Sino-American relations have evolved drastically over the last several decades. The rise of China has created fears and concerns within certain sectors of the US defense establishment. The question that is asked time and time again is whether or not China poses a threat to American’s regional interests in East Asia. This paper seeks to summarize the main arguments, place them in context, and attempt to answer whether or not China is indeed a threat to the United States, a threat that could use military force to change the prevailing status quo in East Asia.
The United States has economic and political relationships in East Asia, in particular with South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and to a lesser extent, the Philippines. These post-World War Two arrangements are now viewed as critical to the security and economic well-being of the United States. China has undergone a period of rapid economic growth, a growth that now has China increasingly looking beyond its own borders for resources and economic prosperity. Like the United States, China also needs additional natural resources to fuel its growth and wishes to seek out new trade partners and relationships in East Asia and beyond. In order to satisfy its economic growth, China must become a player on the world stage, but does becoming a global actor put China directly at odds with the United States and its own security and economic interests?
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