An Open Letter on U.S.-China Relations

The relationship between the United States and China has recently included significant low points, with questions about the deteriorating relationship, the ongoing trade war, and implications for global power dominating the conversation. In The Washington Post, prominent members of the foreign policy, military, academic and business communities penned an open letter to President Trump and members of Congress to express their concerns about the U.S.'s recent posture and to urge that China "is not an enemy" in the current world order. 

Signatories of the letter include nearly 100 prominent scholars, diplomats, military specialists and business leaders, including scholar Joseph S. Nye, Jr. and diplomat Thomas Pickering. Together, they put forward seven propositions regarding their views toward U.S.-China relations and recent policy action:

  1. "The current approach to China is fundamentally counterproductive."
  2. "We do not believe Beijing is an economic enemy or an existential national security threat that must be confronted in every sphere."
  3. "U.S. efforts to treat China as an enemy and decouple it from the global economy will damage the United States’ international role and reputation and undermine the economic interests of all nations."
  4. "The fear that Beijing will replace the United States as the global leader is exaggerated."
  5. "Although China has set a goal of becoming a world-class military by midcentury, it faces immense hurdles to operating as a globally dominant military power."
  6. "Beijing is seeking to weaken the role of Western democratic norms within the global order."
  7. "A successful U.S. approach to China must focus on creating enduring coalitions with other countries in support of economic and security objectives."


"We are deeply concerned about the growing deterioration in U.S. relations with China, which we believe does not serve American or global interests," the letter reads. "Although we are very troubled by Beijing’s recent behavior, which requires a strong response, we also believe that many U.S. actions are contributing directly to the downward spiral in relations."

Read the full letter, "China is not an enemy," in The Washington Post here.

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