The China-U. S. Relations: Dynamic History and Complex Realities Shi Yinhong



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The China-U.S. Relations: Dynamic History and Complex Realities

Shi Yinhong, Ph.D.

Professor of International Relations,

Renmin University of China
The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies (TBC)

Spring Semester

Day and Hour of the Class: Wednesdays, 7:30-10:15 pm

Instructor’s telephone number: 88865790

Instructor’s email address: y.shi@263.net
Course Description
The goal of this course is to help students obtain, in the context of dynamic history and complex realities of power and ideas, a better grasp of the China-U.S. relations, the most important bilateral relations to China at the present as well as in a large part of her modern history, and also increasingly likely the most important ones to the United States in the coming decades. There is already little doubt in the world that the prospects of this bilateral relationship will in a large part shape the world political economy and more. The general orientation of the past evolution of the intercourses between these two powers with very different traditions but the similar “continental” magnitude will be surveyed, the developments in the most recent years and months emphasized, and the predictable future prospects discussed.

The course is characterized, among other things, by prominence of the political and strategic aspects of the international relations and foreign policy, while their social and economic ones are also touched from time to time, especially when they do have significant politico-strategic implications. As in most other courses in the field of international studies almost anywhere, students are expected to have at least a minimum grounding in general international political theories. There may be often a largely consistent theme or framework of “grand strategy” emerged in discussing, which has been marked by a holistic approach, a focus on the calculated relationship between ends and means, a constant concern with the cost-effectiveness of different policy options, and the most important strategic quality of unrelenting adaptation to the unending changes of the world.


The weekly themes of the course are as follows:

  1. The emergence of the American preponderance and China’s evolving relations with the international society

  2. Conflict, confrontation, and rapprochement: the China-U.S. relations in the Cold War years and beyond

  3. Crisis in Tiananmen and its aftermath

  4. From the Embassy bombing, through 9/11, to the 16th Party Congress of the CCP

  5. Toward partnership through vicissitudes

  6. Drastic ups and downs: Obama and China

  7. Obama and China again: Historic rivalry and competition over Asia-Pacific?

  8. Effects of political economy and culture: The United States and the Chinese high Politics

  9. South China Sea dispute: U.S. power in the Pacific and China's maritime aspiration

  10. Northeast Asia: China’s extraordinarily intensive maritime confrontation with Japan

  11. Northeast Asia: China, U.S., and the oft-dramatic North Korea problem, and troubled China-ROK political relations

  12. New problems at a new agenda: Finance, trade, energy, investment, strategic weaponry, and more

  13. China’s rising, and the uncertain future of China-U.S. relations


Course Format
The course is organized as a seminar. It requires students to complete reading the assigned materials, and bring to class their own questions or comments about the readings. It also requires students to actively engage in in-class interactions in the general context of their course reading as well as lecture-listening. Insights with highly practical relevance are particularly welcome.
Each session will begin with a lecture by the instructor, which takes about half of the session time. Then the course will focus on a presentation on one of the sub-topics of the each session by a pre-designated student, with discussions from other course participants, and related topics/issues they want to have discussed. The presentation in its written form (or its outline) can serve as a short reflection paper (see more below).
Course Requirements
Participation 25%

One short reflection paper 25%

Final research paper 50%
A short reflection paper is meant to be 3-4 pages in length, typed. It should demonstrate a student’s strength and scope in reflecting on one sub-topic in China-U.S. relations covered by the course. Documentation of sources of information is not required, but the writer ought to base his/her comments on reliable data and expert opinions as much as possible.
A research paper is meant to be 8-9 pages in length, typed. It should deal with a significant research topic within the general line of the course, be documented and written according to rules and conventions governing in the Beijing Center (TBC). Plagiarism and other academic dishonesty are strictly forbidden. The due date of the final research paper will be announced during the class.
Attendance Policy
Only valid medical or family emergencies qualify as an absence, and documentation of the same must be presented to the professor no later than the next class meeting.
Academic Honesty Statement
Please click the following link to see the Loyola University Chicago/Beijing Center Academic Honesty Statement: http://www.luc.edu/academics/catalog/undergrad/reg_academicintegrity.shtml
Course Topics and Readings*

* Most readings are to be provided by instructor through TBC in course-pack form, others are available in TBC libraries. In addition, students should keep up with current related affairs in publications such as the New York Times (which can be found for free at www.nytimes.com), the Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com), the Asian Times (www.atimes.com), the Straits Times, a prestigious Singapore newspaper with much related reporting or comments (it free website as www. straitstimes.asia1.com), and the China’s no.1 official newspaper, the People’s Daily (in English at http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/home.html), etc. A truly excellent and free web service is Taiwan Security Research (www.taiwansecurity.org), update on the Taiwan issue, China’s foreign policy, Sino-American relations, and East Asian security.


* There are four required (optional) books for this course, i.e.: (1) Harry Harding, A Fragile Relationship: The United States and China since 1972 [Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1992]; (2) C. Fred Bergsten, Charles Freeman, Nicholas R. Lardy, and Derek J. Mitchell, China’s Rise: Challenges and Opportunities [Washington, D.C.: Peterson Institute for International Economics & Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2008]; (3) Mark Leonard, What Does China Think [London: Fourth Estate, 2008]; (4) Jefferey A. Bader, Obama and China's Rise: An Insider's Account of America's Asia Strategy [Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution Press, 2012]. All of them are excellent and very useful. If one would be particularly interested in historical and “philosophical” thinking about China and her probable impacts upon the future course of world history, one could read Martin Jacques, When China Rules the World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World [London: Allen Lane: 2009], an innovative, insightful, and controversial book.
I. The emergence of the American preponderance and China’s evolving relations with the international society
Required readings:
Geoffrey Barraclough, An Introduction to Contemporary History (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1967), Chapter 4 (“From the European Balance of Power to the Age of World Politics”);

Akira Iriye, Across the Pacific: An Inner History of American-East Asian Relations (New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1967), Chapter 1 (“The Initial Encounter, 1780-1880”);

Gerrit W. Gong, The Standard of “Civilization” in International Society (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), Chapter 5 (“The Standard of ‘Civilization’ and the Entry of China into International Society”);

Martin Jacques, When China Rules the World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World (London: Allen Lane: 2009), Chapter 4 (“China’s Ignominy”).


II. Conflict, confrontation, and rapprochement: the China-U.S. relations in the Cold War years and beyond
Required readings:
Warren Cohen, America’s Response to China, 2nd edition (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1971), Chapter 7 (“Great Aberration”);

Michal H. Hunt ed., Crisis in U.S. Foreign Policy (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996), Chapter 4 (“The Sino-American Collision in Korea, 1948-1951”);

Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals, Mao’s Last Revolution (Cambridge, Mass. and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2006), Introduction;

Li Jie, “Chinese Domestic Politics and the Normalization of Sino-U.S. Relations, 1969-1979,” in William C. Kirby, Robert S. Ross, and Gong Li, eds., Normalization of U.S.-China Relations (Cambridge, Mass. and London: Harvard University Asia Center, 2005);

Harry Harding, A Fragile Relationship: The United States and China since 1972 (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1992), pp. 33-66.
III. Crisis in Tiananmen and its aftermath
Required readings:
John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History (New York: Penguin Books, 2005), Chapter 7 (“The Triumph of Hope”);

Harry Harding, A Fragile Relationship: The United States and China since 1972 (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1992), Chapters 7 and 8 (“Crisis” and “Deadlock”);

Andrew J. Nathan and Perry Link, eds., The Tiananmen Papers (New York: PublicAffairs, 2001), pp. xxix-xxxv, 455-457 (“Deng Xiaoping’s Struggle for Reform”);

Andrew J. Nathan, “Authoritarian Resilience: Institutionalization and the Transition to China’s Fourth Generation,” in Christopher Marsh and June Teufel Dreyer, eds., U.S.-China Relations in the 21st Century (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2003), pp. 13-25.


IV. From the Embassy bombing, through 9/11, to the 16th Party Congress of the CCP

Required readings:
Michael Pillsbury, China Debates the Future Security Environment (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 2000), Chapter 7 (“Conclusions”);

Michael D. Swaine and Ashley J. Tellis, Interpreting China’s Grand Strategy: Past, Present, and Future, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2000, p. 112-140;

“Bending in the U.S. Storm,” The Far Eastern Economic Review, October 24, 2002;

Shi Yinhong, “The Fifteen Years of China’s Diplomacy and Strategy toward the United States: The Process of Evolution, Fundamental Experiences, and Remaining Problems” (unpublished English outline, written in 2003, of a 2004 published Chinese article).


V. Toward partnership through vicissitudes
Required readings:
Ching Cheong, “Pressure from US and China Limits Taiwan Separatism,” Straits Times, May 21, 2004;

Bonnie S. Glaser and Jane Skanderup, “Anxiety About Taiwan Hits New Highs,” Pacific Forum, CSIS, 2nd quarter 2004;

Murry Hiebert, Jason Dean, and Charles Hutzler, “U.S.-China Tensions Resurface,” The Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2005;

“The Dragon Comes Calling,” The Economist, September 2, 2005;

Demetri Sevastopulo, “Pentagon Report to Portray China as Emerging Rival,” Financial Times, May 24, 2005;

Paul Kelly, “US Seeks New Path to China,” Australian, December 10, 2005;

Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, “Iran: Russia, China Drift toward U.S.,” Asia Time, May 12, 2006;

Glenn Kessler, “Rice Sees Bright Spot in China’s New Role since N. Korean Test,” The Washington Post, October 22, 2006.


VI. Drastic ups and downs: Obama and China

Required readings:

Chris Buckley, “China Weights Assertion and Caution in U.S. Shadow,” Reuters, January 20, 2009;

Helene Cooper, Michael Wines, and David E. Sanger, “China’s Rule as U.S. Lender Alters Dynamics for Obama,” The New York Times, November 14, 2009;

Calum MacLeod, “No Breakthroughs Made, but China Keeps Obama Busy,” USA Today, November 17, 2009;

“Copenhagen Talks Show G2 Far from Reality,” Agency France Presse, December 21, 2009;

Peter Ford, “Clinton Bluntly Condemns China on Internet Censorship,” Christian Science Monitor, January 21, 2010;

Tania Branigan, “Chinese Media Accuses U.S. of ‘Cold War Thinking’ over Taiwan Arms Deal,” Guardian, February 1, 2010;

“It’s Time for Obama Administration to Burst Beijing’s Bubble,” Editorial, The Washington Post, February 4, 2010;

Ewen MacAskill and Mark Tran, “China and U.S. Extend Thaw as Hu Jingtao Confirms Nuclear Summit Visit,” Guardian, April 1, 2010;

Michael Wines, “Behind a Military Chill: A More Forceful China,” The New York Times, June 8, 2010;

Michael Sainsbury, “Beijing Furious over U.S. Exercises,” The Australian, August 14, 2001;

Mark Landler, “U.S. Challenge China on Island Chain,” The New York Times, July 23, 2001;

Mark Landler and Sewell Chan, “Taking Harder Stance toward China, Obama Lines Up Allies,” The New York Times, October 25, 2010;

Keith Richburg, “U.S.-China Relationship Shifts toward Deep Distrust,” The Washington Post, November 7, 2010.



VII. Obama and China again: Historic rivalry over Asia-Pacific?

Required readings:

David Shambaugh, "US-China Relations Take A New Direction?" YaleGlobal, January 24, 2011;

Shi Yinhong, "Trouble in the Backyard," China Economic Quarterly, March 2012;

David E. Sanger, "Three Faces of the New China," The New York Times, September 25, 2010;

Ian Johnson and Jackie Calmes," As U.S. Looks to Asia, Its Sees China Everywhere," The New York Times, November 15, 2011;

Jackie Calmes, "U.S. and Australia Seal Expand Military Ties," The New York Times, November 16, 2011;

Floyd Whaley, "Clinton Reaffirm Military Ties with Philippines," The New York Times, November 16, 2011;

Jackie Calmes, "Obama's Trip Emphasizes Role of Pacific Rim," The New York Times, November 18, 2011;

Thomas Fuller and Mark Landler, "As Myanmar Eases Controls, U.S. Sees Diplomatic Opening," The New York Times, November 18, 2011;

Jane Perlez, "China to Seek More Equal Footing with U.S. in Talks," The New York Times, May 29, 2013;

Scott Wilson and William Wan, "Obama, Xi Summit Could Help Define U.S.-China Relationship for Years to Come," The Washington Post, June 5, 2013;

Edward Wong, "China's Communist Party Chief Acts to Bolster Military," The New York Times, December 14, 2012;

Calum MacLeod, "China Launches Charm Offensive as Obama Cancels Asia Trip," USA Today, October 4, 2013.

VIII. Effects of Political Economy and Transnational Culture: The United States and the Chinese High Politics
Required readings:
David Barboza and Sharon LaFraniere, "‘Princelings’ in China Use Family Ties to Gain Riches," The New York Times, May 18, 2012;

Andrew Higgins and Maureen Fan, "Chinese Communist Leaders Denounce U.S. Values but Send Children to U.S. Colleges," The Washington Post, May 19, 2012;

Andrew Jacobs and Dan Levin, "Sons Parties and Privilege Aggravate Fall of Elite Chinese Family," The New York Times, April 17, 2012;

Mark McDonald, "In China, a Ferrari Crashes and the Party Is Dented," International Herald Tribune, September 3, 2012;

Michael Wines, "A Populist’s Downfall Exposes Divisions in China’s Ruling Party," The New York Times, April 7, 2012;

John Garnaut, "The Revenge of Wen Jiabao," Foreign Policy, March 29, 2012;

Steven Lee Myers and Mark Landler, "Frenzied Hours for U.S. on Fate of a China Insider," The New York Times, April 17, 2012;

Jane Perlez, "A New Pawn in China’s Two Tugs of War," The New York Times, April 28, 2012;

Barbara Demick, "China's Xi Jinping Appears More Maoist than Reformer So Far," Los Angeles Times, June 8, 2013.

IX. South China Sea dispute: U.S. power in the Pacific and China's maritime aspiration
Required reading:
Chris Buckley, "China Reported Saying U.S. Navy Ship Was Breaking Law," Reuters, March 10, 2009;

Don Lee, "China Says U.S. Provoked Naval Confrontation," Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2009;

Mark Landler, "U.S. Challenges China on Island Chain," The New York Times, July 23, 2010;

Greg Torode and Minnie Chan, "For China, War Games Are Steel behind the Statements," South China Morning Post, July 31, 2010;

“Seas Fill with Tension over China’s Moves,” Asahi Shimbun, October 2, 2010;

Seth Mydans, "Shared Concern About China Aligns U.S. and Vietnam," The New York Times, October 10, 2010;

John Pomfret, "Clinton urges Cambodia to strike a balance with China," The Washington Post, November 1, 2010;

Craig Whitlock, "U.S. Eyes Return to Some Southeast Asia Military Bases," The Washington Post, June 23, 2012;

Mark Landler, "Obama Expresses Support for Philippines in China Rift," The New York Times, June 8, 2012;

Jane Perlez, "China Asserts Sea Claim With Politics and Ships," The New York Times, August 11, 2012.


X. Northeast Asia: China’s extraordinarily intensive maritime confrontation with Japan
Required reading:
Norimitsu Onishi and Howard D. French, “Japan’s Rivalry with China Is Stirring a Crowded Sea,” The New York Times, September 11, 2005;

“Government Leader Flinch at China Intimidation,” Yomuiri Shimbun, September 26, 2010;

“Official OK to Anti-Japan Rallies Backfired in China,” Asahi Shimbun, October 23, 2010;

Chico Harlan and Jia Lynn Yang, "China Sends Patrol Boats to Contested Islands," The Washington Post, September 11, 2012;

Malcolm Moore, "China Seized by Second Day of Violent Anti-Japan Protests," Daily Telegraph, September 16, 2012;

Martin Fackler, "In Shark-Infested Waters, Resolve of Two Giants Is Tested," The New York Times, September 22, 2012;

William Wan, "Chinese Government Both Encourages and Reins in Anti-Japan Protests, Analysts Say," The Washington Post, September 17, 2012;

Chico Harlan, "With China’s Rise, Japan Shifts to the Right," The Washington Post, September 21, 2012;

"China Must Stop Threats in Maritime Disputes, Says US Defence Chief Panetta," South China Morning Post, February, 7, 2013.
XI. Northeast Asia: China, U.S., and the oft-dramatic North Korea problem, with troubled China-ROK political relations
Required reading:
Shi Yinhong, “China and the North Korean Nuclear Issue: Competing Interests and Persistent Policy Dilemmas,” The Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, Vol. 21, No. 1 (March 2009);

Choe Sung-hun, “China Aims to Steady North Korea,” The New York Times, October 6, 2009;

Mark MacDonald, “Military Role Bolstered at N. Korea Conference,” The New York Times, September 28, 2010;

“N. Korea, China Enjoy ‘Honeymoon Period’ in Bilateral Ties,” Donga Ilbo, October 13, 2010;

Shi Yinhong, "New Games in the Tightly Fixed Structures: North Korea's Volatile Desperation and China's Cornered Strategy," The Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, Vol. 23, No. 3 (September 2011);

Shi Yinhong, "Prospects of North Korea under Kim Jong-Un's Regime: A Reformist State but Still Dictatorial, Unpeaceful, and Nuclear?" (Paper presented to "The 8th Northeast Asian Security Policy Forum," held on September 3, 2012 at Korea National Defence University[KNDU]);

Tania Branigan, "China's Patience with North Korea Wears Thin after Latest Nuclear Test," Guardian, February 12, 2013;

"Obama and Xi Agree on North Korea, Discuss Cybersecurity at Summit," Reuters, June 9, 2013;

Barbara Demick, "North Korea's Kim Signals He's Willing to Talk in Letter to China's Xi," Los Angeles Times, May 24, 2013;

Bruce Klingner, “China Shock for South Korea,” Asia Times, September 11, 2004;

Shi Yinhong, “China and ROK: Bizarre Political Relationship and Huge Strategic Suspicions”

[An excerpt from idem, “China, the North Korea Problem, and the Korean Peninsular,” paper presented to a conference organized by Research Institute for National Security Studies at KNDU on December 8, 2009];

Chris Buckley and Jack Kim, “China’s Embrace of North Korea’s Kim Irks Neighbors,” Reuters, May 7, 2010;

Bae Myung-bok, “Black Hole of China,” Joongang Daily, July 28, 2010.


XII. New problems in a new agenda: Finance, trade, energy, investment, strategic weaponry, and more
Required readings:

Goh Sui Noi, “China and US Economies on Collision Course,” Straits Times, September 14, 2004;

Charles Horner, “What Will China Do with All that Money,” The Washington Post, January 16, 2007;

Joseph Kahn and Jim Yardley, “As China Rises, Pollution Soars,” International Herald Tribune, August 25, 2007;

Harry Harding, “China: Think Again!” PacNet #17, Pacific Forum, CSIS, April 5, 2007;

Peter Ford, “Clinton Bluntly Condemns China on Internet Censorship,” The Christian Science Monitor, January 21, 2010;

James Kynge, “China and West: Full Circle,” Financial Times, January 15, 2010;

Chietigi Bajipaee, “China Fuels Energy Cold War,” Asia Time, March 2, 2005;

Barton W. Marcois and Leland R. Miller, “China, U.S. interests Conflict,” Washington Times, March 25, 2005;

Shi Yinhong, “The Truth Regarding Tibet: From A Chinese Perspective,” The Washington Post, August 4, 2008;

Kathrin Hille, “Xinjiang Ethnic Groups United in Hostility,” Financial Times, September 4, 2009;

Al Guo, “U.S. Groups Accused of Backing Separatists,” South China Morning Post, July 9, 2009;

Mark Stokes and Dan Blumenthal, "Why China's Missiles Should Be Our Focus," The Washington Post, January 2, 2011;

John Pomfret, "China's Military Seems to Have a New Attitude: Lots of Chutzpah," The Washington Post, January 7, 2011;

Keith Bradsher, "China’s Missile Advances Could Thwart U.S. Defenses, Analysts Say," The New York Times, August 24, 2012;

David E. Sanger, David Barboza, and Nicole Perlroth, "Chinese Army Unit Is Seen as Tied to Hacking against U.S.," The New York Times, February 18, 2013;

Kathrin Hille, "Global Insight: China’s Silence over US Snooping Is Golden," Financial Times, June 13, 2013.



XIII. China’s rising, and the uncertain future of the China-U.S. relations
Required readings:
John Pomfret, “U.S. Continues Effort to Counter China’s Influence in Asia,” The Washington Post, July 23, 2010;

Joseph Kahn, “China Courts Africa, Angling for Strategic Gains,” The New York Times, November 3, 2006;

Simon Romero, “Tensions over Chinese Mining Venture in Peru,” The New York Times, August 14, 2010;

Azar Gat, “The Return of Authoritarian Great Powers,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007.

Shi Yinhong, “The Roles China Ought to Play in the World," The German Marshall Fund of the United States, Stockholm China Forum Paper Series, June 2011;

Shi Yinhong, "China's New Leadership: Prospects for Foreign Policy and the China-U.S. Relationship" (A Lecture delivered at The Faculty of Political Science, Moscow State University, on October 13, 2013);



Arnold Toynbee, “The Growths of Civilizations,” from idem, A Study of History, a new edition revised and abridged by the author and Jane Caplan (New York: Weathervane Books, 1972).




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