Open Forum

Forging a “new type of great power relations” is a novel foreign relations concept that China has proposed and emphasized of late, drawing widespread attention. It has taken shape mainly in the process of conceptualizing and operationalizing policy toward the United States. According to Western international relations theory, as a new great power arises, it needs to change the existing order, resulting in conflict between the powers. Fast forward to the twenty-first century, a continuously rising China and the United States intent on maintaining its superpower status must experience a similar collision. Yet, is this an unalterable historical axiom? In response to such thinking and widespread foreign suspicions, China at the beginning of the century introduced the concept of “peaceful rise.” If this is taken only as a notion about how China will go forward, then concretely, people will naturally still be paying attention to how China will get along with the United States. China is disavowing confronting the United States, and sees the United States as having no need to dwell on a conflict with it, but can the two avoid confronting the fate dictated by this historical axiom? This train of thought has led to the idea of a “new type of great power relations,” and makes it important for academics in China and elsewhere to look closely at the idea.

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