Despite frequent tensions between their countries, leaders in China and the United States realize that the two nations’ fates are intertwined, especially in economic matters. Kenneth Lieberthal, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings, discusses the complicated relationship between the two global powers, and explains some of the economic and political interdependencies they face. He also addresses China’s approach to Iran’s development of nuclear capabilities and its reluctant agreement to pass a UN sanctions resolution.
“The U.S. nuclear umbrella is a principal reason why North Korea does not use its conventional forces to inflict a major strike on South Korea. That in turn reduces any South Korean temptation to get its own nuclear deterrent. But no first use would mean that the U.S. would not use nuclear weapons to counter a North Korean conventional attack, and so removes them as a reason — perhaps the principal reason — for the North to show restraint.”