Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Moving U.S.-China Relations Toward a New Model of Major Power Relationship
Press Release

RELEASE: Moving U.S.-China Relations Toward a New Model of Major Power Relationship

Washington, D.C. — Today, at a co-sponsored public event, the Center for American Progress and the China-United States Exchange Foundation released a jointly produced report, “U.S.-China Relations: Toward a New Model of Major Power Relationship.”

The report, which includes individual contributions from CAP and the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, is the culmination of a year of research and exchanges between CAP and the China-United States Exchange Foundation, which included a high-level track II dialogue in Beijing, China, in September 2013.

The report focuses on the concept of a “new model of major power relations,” a framework for the U.S.-China relationship which was originally endorsed by then-Vice President Xi Jinping in 2012 and has since been promoted by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. This concept of a new model of major power relations was the focus of the “shirt-sleeve summit” between President Barack Obama and President Xi at Sunnylands in June 2013.

“The ‘new model’ concept is an inherently positive framework for the U.S.-China relationship that moves both sides beyond the traditional debate over whether a rising power and an established power are destined to clash,” said Rudy deLeon, Senior Vice President of National Security and International Policy at CAP. “The United States and China should work together to strengthen the international architecture of institutions and rules. Both Washington and Beijing have a strong interest in an effective, robust set of international institutions and frameworks that will provide the foundation for a new model of relations.”

The policy discussion between the United States and China on the future of a new model of major power relations will be long term, complicated, and at times contentious, but rethinking how major powers such as the United States and China interact with one another is critical to the effort to build a stable, cooperative relationship. This is a relationship like no other in history, and it will require the continued dedication of both sides to build a new model.

The report proposes to U.S. and Chinese policymakers and concerned leaders that the two countries work intensively on issues where mutual interests can be readily identified and cooperation can be practically substantiated. That will help demonstrate to the American and Chinese general public that building a new model of major power relations can bring immediate and direct benefits.

A more robust international architecture can continue to draw boundaries around the natural rivalry of nations because when each side knows that the rules are fair and followed, competition need not be antagonistic.

The United States and China have a special responsibility as actors with systemic influence. The possibilities would be powerful and far reaching if the United States and China could work together as catalysts to motivate other major powers to act in concert and through the international system to address global challenges.

Read the report: U.S.-China Relations: Toward a New Model of Major Power Relationship

To speak to an expert on this topic, contact Anne Shoup at ashoup@americanprogress.org or 202.481.7146.

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