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The chapter summarizes the findings of the book. We further show that Chinese international relations (IR) scholars perceive the United States to pose the greatest threat to China’s national security, but a direct military confrontation between the two countries in the near future unlikely. If Chinese IR scholars can be seen as a reliable proxy measure of Chinese leadership, our study suggests that China has a benign and somewhat (over)optimistic perception on US–China relations before Trump’s “trade war” with China in early 2018. While the trade war might eventually be resolved, it will not be the end of US–China competition for prestige and leadership in the international system. How to share international leadership will be a challenge for both countries in the twenty-first century.
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Ross Terrill, “What Does China Want?” Wilson Quarterly 29, no. 4 (2005): 50–61; Jeffrey W. Legro, “What China Will Want: The Future Intentions of a Rising Power,” Perspectives on Politics 5, no. 3 (2007): 515–534; Timothy R. Heath, “What Does China Want? Discerning the PRC’s National Strategy,” Asian Security 8, no. 1 (2012): 54–72.
Yan Xuetong, “From Keeping a Low Profile to Striving for Achievement,” The Chinese Journal of International Politics 7, no. 2 (2014): 153–184.
Kai He and Huiyun Feng, “Leadership Transition and Global Governance: Role Conception, Institutional Balancing, and the AIIB,” The Chinese Journal of International Politics 12, no. 2 (2019): 153–178.
“Xi Jinping signals China will champion free trade if Trump builds barriers,” The Guardian, 18 January 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/17/china-xi-jinping-china-free-trade-trump-globalisation-wef-davos.
Pan Deng, “China and LAC are becoming close friends through BRI,” China Global Television Network (CGTN), 28 April 2019. https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d514f32457a4d34457a6333566d54/index.html.
The term “true friend” might have contributed to the low sense of friendship. In Chinese understanding, a “true friend” (真正的朋友) means someone you can rely on in times of difficulties and someone who will support you under any circumstance. A “true friend” also evokes a sense of loyalty and trust based on the past and history. Therefore, our question might have set too high a bar for countries to be qualified as a “true friend” of China.
Kat Devin, “5 Charts on Global Views of China,” Pew Research Center, 19 October 2018, available at: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/10/19/5-charts-on-global-views-of-china/.
Michael Pillsbury, The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2015). For a good critical review, see Alastair Iain Johnston, “Shaky Foundations: The ‘Intellectual Architecture’ of Trump’s China Policy,” Survival 61, no. 2 (2019): 189–202.
This section is based on Kai He and Huiyun Feng, “A Quest for Joint Prestige: Rethinking US–China Rivalry,” Global Asia 13, no. 3 (2018): 80–85.
Graham Allison, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017).
The Economist, “A New Kind of Cold War,” 16 May 2019, available at: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/05/16/a-new-kind-of-cold-war.
See The White House, “National Security Strategy of the United States of America,” Washington DC, December 2017, p. 2.
Xuetong Yan, “From Keeping a Low Profile to Striving for Achievement,” The Chinese Journal of International Politics 7, no. 2 (2014): 153–184.
Prestige is closely related to, but differs from, power. Power is about getting what you want despite resistance, but prestige is about getting others to do, and even want, what you want.
Joseph Nye Jr., The Powers to Lead (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 19.
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