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  • Author: Li Jianwei
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Although disputes in the South China Sea are in general under control since 2009, developments show that China-Philippines and China-Vietnam are two key relationships that have experienced incidents leading to fluctuating levels of tension in the South China Sea region. This study reviews the evolution of these two relationships in relation to bilateral disputes in the South China Sea and the respective approaches to managing these disputes, with emphasis on the post-2009 period. By comparing the China-Philippines and China-Vietnam approaches, it intends to analyse the differences/similarities and their implication on the management of the South China Sea disputes, as well as their bilateral relations in a broader sense.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Vietnam, Philippines
  • Author: Christopher Freise
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Much attention has been devoted to the Obama Administration's “Pacific Pivot” and the vocal reassertion of an upgraded security, economic, and diplomatic presence in East Asia by the United States. Commentators have ascribed various rationales to these efforts, including speculation that this is part of a “containment” strategy towards China, a reaction to the US presidential election cycle, or, more benignly, an effort to forestall concerns of American withdrawal from the region. These explanations have some elements of truth, but also fall short of fully describing or understanding the strategic rationale behind these moves.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Tan Kwoh Jack
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: China's decision to enter the Korean War in 1950 is a historical puzzle: why would China, a much weaker country, enter into a military confrontation with the United States, a superpower? The rationale for Chairman Mao Zedong's intervention in Korea carries strategic lessons for the contemporary crisis on the Korean Peninsula, as well as for Sino-American relations. Utilizing newly declassified Russian documents made available at the Cold War International History Project from 1994- 2004, this paper critically assesses this new evidence concurrently with the existing literature that has emerged so far, and seeks to contribute to the “trigger vs. justification” debate surrounding China'sentry. Three shortcomings of this debate are identified: 1) whether Mao would have intervened had the US military stopped at the 38 th parallel is difficult to determine; 2) Mao' s vacillations up till the very last minute cast doubt on the justification argument i.e. offensive intervention driven by revolutionary ideology and politics; and 3) as a result, this ignores the complex dimensions of decision-making and interaction between Stalin and the Chinese leadership, as well as within the Chinese leadership itself. This paper argues that one significant variable overlooked heretofore is the American landings at Inchon on 19 September 1950. This is followed by in-depth analyses of the following three main interactions that Inchon engendered – 1) the policy shifts within the Truman administration; 2) the Stalin-Mao manoeuvres; and 3) the debates and dilemmas within the Chinese Politburo. This paper concludes that it was Inchon, along with additional pressure from Stalin, and not the crossing of the 38 th parallel, that triggered China's eventual entry into Korea.
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Srikanth Kondapalli
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Political Commissars and Commanders in the Chinese military played a significant role for more than seven decades. Several commonalities, differences and relative influences of these two in the military hierarchy existed, though both were tasked to pursue political and strategic goals set by thee Communist Party in the internal matters or external dimensions of China. Even as the Commanders' role remained vital in the current phase of military modernisation, professionalism and power projection, the role of the Political Commissars is expected to be enhanced with the launching of "three wars"- media, legal and psychological warfare - from 2003.
  • Topic: Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Evelyn Goh
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The small and medium-sized states in Southeast Asia have undergone significant geostrategic changes with the end of the Cold War and the rise of China. There has been a lively debate over the last decade about whether these countries would balance against or bandwagon with China, and how their relations with the other major powers in the region would change. Recent works that argue against the simple dichotomy of balancing versus bandwangoning are correct in asserting that Southeast Asian countries do not want to choose between the two major powers, the U.S. and China. But this paper goes further to present the results of an empirical study that fleshes out the conceptual thinking that underlies this avoidance strategy. It finds that instead of merely adopting tactical or time-buying policies, key Southeast Asian states have actively tried to influence the shaping of the new regional order. It argues that key Southeast Asian states in fact have (a) distinct coneptualisations of two main pathways to order in the region–omni-enmeshment of major powers and complex balance of influence; and (b) a concrete vision of the preferred power distribution outcome, which is a hierarchical regional order.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Joshua Ho
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The emergence of China and India as major global players will not only transform the regional geopolitical landscape but will also mean an increased dependence on the sea as an avenue for trade and transportation of energy and raw materials. Within the region, the Malacca Straits, Sunda Straits, and the Lombok Straits are the main sea lanes through which trade, energy, and raw material resources flow. Indeed, the strategic importance of the regional lanes was recognised by the late Michael Leifer but the threats indetified at that time were primarily those that concerned the safety of navigation, the control of the freedom of passage by the coastal state as well as the interruption of passage in the sea lanes by an external naval power like the Soviet Union. The threats that Michael Leifer had identified has faded into insignificance and new threats to safety of shipping have arisen in their place, and these include piracy and the spectre of maritime terrorism.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia
  • Author: Evelyn Goh
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that the crucial determinant of Asia-Pacific security is whether the US and China can negotiate their relationship and their relative positions and roles in such a way as to produce sustainable regional stability. It examines three alternative models to assess some of the possible processes and outcomes in negotiating Sino-American coexistence. (I) Power transition, in which there is a significant structural shift in the regional system as a rising China challenges US dominance, with a range of possible outcomes; (II) The maintenance of the status quo of US strategic dominance over the region, which China does not challenge concentrating instead on inernal consolidation and on developing its economic power; and (III) Negotiated change, by which the two powers coordinate to manage a more fundamental structural transformation, either through froming a concert (duet) of power, or by moving towards a regional security community. The paper suggests that Model II is likely for the short-to medium-term; Model III for the medium term; and Model I for the long term.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, Asia