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Waiting for the rising power: China’s rise in East Asia and the evolution of great power politics
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9689-0188
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: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129819ISBN: 978-91-7649-394-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-129819DiVA: diva2:925335
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: 2017-02-20Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The assertive China narrative: Why it is wrong and how so many still bought into it
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The assertive China narrative: Why it is wrong and how so many still bought into it
2014 (English)In: Chinese Journal of International Politics, ISSN 1750-8916, E-ISSN 1750-8924, Vol. 7, no 1, 47-88 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Dissenting assaults on the conventional wisdom that China’s foreign policy became more ‘assertive’ in 2009–2010 have intensified. In this article I develop this revisionist critique in three ways. First, to make the most valid and cumulative assessment of the accuracy of the ‘assertive China narrative’ to date, I conceptualise its key empirical claim as a case of the general phenomenon of ‘foreign policy change’. Second, based on this framework, I present a range of new empirical evidence that, taken as a whole, strongly challenges the notion of a new Chinese assertiveness. Third, since academic China and Asia experts played a pivotal role in creating the narrative, I raise a comprehensive explanation of why a great many scholars so strikingly went along with the flawed idea.

National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102442 (URN)10.1093/cjip/pot019 (DOI)
Available from: 2014-04-07 Created: 2014-04-07 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
2. Rethinking Japan's China policy: Japan as an accommodator in the rise of China, 1978 2011
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Rethinking Japan's China policy: Japan as an accommodator in the rise of China, 1978 2011
2012 (English)In: Journal of East Asian Studies, ISSN 1598-2408, E-ISSN 2234-6643, Vol. 12, no 2, 215-250 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

For the last four decades Sino-Japanese relations have been characterized by steadily growing economic and sociocultural interactions. Yet, greater interdependence has developed in tandem with bilateral tensions. Many analysts have attempted to explain the latter as a result of Japan trying to balance or contain the burgeoning growth of Chinese capabilities. In this article, we question and qualify this widespread understanding of Japan's response to China's rise by examining how Japan has handled China's rise between 1978 and 2011. More precisely, how has Japan dealt with China's long-term core strategic interests, which are embodied in the post-1978 Chinese grand strategy that is believed to have been instrumental to China's rise? Our main finding is that to a significant degree Japan has accommodated the rise of China rather than balanced against it.

Keyword
Sino-Japanese relations, Japan's China policy, the rise of China, containment, balancing, accommodation
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-80091 (URN)10.1017/S1598240800007840 (DOI)000306861900003 ()
Note

AuthorCount:2;

Available from: 2012-09-19 Created: 2012-09-12 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
3. The limits of Chinese influence in East Asia: Status seeking and rising power stagnation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The limits of Chinese influence in East Asia: Status seeking and rising power stagnation
(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:nbn:se:su:diva-129818 (URN)
Available from: 2016-05-02 Created: 2016-05-02 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved
4. Understanding fluctuations in Sino-Japanese relations: To politicize or to de-politicize the China issue in the Japanese diet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding fluctuations in Sino-Japanese relations: To politicize or to de-politicize the China issue in the Japanese diet
2010 (English)In: Pacific Affairs, ISSN 0030-851X, Vol. 83, no 4, 719-739 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

From the late 1990s to the late 2000s, scholarly literature and media analysis shifted from representing the Sino-Japanese relationship as generally “good,” to portraying it as generally “bad,” and then back to describing it as generally “good” again. This article aims to make sense of what could thus be construed as fluctuations in Sino-Japanese relations and Japan's China policy, through employing discourse analysis as foreign policy theory. The aim is operationalized by analyzing Japanese China discourse as it has played out in the Diet. The article demonstrates that there is a fault line between a “radical representation,” epitomizing further politicization of a prevalent Japanese sense of insecurity about China, and a “moderate representation,” reflecting de-politicization of the same phenomenon. Furthermore, it shows that in the period examined (a) China has come to be discussed more frequently, and (b) a greater variety of aspects of the relationship have reached the political agenda. Together, these two changes have been conducive in altering the relative position of the two representations. In 2008 the moderate representation was still dominant, but less so than in 1999. The main argument of this article is thus that recent fluctuations in Japan's China policy—and by implication Sino-Japanese relations—can be understood in terms of an increasingly open Japanese China discourse.

Keyword
Sino-Japanese relations fluctuations, Japan's China policy insecurity, Japanese Diet debate discourse analysis
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102441 (URN)000285036000004 ()
Available from: 2014-04-07 Created: 2014-04-07 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
5. Legitimizing hierarchy in international politics: The case of the “The Asia-Pacific Epistemic Community”
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Legitimizing hierarchy in international politics: The case of the “The Asia-Pacific Epistemic Community”
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many states partially relinquish sovereignty in return for physical protection from a more powerful state. Mainstream theory on international hierarchies holds that such decisions are based on rational assessments of the relative qualities of the political order being offered. Such assessments, however, are bound to be contingent, and as such a reflection of the power to shape understandings of reality. Through a study of the remarkably persistent US-led security hierarchy in East Asia, this article puts forward the concept of the “epistemic community” as a general explanation of how such understandings are shaped and, hence, why states accept subordinate positions in international hierarchies. The article conceptualizes a transnational and multidisciplinary network of experts on international security—The Asia-Pacific Epistemic Community—and demonstrates how it operates to convince East Asian policymakers that the current US-led social order is the best choice for maintaining regional “stability.” The role of this community is illustrated using the recent US “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific—the biggest reinforcement of US security hierarchy in the region since the 1960s.

National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129811 (URN)
Available from: 2016-05-01 Created: 2016-05-01 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved

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