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The Silk Road, Sand Castles and the US-China Rivalry

Strategic Security Analysis - 2015 n°7

Release Date:

July 2015

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Key Points

  • The maritime disputes and land reclamation in the China Seas,which increasingly challenge the “Pax Americana” in East Asia, are prompting calls in Washington to rethink and tighten US policy towards China.
  • In parallel, the competition in financial governance and trade between the US and China is taking a more confrontational course with the - unsuccessful - US opposition to the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB, part of the giant New Silk Road project), and the competing trade initiatives of US-led Trans- Pacific Partnership and China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
  • While rivalry rises between China and the US in military, commercial and financial governance fields, the options narrow for the two powers, short of risking military conflict for regional pre-eminence, an option that (almost) nobody wants to see happen.