A Political Economy Approach
Edited by Jehoon Park, T. J. Pempel and Heungchong Kim
Chapter 12: China’s Foreign Policy-Making in Post-Cold War East Asia with its Implications for Asian Regionalism
1 Hochul Lee INTRODUCTION China adopted the policy of reform and opening at the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1978. Deng Xiaoping and his reform coalition have gradually transformed the planned economy into a market economy and achieved unprecedented economic growth for the last three decades since 1978. For the same period, China has recorded an annual growth rate of almost 10 percent on average. With its largest population and huge domestic market, it is estimated that China will emerge as the largest economy in the world in another decade. Economic growth and the rising standard of living, in turn, have tended to legitimize the rule of the CCP, which is in contrast to the destiny of other communist parties in other former communist countries. In accordance with the reform and opening, China’s foreign policy has been also transformed. It has been directed toward maintaining an international environment favorable and advantageous to sustaining economic growth, that is, to expanding foreign trade and pulling in more foreign investment. In consequence, China’s foreign policy in general has been accommodative and cooperative. Nevertheless, it has often swung abruptly toward assertive or aggressive courses, as in the cases of the aftermath of the Tiananmen incident in 1989, the Taiwan crisis in 1995, and Chen Shui-bian’s presidential campaign in Taiwan in 2003–04. Overall, Chinese foreign policy appears to have been swinging between cooperative and disruptive phases. Similarly, Robert Sutter finds that China’s approach to the...
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