International relations in the Asia-Pacific have long been driven and dominated by great power politics. Despite the growing significance of smaller nations and regional organizations in East Asian affairs, the great powers remain the key actors in shaping the regional security environment. Arguably, China, the United States, and Japan are the most influential powers in shaping the security dynamics and future direction of the region. Until recently, these three were able to maintain relatively stable relationships despite differences on various issues. Since 2009, however, there has been rising tension in US-China relations and Sino-Japanese relations. Meanwhile, regional flashpoints such as the territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas and the North Korean nuclear issue have become more prominent. This has caused considerable concern that the existing tension could seriously destabilize the Asia-Pacific region, leading to the emergence of a new cold war. To consider how likely a Sino-US and/or Sino-Japanese cold war is, this article analyzes the national identity dimension of China’s relations with the United States and Japan, assessing how identities are constructed and how changing identity discourses are linked to foreign policies and security strategies. The prospects for a cold war, to a significant extent, depend on how serious these identity tensions are and whether and to what extent they may be reduced.