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Evolution of Sino-American Relations

Class at Faculty of Social Sciences |



Class 1:

Orientation and Introduction, First Contacts in Sino-American Relations

- origins of Sino-American relations, the concept of ‘100 years of China’s humiliation’, basic Chinese geography   

Class 2:

Early Contacts during Turmoil in China

- Chinese immigration to the U.S. and its impact on Sino-American relations, rise of nationalism in China, reform movement, fall of the Qing dynasty, formation of modern China - the Founding of the Republic of China (Sun Yat-sen, the KMT, the CCP, Civil War)  

Class 3:

U.S.-China Alliance During WWII and Truman’s Loss of China

- U.S. engagement in Civil War, U.S.: "loss of China", establishment of the PRC, U.S. approach to the PRC and to the ROC government, which moved to Taiwan.  

Class 4: 

Eisenhower and Cross-Strait Tension

- Korean War and Taiwan 1950 - de-neutralization of Taiwan, Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty 1954, Taiwan Straits question, U.S. - PRC Warsaw Talks, 1958  

Class 5: 

Kennedy, Johnson Administration’s Approach to China

-  Kennedy and China’s nuclear program

- Johnson’s China policy in the context of the Vietnam War.  

Class 6: 

Sino-American Normalization (Nixon)

- China’s ping-pong diplomacy, Mao Zedong-Zhou Enlai’s new attitudes towards the U.S., Nixon’s new China policy, - Shanghai Communiqué, 1972  

Class 7:

Political development in Taiwan in the 1950s and 1960s  

Class 8:

Establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the PRC

- Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, 1978 - 1979, Taiwan Relations Act, 1979.  

Class 9: 

From Establishment of Diplomatic Relations to Tienanmen

- Reagan and China, Taiwan: Arms sales to Taiwan crisis; August 17 Communiqué, Reagan’s Six Assurances to Taiwan, military cooperation, trade

- Tienanmen Crisis, 1989-1990  

Class 10: 

Bush 41 and Clinton Administrations and China

- Unstable U.S. - PRC Relations, 1992 - 1994: MFN crisis

- Taiwan Strait Crisis 1995-1996

-  Jiang Ze-min’s visit to the U.S., 1997, Clinton’s visit to Beijing and Three Nos Policy

- Taiwan’s Presidential Elections, 2000 - Chen Shui-bian  

Class 11: 

Developments in Taiwan in 1990s-2000s and relations with Mainland

-  Chen Shui-bian, Democratization and pro-independence tendencies in Taiwan, Taiwanisation and desinification, three mini-links and three links, anti-secession law, Taiwan’s presidential elections of 2008 and UN referendum, rise of Ma Ying-jeou.  

Class 12:

Bush 43 and Obama Administrations’ approach towards China

- Bush’s Campaign and the issue of Taiwan and PRC, EP-3 incident (2001), arms sales to Taiwan, impact of 9/11 on Sino-American relations. Sino-American relations in the economic crisis, Obama’s approach towards China, arms sales to Taiwan, mil-to-mil, U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the issue of RMB.    


The purpose of the course is to provide the students with a historical overview of the long and complicated Sino-American relations, with a special focus on the U.S. approach to the problem of divided China. The course will deal with diplomacy and war, mutual perceptions, hot issues in the mutual relations arising from the existence of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China in Taiwan. We will also focus on the recent developments in the relations, development of PLA, trade issues, Taiwan’s democratization and drive to independence, etc. Also, we will address the post-9/11 Sino-American relations and the debate about the rise of China and its implications for the U.S.

This course primarily focuses on the history of evolution of the relation between the U.S. and China (the term "China" being the umbrella word for the ROC, the PRC, Taiwan). The current issues in Sino-American relations will be explored in the summer semester in a course called "Critical Issues in U.S.-Chinese Relations".

The course is taught in English and ends with an exam.