• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject National Security Policy
  • Areas of interest Security Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person

This course is available for on-campus & remote (online) learning. All students participate in interactive, real-time classes.

This course examines the relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Both the PRC and US are shaping – and are being shaped by – the behaviour of countries across the Indo-Pacific. This will profoundly impact Australia’s national interest for the foreseeable future.


PRC-US competition pervades almost every single arena of international relations, well beyond what any individual student or scholar could possibly comprehend. So, it becomes important to assess which are the areas of greatest consequence and focus on those. In essence, this course goes beyond the headlines to work out what really matters and why. As such, this course will train the student to make judgements about (i) which areas of PRC-US relations to prioritise and to develop their own analytical frameworks for prioritisation; (ii) to develop an understanding of how countries in the region are responding to PRC-US competition; and (iii) to develop analytical and policy tools to adapt those dynamics. 


This course provides a history of US and China relations in the Indo-Pacific, and domestic drivers of international behaviour in both countries to lay solid empirical and historical foundations for students. Beyond those foundations, the course focuses on the most contemporary and consequential policy issues in the region. These include the evolution of BRI and US-led infrastructure building, the global narrative war, the genetic engineering revolution, AI/Semiconductor/critical mineral supply chains, the rules-based order, cyber battles and military buildups in East Asia.


The level of consequentiality and future directions of any topic is open for contestation every single week in the spirit of fostering students’ capability to operate in an environment of collaborative yet contested policymaking.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Understand concepts related to China’s and the United States’ national security interests and environments, with the ability to critically analyse them;
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with the historical evolution of national security policy in the Chinese and American contexts;
  3. Critically evaluate the role of systemic, domestic and individual factors in shaping Chinese and American national security policy;
  4. Identify and articulate the policy challenges and options facing the US, China and third countries as a consequence of US-China security relations;
  5. Conduct independent research that demonstrates both scholarly and policy-focused engagement with the subject matter.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Blog post (800 words) (30) [LO 1,3,5]
  2. Outline and proposal for final research project (1000 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Research essay (2500 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The standard workload for a 6 unit course is 130 hours including class time and independent study.

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

Suisheng Zhao (ed.), The Making of China's Foreign Policy in the 21st century: Historical Sources, Institutions/Players, and Perceptions of Power Relations (Routledge 2019)

Robert Sutter, US-China Relations: Perilous Past, Uncertain Present (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018)

Thomas J. Christensen, The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power (New York: Norton 2016).

Sulman Wasif Khan, Haunted by Chaos: China’s Grand Strategy from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping, (Harvard University Press, 2018).

Guoli Liu, China Rising: Chinese Foreign Policy in a Changing World, (Palgrave 2016)

Amos A. Jordan, William J. Taylor, Michael J. Meese, and Suzanne C. Nielsen, American National Security (6th edition), (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 2009).

John Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Transformation and Crisis of American World Order (Princeton University Press, 2012)

Victor Cha, Powerplay: The Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia, (Princeton University Press, 2016).


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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