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Strategic Adjustment and the Rise of ChinaPower and Politics in East Asia$
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Robert S. Ross

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501709180

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501709180.001.0001

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U.S.-China Relations

U.S.-China Relations

From Unipolar Hedging toward Bipolar Balancing

(p.41) Chapter 2 U.S.-China Relations
Strategic Adjustment and the Rise of China

Øystein Tunsjø

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the impact of the rise of China on the great power structure and the gradual transformation of the international system from post-Cold War U.S. unipolarity to U.S.–China bipolarity. It develops a hedging framework for analysis and argues that whereas hedging had characterized regional diplomacy under U.S.-led unipolarity, under emerging bipolarity balancing is becoming the dominant security policy for the United States, China, and the smaller regional powers. Since 2009, this tendency toward balancing behaviour has been reflected in China's “assertive diplomacy,” in the U.S. “pivot” to East Asia, and in the security policies of the smaller regional powers. The chapter examines the traditional sources of great power capabilities to observe China's emergence as the world's second great power.

Keywords:   China, great power structure, post-Cold War, unipolarity, U.S.–China bipolarity, regional diplomacy, East Asia

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