China shares borders and asserts vast maritime claims with over a dozen countries, and it has had boundary disputes with nearly all of them – often rejecting the location of boundary lines or arguing they weren’t legally established by treaties or historical documents. Yet in the 1960s, when tensions were escalating with the Soviet Union, India, and the United States, China moved to conclude boundary agreements with these neighbours peacefully. In this wide-ranging study of China’s boundary disputes and settlements, Eric Hyer uncovers a legacy not in keeping with the fearful image of China on the world stage. Rather, he finds the country’s territorial negotiations have been pragmatic and strategic, with China demonstrating willingness to compromise and even forgo historical claims in order to establish legitimate boundaries. This behaviour in earlier periods is pertinent to the ongoing territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas. The Pragmatic Dragon analyzes these disputes and the strategic rationale behind China’s behaviour. As China’s presence in world politics continues to grow, this book provides important insights and new perspectives on its foreign policy.
This book will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations and contemporary Chinese studies.
The Pragmatic Dragon significantly advances the reader’s knowledge of China’s reactions and counter-measures to its boundary disputes. Moreover, the case studies present an intriguing account of why and how China made compromises on its border disputes. It is a book worth reading for those with great curiosity and questions about China’s boundary settlements. This book may also interest political economists, historians, and general readers concerned with China’s response to the shift of the global balance of power.
In The Pragmatic Dragon, Hyer skillfully weaves together many complex cases of China’s territorial disputes and settlements, placing them in his realist analytic framework, to identify the causal relations between the structural variables of the international system and China’s changing behavior in these disputes and settlements. His book attests to the increasing vigor in the study of Chinese foreign and security policy, and will be a highly welcome addition.
The Pragmatic Dragon’s signal strength is its comprehensive and detailed treatment of various Chinese border issues. Hyer knows the details well and his presentation of each of these negotiations is extremely valuable. Most specialists in Chinese foreign affairs, as well as advanced undergraduates or graduates in foreign relations in Asia, will want this book.
Part 1: The Strategic and Historical Context
Introduction: Grand Strategy and Boundary Settlements
1 The Historical Legacy
Part 2: The Sino-Indian Dimension
2 Sino-Indian Relations and Boundary Disputes
3 The Sino-Burmese Boundary Settlement
4 Boundary Settlements with Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan
5 The Sino-Pakistani Boundary Settlement
6 The Sino-Afghan Boundary Settlement
Part 3: The Sino-Soviet/Russian Dimension
7 Sino-Soviet/Russian Relations and the Boundary Settlement
8 The Sino-Mongolian Boundary Settlement
9 The Sino-Japanese Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Dispute
10 The Sino-Vietnamese Territorial and Boundary Settlements
Part 4: Contemporary Settlements and Disputes
11 Boundary Settlements with Eurasian States
12 The South China Sea Territorial Disputes
Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Index
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