China’s leaders confront mounting domestic social, economic, and public health-related stresses in 2023. If past is prologue, it is reasonable to expect China’s leaders will respond by seeking to calm their external environment to concentrate on challenges at home. To help counter scrutiny of their domestic governance record, they will want to present an image to their people of being afforded dignity and respect abroad. Nowhere will such symbolism matter more than in the U.S.-China context. How China’s leaders are seen to be managing relations with the United States often is a factor in how their performance is perceived at home. Even as the broadly competitive framework of the U.S.-China relationship is unlikely to change, opportunities may emerge for the United States to advance discrete affirmative priorities with China in the year ahead.