Pacific Currents

Pacific Currents: The Responses of U.S. Allies and Security Partners in East Asia to China’s Rise

Evan S. Medeiros
Keith Crane
Eric Heginbotham
Norman D. Levin
Julia F. Lowell
Angel Rabasa
Somi Seong
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 308
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  • Book Info
    Pacific Currents
    Book Description:

    China's importance in the Asia-Pacific has been on the rise, raising concerns about competition the United States. The authors examined the reactions of six U.S. allies and partners to China's rise. All six see China as an economic opportunity. They want it to be engaged productively in regional affairs, but without becoming dominant. They want the United States to remain deeply engaged in the region.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4708-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xv-xxiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    This is not a book about China but one about East Asia’s reactions to China, specifically those to China’s growing role in Asian economic and security affairs. The proverbial rise of China has emerged as one of the most rapid and consequential developments in regional politics since the end of the Cold War. China is the big, new, but highly uncertain variable in Asia’s interstate relations. In economic terms, China has emerged not only as a magnet for expanded bilateral interactions but also as a hub in a regional production chain that ties together economies throughout East Asia. In terms...

  10. CHAPTER TWO China’s Changing Economic Relations with Asia
    (pp. 5-22)

    China’s rise in importance both in Asia and globally since the 1970s has been driven by the rapid growth in its economy and trade. Not surprisingly, the most intensive bilateral interactions the six nations we examine here have had with China have been economic. Although most of these countries have had long-standing economic relations with China, the rate of growth and the scale of these interactions over the past ten years have often been extraordinary. The role of China in the six economies now rivals that of the United States, heretofore the most important economic partner for most of these...

    (pp. 23-62)

    Among the United States’ Asian allies, only Japan is a major power in its own right. At market exchange rates, its gross domestic product (GDP) is twice that of China. Japan’s cutting-edge technology and its overseas development assistance budget, which is second only to that of the United States, make it a valued economic and political partner to states in and beyond Asia. Japan’s military budget hovers just below 1 percent of its GDP, but that is enough to qualify it as one of the world’s top three military spenders. To the extent that Japan’s military capabilities might be described...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR South Korea
    (pp. 63-96)

    Few countries have gone through the kind of rapid transformation that South Korea has over the past few decades. Within the lifespan of anyone over 50 today, the country has risen from war and destitution (with a per capita GDP of $67 in 1953) to become the world’s 11th largest economy (with a per capita income of $18,481 in 2006). In the last few years alone, South Korea has become the world’s most wired country, with 70 percent of its households having broadband access to the Internet.¹ Today, South Koreans are watching television on their cell phones, are introducing a...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE The Philippines
    (pp. 97-124)

    The Philippines is the United States’ oldest treaty ally in Asia. The country hosted major U.S. naval and air bases until 1992 and is an important U.S. partner in the global war on terrorism. In addition to the defense relationship, the Philippines has deep and long-standing political, economic, and social ties with the United States. The close U.S.–Philippine relationship, the country’s role as a founding member of ASEAN, and its front-line status in the South China Sea dispute make its response to the rise of China a particularly interesting and important issue.

    A key determinant of the Philippines’ response...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Thailand
    (pp. 125-158)

    Thailand has a distinguished history of bending with the wind when it comes to regional politics. The nation maintained its status as the only Asian state to preserve its essential sovereignty during the 19th century by balancing competing colonial powers against one another. During World War II, it allied with Japan and reconquered territories lost to the British in Malaysia and Burma and to the French in Indochina. However, enough of its senior leaders joined the anti-Japanese Free Thai resistance that Thailand was not treated as an enemy combatant by the allies after the war.¹ In today’s world of nonexclusive...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN Singapore
    (pp. 159-188)

    Singapore, as one of the major commercial and financial centers of Asia and as an important security partner of the United States, plays a role disproportionate to its size in maintaining security and stability in Southeast Asia. Of fundamental importance to Singapore is maintenance of the regional and subregional military balances. In this regard, Singapore’s overarching national security concerns are

    1. the upsurge of Islamic extremism in Southeast Asia

    2. the related issue of political stability in neighboring states, particularly Indonesia

    3. China’s long-term intentions and the U.S.–Chinese relationship

    4. relations with Malaysia.

    Concerns about the evolution of the balance of power in...

  16. CHAPTER EIGHT Australia
    (pp. 189-230)

    Australia’s strategic interests have become increasingly defined by the major security challenges the international community is confronting: Islamic extremism, failed states, Asian regionalism, nascent democratization, and the rise of China. Australia, beginning in the early 1990s, has gradually emerged as an active and influential player in managing these challenges and has done so to secure its own immediate periphery, bolster its alliance with the United States,¹ and ensure continued stability and prosperity in Asia. Canberra has pursued these three goals through extensive cooperation with the United States, occasional and growing military deployments abroad, and robust diplomacy in Asia. The scale...

  17. CHAPTER NINE Conclusions
    (pp. 231-256)

    We began with two central questions: How are U.S. allies and major security partners in East Asia responding to China’s rise in regional economic and security affairs? What are the implications for U.S. security interests in the region? China’s growing weight in the Asia-Pacific is one of the most recent, rapid, and consequential trends shaping the regional order. The responses of U.S. allies and major security partners to China may well affect U.S. regional security cooperation; U.S. basing and access agreements; and ultimately, the U.S. ability to deter and defeat regional threats. Drawing on the data and analysis in our...

  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 257-280)