Cover: Convergent and Divergent U.S.-China Interests

Convergent and Divergent U.S.-China Interests

Designing "Win-Win" Portfolios: Test of Concept

Published Mar 8, 2016

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.

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

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