Rise of China and Its Neighborhood Diplomacy - Implications for Japanese foreign policy

Author Name TAKAHARA Akio  (the University of Tokyo)
Creation Date/NO. June 2009 09-J-012
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The rise of China and its relations with neighboring countries are currently complex. There is no question that rapid economic growth has improved the overall standard of living of the Chinese people and the international status of China. Although it is true that these factors have provided the basis for the legitimacy of the autocratic regime of the Chinese Communist Party along with basic social stability, economic growth has reached a turning point, and there is growing evidence of unrest in Chinese society. Nevertheless, growth in China is still higher than in other countries and unless political unrest develops, the presence of China in the world and the region will continue to rise. It is also easy to anticipate that China will become cautious of fears about its power, and will try to maintain a cooperative diplomatic attitude that emphasizes peaceful growth. At the same time, however, China is pursuing military expansion and has not altered its hard-line stance on specific disputes with other nations. Chinese domestic and foreign policies are closely linked, and like other countries, the more worrisome its domestic situation becomes, the more resolute it will need to be in its international relationships. Given these circumstances, Japan faces the following tasks in its diplomacy, to attenuate risks and benefit from China’s rise: 1) Involvement in spontaneous social development in China and support for the security of the people; 2) Construction of a democratic regional regime in East Asia; 3) Promotion of military confidence-building with China and maintenance of security cooperation between Japan and the United States; and 4) Facilitation of dialogue and exchanges for mutual understanding between Japan and China.