China Rising

China Rising: Peace, Power, and Order in East Asia

DAVID C. KANG
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 296
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/kang14188
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  • Book Info
    China Rising
    Book Description:

    Throughout the past three decades East Asia has seen more peace and stability than at any time since the Opium Wars of 1839-1841. During this period China has rapidly emerged as a major regional power, averaging over nine percent economic growth per year since the introduction of its market reforms in 1978. Foreign businesses have flocked to invest in China, and Chinese exports have begun to flood the world. China is modernizing its military, has joined numerous regional and international institutions, and plays an increasingly visible role in international politics. In response to this growth, other states in East Asia have moved to strengthen their military, economic, and diplomatic relations with China. But why have these countries accommodated rather than balanced China's rise?

    David C. Kang believes certain preferences and beliefs are responsible for maintaining stability in East Asia. Kang's research shows how East Asian states have grown closer to China, with little evidence that the region is rupturing. Rising powers present opportunities as well as threats, and the economic benefits and military threat China poses for its regional neighbors are both potentially huge; however, East Asian states see substantially more advantage than danger in China's rise, making the region more stable, not less. Furthermore, although East Asian states do not unequivocally welcome China in all areas, they are willing to defer judgment regarding what China wants and what its role in East Asia will become. They believe that a strong China stabilizes East Asia, while a weak China tempts other states to try to control the region.

    Many scholars downplay the role of ideas and suggest that a rising China will be a destabilizing force in the region, but Kang's provocative argument reveals the flaws in contemporary views of China and the international relations of East Asia and offers a new understanding of the importance of sound U.S. policy in the region.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-51206-0
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. IX-X)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. XI-XVI)
  5. PART I: THE PUZZLE AND THE ARGUMENT
    • CHAPTER 1 THE PUZZLE AND CHINA’S AMAZING RISE
      (pp. 3-17)

      In 2006, Chan Heng Chee, Singapore’s ambassador to the United States, gave a speech in Houston, Texas, about relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). She began her largely positive assessment by discussing the fifteenth-century Ming dynasty’s peaceful relations with Southeast Asia, noting, “Dynastic China’s relations with Southeast Asia were to a large extent based on ‘soft power’…. It was China’s economic power and cultural superiority that drew these countries into its orbit and was the magnet for their cultivation of relations.” She concluded her speech by saying, “there is one message I would like to...

    • CHAPTER 2 POWER, INTERESTS, AND IDENTITY IN EAST ASIAN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, 1300 TO 1900
      (pp. 18-49)

      Great powers rise and fall, and the causes and consequences of that have long been a central issue in the study of international relations. The general expectation is that rising powers cause instability by threatening neighboring states. Most of what scholars know about this issue, however, is based on the European experience from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, when five or more powerful states contended for domination of both Europe and the globe. While it is possible that the European experience will replicate itself in other regions of the world, it is important to pose this not as a certainty,...

    • CHAPTER 3 DESCRIBING EAST ASIA: ALIGNMENT STRATEGIES TOWARD CHINA
      (pp. 50-76)

      To explain why East Asian states have increasingly accommodated China, one must first describe what East Asia actually looks like—that is, describe East Asian states’ alignment strategies toward China in an empirically consistent and falsifiable manner. Doing this accurately is important, because there has been little sustained exploration of how these states interact with and view China, and so arguments about whether or not states are balancing China often rest on ad hoc and piecemeal empirical measures.¹ With the exception of Taiwan, no East Asian state fears the Chinese use of force. Indeed, the states in the region—even...

  6. PART II: EAST ASIA RESPONDS TO CHINA
    • CHAPTER 4 CHINA: IDENTITY, SOVEREIGNTY, AND TAIWAN
      (pp. 79-103)

      Explaining the sources of stability and potential instability in East Asia first requires explaining China’s identity. Identity is more than history and the narratives people tell about history; it is also formed by current interactions and pragmatic goals. This is true in all countries, including China. There is no immutable, essentialist, or primordial, unchanging Chinese identity. All identities are being constantly reinterpreted and defined, both by the myths people create to explain their past, and by their current interactions. China is no exception to this.

      In fact, Chinese views of itself, its foreign policy, its goals, and its practices have...

    • CHAPTER 5 SOUTH KOREA: EMBRACING INTERDEPENDENCE IN SEARCH OF SECURITY
      (pp. 104-125)

      South Korea presents perhaps the clearest example of the changing nature of East Asian international relations. Conventional power politics perspectives would expect South Korea to fear a rapidly growing, geographically and demographically massive authoritarian and communist China that sits on its border. Not only does China already have the military capability to threaten the peninsula, but the power disparity is widening. China also maintains close relations with North Korea—South Korea’s main external threat since 1945. Furthermore, the United States and South Korea have enjoyed a close alliance for over a half century, and it was only U.S. military action...

    • CHAPTER 6 SOUTHEAST ASIA: ACCOMMODATING CHINA’S RISE
      (pp. 126-152)

      The states of Southeast Asia have moved further to create multilateral institutions and to accommodate China than have those in Northeast Asia. Furthermore, the tight military alliances that exist between the United States and Japan and Korea are absent in Southeast Asia, and Southeast Asia is ethnically more integrated with China than is Northeast Asia. Even some states that previously had close relations with the United States, such as the Philippines, have begun a process by which the United States becomes no longer the main focus of their foreign policies. These states are increasingly taking both the United States and...

    • CHAPTER 7 JAPAN: A NORMAL IDENTITY
      (pp. 153-182)

      The question of Japan’s identity has manifested itself most obviously in a long-running debate over whether, and how, Japan can become a “normal” country.¹ Postwar Japan was considered abnormal because its military and diplomatic presence did not match its economic prowess. Standard realist theories would expect a much more assertive Japan, and yet for six decades Japan defined its national security comprehensively, covering a range of military and nonmilitary issues. As Richard Samuels notes, “the consensus is that postwar Japanese planners made a strategic choice … the United States would provide deterrence, and Japan did not need, nor would it...

  7. PART III: EAST ASIA AND THE UNITED STATES
    • CHAPTER 8 THE ROLE OF THE UNITED STATES IN EAST ASIA
      (pp. 185-196)

      The United States is not balancing China, and thus it is no surprise that the rest of East Asia is not, either. Debate over whether or not to view China as a threat is increasing in Washington, but so far there is little consensus. The business community is strongly in favor of building durable relations with China, while the military establishment is more skeptical. There are also those who are willing to take a “wait and see” attitude, hoping that over time, developments can assuage U.S. fears about future Chinese intentions.

      Threats to the United States in East Asia do...

    • CHAPTER 9 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
      (pp. 197-204)

      The rise and fall of great powers, and whether those things happen peacefully, has long been a preoccupation for students of international relations. Over the past half millennium in Europe, war and instability have accompanied the rise and fall of major states. Because Europe was the primary locus of both war and economic development over that time, it has been natural to conclude that the European experience is the norm in world politics.

      Now China is in the middle of what may be a long ascent to global great power status. Indeed, it may already be a great power, with...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 205-252)
  9. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 253-262)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 263-274)