China's Pragmatic Security Policy: The Middle-Power Factor

The China Journal

Author/s (editor/s):

William Tow, Richard Rigby

Publication year:

2011

Publication type:

Journal article

Find this publication at:
University of Chicago Press

Published in The China Journal, 65, 2011: 157-78.

This article conducts a brief review of China’s recent strategic thinking to understand the context of Australia’s and South Korea’s policy approaches toward China. It then uses two case studies to weigh both of these middle powers’ policies toward China. The cases illustrate the relative strength of soft power strategy projected by China’s policymakers against their harder line nationalist instincts. The article concludes that excessive Chinese policy rigidity would prompt Australian and South Korean policymakers to modify their middle-power diplomacy, and to adopt hedging strategies directed against China. However, policymakers in Australia and South Korea would be better served by retaining their strong interest in promoting and assisting China’s intensified regional engagement.

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