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Unit of study_

GOVT6359: US-China Relations

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This seminar introduces students to the dynamics of US-China relations, regarded by many as the most significant bilateral relationship in the world. The seminar aims to give an overview of the history of US-China relations, to deepen the students' understanding of the strategic thinking and policy-making of both China and the US, and to discuss a number of key contemporary issues in the relationship in some detail. This bilateral relationship has arguably become the most complex and challenging for both Washington and Beijing.

Unit details and rules

Unit code GOVT6359
Academic unit Government and International Relations
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Jamie Reilly,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task Final Assessment
Details available on Canvas
40% Formal exam period
Due date: 16 Nov 2022 at 08:00
3,000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Online task Reading Responses
Details available on Canvas
40% Multiple weeks 2 x 1,000 word papers
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Online task group assignment Discussion Group Report
Details available on Canvas
20% Weekly 1,000 words (equivalent)
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas. 

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.


For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 02 Historical Background on US-China Relations Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 03 US’s China policy: Domestic drivers of change Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 04 China’s foreign policy under Xi Jinping: What's new and what’s not? Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 05 US and Chinese militaries: a comparative perspective Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 06 Deterrence, ambiguity, and economic engagement: Keeping the peace over Taiwan Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 07 Interactive Effects: Domestic economic trends in US and China Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 08 Economic statecraft Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 09 Assessing China’s global challenge Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 10 COVID in comparison Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 11 Australia’s China policy Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 12 Conclusion: A new Cold War? Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.
  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.
  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed on the Library eReserve link available on Canvas.  Any additional required readings will be provided to students via Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate a critical understanding of both the historical evolution and contemporary policy issues in Sino-US relations, drawing where possible on the interdisciplinary fields of international relations, strategic studies, political science and economics
  • LO2. apply and critique different concepts in the study and analysis of US-China relations from 1972, and in particular since the end of the Cold War
  • LO3. formulate, analyse and evaluate policy options, either from the US or Chinese perspectives (or both), in relation to outstanding and emerging challenges.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

This unit is being taught as an on-line unit for the first time, and by a different unit coordinator. As a result, there are many changes from the previous version.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.