Conference: China and the United States in Asia: Conflict or Cooperation
FOCAL AREA: FOCAL AREA GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY
Cooperation: German Association for Asian Studies, Hamburg
The relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America is the most important strategic relation for both countries in the 21st century. Elementary questions of war and peace – globally – are linked to this relationship. However, it also directly affects the region, for example, the role of Japan in Asia and the world. At this current point in time the relationship is also being determined by competitive as well as cooperative elements. The military and political pre-eminence of the USA in the Pacific and its chosen allies in Asia (Japan, South Korea and to a smaller extent Taiwan, Thailand and the Phillipines) continues uninterrupted. At the same time China is the greatest believer in the USA; its economic influence continues to increase, similar to its political influence in the region. China has decided not to challenge the military of the USA in Asia or to engage in an arms race. Nonetheless it is aiming toward a multilateral world order which will question the USA’s unilateral global hegemony. In particular other asian countries would like to align themselves both with China (their most important neighbour) and the USA (their most important export market and part of their defence strategy). However, if the Chinese-US relations were to develop into enmity, then all the countries of Asia and those of Europe would be forced to take sides: a dilemma all would seek to avoid.