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Chinese Foreign and Security Policy Behaviors under Changed Conditions:

Published:2014-09-10 Published:2014-09-10   Author:Camilla T.N.Sorensen   [Small] [Middle] [Big] [More]

The prevailing argument in Western international relations literature is that Beijing is increasingly acting in an assertive way with a narrow focus on promoting its own national interests. Recent Chinese activities as regards unresolved maritime disputes in the South and East China Sea are especially highlighted as examples of a generally more aggressive and ambitious China. However, this argument is problematic. Developments in Chinese foreign and security policy behaviors in recent years also reflect an insecure and reactive Chinese leadership focused on and preoccupied with domestic challenges but not yet ready for China’s new international role and uncertain of how to manage the challenges and the inevitable tensionarising from China’s rapid development, both domestically and internationally. This inward-looking element of China’s rise, however, cannot be captured by the dominant neo-realist theory. The articleintend to demonstrate how a neo-classical realist analytical framework that highlights the importance of both the changed international and domestic conditions for Chinese foreign and security policy provides a more solid theoretical basis for a realist understanding of China’s rise.

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