Draft report

China and the United States: cooperation, competition, and/or conflict

An experimental assessment
International relations Relations with China Economics Defence China United States of America

This report has been extensively updated and expanded since its original publication. Besides incorporating various new reports on Chinese economic and military developments, the report also includes key quotes from the recently released Chinese White Paper commemorating the CCP’s 70 th anniversary. These quotes are now the best example of China’s indirect criticism of recent U.S. policy towards China, and strategy and actions towards other states, as well as its economic progress and plans to take lead on global development.

Part 1 provides summaries of China’s evolving strategy using direct quotes from its key white papers, particularly its 2019 Defense White Paper. It then provides similar excerpts from the new U.S. national security and national defense strategy that the United States issued in 2017 and 2018, and from assessments of Chinese strategy by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Defense, DIA, and INDOPACOM.

It should be noted that the Chinese 2019 White Paper came after the changes in U.S. national strategy and the U.S. assessments of China’s military developments and that much of its contents clearly respond to the shifts in America’s declared strategy and assessments. Accordingly, these quotes provide a clear picture of the very different Chinese and U.S. views of Chinese and U.S. competition and of which power is increasing the level of tension and prospects for potential conflict. They set the stage for the detailed assessments of economic and military trends and issues that follow.

Part 2 provides official assessments of the important of economic developments and competition in Chinese strategy and U.S. assessments of the trends in Chinese forces, and the provides a wide range of graphics, maps, and data that show rate of Chinese growth. It assesses trends in trade and technology as well as total economies, and the potential causes of limits to China’s growth and emergence as an economic superpower.

Part 3 notes reporting by the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense that stresses the leading impact of China’s economic growth on its competition with the U.S. It examines the importance of China road and belt initiatives, and its growing share of the global economy and trade.

Part 4 addresses Chinese official views of the shift in the global military balance in its 2019 Defense White Paper and the contrasting official views of OSD and DIA, and then provides a range of different quantitative assessments of the global military balance between China, the U.S. and Russia that shows the extent to which each nation can compete as a “superpower.” It compares the very different Chinese, OSD, DIA, IISS, and SIPRI estimates of defense spending by China, the U.S., Russia, and other powers, It provides summaries of Chinese and OSD views of China’s expanding technology base, and analyzes the importance of arms transfer to both improving China’s military technology and its level of influence over other states.

Part 5 describes the developments on U.S. strategy and forces in Asia that are shaping the U.S. side of its military competition with China, and lays the foundation for comparisons with the analyses of China’s strategic positions and forces that follow. It shows the size and deployments of U.S. forces. and the he U.S. Chinese, and other key power military balance in Asia. It also shows DIA and OSD maps and assessments of total Chinese military deployments by military service, the Chinese claims that are the focus of U.S. concern, and the expansion of Chinese naval, air, and missile power in the Western Pacific that is a key source of U.S. concern.

Part 6 focuses on the competing Chinese and other country claims in the Western Pacific and the Chinese build-up of forces in the South China Sea that is a key U.S. strategic concern. It analyzes the economic, trade, energy, and strategic influence impact of these issues as well as their military importance.

Part 7 covers China’s official position on its strategic relations with every major power on its borders, the official U.S. view of China’s strategic relations with each state, and the sources of Chinese tension or cooperation. It should be noted that China does not address Mongolia or North Korea in its White Papers, and minimizes its discussion of Japan and South Korea. It has steadily identified Taiwan as key strategic concern, however, and potential source of conflict. Supporting policy summaries, maps, and charts highlight key areas of potential U.S. and other nation competition with China.

Part 8 examines the key force trend is each major aspect of Chinese force development. Once again, quotes are provided from both Chinese White Papers and U.S. strategy documents and official assessments of China’s forces. The subsections that follow cover China’s nuclear forces and other weapons of mass destruction, its rocket and missile forces, its shift to advanced forms of military technology and warfare, each of its military services, and the change role of its paramilitary forces and counterterrorism capabilities.

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