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United States, China, and the Diplomacy behind the Persian Gulf Crisis Open Access

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This thesis examined the diplomacy between the United States and China during the Persian Gulf Crisis from 1990 to 1991. This study focuses on America's diplomatic effort to persuade China to allow the United Nations Security Councils to issue UNSC Resolution 678, which provided the legal authority for America-led coalition forces to militarily intervene in the crisis. China's abstention on UNSC Resolution 678 was crucial to the passing of the "war resolution," yet, China's intention was little understood. Based on archival research on materials from both the United States and China, this study concludes that China's decision to abstain on Resolution 678 was more self-conscious than American policy makers at the time had believed. It was based on China's immediate need to improve U.S.-China relations after the turmoil followed by the 1989 Tiananmen tragedy, China's lack of fundamental interests and real influence in the Middle East, as well as Chinese intelligence's failure to predict America's overwhelming victory over Iraq. In retrospect, the two countries' cooperation during the Persian Gulf Crisis did not improve U.S.-China relations in the long run, instead, China's experience during the Persian Gulf Crisis gave Chinese policy makers a much more negative perception towards American military interventionism, and it became the catalyst of China's military modernization program - neither consequence was expected by the other party, and they would further complicate U.S.-China relations till today.

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