The rising economic, political and military influence of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) at global level carries enormous geopolitical consequences for 21st century world politics. The United States (US), considered the dominant power in the international system, is still assessing to what extents China’s rise constitutes an opportunity and a threat.
Despite Beijing’s assurances of its peaceful goals, China’s economic practices, its military modernisation programme, and its assertiveness towards its neighbours contribute to US suspicions over China’s real intentions. On the other hand, China perceives US actions in the Asia-Pacific region as an attempt to contain its influence. Nevertheless, the interdependence of the two economies ensures a stable relationship for the time being, despite visible US-Chinese strategic rivalry.
The evolution of the US-China relationship will impact on the European Union (EU), in particular by impelling it to define a common view on China among its Member States and with the US. In any event, both the EU and the US aim at having a peaceful China integrated into the existing international system, as well as to obtain its cooperation on issues of global concern.