Table of Contents

China, Japan and Regional Leadership in East Asia

China, Japan and Regional Leadership in East Asia

Edited by Christopher M. Dent

This book considers themes, evidence and ideas relating to the prospects for regional leadership in East Asia, with particular reference to China and Japan assuming ‘regional leader actor’ roles. Key issues discussed by the list of distinguished contributors include: • the extent to which there is an East Asian region to lead • China–Japan relations • different aspects of Japan and China’s positions in the East Asia region • how the seemingly inexorable rise of China is being addressed within the region • how China and Japan have explored paths of regional leadership through certain regional and multilateral organisations and frameworks • the position of certain ‘intermediary powers’ (i.e. the United States and Korea) with regards to regional leadership diplomacy in East Asia. Invaluably, the concluding chapter brings together the main findings of the book and presents new analytical approaches for studying the nature of, and prospects for leadership in East Asia.

Chapter 6: A Regional Partner or a Threatening Other? Chinese Discourse of Japan’s Changing Security Role in East Asia

Rex Li

Subjects: asian studies, asian geography, asian urban and regional studies, economics and finance, regional economics


Rex Li 1. INTRODUCTION China and Japan are both key actors in East Asia and they share a wide range of economic and trade interests. Their geographical proximity and cultural affinity have helped them develop close links with each other over the years. Yet their relationships are complex, turbulent and at times bitter. Historically, when China was powerful, Japan was weak; when Japan became stronger, the Chinese empire began to crumble. Today, the situation is rather unique in that both countries are major powers in their own right. Japan has established itself as an economic superpower whose influence in the world economy is extremely significant. More recently, Japanese politicians have become more candid in articulating their political aspirations. In particular, they have expressed their desire to become an ‘ordinary’ nation and to play a more prominent role in regional and international affairs (Hughes and Krauss, 2007). At the same time, China is widely regarded as a rising power with growing economic strength and military capabilities. China’s gradual integration into the international community has certainly increased its political influence in the global arena.1 A crucial question often raised by academics and policy-makers is: how will the relationship between the two East Asian powers develop in the coming years? In terms of regional security, how will China handle its relationship with a Japan that is playing an increasingly prominent and active role in East Asian security? To what extent will China be prepared to cooperate with Tokyo...

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