China-US competition: The Chinese perspective
Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/14684
In the last two decades, the rise of China became the priority concern of the US and the Western world. The competition between China and the US is becoming increasingly more serious during this time of uncertainty and instability. Following the current steps in the development of relations between the two countries it is likely that the competitive relationship between China and the US will essentially get worse in the future. This is a strategic reality. Indeed, the China-US relationship and competition is a dilemma. Whether China and the US can escape from the Thucydides Trap stays uncertain as the situation is approaching a dangerous point, especially when the US and Western countries frequently try to use a Western mentality to understand China regarding international relations, development, and military affairs. Therefore, it is indeed very significant to understand the Chinese perspectives of the China-US competition. The major International Relations theories of this thesis include the Chinese International Relations theory, realism, and offensive realism. The idea of defensive realism and liberalism may play a supportive role in this thesis. Apart from an introduction and conclusion, this thesis includes five major sections. The first section focuses on China’s political and strategic culture. This is very significant for understanding the China-US competition from a Chinese perspective and how to differentiate Chinese views from Western views toward political and strategic culture. In terms of political and strategic culture, it includes history, mentality, ideology, culture, tradition, and political system and how these factors shape the Chinese mentality for its national political and strategic culture today. Understanding China’s political and strategic culture has an important role to play in understanding China’s policymaking, national strategies, and behaviours today. The second section focuses on the Chinese International Relations theory. Even though the Western International Relations theory still dominate the field of IR, it is very significant to understand and consider non-Western views and theories on international politics. This can help to promote mutual understanding and interdependence in the international world. Therefore, it is indeed very important to understand the Chinese International Relations theory especially under the complex international background and the era of China-US competition. The third section focuses on the competition of ideas. This includes Chinese diplomacy under the new era of President Xi Jinping, national manufacturing strategies, the relations between the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Belt and Road Initiative, the diplomatic battle between China and the US over the Uyghur issue due to the establishment of the BRI. The change of China’s national diplomacy with the influence of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy strongly shows China’s changing attitude under the era of China-US competition. China’s clear national manufacturing strategies, SCO and the BRI are some of the major strategic pressures the US is facing, competition towards these areas will become more serious in the future. The fourth section looks at the China-US economic competition. The economic boom and the continuous increase in term of comprehensive economic ability and capability of China is driving China-US economic relations into different forms of competitions. This became clearer under the Trump administration. Trump’s trade war strategy against China escalated the economic competition between China and the US. However, even under competition, there is a need for cooperation and interdependence. The economic phenomenon is not only that China’s economic is rapidly increasing. Also, China is constructing its own way of economic development and systems which are completely different from the US. For example, the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The fifth section considers China-US military competition. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the US military became far more advanced and powerful than any other countries in the world in term of military capability and ability. The US is a truly global military power in the contemporary era. Even though the Chinese military is rapidly rising and modernizing, however, it still needs time to become a real global military power like the US. The PLA in the Asia-Pacific region is a real threat to the US. The 2015 Chinese military reforms made significant changes to the PLA. Therefore, this section will look into the China-US military competition comprehensively including for example, China’s military modernization program, major geographical areas of competition, alliances, and potential alliances. The China-US competition is a strategic reality as China’s rise is challenging the US global hegemony, and the US-Western led world order. China’s resentment towards the West and its national strategies are aiming for systemic change in the US and Western dominant world.
The University of Waikato
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- Masters Degree Theses