Living With China: U.S.-China Relations in the Twenty-First Century

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Living With China: U.S.-China Relations in the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Ezra F. Vogel
W. W. Norton, 1997
352 pp. $25.00
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If there is one indispensable insight that appears throughout the volume, it is that, although the challenges posed by China are great, the United States' opportunity to gain Chinese cooperation on a number of important issues is equally great. As Douglas H. Paal, former special assistant to President Bush, puts it: "China will likely be at most a source of 'problems' for America, not a 'threat.' And problems can be fixed." Or, as the final report puts it: "Some Americans believe that China's policies across the board run counter to U.S. interests and that efforts to moderate Chinese behavior by cooperation will be unproductive. This Assembly rejects this view . . ." As Paal and others point out, historical perspective supports this optimism. For example, China is now an active trade and economic partner, and it has long since ceased aiding pro-Chinese insurgencies in Southeast Asia. Many Chinese would argue that the last two decades have seen marked progress in their promotion of human rights. China has joined many international organizations and conventions, has exercised only two vetoes in the Security Council since 1972, and has ratified the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. If you want a convincing response to Bernstein's and Munro's The Coming Conflict with China, you need look no further.

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