The New Type of US-China Relations: A Dual Leadership Structure in Asia Pacific – University of Copenhagen

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The New Type of US-China Relations: A Dual Leadership Structure in Asia Pacific

ChinaTalks: Lecutre by Dr. Zhao Quansheng, Professor of international relations and Chair of Asian Studies Program Research Council at American University.

A specialist in international relations and comparative politics focusing on East Asia, Dr. Zhao is the author of Interpreting Chinese Foreign Policy (Oxford University Press, winner of the Best Academic Book Award by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Korea), and Japanese Policymaking (Oxford University Press/Praeger, selected as "Outstanding Academic Book" by Choice). His most recent edited book is Managing the China Challenge: Perspectives from the Globe. 

Abstract

China and the U.S. have entered into a new structure with regards to leadership in the region. The rising power (China) plays a leadership role in the economic and financial dimensions (which can be seen in the most recent development of the China-led AIIB), while the existing hegemon (U.S.) plays a leadership role in the military, security, and political dimensions. 

China has not moved into a position where it can challenge US leadership. Rather, China is merely starting to become more influential in the economic dimension. While this trend may eventually enhance Beijing’s power in the military and political dimensions, the transition from economic to political influence will occur over a long period of time and is difficult to measure. 

This dual-leadership has proven positive so far, with benefits for both the US and China. However, it remains to be seen whether the two powers can coordinate well with other powers in the region, such as Japan. 

Looking forward, there are at least two important questions which relate to the reactions of key players to the dual leadership structure. Will the US accept a dual leadership structure in East Asia? And how will other key players - Japan, Russia, and the two Koreas - react? 

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