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Philosophische Fakultät - Jahrgang 2015

 

Titel China as an emerging regional leader?
Analyzing China’s leadership projects in Southeast Asia
Autor TRUONG, Minh Huy Vu
Publikationsform Dissertation
Abstract Stemming from an observation that China is rising in terms of resource power, the assumption “China Rules the World” has become one of the hottest topics. Despite the fact that there are many advantages for China, the mechanism of transforming power resources into the real power to control outcomes is still questionable. In regard to the Chinese regional leadership, variation in Southeast Asian (SEA) countries’ behavior in multilateral settings (focusing particularly on their strategic choices - varying between cooperative options, rejecting or withdrawing from China´s initiatives - vis-à-vis China´s leadership proposals) is empirically observed. Why do SEA countries accept China’s position and support China regional leadership in some cases, but not in others? To what extend is China becoming a new leader in the regional politics? In order to understand the divergences between power resources and political outcomes, we argue that types of leadership (distinguished between inclusive and extractive forms) influences international interaction among “would-be-leader” and his potential followers.
We find a powerful support for this idea in detailed case studies regarding the relationship between China and SEA states. SEA countries are more likely to agree with China proposals or accommodate with China positions when (i) there are opportunities existing for “power sharing” between them, in terms of “self-restraint China” or “voice opportunities”; (ii) the costs of measurable materials and their perception about those costs, stimulated in cases of non-cooperative or non-followed decisions, are high and (iii) China’s visions and beliefs of its proposals or initiatives are internalized into principles of conduct or vision of SEA’s elites.
Thanks to the followership of SEA states, successful leadership projects of China contributed to its establishment of a network or an alliance of its surrounding countries, in which China plays the role of a connecting hub and these countries link to each other accepting the position hierarchy, in terms of their roles in the system as well as their social relations. In some cases, the position hierarchy is institutionalized by formal voting shares in decision-makings. On the other hand, unsuccessful projects led China to complex situations, among which is the lack of position hierarchy. Moreover, not only denying or not officially accepting the Chinese leadership, SEA countries also call for other outside powers or partners not related to disputed issues (e.g. territory or sea disputes of China and SEA countries or the Mekong Sub-region issue) to undertake the leading position. Evident from the Chinese leadership projects in Asia and their results support for the argument of a rising China as a regional leader, yet a leader in the making.
My concluding part addresses the pressing need to start a serious discussion on the balance between national interest and regional solidarity within the formulation of Chinese foreign policy. Without the will, ability and right methods to build up stability in the region, China is only a “leader in the making” and will not able to get the voluntary participation of other states.
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© Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Bonn | Veröffentlicht: 03.03.2015