United States-People's Republic of China military-to-military relations: prospects for progress
Bolen, Michael Todd
Miller, H. Lyman
Olsen, Edward A.
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American military relations with the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) have been in a constant state of flux since their rocky beginnings during the Second World War. Since the Tiananmen Square incident of June 1989, efforts to reestablish a positive working relationship between the U.S. Department of Defense and the PLA have been restrained by domestic political pressures within both polities and a number of crises which increased political tensions between both nations' governments. Due to reactive policies implemented by both governments, engagement programs between the United States and PRC have yielded few tangible benefits to either side in the past fifteen years. This thesis addresses the history of U.S. military engagement with the PRC and discusses past American policies of "containment" and "engagement" of China. Case studies concerning American engagement with Taiwan and Thailand reveal the benefits of close links with partners in Asia and provide programs for possible emulation in the U.S.-PRC relationship. Through managed engagement programs such as systematic security summits, educational exchanges and partnership operations initiatives, a stable defense dialogue between American and Chinese militaries can yield significant results in reducing tensions between their two governments and averting future crises through improved communication and cooperation.
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