Handbook of the Politics of China
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Handbook of the Politics of China

Edited by David S.G. Goodman

The Handbook of the Politics of China is a comprehensive resource introducing readers to the very latest in research on Chinese politics. David Goodman provides an introduction to the key structures and issues, providing the foundations on which later learning can be built. It contains four sections of new and original research, dealing with leadership and institutions, public policy, political economy and social change, and international relations and includes a comprehensive bibliography. Each of the 26 chapters has been written by an established authority in the field and each reviews the literature on the topic, and presents the latest findings of research. An essential primer for the study of China’s politics.
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Chapter 23: East Asia

Shogo Suzuki


The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) recent rise to becoming a global power has meant that there has been an increasing interest in China’s growing role in Africa and Latin America. However, one of Beijing’s most important geographical areas in its foreign relations has been East Asia, and will continue to be so. Its regional neighbours, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK; or South Korea), are economic powerhouses that enjoy a much higher level of economic development than China. While still constricted by its constitutional constraints, Japan also has a formidable military. Furthermore, both Japan and South Korea are key allies of the United States (US), and act as important stations for the projection of American power in East Asia. Simply put, East Asia contains two regional powers that both have the ability to influence the regional distribution of power, and thus factor in Beijing’s strategic calculations (Buzan 2004). East Asia is also important for China because it is one of its most challenging areas of foreign policy. The region contains Taiwan, the last refuge of Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Party. Taiwan has since evolved into a thriving democracy, decreasing emotional and nationalistic ties with the communist Chinese mainland. The PRC regards Taiwan as an integral part of China, and lists reunification with the island as one of its key long-term national goals.

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