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

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

Language: English

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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?



















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include China as a regular, active member. Furthermore, East Asian public opinion toward China reflects this trend. While publics throughout East Asia overwhelmingly expect China to become the major power center of East Asia in the near future, they also generally exhibit favorable attitudes toward China and assess bilateral relations as being close. In sum, most East Asian states view China’s return to being the gravitational center of East Asia as inevitable and have begun to adjust their

than danger in China’s rise. Furthermore, the East Asian states prefer China to be strong rather than weak because a strong China stabilizes the region while a weak China tempts other states to try to control the region. Identity is also central in framing how regional states interpret China’s rise. East Asian states view China’s reemergence as the gravitational center of East Asia as natural. China has a long history of being the dominant state in East Asia, and although it has not always had

of the disputed land, only 6 percent of the disputed land with Nepal, and 29 percent of the disputed land with Mongolia. China and North Korea demarcated their border in 1962, with North Korea controlling the majority of Baekdusan, an important cultural icon in Korea. In the past four decades China has resolved territorial disputes with its neighbors, again, often on less than advantageous terms.52 David Shambaugh notes that “China has managed to peacefully resolve all of its land border

wary of China, is almost as wary of the United States. For example, when asked about overall opinion of the United States, a 2005 Asahi Shimbun poll found that 22.8 percent of Japanese respondents held favorable opinions, 14.7 percent held unfavorable opinions, and 61.0 percent had a neutral opinion. This compares with Japanese views of China—where 9.9 percent held favorable opinions, 27.6 held unfavorable opinions, and 59.8 percent were neutral. Those same respondents felt China was the most

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