The global war on terrorism has provided a new context for relations between the United States and China. As the September 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States of America makes clear, cooperation with China on a range of economic, political, security, and military issues increasingly serves U. S. interests. At the same time, this relationship retains elements of competition and the potential for confrontation, compounded by a legacy of periodic crises and mutual wariness. Achieving a national consensus on an appropriate balance in U.S.-China relations, especially in military-to-military affairs, remains a central challenge for those who analyze, formulate, and implement America's China policies. The distinguished contributors to this volume offer fresh and sometimes divergent assessments of major trends in Chinese society, national security policy, and military affairs as the "fourth generation" of national leaders settles into the seats of power.
The essays examine leadership shifts under way in the People's Liberation Army and how the Chinese armed forces are coping with dramatic changes in economic and social life, the Chinese Communist Party's search for relevance, developments in the global security environment, and the revolution in military affairs. Also explored are trends in civil-military relations, growing Chinese nationalism, evolving PLA military capabilities, Beijing's approach to key regional and global issues, the prospects for U.S.-China relations and military-to-military cooperation, and the implications of these developments for U. S. defense planning. The People's Liberation Army and China in Transition provides insights into critical issues that will impact China, the Asia-Pacific region, and world, and advances balanced assessments of U. S. policy options. I trust readers will find that it makes a valuable contribution to the ongoing national debate. Paul G. Gaffney II Vice Admiral, USN President