Domestic Politics, International Bargaining, and China's Territorial Disputes

Domestic Politics, International Bargaining, and China's Territorial Disputes

Domestic Politics, International Bargaining, and China's Territorial Disputes

Domestic Politics, International Bargaining, and China's Territorial Disputes

Synopsis

This analysis of China's territorial disputes explores the successes & failures of negotiations that have taken place with India, Japan & Russia. Chung relates the outcome of various disputes to the actions of domestic nationalist groups who each have their own agendas.

Excerpt

The study of the foreign policy of the People's Republic of China, especially with regard to its ties with neighboring countries with which it shares a common land or maritime border, is important in many aspects. As we enter the twenty-first century, we will encounter a China that is rapidly growing both economically and militarily, and which may once again assert its dominance against neighboring countries, as it has done in ages past. With the end of superpower dominance after the Cold War, we also face an Asia-Pacific region that is in strategic flux but is of increasing economic importance, not only to the United States, but also to Japan and the countries of the European Union. After the recovery of sovereignty over Hong Kong on 30 June 1997, China still has a few territorial claims against its neighbors. These territories were considered by the Chinese to have been detached from their country through a series of "unequal" treaties forced on it in the last century by Russia, Japan, and European imperialist powers, then also colonizing neighboring South and Southeast Asia. These so-called "unequal" treaties were immediately repudiated when the Chinese Communist Party established the People's Republic of China on 1 October 1949, which had the effect of placing in limbo the legal status of many stretches of China's international boundary. With the rise of Chinese nationalism and consequent irredentist claims, the stability and prosperity of countries in the Asia-Pacific region may be just as easily reassured or destabilized by China's domestic stability and foreign policy behavior. Hence the unresolved land and maritime boundary disputes of China as the largest country in Asia have the potential to become a major cause of instability, not only for countries against which China has territorial claims, but also for their trading partners and military allies. So saying, I believe it is timely to focus on these disputes, by tracking their initiation, aggravation, continuation and possible settlement.

While the end of the Cold War may have led to a new era of security cooperation and economic inter-dependence between the major powers of the world, territorial disputes among countries of the same region remain an important source of tension and adversarial relations, which can easily erupt into armed conflicts. By the end of 1995, more than sixty territorial disputes were going on

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