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  • Author: Danielle Cohen
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korean Economic Institute (KEI)
  • Abstract: China and ASEAN possess tremendous opportunities for economic cooperation, but also face significant security challenges, particularly regarding the South China Sea. In both domains, China’s national identity has greatly influenced the trajectory of the bilateral relationship. China’s ASEAN policy is characterized by a desire to recreate the Sinocentric structures of the tributary system, a belief in the historical legitimacy of China’s maritime and territorial claims, a vision of China as a global economic powerhouse, and a sense that China has already “peacefully risen” and can more actively assert itself to reap the rewards.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Wang Dong, Sun Bingyan
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korean Economic Institute (KEI)
  • Abstract: What will it take to jump start trilateral talks among Beijing, Seoul, and Washington over the situation on the Korean Peninsula, including the denuclearization of North Korea? If this subject has been on the minds of South Koreans in 2016-17 with some approaching their counterparts in Beijing and Washington, DC in the hope that such triangular talks can be launched—the more official, the better—not many Chinese have addressed what would be necessary to enlist their country in this endeavor. This chapter argues that, at present, China is unprepared to take this route. A major factor is the sense that there are imbalances that complicate the triangle. Beyond the substance of what would be on the agenda, Chinese are concerned by South Korea’s alignment and how it would affect the course of the discussions.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, America, Korea
  • Author: Gilbert Rozman
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korean Economic Institute (KEI)
  • Abstract: The construct “Chinese national identity” refers to narratives from China’s leadership, media, and academic spokespersons about what makes their country distinctive and how those ideas matter in relations with other nations. This is a relational concept that serves to distinguish the “self” and “other,” whose interpretation is shaped by interactions with other states. Seen from the vertical dimension of identity, these interactions are filtered through rhetoric aimed at promoting unity at home. Demonizing other nations while conveying an image of enemies or states seeking to contain China is a means to boost solidarity behind Communist Party control over a society with little means to dissent. The horizontal dimension of identity depicts bilateral relations as the result not of different national interests, but of clashing and often irreconcilable identities. Examining the way national identity on the Chinese side impacts five external relationships is the objective of this set of articles, which concentrate on Chinese rhetoric during the period of Xi Jinping.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Yinan He
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korean Economic Institute (KEI)
  • Abstract: Sino-Japanese relations have been in another volatility cycle since the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands disputes flared up again in summer 2012. The downward trend seems to have bottomed out in November 2014 when the two leaders Xi Jinping and Abe Shinzo finally held their first meeting since entering office. However, the anticipated recovery has proved tenuous; the momentum toward further improvement has halted since early 2016 when confrontation escalated in both the South China Sea and East China Sea. While acknowledging the role of realist power shift and geostrategic rivalry in causing Sino-Japanese tension, this paper argues that a widening gap between their national identities is also highly relevant. The current Xi government has promoted a national reinvigoration campaign emphasizing Chinese history and culture, the socialist model, and defense of core interests, which runs counter to that of Abe’s Japan, a democratic and historically revisionist country. This national identity conflict has exacerbated mutual distrust, denied chances of reassurance, and generated domestic popular objections to diplomatic compromise between the two countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Korea