"In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, U.S. and PRC [People's Republic of China] foreign policy calculations appear to be changing. The Administration of George W. Bush assumed office in January 2001 viewing China as a U.S. 'strategic competitor.' Administration officials faced an early test in April 2001 when a Chinese jet collided with a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea, resulting in strained relations and PRC accusations that U.S. reconnaissance activities were unfriendly acts. Since September 11, though, U.S. officials have come to see Beijing as an important potential ally in the fight against global terrorism, while PRC officials see the anti-terrorism campaign as a chance to improve relations with Washington and perhaps gain policy concessions on issues important to Beijing. U.S. anti-terror priorities have led some to suggest that cooperation against terrorism could serve as a new strategic framework for Sino-U.S. relations."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB98018
United States. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers, Bureau of Public Affairs: http://www.fpc.state.gov/