the initial reports and the world received all sorts of false information about transmission and mortality. The silence of the WHO on the disappearance of scientific researchers and doctors and new restrictions on the sharing of research into the origins of COVID-19 in the country of origin is deeply concerning especially when we put up by far the largest amount of money, not even close. Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China's lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained as a source with very little death, very little death, and certainly very little death by comparison. This would have saved thousands of lives and avoided worldwide economic damage. Instead the WHO willingly took China's assurances to face value, and they took it just at face value and defended the actions of the Chinese government, even praising China for its so-called transparency. I don't think so. The WHO pushed China's misinformation about the virus, saying it was not communicable, and there was no need for travel bans. They told us when we put on our travel ban a very strong travel ban, there was no need to do it. Don't do it; they actually fought us. The WHO's reliance on China's disclosures likely caused a 20-fold increase in cases worldwide, and it may be much more than that.
- American exceptionalism
- Confucian society
- International law
- Military-industrial complex
- Rule of law
- World peace