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A Comparative Study of China-US Partnerships: Definition and Evolution

Published:2018-06-14 Published:2018-06-14   Author:Chen Yong   [Small] [Middle] [Big] [More]

There are both interrelations and differences between China-initiated and U.S.-initiated partnerships. However, due to the lack of a clear definition, it is difficult to promote academic research on partnerships and to go beyond the discourse of the U.S.-dominated Western partnerships. Partnership is essentially an ever-evolving foreign policy concept. A policy of partnership not only undertakes foreign strategy tasks, but also has its unique functions. The U.S.-dominated partnerships aim to maintain the U.S. leadership status in the world and are hierarchical and functionally differentiated into bilateral and multilateral cooperative relationships with alliances as its core. On the other hand, China-initiated partnerships serve the purpose of building an amicable external environment and constitute an equal, peaceful, and inclusive new paradigm of international cooperation with “no confrontation, no alliances, and no targeting the third party” as its characteristic. Therefore, partnership can be defined as “in order to realize its overall objective of foreign strategy, on the basis of the particular common interests and possible consensus, one country establishes with another country a stable cooperation relationship with a high level of political equality and policy flexibility.”

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