Possible scenarios for China-U.S. Relations by 2030
The rise of China and relative decline of the United States have caused a heated debate on a possible power shift in the Asia-Pacific. Whether China and the U.S. will become friends or enemies remains an unanswered question. This necessitates a thorough study on the future of China-U.S. relations and how they will affect the strategic chessboard in the region. This Thesis examines the possible scenarios of China-U.S. relations by 2030. It argues that while the nature of China-U.S. relations is characterized by strategic competition, increasing interdependence between the two countries requires them to cooperate and co-exist with each other. If current trends continue, by 2030, the most likely scenarios for China-U.S. relations will, in descending order, be a continued China-U.S. strategic competition in peaceful co-existence, a new Cold War, a G-2 style condominium, and a predominance by China over the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific. The Thesis also finds that unlike the past, China-U.S. relations will be increasingly influenced by external factors and unpredictable events or crises. Each of the scenarios in China-U.S. relations will have a different but equally profound impact on the security architecture in the region, especially the ASEAN-led mechanisms for regional security cooperation. These results suggest that at times of power shifts between the U.S. and China, scenario-based planning can be a viable policy option for countries in the Asia-Pacific.