China is not only a great power but often an opaque one. What does its regional diplomacy tell us about the country’s geopolitical position and ambitions, and what behavioural patterns does it reveal?
Building from international relations theories focused on how external threats, domestic politics, and ideology influence foreign policy, Yuxing Huang puts forward a nuanced argument. He suggests that in an environment of numerous regional competitors and alignments, China has developed a form of asymmetric statecraft toward its many weaker neighbours. In the South China Sea, it maintains a uniform strategy toward Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. Whereas in South Asia, it practises selective strategies to maintain the status quo with India and to enhance Pakistan’s position. Drawing on extensive Chinese, Russian, German, American, and NATO archival sources from the past sixty years, China’s Asymmetric Statecraft explores Chinese policy in East Asia from 1955 to 1965, in South Asia from 1955 to 1963, and in Indochina from 1962 to 1975. Huang uses these case studies as a historical foundation on which to base an in-depth analysis of contemporary regional diplomacy.
This perceptive interpretation of the different narratives and paradigms that constitute China’s foreign policy alerts us to the potential future of its diplomatic endeavours in a dramatically changing international environment.
Asian studies scholars, political scientists, historians, and policy analysts will each find valuable insights in this original and important work.
… a significant, important contribution to international relations theory.
Huang is to be congratulated on his extraordinary utilization of archival as well as secondary materials.
China’s Asymmetric Statecraft makes a crucial contribution by refining established Western-centric theories on how great powers manage their relations with weaker neighbouring states. In this carefully crafted book, Huang shows that international order in East Asia is shaped by powerful patterns that differ significantly from US and European traditions. This splendid analysis of Chinese diplomacy enriches the study of international relations through integrating major non-Western experiences into theory innovation.
Yuxing Huang is an associate professor in the Department of International Relations at Tsinghua University. His work has appeared in English in the Chinese Journal of International Politics and an edited volume of the Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series. His work in Chinese has appeared in World Economics and Politics [Shijie Jingji yu Zhengzhi], Guoji Zhengzhi Kexue [Quarterly Journal of International Politics], and Lengzhan Guojishi Yanjiu [Cold War International History Studies], among other publications. He is a co-author of A Theory of Interventions among Nations: Practice of Spring and Autumn Era and Implications for Modern China.
Introduction: Understanding China’s Regional Diplomacy
1 A Regional Competition Theory of Asymmetric Statecraft
2 East Asia, 1955–65
3 South Asia, 1955–63
4 Indochina, 1962–75
5 Regional Diplomacy in the New Era
Notes; Bibliography; Index
The New Silk Road Diplomacy
China's Central Asian Foreign Policy since the Cold War
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