China, Japan and Regional Leadership in East Asia
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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.
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Chapter 10: Contesting East Asian Security Leadership: China and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Neil Renwick


Neil Renwick 1. INTRODUCTION Leadership in contemporary global systems is exciting a great deal of interest as the early decades of the twenty-first century appear to be laying the foundations for a major ‘power shift’ in the global political system centred upon a ‘rising’ China. The perception is of an emergent transition from a global system – either ‘unipolar’ or ‘hegemonic’ depending upon theoretical taste – led by the United States to one eventually led by China, depending upon interpretation. For those for whom this scenario is a foregone conclusion, debate is intense over the implications of this global shift in terms of structural power distribution, systemic processes, and particularly the character of global leadership. For those with a more sanguine outlook, the initial focus of interest regarding the leadership impact of China’s rise should be that of the immediate neighbourhood. Clearly there are major global reverberations of a ‘rising’ China. The central question is how systemic transition is managed. But perhaps some of the answers may be found at present rather less in the relatively opaqueness of ‘macro’ political relations and rather more in ‘micro’ bilateral and multilateral regional relations. In this sense, leadership in the context of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) derives from the nature of the problems being addressed: the challenges of economic development, separatism and terrorism shared by the organization’s membership rather than from leadership in the sense of preponderance of directive power and influence. The twin problematics of development and security require multiple partners...

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