Chapter 8: Who’s Leading Who in ASEAN–China Relations? Community-Building versus Pax Sinica in the Management of Regional Security
Joern Dosch 1. INTRODUCTION: SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIVIST AND NEO-REALIST VIEWS ON REGIONAL ORDER-BUILDING ‘Everyone wants ASEAN to be in the driver’s seat of regional co-operation because ASEAN’s leadership is more acceptable in the region than China’s or Japan’s’. This remark by Valérie Niquet, the Director of the Asia Centre at the French Institute of International Relations in Paris,1 reﬂects the general perception that the key role in the search for, and maintenance of, multilateral arrangements in the region has been played by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ever since the organization took the initiative to apply its well-established model for regional security on a wider Asia Paciﬁc basis in the early 1990s. ASEAN was founded in 1967 and is often referred to as the most successful regional cooperation scheme outside Europe. The ASEAN dialogue mechanism, a set of various forms of oﬃcial and informal consultation, coordination and networking at diﬀerent levels of decision-making worked eﬀectively enough to produce peaceful conﬂict management. Perhaps the most valuable achievement of the ASEAN security model is that it has successfully managed to keep residual conﬂicts between the members (especially territorial disputes) from leading to armed confrontation. Recent developments suggest that the peace dividend of the so-called ASEAN way of regional cooperation might be successfully extended to relations between Southeast Asia and China. At least at ﬁrst glance, empirical evidence seems to suggest that ASEAN has been successfully engaging China, thereby signiﬁcantly contributing to...
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