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  • Author: Jeffrey D. Wilson
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a controversial addition to both the global and Asian economic architectures. Western critics have alleged it is a vehicle designed to achieve China’s geostrategic goals, while scholars have argued it marks China’s adoption of a ‘revisionist’ foreign policy strategy. This article argues that such interpretations are incorrect, as they fail to account for the evolution of China’s AIIB agenda. To secure a broad membership and international legitimacy for the AIIB, China compromised with partners during governance negotiations in 2015. Western country demands saw several controversial initial proposals dropped, the governance practices of existing multilateral development banks were adopted, and cooperative partnerships were developed with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. This transition from a revisionist to status-seeking AIIB agenda reveals the flexibility of Chinese economic statecraft, and its willingness to compromise strategic goals to boost the legitimacy of its international leadership claims.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Banks
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Pasha L. Hsieh
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: This article examines the evolution of Taiwan’s relationship with Singapore since the 1960s as a unique case study in the Asia-Pacific. The theoretical concept of recognition in international relations (IR) and its nexus with international law are used to analyze the conclusion of the bilateral military and trade agreements absent diplomatic relations. The article argues that beyond security dimensions, the two states’ struggles for recognition exhibit the formation of national identities, which invigorate the claims for sovereign state status in global politics. First, this article explores the emerging notion of recognition in IR and sheds light on the significance of Taiwan’s presidential visit to Singapore under its one-China policy. Second, it explains Singapore’s pursuit of external sovereignty that led to substantive defense cooperation with Taiwan, as well as the role of Lee Kuan Yew in facilitating Beijing–Taipei negotiations. Finally, it assesses contemporary developments such as the inking of the Taiwan–Singapore free trade agreement and the first-ever summit between the presidents of China and Taiwan in Singapore. Hence, the political and legal analysis of Singapore–Taiwan relations enriches the study of IR and contributes to the understanding of the foreign policy of China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Military Affairs, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia, Singapore
  • Author: Kai Schulze
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: In recent years, Japan's foreign policy elite has started to increasingly securitize China in their security discourse. The harsher tone from Tokyo is widely evaluated as a direct reaction to China’s own assertive behavior since 2009/2010. Yet, the change in the Japanese government’s rhetoric had started changing before 2010. In order to close this gap, the present article sheds light on an alternative causal variable that has been overlooked in the literature: a change in Japan’s security institutions, more specifically, the upgrade of the Defense Agency to the Ministry of Defense, in 2007. While utilizing discursive institutionalism and securitization-approaches, the present article demonstrates that a strong correlation indeed exists between the institutional shift and the change in Japan’s defense whitepapers in the 2007–10 period. It thus opens up a research avenue for the further scrutiny of the hitherto understudied but significant causal linkage in the study of contemporary Japanese security policy toward China
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Barry Buzan
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: This chapter looks at English School (ES) theory as a way of understanding China and its rise. It focuses both on where ES theory fits well enough with China to provide an interesting perspective, and on where ‘Chinese characteristics’ put China outside the standard ES framing and raise theoretical challenges to it. The first section briefly reviews the ES literature on China. The second section places China within the normative structure of contemporary global international society by looking at how China relates to the primary institutions that define that society. The third section explores two challenges that ‘Chinese characteristics’ pose for how the ES thinks about international society: hierarchy and ‘face’. The Conclusions assess the strengths and weaknesses of ES theory in relation to understanding the rise of China.
  • Topic: International Relations, Education, International Security
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Astrid H. M. Nordin, Graham M. Smith
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: Chinese government representatives and scholars have attempted to ameliorate fears about China’s rise by portraying China as a new and friendlier kind of great power. It is claimed that this represents a new way of relating which transcends problematic Western understandings of Self–Other relations and their tendency to slip into domination and enmity. This article takes such claims as a point of departure, and analyses them with focus on the explicit discussions of friendship in international relations theory. Paying attention to current Chinese thinking which emphasizes guanxi relationships, friendship can contribute to the development of genuinely relational international relations thinking and move beyond a focus on ossified forms of friendship and enmity centred on the anxious self. The vantage point of friendship suggests a way out of the dangers of theorizing Self in contrast to Other, and reopens the possibility to conceptualize Self with Other.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Power Politics, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Chengxin Pan
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: The theoretical challenges for international relations (IR) posed by China’s rise cannot be adequately addressed at a mere theoretical level. Predicated on a Cartesian/Newtonian ontology that assumes a mechanistic world made up of discrete, self-contained parts (e.g., sovereign nation-states), mainstream IR theories offer limited understanding of China’s rise. In this article, I propose an alternative, holographic relational ontology. Drawing upon recent IR scholarship on relational ontology and holographic ideas in quantum physics as well as traditional Asian thoughts, this ‘new’ ontology posits that the world exists fundamentally as holographic relations, in which a part is a microcosmic reflection of its larger whole(s). As a part of various wholes in global politics, ‘China’ is thus never an entity in and of itself, but holographic reflections of them. Its rise is best understood as a phenomenon of holographic transition, in which characteristics of those larger wholes are being enfolded into what is known as ‘China’. Thus, both the ‘China’ challenges and ‘China’ opportunities, rather than some inherently ‘Chinese’ properties, are products of China’s holographic relations. This ontology has broader conceptual and methodological as well as policy implications for IR in East Asia and beyond.
  • Topic: International Relations Theory, Holographic Transition, Ontology
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Harumi Goto-Shibata
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: This article examines the technical cooperation between the League of Nations and China from its origin in 1928 to 1934. By consulting Japanese documents, it analyses why even Japanese diplomats who were usually regarded as internationalists came to be strongly opposed to this. The founding fathers of the League did not envisage cooperation between the League and China, so there were no well-considered rules nor structures for such works. Technical cooperation developed through personal initiatives; moreover, Dr Ludwik Rajchman on the League side did not limit his activities to his expertise and came to be involved in power politics. On the other hand, East Asia was the region where the old imperial order firmly remained and Japan wanted to maintain it. Britain, the mainstay of the League of Nations, was also an empire that still had large interests in the region, so that it clearly understood the causes of Japan’s reaction.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, History, Empire, League of Nations
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Thomas J. Scotto, Jason Reifler
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: A large body of research suggests mass publics are capable of thinking coherently about international relations. We extend this body of research to show that domain relevant postures – in our case, more abstract beliefs about foreign policy – are related to how tough of a line representative samples of US and UK respondents want their governments to take toward China. More specifically, we utilize a unique comparative survey of American and British foreign policy attitudes to show broad support for toughness toward China. Beliefs about the use of the military and attitudes regarding globalization help explain preferences for tough economic and military policies toward China. In the two countries, the relationship between general foreign policy outlooks and the positions citizens take is robust to the addition of a general mediator that controls for the general affect those surveyed have toward China. Finally, the strength of the relationship between these abstract postures and specific preferences for a China policy are different across the countries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Affairs, Political Science, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: China, United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Joseph MacKay
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: International relations scholars have recently taken increased interest in empire. However, research has often focused on European colonial empires. This article aims to evaluate imperialism in a non-Western historical setting: Late Imperial China. The article first compares extant international relations (IR) accounts of empire (one broad and one narrow) to theories of the East Asian hierarchical international system. Second, to further specify analysis, I evaluate IR theories of empire against the historical record of the Ming and Qing dynasties, addressing Chinese relations with surrounding 'tributary' states, conquered imperial possessions, and other neighboring polities. I argue that while IR theories of empire capture much of the region's historical politics, they nonetheless underspecify it. Theories of East Asian hierarchy suggest additional mechanisms at work. The historical cases suggest extensive variation in how empires expand and consolidate. I conclude that there is room for further theory building about empire in IR and suggest possible areas of emphasis.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia
  • Author: Alexander C. Tan, Michael I. Magcamit
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: This paper seeks to explore and explain the process through which Taiwan utilizes free trade – both at multilateral and bilateral levels – in enhancing its shrinking de facto sovereignty against the backdrop of ubiquitous 'China factor' in the twenty-first century. It argues that China's sinicization project creates a scenario wherein increasing cross-strait stability ironically leads to decreasing de facto sovereignty for Taiwan. Due to this existing cross-strait security dilemma, Taiwanese leaders are being forced to preserve the island's quasi-independent statehood due to fears of losing its remaining de facto autonomy over domestic and foreign affairs. In essence, Taiwan chooses to be de facto free by remaining de jure unfree. Taiwan's sovereign space, therefore, becomes a pivotal referent object of its national security policy and strategy. Balancing between the two paradoxical interests of enhancing sovereignty while maintaining the Chinese-dominated cross-strait status-quo underlines the relentless games, changes, and fears that Taiwan confronts today.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan