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  • Author: Jeffrey D. Wilson
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a controversial addition to both the global and Asian economic architectures. Western critics have alleged it is a vehicle designed to achieve China’s geostrategic goals, while scholars have argued it marks China’s adoption of a ‘revisionist’ foreign policy strategy. This article argues that such interpretations are incorrect, as they fail to account for the evolution of China’s AIIB agenda. To secure a broad membership and international legitimacy for the AIIB, China compromised with partners during governance negotiations in 2015. Western country demands saw several controversial initial proposals dropped, the governance practices of existing multilateral development banks were adopted, and cooperative partnerships were developed with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. This transition from a revisionist to status-seeking AIIB agenda reveals the flexibility of Chinese economic statecraft, and its willingness to compromise strategic goals to boost the legitimacy of its international leadership claims.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Banks
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Pasha L. Hsieh
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: This article examines the evolution of Taiwan’s relationship with Singapore since the 1960s as a unique case study in the Asia-Pacific. The theoretical concept of recognition in international relations (IR) and its nexus with international law are used to analyze the conclusion of the bilateral military and trade agreements absent diplomatic relations. The article argues that beyond security dimensions, the two states’ struggles for recognition exhibit the formation of national identities, which invigorate the claims for sovereign state status in global politics. First, this article explores the emerging notion of recognition in IR and sheds light on the significance of Taiwan’s presidential visit to Singapore under its one-China policy. Second, it explains Singapore’s pursuit of external sovereignty that led to substantive defense cooperation with Taiwan, as well as the role of Lee Kuan Yew in facilitating Beijing–Taipei negotiations. Finally, it assesses contemporary developments such as the inking of the Taiwan–Singapore free trade agreement and the first-ever summit between the presidents of China and Taiwan in Singapore. Hence, the political and legal analysis of Singapore–Taiwan relations enriches the study of IR and contributes to the understanding of the foreign policy of China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Military Affairs, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia, Singapore
  • Author: Taehee Whang, Michael Lammbrau, Hyung-min Joo
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: For the past two decades, North Korea has made a series of military provocations, destabilizing the regional security of East Asia. In particular, Pyongyang has launched several conventional attacks on South Korea. Although these attacks seem unpredictable and random, we attempt in this article to find some patterns in North Korean provocations. To this end, we employ a machine-learning technique to analyze news articles of the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) from 1997 to 2013. Based on five key words (‘years,’ ‘signed,’ ‘assembly,’ ‘June,’ and ‘Japanese’), our model identifies North Korean provocations with 82% accuracy. Further investigation into these attack words and the contexts in which they appear produces significant insights into the ways in which we can detect North Korean provocations.
  • Topic: Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Barry Buzan
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: This chapter looks at English School (ES) theory as a way of understanding China and its rise. It focuses both on where ES theory fits well enough with China to provide an interesting perspective, and on where ‘Chinese characteristics’ put China outside the standard ES framing and raise theoretical challenges to it. The first section briefly reviews the ES literature on China. The second section places China within the normative structure of contemporary global international society by looking at how China relates to the primary institutions that define that society. The third section explores two challenges that ‘Chinese characteristics’ pose for how the ES thinks about international society: hierarchy and ‘face’. The Conclusions assess the strengths and weaknesses of ES theory in relation to understanding the rise of China.
  • Topic: International Relations, Education, International Security
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Astrid H. M. Nordin, Graham M. Smith
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: Chinese government representatives and scholars have attempted to ameliorate fears about China’s rise by portraying China as a new and friendlier kind of great power. It is claimed that this represents a new way of relating which transcends problematic Western understandings of Self–Other relations and their tendency to slip into domination and enmity. This article takes such claims as a point of departure, and analyses them with focus on the explicit discussions of friendship in international relations theory. Paying attention to current Chinese thinking which emphasizes guanxi relationships, friendship can contribute to the development of genuinely relational international relations thinking and move beyond a focus on ossified forms of friendship and enmity centred on the anxious self. The vantage point of friendship suggests a way out of the dangers of theorizing Self in contrast to Other, and reopens the possibility to conceptualize Self with Other.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Power Politics, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Chengxin Pan
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: The theoretical challenges for international relations (IR) posed by China’s rise cannot be adequately addressed at a mere theoretical level. Predicated on a Cartesian/Newtonian ontology that assumes a mechanistic world made up of discrete, self-contained parts (e.g., sovereign nation-states), mainstream IR theories offer limited understanding of China’s rise. In this article, I propose an alternative, holographic relational ontology. Drawing upon recent IR scholarship on relational ontology and holographic ideas in quantum physics as well as traditional Asian thoughts, this ‘new’ ontology posits that the world exists fundamentally as holographic relations, in which a part is a microcosmic reflection of its larger whole(s). As a part of various wholes in global politics, ‘China’ is thus never an entity in and of itself, but holographic reflections of them. Its rise is best understood as a phenomenon of holographic transition, in which characteristics of those larger wholes are being enfolded into what is known as ‘China’. Thus, both the ‘China’ challenges and ‘China’ opportunities, rather than some inherently ‘Chinese’ properties, are products of China’s holographic relations. This ontology has broader conceptual and methodological as well as policy implications for IR in East Asia and beyond.
  • Topic: International Relations Theory, Holographic Transition, Ontology
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Takenori Horimoto
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: A power transformation appears to be taking place in Asia, brought about by the rapid emergence of China and the relative decline of US influence. India has sought a way to cope with this new situation. India itself has been rising to prominence since the 1990s, particularly its nuclear weapon tests in 1998 onward. Since the start of the twenty-first century, India has been perceived as the next country to follow China in seeking a major power status. Although India has previously tended to conceal its power aspirations, in 2015 it declared its intention to be a leading power. This article elucidates this transformation through India's policy orientation on a local, regional, and global level and its key partnerships with Russia and Japan. India’s metamorphosis holds great implications for the transformation of power in Asia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, India, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Harumi Goto-Shibata
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: This article examines the technical cooperation between the League of Nations and China from its origin in 1928 to 1934. By consulting Japanese documents, it analyses why even Japanese diplomats who were usually regarded as internationalists came to be strongly opposed to this. The founding fathers of the League did not envisage cooperation between the League and China, so there were no well-considered rules nor structures for such works. Technical cooperation developed through personal initiatives; moreover, Dr Ludwik Rajchman on the League side did not limit his activities to his expertise and came to be involved in power politics. On the other hand, East Asia was the region where the old imperial order firmly remained and Japan wanted to maintain it. Britain, the mainstay of the League of Nations, was also an empire that still had large interests in the region, so that it clearly understood the causes of Japan’s reaction.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, History, Empire, League of Nations
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia, Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Charmian Goh, Kellynn Wee, Brenda S. A. Yeoh
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: In the context of Asia, understanding migration governance needs to transcend statism to encompass the ‘middle space’ of migration. Unlike migration linked to settlement in liberal democratic states of the West, a large part of low-skilled migration in Asia – predominantly circular, feminized, and contractual—is brokered by private recruitment agencies. In adopting migration brokers as a methodological starting point, we make the case for bringing the migration industry into the fold of global migration governance analysis. Based on interviews with employment agencies deploying Indonesian domestic workers to Singapore from 2015 to 2016, we argue that migrant-destination states in Asia devolve responsibility for workers to the migration industry to order migration flows and circumvent formal cooperation with origin countries. Comprehending migration governance in Asia requires grappling with the co-constitutive governance of the state and migration industry and its interdependent dynamics, which we illuminate through the theory of strategic action fields.
  • Topic: International Relations, Migration, Governance, Political Science, State
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia, Singapore, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Amitav Acharya, Barry Buzan
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: A decade ago in 2007 we published a forum in International Relations of the Asia-Pacific (IRAP) on ‘Why there is no non-Western IR theory?’. Now we revisit this project ten years on, and assess the current state of play. What we do in this article is first, to survey and assess the relevant literature that has come out since then; second, to set out four ways in which our own understanding of this issue has evolved since 2007; third to reflect on some ways in which Asian IR might contribute to the emergence of what we call ‘Global IR’; and fourth to look specifically at hierarchy as an issue on which East Asian IR scholars might have a comparative advantage. Our aim is to renew, and perhaps refocus, the challenge to Asian IR scholars, and our hope is that this will contribute to the building of Global IR.
  • Topic: International Relations, Academia
  • Political Geography: Asia, Asia-Pacific