1st Edition

Avoiding the ‘Thucydides Trap’
U.S.-China Relations in Strategic Domains

ISBN 9780815383093
Published December 30, 2020 by Routledge
186 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

As the relationship between China and the United States becomes increasingly complex and interdependent, leaders in Beijing and Washington are struggling to establish a solid common foundation on which to expand and deepen bilateral relations.

In order to examine the challenges facing U.S.-China relations, the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) and the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding (iGCU) at Peking University brought together a group of leading experts from China and the United States in Beijing and Honolulu to develop a conceptual foundation for U.S.-China relations into the future, tackling the issues in innovative ways under the banner of U.S.-China Relations in Strategic Domains. 

The resulting chapters assess U.S.-China relations in the maritime and nuclear sectors as well as in cyberspace and space and through the lens of P2P and mil-to-mil exchanges. Scholars and students in political science and international relations are thus presented with a diagnosis and prognosis of the relations between the two superpowers.

Table of Contents

Introduction Wang Dong and Travis Tanner

1 U.S.-China Relations in the Maritime Security Domain Wang Dong and Christopher Yung

2 Seeking Strategic Stability for U.S.-China Relations in the Nuclear Domain Elbridge A. Colby and Wu Riqiang

3 Reducing and Managing U.S.-China Conflict in Cyberspace Adam Segal and Tang Lan

4 U.S.-China Strategic Relations in Space Brian Weeden and Xiao He

5 Stepping Up Investments in U.S.-China Relations: Making People-to-People Exchange a Strategic Priority Travis Tanner and Zhao Minghao

6 Sino-U.S. Military-to-Military Relations Roy D. Kamphausen with Jessica Drun

7 Sino-US Military Relations: Interests, Challenges, and Solution Xu Hui with Yu Ying

Conclusion Wang Dong and Tiffany Ma

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Dong Wang is Associate Professor at the School of International Studies and Executive Director of the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding (iGCU), Peking University. He has written extensively on U.S.-China relations and China’s foreign policy.

Travis N. Tanner is President of the U.S.-China Strong Foundation. Based in Beijing, Mr. Tanner has more than 15 years of experience working on U.S.-China relations. Mr. Tanner is the author, contributing author, or co-editor of numerous publications on the strategic, economic, and political dimensions of the U.S.-China relationship, including five volumes of the Strategic Asia series.


This volume, explains, from various experts’ perspectives, how China and the United States should defend their respective interests, manage differences, mitigate crisis, and avoid conflict in various strategic domains including maritime, nuclear, cyber and space. As the book correctly points out, "The central challenge to improve strategic stability between the United States and China is finding ways to enhance collaboration and mitigate sources of tension". This book has made highly valuable efforts toward achieving this goal. The U.S.-China relationship will significantly impact the 21st Century, therefore, this book merits careful study by all those who are concerned with the future of global stability.

—Chen Xiaogong (Lt. General, Ret.), former Deputy Director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and former Deputy Commander of the PLA Air Force.

Having assembled experts from leading Chinese and American research institutions and think tanks, this volume presents a series of the most cutting-edge joint research findings across the following six strategic domains: maritime, nuclear, cyber, space, military-to-military relations, and people-to-people exchange. This book, through in-depth theoretical analysis, provides an authoritative answer to the centennial question of whether or not China and the United States are destined to fall into the "Thucydides Trap". I firmly believe that this volume will become one of the classic studies on China-U.S. strategic relations. It should be read by anyone who is concerned about the future of China-U.S. ties, and thus, I hope it reaches a wide audience.

—Zhou Wenzhong, former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, former Chinese Ambassador to the United States


The 2018 National Security Strategy of the United States defines the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition with China as the central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security. This volume is an indispensable resource in understanding the nature of this challenge and of the U.S. strategy, a key component of which is to set the military relationship between China and the United States on a path of transparency and non-aggression.

—Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador to China, J. Stapleton Roy


A landmark study. An admirable work by a group of leading experts from both the US and China that aims to tackle some of the most sensitive, most difficult, and most thorny strategic issues facing the US-China relationship. A must-read for anyone who is concerned about the prospects of US-China relations.

—Former Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Thomas Fargo (U.S. Navy, Ret.)