Asia Program

China's "Good Neighbor" Diplomacy: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?

John W. Garver, Dennis V. Hickey, and Michael R. Chambers

This Special Report examines both improvements and problems in China’s relations with neighboring countries in different parts of Asia. John W. Garver of the Georgia Institute of Technology argues that China’s core interest is to maintain the status quo of nonIslamist and non-democratic states in post-Soviet Central Asia, and to uphold the existing balance of power between India and Pakistan in South Asia. Dennis V. Hickey of Southwest Missouri State University also describes China as a “status-quo power” in East Asia—it opposes a militarized and rearmed Japan, supports the idea of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula, and seeks to avoid disruptive change in the Taiwan Strait. Michael R. Chambers of Indiana State University observes that Beijing’s growing influence in Southeast Asia might present challenges, albeit not a serious threat, to the United States over the near and medium terms.While the three essayists agree that China is reluctant to rock boats in Asia, they cannot predict how long China will maintain its current “good neighbor” diplomacy, particularly in light of China’s uneasy relations with Japan, India, and Taiwan.

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