Free course

China and the USA: cooperation or conflict?

Free statement of participation on completion

This free course explores the relationship between China and the United States and analyses whether China’s rapid rise will lead to greater cooperation or conflict with the US. The answer to this question will have profound implications for both countries and the wider international system. The course introduces some of the contemporary issues in China-US relations and provides historical background on the evolution of relations between the two countries. It introduces and applies some key ideas drawn from the discipline of International Relations relating to interdependence to assess the prospects for the future trajectory of relations between these two major powers.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • show knowledge of the history of relations between China and the United States
  • describe problems of conflict and cooperation arising within the contemporary relationship between the United States and China
  • provide definitions of a range of concepts used in International Relations, including interdependence, relative and absolute gains, positive-, negative- and zero-sum games
  • demonstrate some of the ways the study of conflict and cooperation in the international system is analysed by applying simple conceptual models, including defining different forms of interdependence; zero-, positive- and negative-sum games; and relative and absolute gains.

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Course content