The EU, the US and China – Towards a New International Order?

The EU, the US and China – Towards a New International Order?

Edited by Men Jing and Wei Shen

The interaction between the EU, the US and China is of particular importance to the formation of the international order in the 21st century. This book focuses on the latest developments and examines how critical the interactions between these three players are to future global governance.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Jing Men and Wei Shen

Subjects: asian studies, asian politics and policy, politics and public policy, asian politics, international relations


Several decades ago, when Japan was a rising power in Asia, people talked about the EU-US-Japan triad. The international situation is changing so rapidly in the twenty-first century that China is now regarded as an emerging power whose rise will have a huge impact on international relations. The rise of China, with its unprecedented economic growth as well as increasing diplomatic and military prominence, has become a defining feature of our time and is considered as 'one of the great dramas of the twenty-first century' (Ikenberry 2008). While the nineteenth century was frequently called the British Century, and the twentieth the American Century, part of the debate in the twenty-first century is on whether it will be the Chinese Century (see, for example, Beckley 2011/2012). Jacques (2009, p._359) wrote that 'the rise of China and the decline of the United States are central to the present global depression'. China's rise has great implications for the reconfiguration of great powers in the world, and is often said to inevitably end the US's unipolar status, and at the same time weaken the EU's influence. Others argue that China has become the beneficiary of the economic crisis (Foot and Walter 2011), though America's global primacy in economic and political affairs as well as within global institutions remains considerably strong.