Date of Award

5-10-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Kai He

Abstract

In 1972, President Nixon visited the People’s Republic of China in an attempt to redefine U.S.-China relations. Since that time, China has progressed in standing and prevalence and is becoming an increasingly powerful influence in the Asian-Pacific region. The U.S. influence and presence in the Asian-Pacific region has been diminished by China’s growing power. This shift in roles will continue to influence U.S.-China relations along with U.S. relations in the Asian- Pacific area. Using the balance of power theory and balance of threat theory, I will analyze the circumstances surrounding the U.S.-China rapprochement from 1970-1972. An understanding of the events of that time will provide a context to study the current relationship between the two countries. Analyzing the early attempts to redefine the relationship between the two countries would not be complete without including the role which the former Soviet Union played in the development of normalization in U.S-China relations. Understanding the history of relations between the two countries, in the context of theory, will help provide guidelines for predicting how the U.S. will react to China's growing power. This understanding becomes even more important as China strives to become a powerful regional hegemon.

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