Sino-American normalization and the politics of international security

by Jonathan D. Pollack

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Speculations concerning the new political era brought about by China's full diplomatic relations with the United States and peace treaty with Japan. The pronounced change in China's concerns dates from the onset of Soviet military pressure in the 1960s. Chinese military doctrine, so long cast in the tenets of "people's war," has shifted to "people's war under modern conditions." The critical impetus that moved the U.S.-Chinese ties forward was "shared concerns" over the Soviet military power. But it is too early to predict if this will lead to unrealistic Chinese expectations about the meaning of a U.S. tie. Chinese leadership has yet to make clear the dominant assumptions underlying their new relationships and the West has yet to clarify the extent of Chinese access to advanced defense technology. The American need to balance this relationship against the ongoing stake in dealing with Moscow is likely to prove difficult.

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