ABSTRACT

Beijing is aware of Washington’s anxiety regarding the prospects of Sino-Soviet detente. However, the Chinese have been careful to insist that they will never play ‘the Soviet card’ against the United States, nor ‘the US card’ against the Soviet Union. China has chosen to emphasize the political aspects of Sino-American strategic cooperation, while the United States has sought to increase the military dimensions of the relationship. From late 1980 to mid-1983 the United States and China found little agreement on the extent of Sino-American military cooperation. In spite of the arms-length relationship Beijing maintains with Washington in security matters, China depends on the unofficial US nuclear umbrella established during the Nixon Administration. China is unwilling to enter into a strategic relationship with the United States on any meaningful military scale. Politically, Sino-American strategic cooperation is valued by both Washington and Beijing.