China's preference for the regional order in East Asia
Author(s)Koh, Len Chow.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science.
M. Taylor Fravel.
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What explains China's preference for the regional order in East Asia? There has been a lot of existing literature looking at China's involvement in regional affairs and institutions. In contrast, there has been less research on what China's preference for the regional order is and what shapes it. Looking at China's preference for the regional order is important as it is a key factor influencing its regional behavior. As a rising power, China's behavior would have a significant impact on the peace and stability of East Asia. I develop a typology of ideal types of regional order using the two parameters of distribution of power and governing logic. I then develop a theory for China's preference for a particular type of regional order. China's preference for the distribution of power is affected by its relative capabilities vis-A-vis the other great powers in the region as well as its long-term threat perception. Its preference for the governing logic is influenced by its relative capabilities as well as the benefits/costs of a rule-based order. I then test whether the theory is able to explain China's preference for the regional order. I looked at China's statements and speeches, as well as its approaches towards ASEAN and on the South China Sea territorial disputes between 1990-2019 to assess what they reflect about China's preference for the regional order. I then compare this with what the theory predicts to be China's preference for the regional order during the same time period. I show that the theory broadly explains China's behavior towards regional cooperation and institutions during this time period.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Political Science, 2019Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 177-182).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology