Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
The limits of Chinese influence in East Asia: Status seeking and rising power stagnation
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9689-0188
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Contrary to many earlier expectations, China’s influence over the security and alignment policies of its East Asian neighbors has weakened in recent years. Regular outbursts, rigid and vitriolic official statements, high-handed and capricious policy measures, and a belligerent and insular domestic foreign policy discourse feed into misgivings that China’s rise will be less peaceful than advertised. Other states in the region are thus presented with compelling reasons to keep Beijing at a distance and strengthen the US military presence. In this article, I use “status theory” to advance a new explanation of China’s failed attempts at reassurance, and hence its limited influence in the East Asian security system. I revise previous research on China’s status seeking to argue that China primarily pursues higher status by emulating US great power behavior in search for recognition as an equal by the United States. The United States has staunchly refused to recognize China’s status claims, however, and China’s unsuccessful attempts to pass as a first-tier great power reduce trust, raise threat perceptions, deepen territorial disputes, and thus inhibit China’s ability to reassure its neighbors. Put simply, China’s ardent desire to become a highest-ranking great power prevents it from reaching this objective. 

National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129818OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-129818DiVA: diva2:925334
Available from: 2016-05-02 Created: 2016-05-02 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Waiting for the rising power: China’s rise in East Asia and the evolution of great power politics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Waiting for the rising power: China’s rise in East Asia and the evolution of great power politics
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many political scientists expect the advent of rising states to bring about shifts in the international distribution of power, on the one hand, and competitive policies to improve one state’s power relative to a targeted state or coalition, known as “balancing,” on the other. Focusing on China’s rise in East Asia in 1993–2016, this dissertation challenges both these assumptions and offers a reassessment of the links between rising states, power shifts, and balancing in international relations. First, I demonstrate that the gap between the United States and China in exercising control over the security and alignment policies of secondary states has become wider, not narrower. Second, to explain this, I present two new mechanisms that reduce shifts in power from established to rising powers: the power effects of expertise and the anti-power effects of status seeking. Third, I show that there has been much less balancing from both China and Japan than is commonly assumed. Fourth, under certain conditions—dominant moderate policy discursive positions and status seeking with the objective of peer-recognition—I have demonstrated that enmity is able to coexist with policies of non-balancing and even accommodation. Finally, by revealing tacit but fundamental differences in the purposes for which scholars employ the balancing concept, I reconcile some of the disagreements about whether balancing is taking place in the wake of China’s rise.

Abstract [sv]

Avhandlingen studerar de internationella följderna av Kinas uppgång i Östasien från 1993 till 2016. Den består av fem fristående uppsatser och en kappa. En grupp av främst icke-västliga så kallade uppstigande stater, vilka kännetecknas av växande ekonomier och en potential för avsevärt internationellt inflytande, präglar den samtida världspolitiken. Många statsvetare har förväntat sig att utvecklingen kommer att leda till att den internationella maktfördelningen förändras och att stater kommer att “balansera”, det vill säga försöka förbättra sin makt relativt till en specifik annan stat eller koalition. Jag utmanar båda dessa antaganden och omvärderar därmed relationen mellan uppstigande stater, maktskiften, och balansering i internationell politik. Analysen visar att USA:s försprång gentemot Kina i inflytande över andra östasiatiska länders säkerhets- och allianspolitik har ökat, snarare än minskat. För att förklara detta presenterar jag två nya mekanismer som motverkar maktskiften mellan etablerande och uppstigande stater: experters makt över säkerhetspolitik, vilket antas gynna etablerade stater, och de negativa makteffekterna av statussökande, vilket antas missgynna uppstigande stater. Jag åskådliggör vidare att både Japan och Kina har balanserat betydligt mindre än vad många har förväntat sig. Avhandlingen pekar ut två omständigheter som möjliggör osämja att samexistera med icke-balansering och till och med en politik som ökar rivalens makt: dominans av inhemska röster som strävar att avpolitisera otrygghet inför rivalen, och statussökande med målet till erkännande av jämbördighet. Slutligen så visar jag att debatten om balansering missgynnas av outtalade men grundläggande skillnader i hur forskare använder konceptet. Genom att klargöra dessa olika syften så kan många av kontroverserna i debatten om balansering i följderna av Kinas uppgång redas ut.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Political Science, 2016. 57, 36 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in politics, ISSN 0346-6620 ; 168
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129819 (URN)978-91-7649-394-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-06-09, hörsal 11 hus F, Universitetsvägen 10 F, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2016-05-17 Created: 2016-05-02 Last updated: 2016-05-17Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Jerdén, Björn
By organisation
Department of Political Science
Political Science

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 54 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link