Convergent and Divergent U.S.-China Interests

Designing "Win-Win" Portfolios: Test of Concept

by Charles Wolf, Jr., Eric V. Larson, Marlon Graf

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The aim of this "test-of-concept" document is to develop several portfolios of possible deals, bargains, or arrangements between the U.S. and China that: (a) illustrate their convergent and divergent interests (including both security and economic interests); (b) suggest how their convergent interests can be enhanced for their mutual benefit; (c) illustrate how their divergent interests might be mitigated by reciprocal concessions that (together with (b) above) can produce "win-win" outcomes that both sides would view as preferable to present circumstances; and (d) are potentially negotiable, verifiable, and sustainable. Based on our preliminary work, we assess that several potential "win-win" outcomes can be reached by the United States and China through reciprocal concessions, such as U.S. reductions in arms sales to Taiwan, while China reciprocates by deferring sovereignty issues in the South China Sea (SCS) and instead agrees to vest SCS mineral and other resources in a multinational holding company whose ownership is shared among China and other claimant countries. The report should be of interest to U.S. and Chinese foreign affairs and defense policymakers who are involved in managing the U.S.-China bilateral relationship. This research was sponsored by a grant from a private foundation.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction: Developing “Win-Win” Portfolios

  • Chapter Two

    Method and Sequence

  • Chapter Three

    Structuring “Win-Win” Portfolios

  • Chapter Four

    Decision Process, Portfolio Assessment, and Supporting Research

  • Chapter Five

    Quantifying Benefits and Costs Associated with Portfolios I and II

  • Chapter Six

    Concluding Comments

  • Appendix A

    Selected List of Convergent and Divergent Interests Between U.S. and China

  • Appendix B

    Quantification Examples for U.S.-China Convergent and Divergent Interests

  • Appendix C

    US-China Convergent/Divergent Interests: Draft Questionnaire

This research was conducted by the International Security and Defense Policy Center within the RAND National Security Research Division.

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