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Author: Ιωαννίδου, Κωνσταντίνα
Title: China's rise and its contradictory foreign policy
Date Issued: 2020
Department: International Public Administration (Διεθνής Δημόσια Διοίκηση)
Supervisor: Καρβουναράκης, Θεοδόσιος
Abstract: China has attracted much attention in the last decades with its perceived rise as a potential successor to the United States as the global hegemon. As history shows us, seldom has there been a great power that rose without going to a major systemic war, like the rise of France and the Napoleonic Wars, or the rise of Germany and World Wars I and II. Because of this, China’s rise is perceived to potentially endanger international peace, too. Since the prevailing perspective is based particularly on Western-centric assumptions, International Relations Theories (IRTs) in these societies also assume that, in its process of ascendancy, China will inevitably clash against its immediate regional neighbors, as well as with other extra-regional great powers . Besides, China can be said to have an ‘implanted gene’ as a regional hegemon which comes from its long-ranging history as the central authority in Asia. This memory of past greatness, combined with a deep-seated trauma, which many refer to as the ‘Century of Humiliation’ , could justify a revengeful China, trying to climb back where it ‘rightfully’ belongs. These beliefs are compounded by mixed signals coming out of China over the last decade (namely from the 2008 global financial crisis onwards), that is, ‘incoherence’, or ‘contradiction’ of its grand strategy: Even though, official pronouncements indicate a peaceful China, committed to its ‘Peaceful Development’ (PD) grand strategy, yet, often deeds signal its desire to assert its leadership in its periphery and beyond. This contradiction has prompted a number of world politics experts to question whether this is a purposive, strategic ploy on the part of China in order to confuse other international actors . Another contradiction discussed by international experts concern the abandonment of the ‘Keeping a Low Profile’ strategy (KLP), during Deng Xiaoping’s era, and the shift to the recent ‘Striving For Achievement’ (SFA) one – which led many of them to believe that the former was merely a ‘calculative strategy’ during a period of weakness, intended to be followed by an ‘assertive’ strategy in the future. However, a main argument of this paper is that any conclusion about China’s inevitable violent or possible peaceful rise should be drawn from the fact that it is a civilization quite distinct from the mind-sets originating and shaping up on the basis of the Western Judeo-Christian tradition. Thucydides’ driving force of ‘honor’ – which, in China’s case, was seriously dramatized during a Century of Humiliation – has been the fundamental motive in Chinese tradition. This motive is an important factor in trying to explain the ambivalence in China’s behavior ranging from peaceful to assertive. The basic question here is what kind of great power China wants to be: one that claims its place in the international system mainly by assertive means or mainly by consensual, peaceful ones? The paper will examine, whether or not China is still committed to its Peaceful Development and how its recent assertiveness can be explained. Does China intend to behave like the past rising powers and verify what history or prevailing International Relations Theories predict? Or, should its priorities and interests be examined through its own system of values, socio-cultural drivers and history, instead of western-centric assumptions? Is China using its rising power to look backward, seeking revenge for the ‘Century of Humiliation’ and restoration of a Sino-centric system in Asia? Or, look forward, helping create a more pluralistic, just, and harmonious international society as it has promised? The notion of Grand Strategy is at the core of argumentation. Thus, Part I of this paper will present in three chapters, the three main arguments that support a Chinese assertiveness: Chapter 1 will present a summary of Chinese ancient and modern history in order to provide the background to China’s understanding of honor and its historical memory with a special focus on, the so-called, ‘Century of Humiliation’ (1839-1945). Chapter 2 argues that historical record can give an important insight into the future of the international system. As it suggests: rising powers, inevitably, turn out to be assertive in a way that often leads to war. Chapter 3 will discuss the recent debate among international relations theorists about China’s rise, with an emphasis on the Realist School of Thought, which suggests that assertiveness could arise as a result of the ‘normal competition’ in world politics and, thus, ‘China cannot rise peacefully’. Part II will focus on China’s Grand Strategy, in an effort to identify and analyze its intentions. Chapter 4 will introduce China’s specific Peaceful Development Grand Strategy, which will be explained, tracing how it came into existence and what it entails (which are China’s core interests and relevant threats to those interests?). Chapter 5 will go into further analysis on how this strategy has been evolved from a ‘Keeping a Low Profile’ to a more proactive, ‘Striving for Achievement’ one. It will also discuss how this shift was interpreted by the ‘other’ side: as a move based on strategic calculations. In Chapter 6 & 7, the most salient policies (economic-diplomatic-military) of China’s Grand Strategy in the last decade, will be used for analysis: each of these policy-cases will be described in depth, using historical evidence, and they will also be analyzed for convergence with or divergence from PD grand strategy in Chapter 8. The final Conclusions will summarize the findings of the research, presenting additionally some possible alternatives of China’s future behavior.
Keywords: China's foreign policy
Information: Διπλωματική εργασία--Πανεπιστήμιο Μακεδονίας, Θεσσαλονίκη, 2020.
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Διεθνές
Appears in Collections:International Public Administration (Μ)

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