The PLA and China's Changing Security Environment; Strategic Insights: v.2, issue 1 (January 2003)
Pultz, Christopher B.
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Military relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China have been at the heart of the debate over America's foreign policy in the Pacific, especially since the EP3-Orion incident in April 2001. As China's growing military capability threatens to upset the status quo in Asia, debate among U.S. policy makers is focused on how to engage this emerging power. Advocates of containment believe that isolating the People's Republic and balancing against China's military strength will help diminish the threat it poses to the region. Supporters of engagement, however, argue that using international institutions to open channels of communication can help teach China how to behave in accordance with international norms, and enhance military transparency while reducing uncertainty in the region. Deciding which strategy to employ depends on a myriad of factors that deal with China's recent policies toward regional security institutions, multilateral approaches to conflict resolution, and peacekeeping operations. This document focuses on answering the following questions: Have these international institutions and engagement in multilateral initiatives had an effect on China's security preferences in the last decade? Will military-to-military contacts between the United States and China help moderate Chinese behavior and policy?
This article appeared in Strategic Insights (January 2003), v.2 no.1
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