Authors Richard Moorsteen and Morton Abramowitz propose an innovative plan for improving U.S.–China relations. Dealing effectively with China requires both a long-term perspective and an approach that faces up to fundamental issues, going beyond “atmospherics” and gestures.
Yet such a goal must be achieved within the prevailing uncertainty about China’s intentions. It must be sought through an evolving process of exploratory steps that would enable policymakers to discover more about Chinese responses and to incorporate this knowledge into future policy: (1) a policy of “one China but not now” that could gradually move us toward Peking’s preferred “one China”; (2) a U.S. position on Chinese representation in the United Nations that would allow us to acquiesce in Peking’s admission; (3) quiet but explicit encouragement to both Bangkok and Peking for a modest improvement in relations between them; (4) an effort to convey U.S. views (and to explore Peking’s) on nuclear non-proliferation in Asia; (5) an approach to offset Chinese fears about the U.S.–Soviet Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.
The authors analyze deficiencies in the way the government now develops its China policy. To implement their new approach, they propose both organizational and procedural changes, including new modes of interaction between government China specialists and their policymaking superiors and the establishment of a policy group high enough in rank and broad enough in responsibility to deal with U.S.–China relations as a whole.