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Yuan Peng: Sino-U.S. Relations Have Undergone Four Fundamental Changes

Xinhua‘s international channel conducted an interview of Yuan Peng, Associate Dean of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) regarding the direction in which Sino-U.S. relations are heading. In the interview, Yuan said that "since China launched a new round of reform and opening up, China-U.S. relations have indeed undergone major changes. The three joint communiqués and three joint declarations that guided Sino-U.S. relations in the past may not be sufficient guidelines for the next 35 years."  

Yuan Peng said, "Sino-U.S. relations have undergone four fundamental changes. The first is the change in the balance of power between China and the U.S. China’s GDP jumped from tenth (in the world) at the beginning of the reform and opening to the current second place. The power shift between China and the U.S. is in transition from a quantitative to a qualitative period."  

"The second is the U.S. strategic change. The U.S. has moved its strategic center from Europe to Asia. Despite the Middle Eastern chaos and the Ukrainian crisis, the U.S. has only made some policy adjustments. The ‘Asia-Pacific rebalancing’ change is not merely a tactical one, but a fundamental, strategic change." 

"The third is the change in the strategic foundation for Sino-U.S. relations. China and the U.S. jointly coped with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Sino-U.S. relations after the Cold War have consisted of economic and trade interests. Now the issue is that the foundation will change and both sides are still struggling to find a new strategic foundation. As of the present, a similar new strategic foundation has not appeared." 

"The fourth is a change in the strategic environment. The external environment of Sino-U.S. relations has become more complex and varied, subject to the influence of third party factors such as the Diaoyu Islands, the Ukraine, Russia, and others."

Yuan Peng said, "Putting the four changes together, we can draw the conclusion that a major, even a radical change in Sino-U.S. relations, unlike any in the past 35 years, is now emerging. China must make a fundamental strategic adjustment."

Source: Xinhua, November 28, 2014