U.S.-China Relations at 40

2019 should be a year of celebration; it marks 40 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China. Bilateral trade and investment between the two countries has grown exponentially from $5 billion in 1980 to $710 billion in 2017; student exchange and tourism numbers have soared; and peace has been maintained in the Asia-Pacific. Yet, over the past several years, trade tensions have risen to an all-time high; there is talk of military conflict over Taiwan and in the South China Sea; concerns have flared in each country over the political influence of the other; and the two countries have launched an all-out competition to define the values and norms underpinning the international order. In a number of respects, the current bilateral relationship is under more stress than at any time since the normalization of relations.

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