China and the Superpowers
When Deng Xiaoping remarked to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989 that the prospect of Sino-Soviet normalisation was raised when the superpowers began their turn from confrontation to dialogue, he acknowledged the central role that bipolarity had played in Chinese foreign affairs. So much of the People’s Republic’s policy, with its surprising twists and shifts, has turned on perceptions of the direction in superpower relations and its implications for China. Past phases of détente had caused alarm in Beijing, which saw bipolarity taking different forms but persisting none the less, and not in China’s interests. If, however, the trends towards détente arising in the late 1980s should take root in Asia and significantly reduce the force of bipolarity, China and its neighbours would find themselves in a fluid new environment promising both an expanded range of flexibility and daunting new uncertainties.
KeywordsChinese Leadership Khmer Rouge International Herald Tribune Soviet Troop Party Chief
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- 12.See Henry Kissinger, White House Years (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1979), pp. 866–9, 903–13.Google Scholar