THEORETICAL CONCEPTUALIZATION OF CHINESE FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY
Published: 12 Sep 2018
Abstract: Since the late 1970s reform era, China has been transforming itself into an emerging superpower with global interests and responsibilities, thereby becoming a “concerned stakeholder” and a major contributor to an anarchical international arena. Reflecting international and domestic conditions, Chinese foreign policy has become more active, not to say proactive, pragmatic, and flexible and may be understood in many different ways within the theories of International Relations. China`s foreign policy is a manifestation of how the state operates in the international anarchy and gains power that eventually determines its self-preservation in an uncertain world. That is why a better understanding of China`s motivation is the matter of prime concern for scholars. Thus, in the last two decades or so, the field of international relations has been flooded with countless volumes of Chinese foreign and security policy studies. In order to understand the main drivers, the fons et origo of Chinese foreign and security policy, one should consider how and why discussions of China need to be carried forward, and how the application of “general” theories is unproductive if not actually dangerous. In response to these lacunae, the article provides valid points in the claim of which theory can best explain Chinese foreign and security policy and simultaneously demonstrates why other theories do not. The article provides important empirical findings and shows that Chinese internal dynamics and developments supplement structural explanations thereby providing an important context for foreign and security policy decision making. It could be concluded that neoclassical realism is a more coherent approach to the analysis of Chinese foreign and security policy than traditional system-level or unit-level theories which are appreciated by international relation academics. The author believes that neoclassical realism will continue to develop as the main approach to study foreign policy.
Keywords: international politics, state behavior, chinese foreign and security policy, structural and domestic variables, neoclassical realism
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