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The U.S. Foreign Policy in East Asia Term Paper

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Updated: May 18th, 2019


Since the relations between the United States and China were straightened two decades ago, American interests have invariably remained constant and consistent with those of the larger China. This has been followed with reproach from the political realm which has constantly victimized the long term intentions of this relationship.

The American population seems to have conceptualized and victimized the manner in which the American administration seems to hold on to the long overdue early political ambitions of social stability, improved levels of technology, a better and firm security force. Would these have materialized, China would be a fertile ground for the vast investments made by the United States in China.

Even more compelling, the historical dispute between Taiwan and China does not seem to be getting to a close with each party maintaining a heavy budget on the acquisitioning and sophistication of their armed forces. In effect the ambitious profit forecasts that raised an interest back after the cold war have remained a dream. The nation’s future therefore appears to be held on weak strings threatening to crumble any time in the face of fluid geopolitics.

China’s intention to forcefully acquire Taiwan has embraced serious and sometimes acute criticism even as it continues to acquire apply and export essential technological strategies. There have also been endless concerns as to China’s appetite for human rights as well as religious freedom even as the trade relations with China are nursed.

It is therefore only natural that the general opinion is that of every five Americans four are of an opinion that precaution and strict scrutiny of China’s intentions should be taken before these relations become more intimate. They believe that China’s labor policies should be put to check.

Issue and Background

China’s long and winding history dates back to the Clinton era when North Korea first announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at a time around March 1993. Negotiations followed and bore the first and possibly the only tangible results in October the following year. A compromise in the form of an agreed framework was drafted that required that all parties be enjoined to the International Atomic Energy Agency monitors. All of the 8000 fuel rods that had been spent were agreeably canned and sealed.

Also part of the bargain was the construction of two light water reactors by the end of the 2003 with heavy fuel oil supplies. China in 1996 picked up the cars by firing missiles towards Taiwan. The response by the United States was a show of might in the form of aircraft carriers. A year earlier the Taiwan president had made a trip to the United States leaving the impression that America was endorsing the independence of Taiwan.

This was the beginning of the distrustful relations between the United States and China. North Korea would then raise eye brows on the 1st of September 1998 by firing a long-range ballistic missile over Japan. The world responded with aggressive suctions and withdrawal of financing amidst claims by the United States of an underground nuclear project by North Korea.

The status quo was maintained by the bush administrations which did little but fan the flames of the conflict between China and Taiwan. In 2001 former president bush was quoted to have supported a military solution and the use of force in the control and maintenance of the North Korea situation. The situation was made even more serious by the admission of North Korea of having abducted of 30 Japanese nationals in connection between 1977 and 1983.

This could not have appeared at a more appropriate time. In the same year the United States intelligence would then uncover a nuclear program underway in the Korean country probing the withdrawal of oil shipments by America. The United States position was made manifest in the former president’s speech at Kyoto in November 2005.

He advocated for openness in China’s approach to the issue of human freedoms and went on to use Taiwan as an example of a country that had achieved prosperity by embracing freedom and allowing for a democratic Chinese society. It is common ground that the China- United States relations have trod on shaky ground.

Talking points

The quarrel between China and Taiwan

Taiwan originally was occupied by Japan for a long 50 years from 1895 to 1949. Four years later the nationalist Chiang regime lost its power to the communist party in China. Chiang would then flee into Taiwan. The regimes that followed perceived Taiwan as part of “one China” that would be united come the resumption of the nationalist movement.

After a long and harsh rule of the Koumintang administration in 1986, the first opposition party was founded. This was after a long period of dictatorship and a ban on opposition parties. The party finally managed to secure a presidential seat for their candidate in year 2000. The doctrines adopted by the party offend the Chinese government’s long conception of Taiwan as a defector province that would one day be united with the larger communist China by whatever means.

Nuclear concerns

In the recent history China has placed blame on the US for benefiting on selling on nuclear sophisticated technology to countries like Pakistan who just recently practiced its pilot missile. Nuclear concerns have time and again stood in the way for the mending of the relations between these two countries. There are those who are of the opinion that it is the strategic and developmental significance that holds still the random and shaky connection between these countries.

Points of Debate

The United States position

Despite the recent series of events, China has remained to be the most populous nation in the world as well as among the most promising of countries. It bears a colossal capacity for growth and is an ideal ground for investment. The United States has historically recognized Taiwan as part of the greater China and has time and again advocated for an amicable resolution to the e Taiwan China dispute.

Despite the provisions of the 1979 Taiwan Relations act to which the United States is bound it has maintained a fine line between the long history between the relations of these two nations and the gradually improving influence of China. In effect the United States has made a firm stand in the campaign for its principles and values of freedom and democracy and yet avoiding an unnecessary conflict with China.

Even so it would be hard to avoid noticing the current status of Taiwan which by 2005 had a gross national product of 328 billion of which 174 billion was attributed to trade and export of electronics. This indicates a successful economy that is supported by a multiparty democracy. In the spirit of democracy and the recent examples of Eritrea, Southern Sudan, Libya and Tunisia it would only seem fit that the revolutionary effects of democracy are not far off.

Moments of collaboration

For all intents and purposes the relations between Washington and Beijing have been of mutual assistance and cooperation in the search for an amicable resolve to the conflict crisis. In 2005 the bush administration secured peace talks negotiations between Taiwan and China. These are less likely however to occur in future owing to the division among the electorate with a substantial amount in favor of both propositions.

In other avenues China and the United States have displayed a team effort as was seen in the 1991 gulf war against Iraq in its move of sustaining as opposed to exercising its veto in the un security council.

Way forward

Despite the above mentioned setbacks, the two states maintain a certain degree of trust that each nation will keep the others interests in mind when it comes to the making of big decisions affecting either nation. If the current state of affairs is anything to go by, the solution to the constant hedge against each other is co-operation and demonstration of regard for each other’s goals.

An outstanding cause of the constant conflict between the two nations is the divergence of values and interests alongside the difficulty in ascertaining each party’s intentions. More often than not it stands in the way of development of a common object of values and commonality of interests.

China for instance invested its national interests in territorial integrity alongside institutional security and economic development. Of paramount importance is institutional security with the sole tenet of service to the people. The genuine changes that have transformed China such as imperialism colonialism and hegemonic ideology have set it back to the development road a road that the United States gives a detached cognizance. (Despres, P. 115)

The Chinese bear a saying to the effect that modesty aids progress while conceit drags the one behind. It is of essence that both parties treat each other with a sense of equality and respect for the others institutions. For all intents and purposes, the American conception of the Chinese system should me more objective in as far as performance is concerned and in relation to the international standards of civil rights and social reform.

The relationship between the two states has in recent times received substantial support by the current president of China even in the face of the hard economic times brought by the year 2010. The challenge therefore is on building and maintaining these improvements. This will not be an easy task due to the divergence of the compatible interests of both nations. China on its part will be required to do more than just casual international exchanges and international cooperation.

It will be required to adopt policies that safeguard its investments and the interests of its people. This may be the explanation behind the continued investment in the defensive capacity. If however the objectives are not stated clearly and their plans explained, the United States may get the wrong impression and it is therefore important to ensure that their level of trust is maintained to save both parties the misconceptions and misjudgments (Pouyan, P. 115)

It is also important that China understands the legitimacy of the concerns and desires specifically with regard to the all too common issue of freedom of navigation in the open seas. Undeniably the United States has monopolized the administration of and management of the open seas including Asia. Naturally it has been a cause for concern for policy makers and drafters as well as critics as to the United States objectives and interests. Presumably the picture has been tainted as one of selfish interest.

This situation has been worsened by the rapid growth of the Chinese economy and increased need for alternate sources of revenue for the continued development goals the navigate freedom continues to be more and more liberal. This has been a cause of anxiety for the United States for instance in the Chinese prospects over a number of exclusive economic zones. This has raised eyebrows and could be a cause of dissatisfaction. It is of essence that the Chinese government declares its intentions to ensure that the essence of suspicion does not persist.

The survival of these friendly ties it’s for the mutual benefit of both nations. It would be of specific benefit to China if both parties as well as other ASEAN members to make attempts to reconcile each others stand by creating a system of administration that will aid the free convenience of the south China seas but still support the invariable interests and privileges of China in so far as economic exploitation is concerned.

The connection between the American population and the Chinese is invaluably important since the Chinese economy presents and maintains a substantial market for the many citizens who deal in export goods in the likes of farmer’s workers and businessmen across the United States besides the all famous multinational companies such as Microsoft, Motorola and Boeing.

The Chinese also have a bearing on the American security situation. The United States has sent its troops to mitigate the South Korean issue. China is therefore an important agent in ensuring that the democratic concerns Pu t forward by the United States receives motivation and backing.

In the face of the rising need for renewable and environmentally friendly sources of energy, China plays a big role in the fight against pollution. It is therefore an important ally in the environmental campaign.

China’s economic progress has taken a down turn owing to among other things the changing economic times. It has been presented with hard edged choices as the profits from the liberalization ideology seem to be marginalizing. It is of urgent need that the nation takes measures to address the social and political steps towards an amicable resolve.

Of urgent concern is the political twist that has befallen the regime that enforced controls that allocate lesser capital for instance to the banking sector. The banking system in any nation forms the benchmark for the growth of any economy. It therefore is counterproductive to restrain it since it has a bearing in almost all sectors. It is also important that the level of corruption be put to check as well substantive reform to the nation’s taxation system.

The political environment in China leaves alit to be desired. It is a high time that the leaders are made more accountable for their undertakings in their various administrative dockets. The leadership seems to be preoccupied with preserving and guarding its power and territory at the expense of the vision of China. It is important in the fulfillment of the democratic mandate vested in them by the electorate. The entrance (Harries, P. 2-25)

For the past decade monetary policy has been among the greatest concerns in the United States- China relations. Issues have been raised as to whether each not each country’s currency is at the equitable value. Each country has often shifted blame on the other refuting the responsibility for the state of affairs. Experts however have a different view and have the assumption that Chinese Yen is rated low. The rising value of the Chinese currency will therefore have a great bearing on the balance in trade between the two nations.

Just recently have tried the best to put pressure on China to Up- grade Chinese Yen as a currency. The US congress has presented a bill that seeks among other things to require the administration to enforce tariffs on any imports from China. In return the Chinese have criticized this move as one of unfair motive. It has formed a renewed source for debate and if not resolved, could lead to unwanted conflict.


From a realist stand China is a threat to the United States by the fact that it has gradually walked to global homogeneity. They suggest that these recent turn of events could likely to lead to war. The liberalists on the other hand take the view that the increase in power of the Chinese regime is not solely enough to lead to war. They consider casual mechanisms as an amicable solution to the sustenance of peaceful coexistence.

Both present strong argue that tend to lean on pessimism rather than objective optimism. To avoid any of these unfortunate eventualities they suggest that the United States adopts the advice of one Walter Russell which entails the strategic employment of sticky power. This is a term that was derived by Russell from the construction of peace built on trade relations. It marries the liberalist and realist approaches in providing a balance to the whole stand down.

It embraces liberal ideas such as economic reliance to motivate continued relations. It also recognizes realist chances of war. In effect the interdependence and democratization are used as a barrier to war. It also keeps in mind the realist possibility of war and braces for such war bringing aboard historical precedent. Sticky power seems to be the most reliable compromise that has long-term prospects of success.


The future of these relations is crowned with uncertainty. As it were the two nations have a lot to learn from Theodor Roosevelt’s quote to the effect that it is always to the benefit and interest of every other nation that a nation maintains its stability and prosperity. It is not to any nations disadvantage that a nation has stability within its borders the kind that is strong but not too strong as to provoke aggression form its neighbors.

It is for the greater good that hopes for change development growth and progress with regard to democracy peace and legitimacy in line with the doctrines of natural justice summarized in the quote “live and let live”

In the end after all the legacy of the presidents regime in so far as the bilateral relationship is concerned will be judged buy the ability to bring the Chinese regime into the campaign for international concerns such as global warming. It is of alarming concern that the two nations combined account for at least 40 % of the global emissions. It is issues of this kind that the world at large measures the achievement and potential of a nation’s democracy.

Works Cited

Despres, John. “American Interests In and Concerns with China”. 3/12/10 Retrieved from

Harries, Owen.”China In The National Interest”. New Jersey.Transaction Publishers 2006. P. 115

Pouyan, Vahabi-Shekarloo.”The making of American foreign policy towards China”.Norderstedt Germany. Druck and Bindung. 2005 .P, 2-25

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