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Governance, Regimes,
and Globalization
Governance, Regimes,
and Globalization
Case Studies
from Beijing and Taipei

Edited by
Peter Kien-hong YU,
W. Emily CHOW, and Shawn S.F. KAO

Lexington Books
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ROW M A N & L I T T L E F I E L D P U B L I S H E R S , I N C .
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International governance, regimes, and globalization : case studies from Beijing
and Taipei / edited by Peter Kien-hong YU, W. Emily CHOW, and Shawn S.F. KAO.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-7391-4319-3 (cloth : alk. paper) — ISBN 978-0-7391-4321-6
1. International organization—Case studies. 2. World government—Case studies.
3. China—
Foreign relations—1976- 4. Taiwan—Foreign relations—1945- I. YU,
Peter Kien-hong, 1953- II.
CHOW, W. Emily, 1967- III. KAO, Shawn S. F., 1952-
JZ1318.I5685 2010
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To all those people in the world who
put scholarship (xueshu) in the first place

Preface ix

  1   International Governance and International Regimes 1

Peter Kien-hong YU

  2   Norms, Power, the Power of Norms, and Community:

Essentials of International Governance 9

  3   Does Beijing Understand the Term “International

Regimes”?: A Content Study 25
Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

  4   Beijing’s Hegemony under International Relations

and International Regimes 55
Peter Kien-hong YU and Chun-chi CHIANG

  5   Adaptation and Strategic Calculation: China’s Participation

in International Regimes and Institutions 69
Suisheng ZHAO

  6   The PRC’s Governance Diplomacy in the Asia–Pacific Region 95

Rosita Dellios

  7  Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World:

Using Military and Nonmilitary Adversary Regimes as a Tool 107
Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

viii Contents

  8  Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 141

Richard W. Mansbach

  9  Universality Claims and “Failures” across Cultures:

Liberalism vs. Asian Values 181

Index 205

About the Contributors 209


In March 1999, the lead coeditor of this volume began to acquire

knowledge on international regimes at the advice of his New York
University (NYU) mentor, James C. HSIUNG, who in December 2005
suggested that in ten or fifteen years the study of international governance
will proliferate by becoming the mainstream school of thought (see figure
on page xii). Following the recent fall of Wall Street and the financial
tsunami, there is reason to believe that the world needs more good, and
better, governance—that is, international as well as domestic governance of
banking and finance. This moral is bound to find echoes in the international
relations literature.
In the first two years of studying regimes, the lead coeditor felt that he
had absorbed 70 or 80 percent of what international regimes are all about.
In May 2008, at a conference with the second coeditor, he suddenly realized
that “international regimes” is merely a very abstract term. One can sense it
right away, especially under urgency. Here, perhaps we can add the adjective,
palpable. In other words, we need mechanism(s) and measure(s) to shore
it up in order to maintain and/or sustain it.
In December 2008, the lead author came up with his own definition of
international regimes: a set (or sets) of at least fifteen criteria/core elements/
features (including those four as mentioned by Steven D. Krasner) in the
contexts of (fragmented) issue-area, (fragmented) issue-areas, and issue-
regimes. On this definition, Yale H. Ferguson, who contributed a brief essay
on Global Governance for Sage Publications’ International Political Science
Association’s Encyclopaedia of International Relations, in August 2009 said:
“Best wishes with this!” In April 2009, the lead coeditor became confident
that he has understood 99 percent of international regimes. It should be

x Preface

noted that we cannot use the terms international regimes and international
institutions interchangeably, because the former term always has a positive
connotation, whereas the latter, depending on the context, may have
negative connotation. To be consistent in logic, we cannot discuss nor apply
two or more international regimes or issue-regimes at the same time, if they
are at odds or clash against each other.
Yes, international/global governance along with international regimes
will sooner or later replace Realism/neorealism as the mainstream school
of thought in the foreseeable future. On July 8, 2009, State Councilor DAI
Bingguo of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), who was attending the
outreach session of the Group-Eight Summit on behalf of PRC president
HU Jintao, attended the group meeting of leaders of the outreach five
developing countries (O-5) in L’Aquila, Italy. DAI exchanged views with
leaders present at the meeting on ways to enhance, for example, global
economic governance.
For the first time, DAI said that global crisis could only be solved
through international cooperation and that a balanced and sustainable
development of world economy could only be achieved by strengthening
and improving global governance. His remarks were echoed by French
president Nicolas Sarkozy, who gave this remark the following day: “To
global crisis we must respond with a reform of global governance.” We are
excited, because we are on the right track since August 2003, if not earlier,
and look forward to more academics in integrating, cultivating, and
fertilizing the China studies and the international/global governance
studies in the years to come.
The authors of this book are grateful to Joseph C. Parry, acquisitions
editor of political science, international relations, and cultural studies at
Lexington Books, for agreeing to publish this book, and to an anonymous
reviewer, who suggested a new title for us: Globalization, Governance and
Regimes: Beijing and Taipei’s Perspectives, as well as Jana M. Wilson and
Tawnya Zengierski for editorial assistance throughout the publication.
This book is published in association with the One-dot Center for the
Study of International Governance, Regimes, and Globalization (or Yidian
Yanjiu Zhongxin in Mandarin Chinese) at Ming Chuan University (MCU),
Taoyuan Campus, Taiwan Province, Republic of China (ROC), which was
created in April 2007 by the lead coeditor. We are grateful to Win Join Book
Company, Ltd., Ta Tong Book Company, Ltd., Knowledge Book Company,
Ltd., and Green Po Book, Inc. for partially funding this book project.
Chapters written by HSIUNG, Samuel S. ZHAO, Rosita Dellios, and
Richard W. Mansbach respectively were presented at the March 2009
international conference, Taipei, Beijing, and the Overseas Chinese/
Compatriots in the Context of International/global Governance, Regimes,
and Globalization, which was cosponsored by the ROC’s Ministry of
Preface xi

Foreign Affairs (MOFA), National Science Council (NSC)(ROC), Overseas

Compatriots Affairs Commission (OCAC), Rutgers—the State University
of New Jersey (U.S.), University of Denver (U.S.), National Cheng-chi
University (NCCU), etc.

Peter K. H. YU, Swinburne University of Technology (Australia, Sarawak

W. Emily CHOW, Ming Chuan University (ROC)
Shawn S. F. KAO, Tunghai University (ROC)
International Governance
and International Regimes
Peter Kien-hong YU

In December 2005, the lead coeditor’s mentor at New York University (NYU),
James C. Hsiung, who is well versed in international relations, international
law, international organizations, international institutions, and international
regimes, predicted that international governance (as opposed to Realism,
neorealism, liberalism, neoliberalism, Constructivism, and Marxism) will
most likely become a mainstream school of thought in ten or fifteen years. In
2004, Yale H. Ferguson and Richard W. Mansbach’s book, Remapping Global
Politics, suggest that the state is losing its capacity, legitimacy, and authority to
remain the primary actor in world affairs and is being transformed into a
more complex “postinternational universe” or postinternationalism charac-
terized by diverse and overlapping polities. They perceive that neorealism will
and ought to be replaced and that international regimes will become more
important for two reasons—the proliferation of collective goods issues and
the erosion of state capacity that makes it impossible for individual states or
groups of them to cope with challenges to their well-being and prosperity.1
Accordingly, they revised the “maps” of global politics and explain the shift-
ing and accelerating forces transforming them in an important contribution
to the issues of globalization and the future of international relations theory.
In September 2008, Harvard University (HU)’s Kennedy School of Govern-
ment (KSG) launched a new program, which is called international and
global governance.2 It should be noted that, in spring 2002, at the advice of
Hsiung, I drafted a plan to set up a new Department of International Affairs
(DIA) at Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages (WUCL) in Kaohsiung Mu-
nicipal City, Taiwan Province, Republic of China (ROC), emphasizing inter-
national/global governance and globalization. And, as early as August 2003,
informally, and spring 2005, formally, the Graduate School of International

2 Peter Kien-hong YU

Affairs (GSIA) at Ming Chuan University (MCU) in the ROC began a pro-
gram, which is called International/Global Governance in a Globalizing
World. Notice that the GSIA used two adjectives, namely, international and
global, which are quite different in usage, with the former being more fun-
gible, such that it can be used to discuss bilateral and multilateral relations,
while the latter cannot. We are confident that, with HU professors, armed
with ample funding and prestige, more political scientists in general and
theorists in particular, in the world would be attracted to the new school of
thought and fertilize it.
Indeed, international/global governance has a very good chance of be-
coming a new school of thought, if each academic and expert on interna-
tional relations puts scholarship in the first place. To the lead coeditor of
this book, scholarship means logic, contribution, preciseness  in using
words, closeness to reality, etc., in that order of importance.
If we do not write logically, how can we convince ourselves in the first
place? For example, one United Kingdom–based academic defined global-
ization as deterritorialization. My study of the same term is that it could be
defined as territorialization. Later, I read a text, which says that globaliza-
tion can be reterritorialization. Obviously, contradictions exist among the
three terms. More importantly, if our words and deeds do not match, critics
can easily find fault with us in general and politicians in particular, by
pointing out our contradictions, unless we can be a second Barack H.
Obama, II, who can overshadow his contradictions with his charisma. If we
cannot make contributions to the literature, why should we (waste our time
and energy to) write something? Needless to say, making substantial contri-
butions is not easy. Often, with new findings or discovery, what once was
considered a contribution becomes a falsified thing of the past, and is,
therefore, useless. Choice of words, terms, etc., is also important. Precision
is certainly called for whenever we write or say something, so that confu-
sion will not beget confusion. Then comes the tough question: Is your writ-
ing or analysis closer to reality, if we can have the truth? Here, choosing a
better methodological approach and method becomes important. In other
words, should it be dialectical or nondialectical?
If we are talking about, for instance, the ROC or, for that matter, People’s
Republic of China (PRC), in December 1949, when China was politically
divided, the central government on each side of the Taiwan Strait, indeed,
was in control of most resources, tangible and intangible. For that reason,
our unit of analysis just has to be the state, meaning a government or a
politically organized body. Sometimes, we need only to focus on CHIANG
Kai-shek or MAO Zedong, because they were in command of almost every-
thing or they were the personification of the state and/or the party.
However, time has changed. The realists or, for that matter, the neo-realists,
cannot just focus on, for example, a central government’s external behavior,
International Governance and International Regimes 3

when they study international relations. It is state-centric, emphasizing

power. With the rise of civil society at both national and international levels,
international/global governance should be closer to reality, because we have
to look at both the state/non-state-sponsored dimensions. For governance,
we have to first mention state, to be followed by non-state, and for economy
or business, it is the reverse, that is, non-state/state-sponsored. To be sure,
there are a zillion words, terms, etc., which belong to the term, non-state,
such as economy, business, class, or private think tank or foundation. After
having identified the state and non-state, one can proceed to study, for ex-
ample, political economy, which is very complicated and complex.
(Neo)liberalism basically focuses on market and contract. When people
buy and sell something, they are in a market. If the volume is big, the buyer
and seller have to sign a contract for mutual protection. Before goods and
services can be delivered, banks, insurance companies, etc., are involved.
Politics could follow that, hence the term, (international) political economy.
In other words, politics is the superstructure of economics, or “what prevails
in economy will ultimately prevail in politics.” In a sense, subscribes to this
school of thought are Marxian. However, the study of international/global
governance embraces the non-state sponsored dimension. Hence, it is
broader than that of the (neo)liberalism school of thought.
Constructivism became popular since the early 1990s. It has pooled many
theorists to the school. Two major concepts are often being mentioned: idea
and ideal. The sentence which ought to be remembered is: It is all in your
mind. Thus, Alexander Wendt said anarchy is what states make of it.3 In this
connection, if we were in a Political Science class, whether or not the ROC
is a country is of secondary importance. This is because, being a citizen or
noncitizen of the ROC, it does not matter, so long as we can discuss or de-
bate on it logically. However, if a ROC student or a ROC politician wants to
visit a foreign country and he or she cannot get a visa (on time), then the
question of whether the ROC is a country becomes a (big) concern. In
August 2009, former ROC president, CHEN Shui-bian, as a desperate resort,
made a bizarre move, suing Obama and U.S. secretary of defense Robert M.
Gates, for failing to place Taiwan under their military occupation, which
CHEN claims has continued since October 25, 1945. To be sure, the study
of international/global governance also incorporates the study of idea, ideal,
etc. For example, the United Nations (UN) model for good governance men-
tions the following concepts:4 accountable, transparent, responsive, equita-
ble and inclusive, consensus oriented, participatory, follows the rule of law,
and effective and efficient. Some concepts are ideas and others, ideals. For
instance, “follows the rule of law” is an ideal, because if we put it in context,
can a grade or junior school student follow the rule of law, when he or she
has a vague idea of what the law is? In short, Constructivism can be a part
of international/global governance, broadly defined.
4 Peter Kien-hong YU

One of Marxism’s main concepts is class struggle. In the eyes of Karl Marx,
class comes before nation, country, or state or it is more important than
other things. One class will inevitably replace the other, and this is the his-
tory of human development, ending with Communism or Utopia. In
September 2008, we witnessed a global economic crisis. Many state practices
became socialist. However, the study of international/global governance
can also embrace class study, by virtue of the term, non-state.
In sum, international/global governance can forcefully challenge those
old schools of thought and even replace them as the mainstream school of
thought, given time.
It should be noted that to fully understand international/global gover-
nance, one must also understand international regimes. It is one of the
most useful tools for those politicians and statesmen who want to govern
the world. This book can help students to easily grasp the term, interna-
tional regimes, in a short period of time. This is because scholars in the West
did not give a fuller picture or a set of definitions of international regimes.
Steven D. Krasner mentioned four core elements of an international regime,
such as principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures plus that
each regime has to do with an issue in a given area of international rela-
tions, while Robert O. Keohane defined, for example, international regimes
as islands of governance. An island is an example of an area. The four core
elements as mentioned by Krasner are related to the term, governance.
However, many, if not most, beginners in the East in general and China,
Japan, and Korea in particular, cannot tell whether each regime has a posi-
tive nature, benefiting all the countries, political and/or economic entities,
and individuals like you and me. Throughout our study, the lead coeditor
has mentioned at least fifteen (as opposed to Krasner’s four) core elements,
by adding, for example, we are all on the same side; one for all and one for
one (in the Daoist sense?); pan; transparency; no power struggle; mitigation
of anarchy, etc.; community-centered arrangements. In short, the lead co-
editor has made contribution to the understanding of international re-
gimes, and his definition is: They have to do with a set (or sets) of at least
fifteen criteria/core elements/features in the contexts of (fragmented) issue-
area, (fragmented) issue-areas, and issue-regimes. In passing, it may well be
noted that Mansbach was invited to make a critique of my definition: “I
very much like your extension of the definition of international regimes
though I would suggest that you try to conflate5 them somewhat as some
may overlap others. Perhaps what you might do is illustrate how each is
integral to understanding regimes by taking one regime and describing the
relevance of each of your elements and how it clarifies the concept.” 
The main focus of this book is on regimes, which are mainly related to
Beijing and Taipei. The abstract of the second chapter as written by the author
is: International governance relies equally on power and norms (i.e.,
International Governance and International Regimes 5

international regimes and institutions), perhaps more on norms than coercive

power, despite the fact that the latter is the only element that matters to the
(neo)realists. If the structure of convergent expectations of decision-makers,
created by regimes, can help cope with an international relations governance
problem, it will render unnecessary any resort to coercive (or real) power.
The abstract of the third chapter is: In this study, we will conduct a thor-
ough content analysis6 of both the Chinese and English versions of the white
papers, which were published by the State Council (SC) of the PRC.7 The first
one was made known to the public in November 1991, on the human rights
in the Chinese mainland, and the sixty-second one was published in Septem-
ber 2009, on the Development of Xinjiang and Progress. In the West, we often
see the human rights regime. Beginning with the November 1995 white pa-
per, China: Arms Control and Disarmament, did we see the word regime applied
at the international level for the very first time. That white paper was also the
first one dealing with military affairs.
Fourth chapter: Beijing has been regarded by some political observers as a
hegemon, which has a negative connotation, under the term international
relations. However, under international regimes, what it does can benefit all
the countries, international organizations, and individuals like me. Arguably,
it is with the latter that PRC president HU Jintao wanted to impress the UN
leaders in September 2005 and September 2009, respectively.
Fifth chapter: This chapter attempts to explain mainland China’s turn from
reluctance to active participation in international institutions since the end of
the Cold War by examining Beijing’s adaptation to the evolving transnational
norms associated with globalization; its strategic calculation in shaping the
distribution of power in the international system; and the PRC’s evolving
position on state sovereignty. It argues that the mainland’s participation in
international institutions is first of all a function of Beijing’s growing involve-
ment in the increasingly interdependent world and the PRC’s adaptation to
the emerging transnational norms, such as cooperative development, human
rights, and common security. Beijing’s turn to multilateralism is also part of
its soft balancing strategy that relies on participation in international institu-
tions and other diplomatic maneuvering to frustrate the U.S. unipolar inten-
tion in the post–Cold War world. Although the Chinese Communist govern-
ment has gradually moved from staunchly advocating state sovereignty to a
more flexible one, state sovereignty remains a central concern in the PRC’s
participation in international institutions. Beijing’s behavior in international
institutions is thus guided by its consideration on the relevance of issue-areas.
These institutions are set up to the PRC’s modernization and the ability to
maximize its relative power and autonomy within these organizations.
Sixth chapter: Mainland China’s multilateralist behavior—or governance
diplomacy in the pursuit of cooperative regionalism—will contribute to
greater stability and less exclusion in regional affairs. Flexibility and infor-
6 Peter Kien-hong YU

mality are the hallmark of these efforts, as regional cooperation has tended
to start with informal dialogue and then progress to practical projects. There
is also an emphasis on process rather than results, leading to mutually
constitutive relations. Correlative relationships are a feature of East Asian
security thinking. Thus this chapter also explores the possible theoretical
underpinnings of Beijing’s governance diplomacy and its regional context
in terms of East Asian modalities of thought.
Seventh chapter: Periodically, there has been politicomilitary tension in
the Taiwan Strait since the late 1940s. However, with the increasing ur-
gency, insecurity, convergent expectation, and perception of creating inter-
national regimes or Bicoastal Chinese regimes, as the context may be,
such tension, (scientific) uncertainty, and mistrust can be mitigated to a
considerable extent.
As the world is evolving, international governance, as opposed to rule,
control, or command, of the Strait will apply more than ever. Whether the
Taiwan Strait experience can be globalized to, for example, the Strait(s) of
Malacca, will also be discussed.
Eighth chapter: This chapter identifies the different theoretical perspectives
on globalization, addresses the key features of the process, and describes the
impact of globalization on East Asia—China, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.
It argues that globalization and localization are related phenomena and that
East Asia, a major benefactor of the process, has successfully produced a “hy-
brid” version of globalization. The chapter also addresses the likely conse-
quences for globalization of the 2008–2009 economic and financial crisis and
concludes that, although the crisis has created significant challenges to the
process, globalization will persist. For East Asia, the 1997–1998 economic
crisis was a foretaste of current difficulties, and continued globalization in the
region then suggests that it will continue after the present crisis ends.
Ninth chapter: Governance can be related to the Confucian roots of the
Asian values, a term also mentioned in Mansbach’s chapter and his 2007
coauthored book, Introduction to Global Politics. The author argued that “the
ultimate root of the ‘failures’ of the universality claims of the Western key-
stone ideas can be grasped only from a non-unilinear perspective on cul-
tural traditions.”
In sum, the major finding of all findings is that there is a long way to go
for both sides of the Taiwan Strait’s leaders to fully grasp what regimes are,
as can be seen in almost all chapters.


  1.  Email from Richard W. Mansbach, dated March 18, 2009.

  2.  Unfortunately, its course listing did not mention the cutting-edge course “in-
International Governance and International Regimes 7

ternational regimes.”
  3.  See Alexander Wendt, “Anarchy Is What States Make of It,” International Orga-
nization, vol. 46, no. 2 (Spring 1992), pp. 391–425.
  5.  “To bring together or to combine (as two readings of a text) into a composite
whole.” See, dated March 19,
  6.  For approaches of content analysis, see H. D. Lasswell, Politics: Who Gets
What, When, How (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1936) and The Structure and Function of
Communication in Society (New York: Harper, 1948). See also K. Krippendorf, Content
Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications,
  7.  Promoting transparent governance of mainland China, improving public
services, and safeguarding citizens’ rights to know, according to the head of the
website, began trials on October 1, 2005 and formal operation on
January 1, 2006.
Norms, Power, the Power of Norms,
and Community: Essentials of
International Governance

A Tale of Two Perspectives

International governance (IG) is more than a phenomenon,1 and a focus

in the field of international relations (IR). It is, moreover, a perspective, in
stark contrast to that of neorealism,2 which still dominates the IR litera-
ture. In pedagogical terms, IG is concerned with the shaping or managing
of some form of rule-based, often hierarchically ordered, relations in the
international system, through the medium of institutions and following
preset norms.
For its part, the neorealist perspective sees in the Westphalian structure3
a system of international politics, driven by conflict and oft-failed efforts at
its resolution (witness the “Hundred Years’ War” over Palestine4). From its
standpoint, neorealism sees states as the only actors that matter on the
world scene. To the IG perspective, on the other hand, the Westphalian
structure consists of a mixture of systems as are found in different issue ar-
eas, such as trade, finance, development, environment, etc. And, in this
view, states share the world stage with non-sovereign actors like interna-
tional organizations or institutions (e.g., the likes of Group-7, and the Basel
Committee overseeing the monetary regime), transnational corporations
(TNCs), and even individuals like the Pope—other individual actors may
include terrorists, drug traffickers, and mafia operatives.
It may not be an overexaggeration to suggest that the realists focus almost
exclusively on power and its critical importance to the pursuit of national
interest by means of self-help. By contrast, the IG perspective views power
and norms as being mutually complementary and equally instrumental in
furtherance of both the egoistic interests of individual states and the world

10 James C. HSIUNG

community’s broader concerns that transcend state egoism. In the protec-

tion of the environment and of our ecosystem, for instance, no single state,
no matter how powerful, can achieve the common goals without the col-
laboration of other actors. Hence, collective help, often facilitated through
international institutions and regimes, is needed to supplement unilateral
self-help, in this as in other issue areas.
IG involves the setting of goals and priorities, and may entail the use of
power to attain them. But use of power for these purposes may have to fol-
low preset norms (or regimes5) and/or through the medium of institutions.
Hence, IG depends on both power and norms. Yet, power may take various
forms and, as we will see below, norms may also be a source of power in
their own right, known as normative power.

Various Forms of Power: A Taxonomy

In an elucidating volume they edited on power in global governance, Mi-

chael Barnett and Raymond Duval (2006) offer a new conceptualization
that captures different forms of power and demonstrate how these different
forms connect and intersect in global governance. Below is a taxonomy of
the four basic forms of power (pp. 2–4) that hold different significance for
the two perspectives discussed above:

(a) Compulsory power, or power over others, is the ability to make B do

X against its will. This is the kind of power, i.e., real (coercive) power,
which commands the attention of the realists.
(b) Structural power concerns the constitution of social capacities and
interests of actors in direct relation to one another, as reflected for
example in a state’s percentage share (or stakes in) the world econ-
omy. This is likewise a source of real power that rivets the realists’
(c) Institutional power inheres in the capacity of institutions to steer
action in a certain direction, producing effects of international re-
gimes or institutional arrangements.6
(d) Constitutive power7 shapes the conditions or terms of interaction
between actors in their own behavior, in pursuit of their interests
and ideals or in the conduct of their mutual relations. In short, it is
largely associated with the power of norms.

Institutional power and constitutive power can be summed up as nor-

mative power, in comparison with the real (coercive) power inherent in
the (a) and (b) categories above. From the IG perspective, power is also
associated with the legitimacy of particular governance arrangements:
Norms, Power, the Power of Norms, and Community 11

who gets to participate, whose voice matters, and whose vote or say counts
(ibid., p. 8; 185ff).

Two Prerequisites of IG

Two prerequisites must be met for IG to be feasible, namely: (i) That states
realize they have vital common (shared) interests; and (ii) that there be
collective capability to affect the setting of goals and priorities.
The modern consciousness that states share some vital common inter-
ests devolved from two bodies of recent human experience. First, World
War I drove home in human subconsciousness that peace is indivisible,
thus anticipating the Wilsonian scheme of collective security in response.
Second, the Great Depression of the 1930s taught the world’s nations
that their own economic health and vitality was as much a matter of in-
ternational as national concern. Hence, following the end of World War
II, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), for instance, was created as a
lender of last resort, intended to preclude another such global disaster
and conceived in the liberal economic theory of peace that underscored
the Bretton Woods system as a whole and the General Agreement on
Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization (WTO). The Bretton Woods
institutions brought to an end the erstwhile unbridled national legal
sovereignty over monetary matters (Simmons 2000: 599). And, the GATT
internationalized a system of free trade, until it was globalized un-
der WTO.
The liberal economic theory of peace is so-called because it expostulates
that if the world’s markets (including financial markets) are kept open and
unimpeded, nations will find it easier and less costly to obtain their needed
resources from the markets than trying to secure them by resorting to the
use of force (war), as in the past.8
Concededly, the IMF did not live up to its raison d’être in preventing the
most recent financial tsunami from occurring. In fact, it proved helpless,
even irrelevant, while the global financial system ran haywire, following the
collapse of Wall Street in late 2008. Nor did the other institutions conceived
in the same liberal economic theory of peace prove capable of saving the
global economy from the meltdown triggered off by the financial disaster.
However, the truth of the matter is that the present round of global eco-
nomic catastrophe has, paradoxically, only heightened human awareness
that all nations share critical common interests more than ever before in a
globalized world, and that collective action is needed if a pareto-optimal
bailout9 is to be worked out among nations. This realization demonstrates
that collective help (rather than self-help), a typical concern of IG, is neces-
sary and desirable.
12 James C. HSIUNG

Despite their shared common interests, states nevertheless may find set-
ting of goals and priorities—not to mention operationalizing a game plan
for fostering pareto-optimality in the domain of their common interests—is
more hazardous than meets the eye. The reasons are: (1) possible clash due
to competing egoistic interests outside the specific domain of commonly
shared interests, and (2) the fear of uneven gains (“It’s not whether we both
gain, but who gains more.”). To the extent that some third party—qua col-
lective decision-making mechanism—may be indispensable to the produc-
tion of the desired collective goods, individual states may find relying on
multilateral institutions preferable to unilateralism. This condition makes
IG a workable option among nations.

Norms Making and the General

Will of the World Community

In discussing norms and their power, one rudimentary question is: Where
do norms come from? Below, let us entertain a few modalities of norms
making in the community of states and nonsovereign actors.
First, settled practice, or practice repeated by a sufficient number of states,
is capable of creating customary norms binding on states, provided that (a)
in repeating the same practice, states convey a sense of being bound (opinio
juris), rather than out of expediency; and (b) that the number of states ac-
cepting such practice is significant enough to represent a general will of the
world community (opinio juris communis). Unlike customary norms,
treaty norms are only binding on states parties to a given treaty. Hence,
general international law is ultimately based on customary norms.
Second, when treaty norms are adopted by a significant number of other
states not parties to a given treaty, then those norms can be said to have
been absorbed into the body of customary norms, or general international
law, binding on all nations—because the wide adoption as such reflects an
opinio juris communis.
Thirdly, international institutions like the WTO, though themselves cre-
ated by agreements reached by states, may create rules that are mandatory
for its member states. When the constitutive treaty norms and institutional
rules, like other relevant treaty and customary norms, are received into the
domestic laws (often through enabling legislations) of states, the resultant
enmeshing of supranational and domestic regimes epitomizes an ideal
model of IG.
What makes this enmeshment of norms binding on states is no other
than the general will of the community as conveyed by the express or im-
plicit collective consent of states, through settled practice (custom) or treaty
making. To the skeptics, let me stress that most institutions, once created by
Norms, Power, the Power of Norms, and Community 13

the collective will of states, take on a life of their own in that they may cre-
ate norms to be followed by member states and their instrumentalities
(such as airline and shipping companies). Other than WTO mentioned
above, another ready example is the International Civil Aviation Organiza-
tion (ICAO). Created by treaty in 1947, the ICAO, based in Montreal,
Canada, is charged with the functions of developing the principles and
techniques of international civil aviation and fostering and developing in-
ternational air transport, so as to ensure the safe and orderly growth of in-
ternational civil aviation in the world. The rules and procedures laid down
by ICAO, such as in regulating the use of air lanes, liaison between pilots
and airport control towers, aviation safety and rescue, etc., are followed by
all airline companies (qua instrumentalities of sovereign states) whose ve-
hicles traverse the international air space. Even sovereign states themselves
follow the rules and standards set by the ICAO—a nonsovereign interna-
tional organization—in respect of how their immigration and customs fa-
cilities operate in processing international arrivals at their airports.
In addition, ICAO drafts international air-law conventions for states and
produces manuals for the guidance of states on many issues, including air-
port and air navigation facility tariffs, aircraft emission standards, the eco-
nomic regulation of air transport, and the setting of air fares and rates.10
In short, the norms instrumental to IG are not only made by states, but
also by international governmental organizations (IGOs) such as ICAO and
WTO. To the extent that they are complied with by states and their instru-
mentalities, these norms command a peculiar power that is very different
from the kind of real (coercive) power of exclusive concern to the realists.
In a section below, we will address more systematically the reasons why
nations comply with norms (and regimes), including the ones made by
nonsovereign institutions. At this point, I think it is necessary to answer a
prior question inherent in the point made above about the general will of
the community. The unavoidable question is: How do we know that a
world community exists and that its general will prevails over the particular
wills of individual states?

Indications of the Rise

of Community as a Supranational Entity

A few indications can serve to highlight the rise and prominence of the
world community11 as a supranational identity, realist denials of its exis-
tence notwithstanding.
(I) The first indication is the universal acceptance of the concept of jus
cogens, or a body of peremptory norms recognized by the world community
from which no state can derogate. Although it has long been part of general
14 James C. HSIUNG

international law,12 the concept received distinct attention during the con-
clusion of the Vienna Convention on Law of Treaties (1969),13 of which it
was codified in two articles. Article 53, for one, provides:

A treaty is void if, at the time of its conclusion, it conflicts with a peremptory
norm of general international law. For purposes of the present convention, a
peremptory norm of general international law is a norm accepted and recog-
nized by the international community of states as a whole as a norm from
which no derogation is permitted and which can be modified only by a subse-
quent norm of general international law having the same character [empha-
sis added]

Two points are worth noting: First, the “community of states” is explicitly
spelled out as the source of authority supporting the sacrosanctity of jus
cogens, whose nonderogability derives from its acceptance and recognition
of the community. Second, as many as 108 states had become parties to the
Convention as of May 2007, including almost all the major powers. The
United States signed the Convention in 1970 and, although the Senate has
yet to give its advice and consent for ratification, considers it a restatement
of customary international law, hence binding on all states. It can thus be
deduced that there is universal, or near-universal, acceptance of the exis-
tence of a world community of states and, more important, that a jus cogens
recognized by it transcends state egoism.
(II) Another indication in support of the premise of a world commu-
nity, to whose general will all particular wills of states shall bend, is in the
enunciation and rise of the precept of obligations erga omnes, following
the Barcelona Traction case (1970). In a dictum in that case, the Interna-
tional Court of Justice (ICJ) drew the distinction between the “obligations
of a state towards the international community as a whole, and those aris-
ing vis-à-vis another state in the field of diplomatic protection”14 (empha-
ses added).
(III) Still another indication of the rise of community is the wide prac-
tice of actio popularis, as in the European community and within the
much larger WTO with a membership of 153 plus 30 observers. The pre-
cept actio popularis, of Roman law origin, is like the right of a private citi-
zen making a resident’s arrest “in vindication of public interest.” Among
states parties to the European human rights convention, a nonvictim
state may file a complaint to the European Human Rights Court, against
the government of another state for violations of the convention. In like
fashion, within the WTO, a member state may bring a complaint to
WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body that a fellow member state has violated
WTO rules, even when the complainant is not a victim. In both cases, the
complaints filed by nonvictims are known as acts “in vindication of com-
munity interests.”15
Norms, Power, the Power of Norms, and Community 15

The fact that WTO rules trump domestic laws of member states, just as
the community’s will (i.e., systemic values, norms) is often converted into
domestic laws and serves as a constraint on domestic whims, provides evi-
dence of a workable IG structure.

Power of Norms: Myth & Reality

A test of the power of norms invariably lies in their enforcement or compli-

ance record. Realists, and others relying on pure intuition, may have legiti-
mate doubts in view of the lack of a central enforcement agency for inter-
national norms (i.e., international law, in general). In the lack of reliable
statistical studies of the compliance record of nations in history, conven-
tional wisdom holds that norms are honored more by their breach than by
their enforcement. In one of the most influential theoretical works on norm
compliance in the post–Cold War era, however, Abram Chayes and Antonia
Chayes (1995) hypothesized a propensity for states to comply, rather than
not, with international obligations. It is only infrequently, according to
them, that states are found willfully flouting international norms.
One authoritative study of the compliance record of WTO member
states with its dispute settlement mechanism (DSB) awards16 may provide
empirical support for the Chay and Chay thesis. In proximately 90 percent
of the adopted “reports” (read: awards) of the DSB panels, one or more
violations of WTO obligations have been found by panels and/or the Ap-
pellate Body. In virtually all of the cases the WTO member found to be in
violation has indicated its intention to bring itself into compliance, and
the record indicates that in most cases it has already done so (Wilson
2007: 397–403).17
Below, we will zero in on two actual cases demonstrating norms-
compliance behavior of two states as far apart as a “rogue state” (Libya), in
one, and the sole post–Cold War superpower (the U.S.), in the other. We
will do so because the power of norms can be ascertained from the effects
they produce when they are enforced (or complied with), just as the effect
of tree leaves fluttering in the wind can be traced to the power of the winds
blowing. But, before we do that, we may pause to ponder the question why
most states comply with international norms in most cases.
In fact, most states comply with international norms or the dictates of
international institutions for reasons having little to do with fears of sanc-
tion. In the absence of a central enforcement agency in our anarchical sys-
tem (i.e., without a world government), states’ compliance with norms de-
pends on both the power of norms and their own considered self-interests.
A combination of both these factors yields the following rationales for com-
pliance with international norms by states:18
16 James C. HSIUNG

(a) The utility of norms—that they are useful in bringing about solutions.
(b) Reciprocity. An example: Despite his initial objection, President
George W. Bush finally accepted the view that the al-Qaeda and
Taliban captives on trial at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay were
not just “killers,” as they had called them, but prisoners of war en-
titled to POW treatment required by the 1949 Geneva conventions
(e.g., no torture, no coerced confession, etc.). He relented because
Secretary of State Colin Powell, with prompting from the State De-
partment Legal Advisor’s Office, convincingly argued that U.S. denial
of POW treatment to these alien captured combatants might set a
precedent for other states in treating captured American GIs as just
“killers,” likewise denied POW treatment.
(c) Habit-driven behavior, which may have begun as rule-driven be-
(d) Compliance may strengthen one’s sense of rectitude and moral
authority, which in turn commands respect and influence in IR.
Just witness the decline of U.S. moral authority under George Bush,
and loss of U.S. influence among its allies and throughout the
(e) Peer pressures. European Union (EU) peer pressures may not have
had much effect on George Bush on the issue of climate change, but
they certainly anticipated a change of policy from his successor,
President Barack Obama, who has indicated an intention to seek a
replacement for the Kyoto Protocol that Bush scratched.

But a more important additional reason, from the IG perspective, is that

violations run the risk of touching off uncontrollable processes leading to
the disintegration or collapse of the very institution, or the undoing of the
very norms, whose overall worth greatly exceeds any benefits that might
be gained from their violations (Young 1984: 74). In rational choice
terms, if the cost of violations exceeds that of compliance, a powerful in-
centive is provided for states to comply with international norms. Cumu-
lative effects of similar calculations will build up a compliance record
leading toward patterned regularity, or order, in IR. This in turn will
strengthen the shared sense of community among its component parts
(states), conducive to IG.
Fears of the undoing (dismantling, or marginalizing) of key norms, such
as sovereignty, the cornerstone of the anarchic system—in which a state is
left to its own means for the defense of its survival and vital interests—may
prompt states to rally together in defense of these cardinal norms. They will
do so either unilaterally or more often by collective action. The United
States, for example, acts unilaterally in combating drug trafficking in Cen-
tral America in defense of its national self-interests. But, in the Desert Storm
Norms, Power, the Power of Norms, and Community 17

operation, 1991, the United States was acting in league with other states,
under authorization from the UN Security Council, for the defense of Ku-
wait’s sovereignty, the a priori norm of the Westphalian system, and its de-
rived norms (i.e., territorial integrity and political independence).
To sum up, coercive real power was used in these cases, in defense of ei-
ther a state’s self-interests or the norms of the world community. But, what
led to the decision to use coercive real power was, ultimately, traceable to
the power of norms, including the norms that defined national interests.
Hence, the linkage between power and norms is typical of a model of IG.
Herein lies the symbiosis of realism and legalism (F. Kratochwil cited in
Byers 2000: 37).

Power of Norms: How Norms

Conduce to Order and Justice

From a realist’s point of view, order is impossible to achieve (because of the

uneven gains problem, among other things), and justice is a myth at best. But
order and justice are of special concern to students of IG, to whom both are
possible by dint of norms (regimes) and institutions. In the absence of
norms, states would have two options to follow. They either (a) have to adjust
their own conduct to the behavior of other states, very much like drivers “ne-
gotiate” their way through a blackout that has knocked out all traffic lights—
hence playing a coordination game, or (b) try to push their way as far as their
power (plus the tolerance of other states) would allow—hence, a game of the
bully. With norms in place, however, it is as though the world had an invisible
umpire to insure that the players play by the rules of the game. And institu-
tions (such as the UN Security Council, the European Commission, or inter-
national tribunals19) can act as an impersonalized authority overseeing the
norms compliance record of states—and blows the whistle on the violators
of the rules of the game.
In our anarchical system, the extent of enforcement invariably depends
largely on how interdependent, and integrated, the international commu-
nity is. While self-help is a primitive means of enforcement in a less inte-
grated system, greater integration means greater assurance of enforced
compliance. One telling example is the outcome of an arbitration case
known as Texaco Overseas Petroleum (TOP) v. Arab Republic of Libya (1977).
In that case, the arbitral tribunal awarded a huge sum of compensation to
be paid to the U.S. firm (TOP Co.) by the Libyan Republic for breach of
contract. Despite its stigma as one of the “rogue states” on Washington’s
list, Libya under Col. Muammar Qaddafi nevertheless paid the required
amount. The reason was that Libya happens to be a party to the 1958 New
York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards.20
18 James C. HSIUNG

Under this treaty, each contracting party is committed to enforce arbitral

awards made within the territory of any of the other contracting parties.
Since Libya had assets in many of the 127 states parties to the Convention,
any one of these states, in enforcing the arbitral award, may sequester and
attach Libya’s assets found within its jurisdiction, to satisfy the arbitral
award won by the U.S. oil company. After initial hesitation, Libya chose to
pay the compensation in full, because doing so was more palatable than
running the risk of having its vast assets frozen and attached by any one of
the 127 contracting states bent on enforcing the arbitral award pursuant to
the 1958 Convention.
Both the extensive Libyan assets in foreign countries and the vast number
(127) of states that became contracting parties to the 1958 New York Con-
vention testify to the close interdependence, and hence integration, of the
contemporary world community. The extensive Libyan overseas assets were,
in effect, the community’s leverage to ensure enforced compliance with its
collective norms.
Another example demonstrating the power of norms involved the United
States vis-à-vis a North Korean freighter, in December 2002. The ship was
en route to Yemen when it was captured by the Spanish navy, as part of the
NATO forces. Both U.S. and Spanish officials said the ship was sailing with-
out a flag, its identification markings obscured by paint. A search of the ship
turned up, under bags of cement, fifteen complete Scud missiles, with con-
ventional, high-explosive warheads, and twenty-three tanks of nitric acid
(a potential chemical weapon).
Despite Washington’s initial intent to have the cargo confiscated, Presi-
dent Bush, however reluctantly, had to order release of the ship, after Ye-
men’s president, Abdullah Saleh, told Vice President Dick Cheney by phone
that the United States had no right under regimes of international law to
seize weapons he had legally purchased. Realists may assert that the eventual
release was due to considerations of Yemen’s strategic position in the Middle
East and its cooperation with the United States in the antiterror campaign.
But, White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, flatly told reporters that “we
have looked at this matter thoroughly, and there is no provision under inter-
national law prohibiting Yemen from accepting delivery of missiles from
North Korea” (New York Times, 12 December 2002, A1; emphasis added).
Neither North Korea nor Yemen is a party to the Missile Technology
Control Regime (MTCR); hence the sale of Scuds (nuclear-capable mis-
siles) by North Korea to Yemen did not violate any international norms.
The freighter’s anonymity, obviously intended to avoid discovery, would
only make it a stateless vessel, something analogous to a pirate ship. As
such, under the regime of maritime law, it was susceptible to temporary
seizure, pending full search, as was done by the Spanish navy at U.S. be-
hest. Following that, and after consulting all available norms of law, the
Norms, Power, the Power of Norms, and Community 19

Bush administration, for all its sworn determination to rely on unilateral

self-help in dealing with weapons of mass destruction (WMD), had no
justifiable recourse but to release the North Korean vessel with its cargo
destined to Yemen unhampered.21
In brief, what saved the North Korean ship and its WMD cargo was nei-
ther the Pyongyang regime nor Yemen’s president, but the power of norms,
or, to put it differently, the failure of the United States to find any extant
norms that would support its intent to confiscate the cargo on the North
Korean ship or else to show that Yemen’s acceptance of the cargo would be
illegal. This predicament faced by Washington—the shorthand for which is
“no norms, no power”—is another way illustrating the power of norms.
With all its reputation for its noncompliance with international law (Beres
1987), the U.S.’s backing down in this instance for the reasons that Ari
Fleischer, the White House spokesman, gave above, is all the more elucidat-
ing as an evidence of the power of norms. The lesson for the United States
from the North Korean case is, to reiterate: no norms, no power.

Linkage Politics and Clash Between Regimes

One way to discern the power of international norms is to note how they
impact on domestic policy debates. Linkage politics is a term referring to
this impact. Cortell and Davis (1996) point out that politicians and bureau-
crats often invoke international norms to justify their position or actions
and, conversely, to question the legitimacy of those of their opponents.
Furthermore, international norms may be incorporated into domestic laws,
hence implemented by a sovereign state within its territories. A ready ex-
ample is the reception of GATT/WTO rules into U.S. trade laws. Another
example is the incorporation of the daily allowance minimum set by the
Social Security (minimum standards) Convention, sponsored by the Inter-
national Labor Organization (ILO), into Sweden’s 1973 Unemployment
Insurance Act (p. 453f).
As norms have power, what if norms established in different issue areas
should have different provisions that do not agree, thus presenting a prob-
lem known as clash of norms/regimes. In that circumstance, states will be
prevented from implementing, in full or in part, the norms so locked in a
clash. For instance, in a report issued in late 2000, the Geneva-based ILO,
found objectionable the practice of corvee labor engaged in by the govern-
ment of Myanmar (formerly Burma), forcing villagers to do unpaid con-
struction work. It called for sanctions by the organization’s 175 member
states. Initially, the EU, the United States, and many other countries indi-
cated that they would impose sanctions against Myanmar over the unsa-
vory practice. But, a subsequent report by ILO, the following year, failed to
20 James C. HSIUNG

identify a single country that had responded to its call with any concrete
action (New York Times, 5 June 2001: W-1).
The reason, it turned out, was that Myanmar is a member of the WTO,
and sanctions by fellow member states—like a ban on textile exports—
would run the risk of violating WTO rules. Nearly all major powers in a
position to enforce sanctions with a sting, such as EU, the United States,
and other states, are all fellow WTO members. Besides, a member state
practicing corvee labor violates no WTO rules, which pertain to the gover-
nance of trade, not labor, issues. Thus, despite ILO’s strong objection to
Myanmar’s unpaid labor practice, the country’s trade with both EU and the
United States only soared in recent years. And, Japan even announced the
largest aid package to Myanmar for all its suppression of pro-democracy
demonstrations for over a decade.22
The Myanmar case attests to a clash between two regimes, labor protec-
tion vs. free trade. Beneath the surface, the case concretely illustrates the
power of one regime canceling out the power of another, contrary to the
reading by the uninitiated that norms have no power.


The bottom line to the discussions above is that IG relies equally on power
and norms (i.e., regimes and institutions), perhaps more on norms than
coercive power, despite the fact that the latter is the only element that mat-
ters to the realists. If the structure of convergent expectations of decision-
makers, created by regimes, can help cope with an IR governance problem,
it will render unnecessary any resort to coercive (or real) power.
When two regimes clash, such as in the case surrounding Myanmar, the
vast coercive power available to the United States, EU, and other states
proved to be to no avail, because they find their hands tied by the norms
(i.e., WTO rules) that shielded Myanmar from sanctions called for by norms
originating from another source (ILO). In this clash of regimes situation,
the mere fact that the most powerful states found their real power irrelevant,
indirectly but eloquently, verified the effect of the power of norms, namely
the WTO rules, binding on its members.
Questions like this, and others alluded to above, are either of no con-
cern to realists or cannot be explained from their frame of reference. These
questions can only be properly explored, and comprehended, in light of
the IG concerns for norms, power of norms, and the role of the commu-
nity, besides real power, all of which provides a well-rounded imagery of
the IR reality that we study. Hence, the IG paradigm complements the
partial imagery presented by the realists in their international–politics
Norms, Power, the Power of Norms, and Community 21


  1.  By phenomenon, I mean a reality, a situation, or an event; it is shorthand for

what is happening in the real world we study.
  2.  Neorealism, or structural realism, is an updated version of realist theory that
sees interest as power, or national interest as the pursuit (and balance) of power, by
adding the power distribution pattern (structure) across the Westphalian system of
states that we live in. It holds that states are not atomic but positional, and that
power distribution determines the behavior of states in their mutual relations. See
basically Waltz (1979).
  3.  The Westphalian structure refers to the modern multi-state system we live in,
so-called because its origins date back to the Westphalia Conference of 1648, which
ended the Thirty Years War, and the era of imperial or ecclesiastic order.
  4.  Students of international politics often generalize from the conflict over Pal-
estine as an epitome of world politics. Cf. “The Arabs and Israel: The Hundred Years’
War,” Economist, January 10, 2009: 9–10.
  5.  A regime consists of norms, but includes principles, rules, procedures and,
hence, a structure of convergent expectations of decision-makers. A set of norms
may also be called regime, for short.
  6.  “Conditionality” in a World Bank loan agreement is an example of an insti-
tutional arrangement, as distinct from a regime.
  7.  I have modified the original term “productive power” used by Barnett and
Duvall (2006) to read “constitutive power,” so as to avoid confusion with the power
to produce (manufacture) goods and services.
  8.  For an exposition of this theory, see Keohane and Nye (1977: 28); Robert
Tucker (1977: 74–175); and Robert Gilpin (1976: 227).
  9.  A pareto-optimal bailout is one that will bring remedies to the global
economy in which no state is worse off than others or worse off than before the
10.  These and other details can be obtained from the ICAO Journal, published
ten times a year, the information memoranda (booklets), and Annual Reports, is-
sued by the organization.
11.  Hedley Bull (1977), as does the English School as a whole, preferred to use
“international society” for what “world community” connotes here. For a discussion
of the implications of “international community,” and abuse of the term in official
documents, see Kwakwa (2003).
12.  In Europe, it was known as ordre public international (Schwarzenberger 1965:
13.  1155 U.N.T.S. 331, reproduced in 8 ILM 679; see discussion in Byers (1999:
14.  1970 I.C.J. Reports 3; see discussion in Ragazzi (1997: 210–214).
15.  See Hsiung (2008: 32–36).
16.  When a complaint is brought before the DSB, a panel will be constituted if
the disputants cannot reach reconciliation within a specified period, to hear their
arguments. The panel will issue a “report,” which if adopted by the DSB (hence an
“adopted report”) will be presented to the losing party. The latter has thirty days in
which to comply or appeal to the standing Appellate Body.
22 James C. HSIUNG

17.  Author Bruce Wilson is Director, Legal Affairs Division, WTO Secretariat,
Geneva. Email:
18.  Cf. generally Henkin (1968), and Byers (1999).
19.  International tribunals, used here, denotes the roles that can be played by the
International Court of Justice, the European Court of Justice, the WTO Dispute
Settlement Board, and the appropriate arbitral tribunals that have jurisdiction in
given cases.
20.  330 U.N.T.S. 38; 21 U.S.T. 2517; T.I.A.S., No. 6997; done at New York, June
10, 1958; entered into force on June 7, 1959.
21.  “Bush Administration Reluctantly Clears Cargo of Scud Missiles for Delivery
to Yemen,” New York Times, 12 December 2002, 24.
22.  “Myanmar Tests Resolve of I.L.O. on Enforcing Standards,” New York Times,
June 5, 2001, page W-1.

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Tucker, Robert W. 1977. The Inequality of States. London: Robertson.
Waltz, Kenneth N. 1979. Theory of International Politics. Reading, MS: Addison-Wesley.
Wilson, Bruce. 2007. “Compliance by WTO Members with Adverse WTO Dispute
Settlement Rulings: The Record to Date,” Journal of International Economic Law,
vol. 10, no. 2.
Young, Oran. 1984. International Cooperation. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Does Beijing Understand the
Term “International Regimes”?:
A Content Study
Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

China has more than twenty neighbors that either border on its territory or
lie across the nearby seas and oceans.1 In October 2007, it, while still nego-
tiating with the Republic of India (ROI) and Kingdom of Bhutan (KOB),
has signed land border treaties or agreements with the Union of Myanmar
(UOM) and eleven other neighboring countries, thus demarcating 90 per-
cent of its 22,000 kilometers (km) land border and resolving national
boundary issues left from history with these countries. In October 2008,
Beijing and Hanoi, in a joint statement, said they have agreed to consult on
finding “a proper area and way of making joint exploration” and “[t]he two
countries will coordinate more closely to solve the remaining problems, so
as to ensure they complete demarcation and erecting land makers along the
whole borderline by year end.”2 Indeed, they had done that in December
2008, and, in February 2009, Beijing and Hanoi marked the final demarca-
tion of their land border at the Youyiguan border gate in Pingxiang City in
south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR).
In passing, it should be noted that, starting from the year 1991, Beijing
has been systematically cleaning up the treaties with foreign countries, so as
to clarify the validity of the treaties, resolving the state of uncertainty of the
validity of the treaties and to promote the development of closer ties be-
tween the mainland and the relevant countries.
To be sure, there were many concepts very foreign to the Chinese, such as
anarchy, international law, sovereignty, capitalism, etc., until the Opium
War in the mid-nineteenth century. In the last few decades, the term, inter-
national regimes (IR), has also troubled the Chinese. The Chinese main-
land (neidi) [as opposed to mainland China which incorporated the Xiang-
gang (Hongkong) Special Administration Region (SAR) and the Macao

26 Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

SAR] academics and experts began to conduct in-depth and large quantity
studies of IR only in the mid-1990s.
In this chapter, we will conduct a thorough content study3 of both Chi-
nese and English versions of the white papers as published by the State
Council (SC) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).4 The first one was
made known to the public in November 1991, on the human rights on the
Chinese mainland, and the sixty-third one was published in September
2009, on China’s Ethnic Policy and Common Prosperity and Development
of All Ethnic Groups. Beginning with the November 1995 white paper,
China: Arms Control and Disarmament, we see the word, regime, applied at
the international level for the very first time. That white paper was also the
first one dealing with military affairs.
The main purpose of this research and study is to see whether the term,
IR, has been mentioned in these official documents of the SC. If so, in what
context was the term used? If not, what are some of the reasons? By con-
ducting a content study, we can have a better idea as to whether the PRC
fully understands the term, IR, which was first coined by the West. This is
important, because the Republic of China (ROC) must know it, in order to
properly interact with the PRC, if not the West. However, a preliminary
survey suggests that many, if not most, academics and experts as well as
government officials in the PRC do not fully understand the IR.

What are International Regimes?

According to Stephen D. Krasner, who treated regimes as an intervening vari-

able, in his 1983 edited book, International Regimes, “[r]egimes can be defined
as sets of implicit or explicit principles, norms,5 rules, and decision-making
procedures around which actors’ expectations converge in a given area of in-
ternational relations.” Within this framework, the core element, principles, is
defined as “beliefs of fact, causation, and rectitude”; norms are “standards of
behavior defined in terms of rights and obligations”; rules are “specific pre-
scriptions or proscriptions for action”; and decision-making procedures are
“prevailing practices for making and implementing collective choice.”
To be sure, there should be more criteria/core elements/features, if we
want to fully understand IR. IR can be defined as a set (or sets) of at least
fifteen criteria in the contexts of (fragmented) issue-area, (fragmented) is-
sue-areas, or issue-regimes: 1) It must be remembered that the word “re-
gime” at the international level is always positive to begin with, beneficial
to all the countries, political and/or economic entities, and individuals like
you and me, whereas the same word at the national or domestic level is
usually negative; 2) principles; 3) norms; 4) rules; 5) decision-making pro-
cedures; 6) pan; 7) we are all on the same side; 8) one for all, all for one (in
Does Beijing Understand the Term “International Regimes”? 27

the Daoist sense?),6 as opposed to collective security’s one for all and all for
one;7 9) community-centered arrangement(s); 10) cooperation; 11) coordi-
nation; 12) avoidance of mutually damaging outcomes;8 13) no power
struggle; 14) transparency; and 15) each regime can mitigate anarchy, ten-
sion, (scientific) uncertainty, and mistrust.
IR are attractive to power-oriented realists and neorealists, who agree
that, although nations, countries, and states are still the mainstream in in-
ternational society, there is a decline or eclipse of them in the Westphalian
system, and to those academics and experts who are either proponents of
law/market-oriented liberalism or idea/ideal-oriented constructivism.
Regime should be understood both at the national and international
levels. Beijing calls itself the central government or, later on, the central
people’s government [at least in one of the white papers, the Communist
Party of China (CPC) refers to itself as a ruling party]. The mainland fully
understands that, at the national level, the word in English has a negative
connotation. Thus, for example in the Human Rights in China dated Novem-
ber 1991, the term, successive regimes in old China, has been used. In the
September 1992 Tibet9—Its Ownership and Human Rights Situation, we see
the following sentence: “The regime of the Mongol Khanate changed its ti-
tle to Yuan [italics added] in 1271 and unified the whole of China in 1279,
establishing a central government. . . .” In the Human Rights in China (No-
vember 1991), another term, the Kuomintang (KMT) reactionary rule (or
CHIANG Kai-shek’s reactionary rule) or the reactionary rule of the warlords,
was also used. In the August 1992 Criminal Reform in China, the puppet
Manchuria regime was criticized. In the Tibet—Its Ownership and Human
Rights Situation, dated September 1992, we see the term, the Dalai Lama
clique. And The Development of Tibetan Culture said, “Tibet later became a
local regime practicing a system of feudal serfdom under a theocracy, and
ruled by a few upper-class monks and nobles.” In the February 2005 Re-
gional Autonomy for Ethnic Minorities in China, we see the following sentence:
“Almost all the central authorities of the feudal dynasties adopted a policy
of ‘rule by custom’ toward the ethnic minorities.” Here, the Chinese charac-
ters for central authorities is zhongyangzhengquan. To be sure, zhengquan
could also be translated as regime at the national level. And, the Chinese
characters for “rule by custom” are yinsuerzhi. Zhi (or tongzhi) refers to the
word, rule. And, in the September 2008 white paper on the protection and
development of Tibetan culture, we see the term, religious regime (zhidu),
which is associated with adjectives like decadent and outdated.
We will list some of the important regimes mentioned in literature of the
West. Some of the regimes include: the diplomatic regime;10 the global
ocean regime; the deep seabed regime; the outer space regime; the (na-
tional) security regime; the (human) security regime; the antiwar regime;
the arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation regime; the counter-
28 Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

terrorism regime; the counterpiracy regime; the human rights regime; the
international protection regime; the international business policy regime;
the foreign aid regime; the barrier-reduction trade and commerce regime;
the import/export regime; the free and fair international trade of carbon
storage services regime; the import/export regime; the banana regime; the
foreign investment regime; the foreign exchange/flexible exchange rate re-
gime; the global refugee regime; the antimoney launderers regime; the en-
vironmental regime; the intellectual property regime; the international
telecommunications regime; the whaling/panda protection regime, etc.

Some Caveats
In November 1991, the first white paper was published. Up to September
2009, sixty-three white papers had been published in English and nine of
them are specifically related to human rights, including the April 2005
China’s Progress in Human Rights in 2004.11
We will first point out some caveats. First, given the complexity of differ-
ent topics, problems, and issues, it is not possible for one official or expert
to write all the papers. What this does imply is that at least one of the of-
ficials and experts should understand IR.
Second, it is also not possible for one translator to translate all the pa-
pers. This means that some words, terms, etc., could be interpreted (slightly)
differently by different translators. In the November 1991 white paper on
human rights, we see the following sentence: “There is now a change over
the world pattern (geju) from the old to the new, and the world is more
turbulent than before.” Yet, in the December 1995 white paper on human
rights, the following sentence was written: “At present the world is in a his-
torical era when a new century is coming and old world patterns are being
replaced by new ones.”
Third, the white papers were first written in Chinese, and, later, they were
translated into English from Chinese. It is doubtful that the officials and
experts who first drafted each white paper are well versed in international
relations. For this reason, the choice of words or terms they use may differ.
For example, in Section XI of the September 1992 white paper on Tibet, the
following phrase can be seen: “assigning responsibility to those who created
pollution to clearing it. . . .” However, in the Chinese version, we see the
Chinese characters, zhili, which means govern. The June 2006 white paper
on environmental protection, we see Section III’s title: Pollution Control12
in Key Regions (zhongdiandiquwuranzhili). Section IX said that the country
has organized and conducted the national key “water pollution control tech-
nology and treatment project.” For the term “treatment project,” the Chinese
characters are: zhiligongcheng. Zhili, again, is govern. However, in the English
version, we do not see the word, govern. As early as the mid-1980s, local
Does Beijing Understand the Term “International Regimes”? 29

cadres used the term, zhili, when they tried to analyze the environmental
problems in their xiang (township). As a second example, in the October 15,
2007 edition of Jiefangjunbao (Liberation Army Daily) on page 2, zhiguoli-
zheng has been mentioned, and in the October 16, 2007 edition of the same
newspaper on page 3, shehuizhianzonghezhili has been mentioned. The for-
mer applies to governance at the national level, emphasizing the country
and administration/politics, and the latter has to do with comprehensive
governance related to security and order in the society.13 As a third example,
we see in the September 1992 white paper the following sentence: “some
undesirable environment problems do sometimes arise.” However, in the
Chinese version, we do not see the translation for the word, problems. The
opposite is also true. In the English translation, we see the word, govern.
However, the Chinese version does not have the two Chinese characters. For
example, in the March 2004 white paper, Progress in China’s Human Rights in
2003, the Chinese characters for “governing the country for the people” are:
zhizhengweimin. The Chinese characters for “the concept of governing the
country” are: zhiguolinian. And the Chinese characters for “an idea and value
of the party and government regarding its governance and administration”
are: danghanzhengfuzhizhengxingzhengdelinianhanjiazhi. In The Development of
China’s Marine Programs, the following regulation was mentioned: Regula-
tions Governing the Laying of Submarine Cables and Pipelines. However, we
see the Chinese characters, guanliguiding, for the first two words in English.
In other words, the Chinese translation for governing is guanli, which could
also mean management. And, in The One-China Principle and the Taiwan Is-
sue, it was written that “[o]ne principle governing New China’s establish-
ment of diplomatic representing the whole of China, severs or refrain from
establishing diplomatic relations with the Taiwan authorities,” the Chinese
characters for the word, governing, were not mentioned.
It was not until later that one can detect the Chinese characters, zhili, in
the following sentence, which was mentioned in the February 2005 white
paper, Regional Autonomy for Ethnic Minorities in China: “The central authori-
ties of the Qing dynasty adopted different measures for governing the ethnic-
minority areas in accordance with local characteristics.” Here, the Chinese
characters for the word “governing” has been zhili. In China’s Progress in Hu-
man Rights in 2004, dated April 2005, the following sentence in Section II
mentioned that “[t]he [National People’s Congress (NPC)] and its Standing
Committee are playing a more and more important role in governing the
country according to law and guaranteeing the people’s democratic rights.”
Here, the Chinese characters for governing the country according to law are
yifazhiguo/jiansheshehuizhuyifazhiguojia, which was incorporated into the
Constitution in March 1999. In other words, zhi in this context means gov-
ern, not rule. In the October 2005 Building of Political Democracy of China,
zhili was spelled out very clearly: Burgeoning in the early 1980s, developed
30 Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

in the 1980s and popularized in the 1990s, the self-government by villagers

as a basic system “has become an effective way to develop grassroots democ-
racy and improve the level of governance in rural China.” In the February
2008 China’s Efforts and Achievements in Promoting the Rule of Law, we see in
the Foreword and Conclusion the term, (law-based) governance.
Fourth, we cannot tell the order of importance between IR, mechanisms,14
and measures.15 Related to the third caveat is that some translators at Xin-
huashe [China News Agency (CNA)] do know the term, IR, because we saw
different words being used: (evolution of the Renminbi) exchange rate re-
gime, exchange rate policy, (market-based, managed, floating) exchange rate
mechanism, and exchange rate system.16 In Section IV of the December 2005
white paper, China’s Peaceful Development Road, we see the following terms in
the same paragraph: the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settle-
ment mechanism and the floating exchange rate regime. However, all the
words in bold had been translated as jizhi, which is mechanism in Chinese.
Certainly regime is somewhat different from mechanism. The former is very
abstract, while the latter can be categorized in terms of device(s) and
institution(s), which could be practices and/or organizations. When it
comes to the question of military affairs, IR, such as the nonproliferation
regime, and mechanisms, such as regional security mechanism, the verifica-
tion mechanism, or even the nonproliferation mechanism, are still being
translated as jizhi in the September 2005 white paper, China’s Endeavors for
Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. In China’s Non-Proliferation
Policy and Measures, the Chinese characters for regime in the phrase, interna-
tional nonproliferation regime, were tixi. Yet, in the January 2009 white pa-
per, China’s National Defense in 2008, which for the first time, for example,
pledged not to conduct research and development of new nuclear weapons,
the translation in the first section, The Security Situation, is tizhi. However,
in English, readers can tell that IR come first, to be followed by mechanisms
and measures in that order of importance.
Fifth, sometimes, a Chinese concept may be translated into different Eng-
lish words. The case in point is zhengfu, which could be either government or
administration. At other times, the English word, administration, has been
translated as guanli, which could also refer to the English word, management.
In the June 1994 white paper, Intellectual Property Protection in China, the last
three words in the following sentence were translated as sifagongzuo: “Ernest
execution of the law is the core of the administration of justice.” To be sure,
gongzuo could be translated as work(ing). Certainly, there is a distinction be-
tween the terms, management, administration, and work(ing).
In passing, it should be noted that model (as opposed to framework17)
and formula (such as the two German states formula), and mode18 can be
translated as moshi. To be sure, if we are talking about the mode of opera-
tion, the Chinese characters are: huodongfangshi. However, when the April
Does Beijing Understand the Term “International Regimes”? 31

2005 New Progress in China’s Protection of Intellectual Property Rights men-

tioned patent rights of inventions, utility models, and exterior designs, the
Chinese characters for utility models are shiyongxinxing. Xinxing definitely
are different from moshi. In passing, it should be noted that the English
term, model city (with prominent features as “azure sky, blue water, green
land, tranquility, and harmony), as mentioned in the June 2006 white pa-
per, was translated as moufanchengshi.
Sixth, in the ROC, IR has been popularly but incorrectly translated as
guojijianji. A check of the Chinese characters, jianzhi, in the 1989 edition of
A New Chinese–English Dictionary, which is published in Hongkong, tells us
the following translations in English: organizational system/establishment.
However, in Section IV of the December 2002 white paper, China’s National
Defense, which is the third one in a series, we see the phrase, perfect an or-
ganizational system and an operational (yunzuo) mechanism. The original
Chinese version of this white paper was written in the following Chinese
characters for organizational system: tizhi. Yet, in China’s National Defense in
2008, organizational system for equipment procurement was translated as
zhuangbeicaigouzhuzhitixi. In passing, it should be noted that the Chinese
characters for structure in military structure, structure and organization (bi-
anzhi), or organizational19 structure as mentioned in the December 2006
white paper is also tizhi.20

Are the Words and Terms Related to Regimes Used in the White Papers?
First of all, it should be noted that IR is part of international governance in
or an indispensable and, at least, theoretically, best tool of international
governance, because one does not have to be engaged in power struggle, for
instance. Governance in Chinese is zhili. In A New Chinese–English Diction-
ary, we see zhili as govern/administer, such as administer a country, bring
under control, such as bring waters under control/harness rivers. However,
sometimes the word, governing, in English has been mentioned in, for ex-
ample, the Law of the PRC Governing Regional National Autonomy. Yet, we
do not see the Chinese characters for the word, governing, in the Chinese
version. We only see the following Chinese characters: minzuquyuzizhifa.
Some of governance’s synonyms can be found in the white papers: arrange-
ment (anpai), management, governing management (xingzhengguanli); opera-
tion (jingying), (prison) regulations or code of conduct (jianguijilu), to har-
ness pollution by military units (buduidanweiwuranzhili), etc. Some of the
related terms or sentences include the education-through-labor administra-
tive committee (laodongjiaoyangguanliweiyuanhui), the administrative law
(xingzhengfagui), the Law of Administrative Procedure (xingzhengsusongfa),
“. . . the government has reformed the job assignment system [fenpaizhidu] by
combining the students’ own choices with the state’s guarantee of jobs,” etc.
32 Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

Second, the IR is the highest level of analysis, as mentioned earlier. Under

it, we see terms like mechanisms and measures. The former has usually been
translated as jizhi. Yet, in China’s National Defense in 2008, the last word was
translated as tixi: the existing international arms control, disarmament and
nonproliferation mechanisms. The white paper, China: Arms Control and Dis-
armament, dated November 1995, mentioned the safeguard regime of the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In the December 1995 white
paper on human rights, the word, mechanism, was mentioned in a law:
Regulations for State-Owned Enterprises (quanminsuoyouzhi) for Changes in
Operating Mechanism. In the November 1995 white paper on arms control
and disarmament, the term, transparency measures, was mentioned. In an-
other white paper, we were told about a series of measures adopted by the
political power of the people to stimulate growth in the economy and main-
tain social stability. As another example, “many measures have been taken to
protect grasslands. . . .” To be sure, in the December 1995 white paper on
human rights, we see the following sentence: “Children are the future of the
country and society. In recent years, through legislative, judicial, administra-
tive and other types of measures, the state has greatly improved children’s
conditions.” In short, all of the concepts have positive connotations.
Third, each regime at the international level has to do with an issue
(wenti as opposed to the usage of yiti in the Taiwan area) in a given area,
issue-areas, or issue-regimes. Beijing does regard human rights as an issue,
and the term, human rights issues, has also been mentioned in the Novem-
ber 1991 Human Rights in China. In the December 1995 white paper on
human rights, terms like system of human rights, sphere (lingyu) of human
rights, and theories of human rights were mentioned. In the September
1992 Tibet—Its Ownership and Human Rights Situation, the following words
were written: “the issue of a regional national autonomy within a country
as a relationship between a suzerain and a vassal state. . . .” It also regards
combating crime as a major issue confronting every country in the modern
world, as can be seen in the August 1992 Criminal Reform in China. And, in
the November 2000 white paper on outer space, the term, the issue of
space debris, was mentioned as a big challenge to further expansion of
space activities.21
Fourth, a regime at the international level is related to an area, which could
be the Earth itself, if we regard it in the context of an asteroid striking against
the planet. From the first white paper to the latest one, this author does see
many terms related to the abstract or concrete concept, area: liberated area,
provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities, prefectures (cities), counties/
districts, townships (towns), the minority region, the inland and coastal ar-
eas, the system of regional autonomy for the 55 minority nationalities, which
has 159 national autonomous areas including five autonomous regions, 30
autonomous prefectures, and 124 autonomous counties [or banners (qi)],
Does Beijing Understand the Term “International Regimes”? 33

etc. In this connection, Information Technology (IT) can be stretched into

multidimensional space which includes the land, sea, air, outer space, and
electron. The concept, sphere can also be noted, such as the sphere of human
rights, which was mentioned in one of the white papers.
Fifth, the February 2000 white paper on the Taiwan issue mentioned the
term, under compelled circumstances (qingshi), and the December 2006
white paper on national defense, mentioned complex circumstances. This
implies that the PRC does understand or is aware that each IR is formed
under objective circumstances, due to urgency, insecurity, convergent expec-
tation, and perception.
Sixth, in the November 1991 Human Rights in China, the adjective, urgent
(jinpo), was used. However, the context is not directly related to human rights:
“[I]t is the fundamental wish and demand of the Chinese people and a long-
term urgent task of the Chinese government to maintain national stability.
. . .” The June 2000 Narcotics Control in China alerted readers that drug control
is imminent. And the September 2000 white paper on national defense urged
the universality of the January 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC),
because a certain state party has made de facto reservations regarding the
provisions of the CWC in the form of domestic legislation and some state
parties have been very slow destroying their chemical weapons stockpiles.
Seventh, we cannot find the word, insecurity, in any white paper. What
can be said is that Beijing would say, for example, in the July 1998 China’s
National Defense, which is the very first one in a series,22 that, regarding the
issue of Taiwan, it is fearful of being split by a country or a person. In the
Fifth Years of Progress in China’s Human Rights, the PRC stressed that “stabil-
ity is the prerequisite, development is the key, reform is the motive power,
and government according to law is the guarantee.” And, the June 2000
Narcotics Control in China, the first sentence in the Foreword said: “The pres-
ent globalization of the drug issue has posed a grave menace to human
well-being and development. . . .” In the second paragraph, readers were
reminded that mainland China’s southwestern border is adjacent to the
Golden Triangle, one of the main sources of drugs in the world.
Eighth, matters on perception can be easily detected. For example, in the
August 1995 white paper on family planning, the Foreword said that exces-
sive population growth is an extremely serious problem for the PRC and
other countries. So, the government, while against induced abortion, start-
ing from the 1960s began to distribute contraceptives free of charge, to re-
duce the fees for birth control technical services, etc. And the March 2004
white paper on human rights, mentioned that the “Plan for the Establish-
ment of a National Public Health Monitoring and Information System” and
the “Plan for the Establishment of a Medical Treatment System in Case of
Public Health Contingencies” helped establish a sound early warning and
emergency mechanism concerning public health contingencies.
34 Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

Ninth, things related to the concept, convergent expectation can be found.

For example, in the August 1995 white paper, Family Planning in China, it was
stated that the mainland will continue to work in concert with all the nations
on stabilizing world population, so as to ensure a happier future for man-
kind. The June 2006 white paper on environmental protection said it is nec-
essary to enhance early-warning capability in case of environmental emergen-
cies and to improve the all-round (quanmian) environmental supervision and
management capabilities. And, the Preface in the December 2006 white pa-
per on national defense mentioned that the Chinese People’s Liberation
Army (PLA) will strive to realize an all-round, coordinated and sustainable
development in national defense and military capabilities.
Tenth, it should be noted that the more IR in the world, the more the
order in the international community. But, does Beijing understand the
mitigation of anarchy? Indirectly, it does, because, in the China’s National
Defense in 2000, the following paragraph was written:
China actively supports international efforts to address the issue of small
arms. It is in favor of taking necessary measures to combat illicit activities
related to small arms, and prevent the proliferation and excessive accumula-
tion of such arms, so as to mitigate (jianhuan) the armed conflicts and turbu-
lences in the countries concerned and curb the further spread of terrorism23
and drug trafficking.

Eleventh, the mainland certainly understands cooperation at various levels:

bilateral, regional, multilateral, multinational, supranational, international,
global, etc. For example, the November 1995 white paper, China: Arms Con-
trol and Disarmament, mentioned the safeguard regime of the IAEA, adding,
since becoming a party to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear
Weapons (NPT) in March 1992, it has been cooperating fully with the IAEA.
And the December 2005 China’s Peaceful Development Road specifically men-
tioned the following international cooperation fields: antiterrorism, arms
control, nonproliferation, peacekeeping, economy and trade, development,
human rights, law-enforcement, and the environment.
Coordination is closely associated with cooperation. The June 1994
white paper, The Situation of Chinese Woman, mentioned the following
phrase: “Coordinating their efforts and acting together.”
Twelfth, this author did not come across the term, community-centered
arrangement, in the white papers. In the East, we do not easily or readily
understand such a term. However, we do see the term, for example, ad hoc
arrangement, being used. This refers to Taipei’s participation in the activities
of those organizations only as a region of China and under the designation
of Taipei, China in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) or Chinese Taipei in
the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). We also noticed the term,
proper arrangement of family planning in the August 1995 white paper on
Does Beijing Understand the Term “International Regimes”? 35

family planning. In the December 1995 white paper, The Progress of Human
Rights in China, it was mentioned that, from 1991 to 1994, arrangements have
been made for more than 29.21 million Chinese people to find jobs in cities
and towns. The June 2000 Narcotics Control in China reminded us that drug
control is the “common responsibility incumbent to international society.”
In the December 2002 white paper on national defense, we were told that, in
January 2002, the PRC formally participated in the Class-A standby arrange-
ments mechanism for the UN peacekeeping operations (lianheguoweicihep-
ingxingdongdiyijidaiminganpaijizhi). And, to implement the strategy of sustain-
able development, to take a new road to industrialization, and to strive to
increase the ability of the mineral resources to guarantee its socioeconomic
development, in China’s Policy on Mineral Resources, dated December 2003, we
were told how the PRC make the arrangements: It will strengthen its survey,
prospecting, exploitation, planning, management, protection, and rational
utilization of mineral resources.
In passing, it should be noted that the concept, international community,
does appear in the white papers. In the August 1995 Family Planning in China,
the term, government—and community (shequ)—supported policies and
programs in the area of reproductive health, has been mentioned. In the
March 1997 white paper, On Sino–U.S. Trade Balance, the term, world busi-
ness community, was mentioned. In the June 2000 white paper on Tibet, the
term, concentrated community (jujudiqu), was used. And the June 2000 white
paper on narcotics, the term, drug-free communities, was used.
Thirteenth, in the June 1994 white paper on intellectual property protec-
tion, the authors noticed the following sentence, which is closely related to
an IR: The PRC adheres to “the principle of equal treatment for nationals
and non-nationals and reciprocity of protection to foreigners’ intellectual
property rights. . . .” Other concepts related to principle can be seen: “The
unity between rights and duties is a basic principle of China’s legal system
[fazhi].” However, it should be noted the following subtle difference in the
order of importance: At the end of 1994, the PRC government formulated
the “Programme of China’s Family Planning Work (1995–2000),” setting
clear demands on the task, target, principle, and measures in deepening the
development of family planning work; the government has gradually set up
principles, policies, measures, and methods that reflect the basic interests of
the people, etc.24
Fourteenth, the concept, norm, has been mentioned: “According to in-
ternational norm [guanli], Chinese students who are sponsored by govern-
ment to study abroad have the duty to return to serve their home country.”
In the July 1998 white paper on national defense, the term, international
legal norms and practices, was mentioned. And, in the same month and
year, the white paper on the PRC’s marine programs has mentioned the
36 Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

Upholding the principles of the international marine law as defined by the

United Nations [UN] Convention on the Law of the Sea, maintaining the
wholesomeness of the oceans, protecting the marine environment and guaran-
teeing the sustainable utilization of marine resources and maritime safety have
become common norms for all the people in the world to abide by

Norm can also be indirectly seen: “The unity between rights and duties is
a basic principle of China’s legal system.” The concept, obligation, has also
been mentioned when the first white paper was talking about the religious
Fifteenth, an IR also embraces rule (guiding).25 In July 1987, the SC of the
PRC issued the Interim Rules on Labor Dispute in State-Owned Enterprises.
In the August 1992 Criminal Reform in China, the term, prison rules and
decrees (jianguanfagui), was mentioned.
Sixteenth, decision-making procedure is also involved in an IR. However,
the authors have not seen terms related to scientific meetings, technical
meetings, financial meetings, etc. Nevertheless, the October 2005 Building
of Political Democracy in China did mention procedure (chengxu) several
times. And, the December 2006 China’s National Defense in 2006 mentioned
decision-making mechanism and strict procedures in approving exports, to
ensure effective export control.
Seventeenth, the PRC does rely on mass media and research institutes
plus nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) (and volunteers) to safe-
guard women’s interests and advancement, as noted in the June 1994 white
paper, The Situation of Chinese Women.
Eighteenth, in a November 1943 paper on the Danube River, the follow-
ing terms were used: the Danube River system and the Danube River re-
gime.26 Many white papers do mention the word, system (zhidu), to cite
several important ones:

1.  “China has adopted the socialist system after abolishing the system of
exploitation and eliminating the exploiting classes.”
2.  “The system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation
under the leadership of the [CPC] is the basic political system that
gives expression to people’s democracy.”
3.  “The distribution system adopted in China is mainly based on the
principle of ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to
his work.’”
4.  “The people’s courts carry out a public trial system.”
5.  The human rights system.
6.  One country, two systems.

However, the Chinese characters, tixi, could also mean system, such as
“set up various workers’ schools to perfect education system.” In the last
Does Beijing Understand the Term “International Regimes”? 37

section of the March 1997 white paper, On Sino–U.S. Trade Balance, we even
see the following sentence: “By the year 2000, China will have initially es-
tablished a system of socialist market economy and built up a unified and
standard foreign-related economic regime, which will create better condi-
tions for the world’s business communities including those from the United
States to develop economic and trade co-operation with China.” In the June
2006 Environmental Protection in China (1996–2005), we see the following
words: “China has established a system of environmental protection stan-
dards at both the national and local levels.” By the end of 2005, the PRC
has promulgated over 800 national environmental protection standards.
And, in the October 2006 white paper on the PRC’s space activities, Section
II stated that: “From 2001 to 2005, China’s space industry has developed
rapidly, making many achievements. A group of research and development
and testing bases of the advanced world level has been built, and the system
of research, design, production and testing has been further improved,
markedly enhancing the country’s basic capabilities in space science and
technology.” Here, the English translation for the term, system, is tizhi, and,
for regime, also tizhi. Tizhi could be the following combination: tixi plus
zhidu. Yet, the two words in English do not mean the same. [In September
2007, the PRC president, HU Jintao, pledged in a speech delivered at the
business summit of the APEC forum that his country will continue to sup-
port the establishment of a fair, open, equitable, and nondiscriminatory
multilateral trading regime. Here, regime has been translated as tizhi in
People’s Daily (Chinese edition)].
And, in the foreword of the July 1998 white paper, The Development of
China’s Marine Programs, it was written: “The ocean, which covers 71 per-
cent of the earth’s surface, is a basic component of the globaal [sic] bio-
support system.” Here, the word, system, has been translated as xitong. In
the same white paper, terms like a modern loading-unloading-hauling
system, a container transport system with advanced freight-handling tech-
nologies, a system of marine monitoring and disaster forecasting and
alarm, and a data quality control system were mentioned, and the Chi-
nese characters, xitong, were used.
Nineteenth, some academics in the West use IR and international institu-
tions interchangeably, which is a mistake, because some institutions may be
bad, such as the slavery institution. In this connection, an IR is usually fragile.
When it breaks down, one has to form it again, at least conceptually. The
positive concept, welfare institution (shehuifuliyuan), was mentioned in the
first white paper on human rights. Another sentence related to institution is
as follows: “. . . China has instituted a multi-ownership economic system with
public ownership of the means of production taking the dominant position
[Zhongguoshixingyigongyouzhiweizhutideduozhongsuoyouzhijingji].” The Chinese
characters, jigou [as opposed to jiguan (organ), such as state organs (guojia-
38 Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

jiguan or guojiajigou)27 or organs of self-government (zizhijiguan)], could also

refer to institution, such as research institution or “[i]nstitutions specialized
in handling these disputes include enterprise labor dispute mediation com-
mittee, local labor dispute arbitration committee and the people’s court.” The
December 2006 white paper on national defense mentioned 67 military edu-
cational institutions, and the Chinese characters are junduiyuanxiaoxiany-
ou67suo. And, the Chinese term, chengzhenqiyedanwei, has been translated as
urban state institutions. And Section IV of the same white paper on national
defense, the term, political and medical institution, was mentioned, and the
Chinese characters for institution are xitong.
However, the sale of women was also mentioned in the same white pa-
per. The March 2004 white paper on human rights admitted that in the
mainland there is still abduction and selling as well as other criminal ac-
tivities against women and children. In other words, the term, institution,
could be negative. And, in the same white paper, we see the following sen-
tence: “At present there are in all 680 prisons and reform-through-labor
institutions in China.” However, the term, reform-through-labor institu-
tions, has been translated as laodonggaizao changsuo. Changsuo can be trans-
lated as place and arena.
Twentieth, pan is a word related to IR, because an issue could be here and
there. In the September 2000 white paper on national defense, the ASEAN
Regional Forum (ARF) was regarded as “the only pan-Asia–Pacific official
multilateral security dialogues and cooperation forum.” Here, pan in Chi-
nese characters is: fandiqu. In other words, Beijing does understand what
pan means.

Some important findings can be noted. First, to Beijing, regime at the na-
tional level can be positive. For example, HU in September 2007 talked
about the fair, open, equitable, and nondiscriminatory multilateral trading
regime. As another example, the term, state regime (guojiazhengquan), has
been used, as we can see in the following sentence in the first white paper
on the human rights: “Among the religious people who were dealt with ac-
cording to law, some were engaged in subversion against the state regime or
activities endangering national security. . . .” In the October 2005 Building
of Political Democracy in China, the following sentence was written: “A social-
ist law regime with Chinese characteristics and with the Constitution at its
core has been preliminarily formed.” Here, the Chinese characters for the
term “law regime” is falutixi.
Second, Beijing is aware of the existence of IR. Sometimes, it should have
used the term, IR. Yet, it did not. The reason could be that it does not regard
the issue-area, issue-areas, or issue-regimes as being urgent. For example, in
Does Beijing Understand the Term “International Regimes”? 39

the October 2006 white paper on space activities, IR should have been men-
tioned. However, we only see the word, mechanism, such as the mechanism
of the Sino–French Joint Commission on Space Cooperation or a disaster
mitigation mechanism (miezaijizhi) consisting of space organizations. For
example, Section V, specifically mentioning the Declaration on Interna-
tional Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for the Ben-
efit and in the Interest of All States, Taking Into Particular Account the
Needs of Developing Countries, stated that: “The Chinese government
holds that outer space is the common wealth of all mankind, and each and
every country in the world enjoys rights to freely explore, develop and uti-
lize outer space and celestial bodies; and that of all countries’ outer space
activities should be beneficial to the economic development, social prog-
ress of nations, to security, subsistence and development of mankind, and
to friendly cooperation between people of different countries.” In short,
what the mainland said has to do with IR.
Third, to the PRC, the term, mechanism, is applied at the regional or even
multilateral level. For example, Section X in the June 2006 white paper on
environmental protection mentioned that “China has consolidated and
promoted its cooperation with neighboring countries and regions involved,
and actively participated in the construction of a regional cooperation
mechanism.” Section I in the December 2006 white paper on national de-
fense, the term, multilateral mechanism, was used.
Fourth, unless there is urgency, Beijing would not form a human rights
regime or regard human rights as a regime. In other words, perception plays
a role in deciding whether something can be called an IR. Its preferred term
is the human rights system, as can be seen in the November 1991 Human
Rights in China. In the Chinese version, the Chinese characters, zhidu (as
opposed to guizhi, jianzhi, tizhi, tixi, or xitong), were used, implying that
there is a distinction between the system and regime, with the former as
having larger scope than the latter. By using those two characters, the main-
land is acknowledging that its human rights record is not perfect,28 al-
though there is improvement or room for improvement, just as, since
March 2003, the SC began to criticize the American record of human rights.
Its foreign ministry in April 2007 expressed its strong dissatisfaction and
firm opposition to the U.S. Department of State’s annual report on main-
land China’s poor human rights record in the year 2006, adding even the
United States used its campaign against terrorism as an excuse to torture
people around the world and violated the rights of its own citizens.29 Some
Americans also urged the United States to ratify the long overdue November
1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC):
“The United States is blocking unanimous global support of this treaty,
whose sole purpose is to protect the right of children, citing concerns
about sovereignty, federalism, family-planning issues, and parental rights.
40 Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

Unbelievably, we were the only nation besides Somalia that has not ad-
opted UNCRC.”30
Beijing also recognizes that there are imperialist systems, feudalist sys-
tems, bureaucratic capitalist systems, etc., as we see in the February 2000
white paper on human rights. In other words, under different systems,
people enjoy different kinds of human rights. To the PRC, sixty-plus years
of its history is but a brief moment in human history. However, the main-
land does acknowledge that “[i]t has been a long-cherished ideal of man-
kind to enjoy human rights in full sense of the term.” It, in September
1988 at the fourty-third session of the UN General Assembly, considers
the December 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as
the first international instrument which systematically sets forth the spe-
cific contents regarding respect for and protection of fundamental human
rights. This is certainly related to convergent expectation. However, it also
urged foreigners to have “a real understanding of Chinese conditions,”
plus its history. For example, during the Qing dynasty, foreign imperialists
imposed more than 1,100 unequal treaties on China and plundered Chi-
nese wealth on a large scale.31 Beijing is also proud of itself for proclaim-
ing, since the founding of the PRC, that Chinese women can enjoy equal
rights with men in all aspects of political,32 economic, cultural, social and
family life and for eradicating the Tibetan feudal serf system with its hier-
archy of three classes and nine grades, which was bolstered by cruel pun-
ishment, such as gouging out eyes, cutting off feet, removing the tongue,
chopping off hands and arms, pushing an offender off a cliff or drowning,
etc.33 Fifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet also tried to expose the dark
side of the Dalai Lama clique. In other words, one cannot evaluate an-
other country’s record in terms of a preconceived model. In short, the
CPC, feeling insecure sometimes and perceiving that time is not yet ripe
to provide full-fledged human rights, is more concerned about maintain-
ing itself as the ruling party.
However, under urgency, the CPC will make sure that, for example, “pub-
lic property owned by the state [quanminsuoyoudecaichan],34 collective prop-
erty owned by the working people, and the legitimate property owned by
the individuals [geren] are all protected by law.”
The same logic can be said of the intellectual property (rights). Mainland
China, proceeding from its actual conditions, would not say intellectual
property regime. Its choice of words is intellectual property protection sys-
tem (tixi). In June 1980, the PRC became a member of the World Intellec-
tual Property Organization (WIPO). And, in April 1986, the National Peo-
ple’s Congress (NPC) passed the General Principles of the Civil Law of the
PRC. For the first time, this legislation affirmed the rights of citizens and
legal persons’ right of authorship (copyright). In any case, while working on
it, Beijing realizes that there is still a long way for the people on the Chinese
Does Beijing Understand the Term “International Regimes”? 41

mainland to have a complete understanding of and respect for intellectual

property rights, hence the usage of the word, system.
However, a word must be said regarding the millennia-old feudal mar-
riage system, as characterized by forced marriage, male superiority and fe-
male inferiority, etc. It was abolished by the Marriage Law of the PRC in
May 1950. The question which ought to be asked is: How come the June
1994 white paper, The Situation of Chinese Women, still used the word, sys-
tem—not regime or mechanism, in the following description: “Implemen-
tation of the new system was marked by freedom of men and women in
marriage, monogamy, sexual equality and protection of the legal rights of
women and children.” One possible explanation is that, when stressing
monogamy, it is not one for all or even all for one. Another explanation is
that, as admitted by Beijing, the protection of women’s rights and interests
at the primary stage of socialism still needs to be improved and perfected,
and government organs, social organizations, enterprises and institutional,
rural and urban mass groups at the grass roots are working on it.
Fifth, any party to an IR must be altruistic, as forced by the objective cir-
cumstances. Why does Beijing only mention regime, when it comes to the
issue of arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation? This is because
it does not regard itself as being militarily powerful. In other words, if the
United States and other military powers can first control or even get rid of
their arms and so on, all the nations, countries, states, political entities,
economic entities, and so on can be benefited. In short, the PRC is playing
politics by on purpose using the word, regime, when it comes to the issue
of arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation. The same logic can be
applied to the exchange rate regime, because it is advantageous for it to do
so. However, when it comes to the issue of human rights, Beijing would
rather emphasize the differences in political systems. Deep down in their
heart the Chinese Communists know that each human being’s basic needs
are food, water, air, shelter, etc.
Sixth, Beijing may not realize that, under urgency, there is no time or room
for an IR to have dialogue, consultation, negotiation, bargaining, democracy,
face, self-respect, etc. It is also not necessary for it to coin terms like multilat-
eral mechanism or collective security mechanism, because all the parties are
on the same side regarding one issue to IR. For example, in the June 2006
white paper on environmental protection, terms like the China–Europe
mechanism of ministerial dialogue (buzhangjiduihuajizhi) on environmental
policy were mentioned. In other words, on the issue of environmental protec-
tion, the mainland and France are on the same side, and, therefore, there is
no need to have dialogues. And the December 2006 white paper on national
defense mentioned collective security mechanism.
Several things should also be noted: 1) In the August 1993 The Taiwan
Question and Reunification of China, Beijing said that in order to put an end
42 Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

to hostility and achieve peaceful reunification, both sides of the Taiwan

Strait should enter into contacts and negotiations at the earliest possible
date. While an adversary regime can be formed between the two arch ene-
mies, Beijing should realize that negotiations are not necessary for it to
cooperate with Taipei on certain issues, such as cleaning up the hazardous
chemicals in the Taiwan Strait. This is because, if they do not, at least their
fishermen on both sides will suffer. Thus, it is not necessary for Beijing to
state in its February 2000 white paper on the Taiwan issue that “. . . we have
never spoken of negotiations between the ‘central and local authorities.’ The
Chinese government has also proposed that dialogues may start first, in-
cluding political dialogues, which may gradually move on to procedural
consultations for political talks to the solve the name, the topics for discus-
sion, and the forms of official talks before political talks are held.”
2) In the August 1993 white paper, Beijing stated that Taiwan is a part of
China. As such, it cannot represent China in the international community
and it cannot establish diplomatic relations or enter into official relations
with foreign countries. However, it chooses to ignore the fact that the
(military) diplomatic regime does apply to all the countries and political
entities, including the ROC, from its perspective. Without such a commu-
nity-centered arrangement, both the Taipei Economic and Cultural Repre-
sentative Office in the United States (TECRO) in Washington, D.C., and the
American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) in Taipei will not be secure, because no
one embassy wants to be targeted by ballistic missiles.
3) Because the mainland does not treat human rights as an urgent matter,
at the forty-first session of the UN General Assembly, “China energetically
supported the Commission on Human Rights [CHR] in conducting world-
wide consultation on the implementation of the right to development and
supported the proposal that the right to development be discussed as an in-
dependent agenda item in the [CHR],” by eliminating factors such as racism,
colonialism, hegemonism, foreign aggression, occupation, and interference
as well as apartheid, racial discrimination, genocide, slave trade, and serious
violations of human rights by international terrorist organizations.35 It
should be noted that, however, in April 2009, the Information Office of the
State Council of the PRC, for the first time, issued the National Human Rights
Action Plan of China (2009–2010), pledging to further protect and improve
the Chinese mainland’s human rights conditions in an all-round way.
4) It should be pointed out that there is no need to say that the CPC es-
tablished democratic governments in the liberated areas, to point out that
“[i]n rural areas, efforts have been made to continue to conduct rural grass-
roots mass self-management activities that focus on villagers’ democratic
elections, democratic policy-making, democratic management and demo-
cratic supervision,”36 or to say “[t]hat the people are masters of their own
country is the essence of China’s democratic politics,”37 because, under ur-
Does Beijing Understand the Term “International Regimes”? 43

gency, there is no time to practice democracy so as to see which side is, for
example, the majority.
5) Similar to the fourth point, in the September 2005 white paper on
arms control, Beijing urged that nonproliferation mechanism should be
strengthened and improved under the framework of international law and
on the basis of equal and universal participation of all countries and demo-
cratic decision-making. However, the mainland failed to realized that, when
we talk about IR, all the countries, etc., are on the same side. In other words,
we do not need to have democracy, because all the voices, opinions, etc., are
the same, that is, the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. In Septem-
ber 2009, the UN Security Council vowed at an unprecedented summit
hosted by American president Barack H. Obama II to work to stop the
spread of atomic weapons and rid the planet of all nuclear weapons.
6) The July 1998 white paper on marine programs mentioned that, in
February 1992, the NPC adopted the Law of the PRC on its Territorial Seas
and Adjacent Zones, which provides a legal basis for the country (guojia) to
exercise sovereignty over its territorial seas and jurisdiction over the adja-
cent zones and safeguard the state (guojia)’s safety and marine rights and
interests. The white paper also stated that “[w]ith regard to issues that can-
not be solved for the time being, China stands for pigeonholing them and
for strengthened cooperation and joint development.” To be sure, we only
see the term, new international marine legal system, not the new interna-
tional marine legal regime, because, once conducting a joint development,
a regime can be said as being formed, thereby clipping sovereignty. Here, it
may be implying that Beijing is compromising or even suffering under such
a community-centered arrangement for the sake of all.
Seventh, in the West, the word, regime, can be easily used, when the writer
thinks that a community-centered arrangement can be beneficial to all. In the
July 1998 white paper on national defense, the following legal documents
were mentioned: the July 1994 Agreement on Prevention of Dangerous Mili-
tary Activities and the Joint Statement by the President of the PRC and the
President of the Russian Federation on Non-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons
and Detargeting of Strategic Nuclear Weapons Against Each Other (the Agree-
ment and Joint Statement, for short).38 In the West, such Agreement and Joint
Statement could be easily regarded as a regime. Yet, we do not see such a term
in the white paper. We only see words like mechanism and measures in the
name of other legal documents, mentioned in the same white paper: the
November 1996 Agreement on Confidence-Building Measures in the Military
Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the China–India Border Areas and
the January 1998 Agreement Between the Ministry of National Defense of the
PRC and the Department of Defense of the USA on Establishing a Consulta-
tion Mechanism. In the November 2000 white paper on outer space, the issue
of space debris was brought up. In the West, one would coin the term, the
44 Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

space debris prevention regime. Yet, in that white paper, we do not see such
a term. We only read the following sentences: “The relevant departments in
China pay great attention to the problem, and have carried out research on
this issue with related countries since the beginning of the 1980s. In June
1995, [China National Space Administration (CNSA)] acceded to the Inter-
Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee. China will continuously
make efforts to explore, together with other countries, ways and means to
mitigate and reduce space debris, and promote international cooperation on
this issue.” In Section VI of the July 1998 white paper, The Development of
China’s Marine Programs, we were told that the PRC attended the International
Seabed Authority (ISA) meetings of the preparatory committees and that the
mainland has taken part in international activities to protect tunas, whales,
and other endangered species of marine life. However, no IR was mentioned.
And the June 2000 Narcotics Control in China talks about the necessity of im-
minent drug control. Yet, nowhere in the white paper do we see terms like the
antidrug manufacturing, trafficking, and transporting regime, although it did
mention the term, the building of China’s antidrug legal system (zhongguojin-
dufazhijianshe) or a preliminary antidrug legal system (chubujindufalutixi), and
that “[f]for many years, the Chinese government has taken drug control as a
fundamental objective, and has formulated and implemented a series of
principles, policies and measures39 in this regard.”
Eighth, IR did exist before and after October 1949, when the PRC was
created. In other words, there is no Socialist or Communist style of IR, es-
pecially under urgency.
Ninth, while the Chinese PLA is aware of the natural disasters,40 serious
communicable diseases, environmental degradation, international crime,
and other transnational problems as mentioned in Section I of the Decem-
ber 2006 white paper on national defense, the PRC sometimes is suspicious
of foreign powers’ words and deeds or ulterior motives, making use of the
issue of human rights to advance its own values, ideology, political stan-
dards, and mode of development,41 as seen in the November 1991 white
paper: “China is opposed to interfering in other countries’ internal affairs
on the pretext of human rights and has made unremitting efforts to elimi-
nate various abnormal phenomena and strengthen international coopera-
tion in the field of human rights.” In the June 1994 white paper, The Situa-
tion of Chinese Women, the following words are being mentioned: “women
are a great force in maintaining world peace. . . . [I]n today’s world, acts
which go against the United Nations Charter and the principles of interna-
tional law still exist. These include such practices as bullying the small, the
strong domineering over the weak, interfering in the affairs of other coun-
tries and violating their sovereignty, and armed aggression and occupation
of the territory of other states.” The September 2000 white paper on na-
tional defense, Section I said: “Under the pretexts of ‘humanitarianism’ and
Does Beijing Understand the Term “International Regimes”? 45

‘human rights,’ some countries have frequently resorted to the use or threat
of force, in flagrant violation of the UN Charter and other universally rec-
ognized principles governing international relations.” In this connection, in
Section VI, Beijing said “[a]t present, there are intentions, plans, and actions
to pursue unilateral military and strategic superiority in, and control of,
outer space,” which is supposed to belong to all countries in the world. And
Section I in the December 2006 white paper on national defense men-
tioned hegemonism and power politics (qiangquanzhengzhi) remain key
factors undermining international security.
Tenth, sometimes an IR may fail, derail, be violated, etc. It is usually
fragile. For this reason, Beijing cannot trust what superpowers do. In
China’s Non-Proliferation Policy and Measures, unilateralism and double
standards are urged to be abandoned. For example, after becoming presi-
dent, George W. Bush scrapped the May 1972 Treaty on the Limitation of
Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems, which can be regarded as a regime. How-
ever, Beijing sometimes is also practicing double standard. For example,
in the June 1996 white paper on freedom of religious belief, it stated that
“no country that practices the rule of law in the world today would toler-
ate illegal and criminal activities being carried out under the banner of
religion.” Yet, in Section IV of the same white paper, we were told that the
PRC government “will, as always, support Chinese Catholicism which
holds aloft the banner of patriotism, sticks to the principle of indepen-
dence and self-management, and stands for selection and ordination of
bishops by itself.” Another example of the mainland’s double standard is
as follows: The November 2000 white paper on outer space mentioned
space debris, as mentioned earlier, and it stated that it is a big challenge
to further expansion of space activities. Yet, in January 2007, Beijing per-
formed a successful antisatellite (ASAT) weapons test using a high kinetic
energy kill vehicle, at 530 miles altitude, destroying its own aging weather
satellite, resulting in more than 2,750 pieces of debris.42 One of its rank-
ing military officials said the West overreacted to what it had done, be-
cause they had prior knowledge.43
Eleventh, mainland China sometimes mentions words like (multilateral)
negotiations and dialogue, in the context of a fair and rational international
nonproliferation system, as mentioned in the July 1998 white paper on
national defense. The problem is that, when we talk about IR, all the parties
are on the same side, as mentioned before. In other words, no negotiations
or dialogues are needed or even necessary, when the circumstance is urgent.
Why Beijing is concerned is probably the lack of an effective system to
monitor compliance of signed agreements by the nations, countries, or
states plus other political and economic entities (as well as human beings
like you and me) and the failure to implement provisions to mete out pen-
alties if all of them are breaching promises made.
46 Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

The September 2000 white paper on national defense mentioned that

“[t]he ARF is the only pan-Asia–Pacific official multilateral security dialogue
and cooperation forum at present.” However, it did not realize that when
engaging in the following things, the ARF can be rightly called the ARF
mechanism, just as it refers to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
(SCO) or Shanghai Five (Shanghaiwuguo) as “a regional mechanism (diquji-
zhi) for their multilateral cooperation in all fields,” as the white paper said
representatives of the Chinese Ministries of Foreign Affairs and National De-
fense have attended official or unofficial meetings and both ministries had
hosted in Beijing the ARF Seminar on Tropical Hygiene and Prevention and
Treatment of Tropical Infectious Diseases, the ARF Professional Training Pro-
gram on China’s Security Policy, the fourth ARF Meeting of Heads of Defense
Colleges, and the ARF Seminar on Defense Conversion Cooperation related
to them: confidence-building measures, peacekeeping, maritime search and
rescue, emergency rescue and disaster relief, preventive diplomacy, nonprolif-
eration, and guiding principles within the framework of the ARF.
Twelfth, things constantly change or evolve. So, we see the following
words in the December 1995 white paper on human rights: “The Regula-
tions for Rural Five-Guarantee Work, adopted by the State Council enables
the five-guarantee program to become a system (zhiduhua).” In the same
white paper, the term, unemployment insurance system, was mentioned.
Since this is a good thing, can this system have a mechanism, because we
were told in the same white paper that a mechanism has been adopted to
adjust the basic pension regularly?
Thirteenth, Beijing does have a sense of priority.44 The December 2002
white paper on national defense, while in Section VII mentioning the term,
the establishment of a fair, rational and effective multilateral nonproliferation
regime (jizhi) based on the participation of all countries, it was stated that “[i]t
is China’s consistent view that maintaining the global strategic stability and
the international system of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation
is vitally important (zhiguanzhongyao) and in conformity with the fundamen-
tal interests (genbenliyi) of all countries.” Beijing sometimes uses words like
“the central government has attached great weight [shifenzhongshi] to the
training of Cadres of Tibetan nationality.” In the July 1998 white paper on
national defense, we were told that “China attaches great importance to, and
takes an active part in, international security cooperation by sticking to its
principles and promises, treating others in a sincere and friendly way, and
developing cooperation.” In the November 2000 China’s Space Activities, we
were informed that “China attaches importance to developing all kinds of
application of satellites and satellite application technology.”
Fourteenth, the March 1997 white paper, On Sino–U.S. Trade Balance, men-
tioned the term, economic regime. The November 2000 white paper on space
activities had this phrase: “[w]ith the establishment and improvement of
Does Beijing Understand the Term “International Regimes”? 47

China’s socialist market economic mechanism.” The December 2000 China’s

Population and Development in the 21st Century mentioned the following
phrase: “Establishing and improving the interest-oriented mechanism related
to population and family planning.” The Chinese characters for “interest-
oriented mechanism” is liyidaoxiangjizhi. In the April 2001 white paper on
human rights, we see the term, the internal supervisory and circumscribing
mechanism (jinaduzhiyuejizhi) of the courts. The October 2001 white paper,
The Development-Oriented Poverty Reduction Program for Rural China, men-
tioned the Seven-Year Priority Alleviation Program, which is for poverty re-
duction with clear and definite objectives, targets, measures, and a time limit.
This is something new, because, in the West, I have not come across these
terms in the literature on IR. So, the question which ought to be asked is: Is
there a difference in the Chinese and Western thinking regarding the usage of
regime, mechanism, and measure? Apparently, there is, because the concept,
system, can be seen here and there in many white papers.
Fifteenth, the lead author detected a negative usage for the term, measures
in the February 2000 white paper on the Taiwan issue: “if a grave turn of
events occurs leading to the separation of Taiwan from China in any name,
or if Taiwan is invaded and occupied by foreign countries, or if the Taiwan
authorities refuse, sine die, the peaceful settlement of cross-straits reunifica-
tion through negotiations, then the Chinese government will only be forced
to adopt all drastic measures possible, including the use of force, to safeguard
China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and fulfill the great cause of reuni-
fication.” In short, one of the measures could be the use of force.
Sixteenth, the PRC is aware of the non-state actors (feiguojiaxingweizhe).
The September 2005 white paper, China’s Endeavors for Arms Control, Disar-
mament and Non-Proliferation, specifically mentioned that the PRC will
prevent and combat proliferation activities by non-state actors, who traffick
weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The Gender Equality and Women’s
Development in China mentioned that the Chinese Communist government
also attaches importance to the role of NGOs related to the development of
women, while mentioning the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) as
the largest NGO in the mainland.
Seventeenth, Beijing is also aware of the concept, collectivity, because in
any IR, there is collective cooperation. For example, the October 2005 Build-
ing of Political Democracy in China said “[w]e are against the anarchic call for
‘democracy for all,’ and against anybody placing his own will above that of
the collective.”

Several suggestions can be made. First, the typical Chinese thinking is dia-
lectical. It can be traced back to the Yin and Yang plus the Five Elements. It
48 Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

is very easy to detect dialectical terms in the white papers: contradiction (as
mentioned in the August 1995 white paper, Family Planning in China) or
interwoven contradictions and frictions (maodundouzhengjiaozhi) (as men-
tioned in the September 2000 China’s National Defense in 2000); democratic
centralism; a change over the world pattern from the old to the new (shijiex-
injiugeju); “China’s criminal law has set clear demarcations between crime
and non-crime”; semifeudal, semicolonial China of the past; the principles
of combining centralization and decentralization, as mentioned in the
April 2002 Labor and Social Security in China.
For the PRC to accept IR, academics especially in the West must present
IR in terms of dialectics. So far, Beijing is accepting IR half-way. Many, if not
most, academics and experts are resisting Western theories, fearful of being
drifted or entrapped by them.45
Second, IR is a relatively new area. The authors think that the following
dialectical arrangement of some related concepts can be made in terms of
my dialectical model:46 system, regime, policy, mechanism, and measure.
Third, government officials are usually busy. They do not have time to do
homework. Here, academics must play an important role in helping them
to understand IR. To convince government officials takes time. Mass media
must also play an important role in educating the public about IR. To do
so, they must find a proper, standard translation.
Fourth, the PRC actively takes part in the work of the UN Security Council’s
Anti-Terrorism Commission (ATC). However, the SCO cannot be regarded as
a mechanism, if it is, as the December 2002 white paper on national defense
states, taking effective measures to fight against separatism and (religious)
extremism. While countering terrorism (as opposed to cross-border orga-
nized crimes or transnational crimes as smuggling, piracy, drug trafficking,
and money laundering47) is beneficial to mankind as the SCO is doing that
and prioritizing it, countering separatism and extremism (or even national
chauvinism, a term mentioned in the May 2003 History and Development of
Xinjiang) may only benefit the SCO members. For this reason, Beijing may
have to drop the fight against separatism and extremism.

Concluding Remarks

A few remarks can be made. First, most Chinese Communist officials do

not fully understand IR. This can be demonstrated by their incorrect trans-
lations of the term, IR. According to a former Beijing University Depart-
ment of Political Science head, ZHAO Bao, academics, especially political
science research, must serve politics by using their scientific knowledge.48
It is interesting to learn that at China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU) in
Beijing only a few professors understand IR. As to translators, they do, if
Does Beijing Understand the Term “International Regimes”? 49

they work at Xinhuashe. However, they could not come up with the pre-
cise Chinese characters. It is urgent that more Chinese people can under-
stand IR.
A lot of work still needs to be carried out in-depth to find out the main-
land’s understanding of IR. For example, why does Section VI of the Sep-
tember 2000 white paper on national defense mention the term, interna-
tional mechanism of nuclear nonproliferation as opposed to IR of nuclear
nonproliferation? To be sure, in this context, the word, mechanism, has
been translated at tizhi. If one were not taking the context into consider-
ation, tizhi could be translated as system or even regime, as point 17 in the
section, Are the Words and Terms Related to Regimes Used in the White
Papers?, noted.49 Yet, the Foreword of the December 2003 China’s Non-
Proliferation Policy and Measures mentioned that “the international com-
munity has established a relatively complete (xiangduiwanzheng) interna-
tional nonproliferation regime (tixi), which has played a positive role in
preventing and slowing down the proliferation of [weapons of mass de-
struction] and their means of delivery, and in safeguarding peace and secu-
rity both regional and global.” In Section II of the same white paper, the
Chinese characters for the word, mechanism, in the phrase, the missile
nonproliferation mechanism, were jizhi. Later in Section III, the Chinese
characters for the Technical Annex of the Missile Technology Control Re-
gime, were daodanjiqijishukongzhizhidu. In other words, regime’s translation
is zhidu. One may also wonder why the April 2002 white paper, Labor and
Social Security in China, use the term, the natural disaster relief system
(zhidu), not mechanism? Does it imply that Beijing acknowledges that it is
not yet doing a good job in relieving the sufferings of victims of unex-
pected natural calamities?
Last but not least, the PRC claims that Taiwan Province is a part of China.
However, the June 2000 Narcotics in China acknowledged that “[t]he statisti-
cal data mentioned here do not include the Hong Kong Special Administra-
tion Region, Macao Special Administrative Region and Taiwan Province.”
What this implies is that all the Chinese people in mainland China, Taiwan,
Hongkong, Macao, Singapore, and overseas must come up with a unified
translation of the term, IR.

  1.  More than 600 years ago, ZHENG He, the navigator of the Ming dynasty, led
the then largest fleet in the world and sailed seven voyages to the “Western seas,”
reaching more than 30 countries and regions in Asia and Africa. According to one
study, he even reached America in 1421. What he took to those places were tea,
chinaware, silk, and technology, and he did not occupy an inch of any other’s land.
According to the December 2005 China’s Peaceful Development Road, Beijing has
50 Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

joined more than 130 intergovernmental international organizations and it is com-

mitted to 267 international multilateral treaties.
  2.  China Post (hereinafter CP) (Taipei), October 26, 2008, p. 6.
  3.  For approaches of content analysis, see H. D. Lasswell, Politics: Who Gets What,
When, How (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1936) and The Structure and Function of Commu-
nication in Society (New York: Harper, 1948). See also K. Krippendorf, Content Analysis:
An Introduction to Its Methodology (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2004).
  4.  Promoting transparent governance of mainland China, improving public
services, and safeguarding citizens’ rights to know, according to the head of the
website, began trials on October 1, 2005 and formal operation on
January 1, 2006.
  5.  I.e., peacekeeping norms, which can be traditional and nontraditional (e.g.,
do not have consent of all parties).
  6.  Beijing has been promoting harmonious society for some time. A theoreti-
cian in the mainland said it is fundamentally Daoist. When you think of wuwo,
there will be no comparison and contrast as well as competition, all of which
would lead to struggle. See, search dated March 10,
  7.  The Democratic Action Party leader, ZAHNG Shoujiang said fighting for de-
mocracy is all for one and one for all for the sake of the public. See Hua Daily News,
February 12, 2007, p. A11.
  8.  John Vogler, The Global Commons: A Regime Analysis (New York: John Wiley &
Sons, 1995), p. 18.
  9.  It is one of the five autonomous areas in the mainland at the provincial level
where regional ethnic autonomy is exercised. It has been able to basically maintain
itself as a pristine state and it is the place where the environment is best protected,
according to the May 2004 white paper, Regional Ethnic Autonomy in Tibet. It has
been called the Roof of the World, Third Pole of the Earth, and Shangri-La. In April
2007, Dalai Lama again said that Tibet is part of China but it is ruled by terror. See
CP, April 8, 2007, p. 11.
10.  According to LEE Seng Giap, “[s]ince as of now there seems to be no Chinese
translation capable of doing what the English original term can do, you may, at least
for the time being until there is such a Chinese coinage, consider the ‘dichotomy’
approach of separating the ‘software aspect’ from the ‘hardware aspect’ in terms
of Chinese translation. The Chinese language seems to be more ‘specific,’ less ‘em-
bracing’ and less ‘liquid’ than the English. The ‘dichotomy’ approach may hopefully
show you the way out of this ‘Chinese linguistic rigidity or bind.’” Email from him,
dated December 14, 2006.
12.  In Section V, we see the term, comprehensive control of the rural develop-
ment. Here, the word, control, in Chinese is zhengzhi, not zhili.
13. Obviously,
their understanding of governance differed from the usage in the West.
14.  Section VII of the June 2006 white paper on environmental protection men-
tioned the following sentence: “A mechanism to share fees for renewable energy
resources has been established.” In China’s Efforts and Achievements in Promoting the
Rule of Law (February 2008), we see in Part I the following words: “the mechanism
Does Beijing Understand the Term “International Regimes”? 51

for safeguarding rights and interests” and “a power operating mechanism featuring
decision-making authority.”
15.  Section VI of the June 2006 white paper on environmental protection men-
tioned the following sentence: “By means of a series of measures taken to control
the intensity of fishing, reduce the number of fishing boats, improve the morato-
rium system, establish marine sanctuaries, and practice zero growth rate, marine
fishery resources have been protected and revived.” The Chinese Communist trans-
lation for the term, electronic countermeasures is dianziduikang and information
countermeasures units, zixunduikangbudui.
16. and english.people, dated October 13, 2004. See also, dated July 22,
2005, when one U.S. dollar equals 8.11 Renminbi (RMB). The word system has been
translated as tizhi in the context of the socialist market economy system. But, in the
context of floating exchange rate system, it is translated as zhidu.
17.  The mainland translates the term, the framework of international law, as
xianxingguojifakuangjia or the term, security framework, as anquankuangjia.
18.  In the October 2005 Building of Political Democracy in China, it was stated that
“[t]he establishment of New China marked a great leap from the 2,000-year-old
autocratic feudal political system and the unsuccessful trials in contemporary China
imitating the mode of Western democratic political systems to the new people’s
democratic political system.” Section I of the December 2006 white paper on na-
tional defense mentioned a new mode of state-to-state relations (xinxingguojia-
guanximoushi), with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as an example.
The same white paper mentioned the term, procurement modes, and the Chinese
characters are caigoufangshi.
19.  There is no Chinese character for this adjective.
20.  In the same white paper, industrial structure was mentioned, and the Chinese
character for the second word is jiegou.
21.  Aviation Week & Space Technology in January 2007 reported that Beijing per-
formed a successful antisatellite (ASAT) weapons test at 530 miles altitude, destroy-
ing an aging Chinese weather satellite with a kinetic kill vehicle launched onboard
a ballistic missile, which can leave considerable space debris, which could be more
than 1,600 pieces in an orbit used by many different satellites. The United States
and the former Soviet Union also did such things. See, dated January 17, 2007,
01.thml, dated January 19, 2007, and China Times (hereinafter CT) (Taipei), April
24, 2007, p. A13.
22.  One of the authors is CHEN Zhou, who is a researcher at the Academy of
Military Sciences of the Chinese PLA.
23.  Here, it did not mention separatism and extremism.
24.  In the August 1995 white paper on family planning, one also sees the follow-
ing words: government- and community-supported policies and programs. The
Gender Equality and Women’s Development in China stated the following words: for-
mulated rules, policies, and measures.
25.  Regulation in Chinese is also guiding.
52 Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW

27.  Government department is translated as guojiabumen.

28.  Thus, for example two Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents were tortured
on the mainland in December 1952. See CT, April 23, 2007, p. A13.
29.  CP, April 8, 2007, p. 11.
30.  Ibid., April 22, 20007, p. 4.
32.  The June 1994 white paper, The Situation of Chinese Women said that in some
countries in the West only one or two centuries after their founding did the law
stipulate that women have equal voting rights with men.
33.  However, in the first white paper on human rights, Beijing does admit that
drowning or abandoning female infants is still a practice in some remote areas. This
is partly due to the fact that Beijing does not allow blind growth in births, given its
huge population.
34.  Both country and state can be translated as guojia and nation, minzhu.
38.  In January 1994, Beijing formally presented a draft for the Treaty on the Non-
First-Use of Nuclear Weapons to the United States, Russia, Britain, and France. Only
the mainland and Russia made such a promise to each other in July of the same
39.  Such as conducting aerial surveillance of suspected planting in the primeval
forests in the Greater Hinggan Mountains in northeast China and in the Lianhua
Mountains in northwest China, with modern scientific and technological methods.
40.  In May 2008, there was a big earthquake in Sichuan Province, and many
troops were mobilized in the relief work.
41.  The Federal Security Service (FSB), still headquartered in Lubyanka Square,
Moscow, is the leading secret police organization of the Russian Federation (RF)
and main successor of the Soviet Checka, NKVD, and KGB. Today, its power has
penetrated into many parts of the country, in the name of antiterrorism. See news,4066,110504+112006121300077,  dated
December 13, 2006.
42.  CT, October 26, 2008, p. A9.
43.  Ibid., January 23, 2007, p. A13 and April 24, 2007, p. A13. However, Beijing
has promised not to do it again. See ibid., October 26, 2008, p. A9.
44.  Beijing speaks of the unity between priorities and conditions as well as rights
and obligations.
45.  Zhongguoguofangbao (hereinafter ZGGFB)(Beijing), February 8, 2007, p. 3.
46.  See my books, Bicoastal China: A Dialectical, Paradigmatic Analysis (New York:
Nova Science Publishers, 1999), The Crab and Frog Motion Paradigm Shift: Decoding
and Deciphering Taipei and Beijing’s Dialectical Politics (Lanham, MD: University Press
of America, 2002), and Hu Jintao and the Ascendancy of China (Singapore: Marshall
Cavendish International Academic Publishing, 2005).
47.  See the December 2004 white paper, China’s National Defense in 2004. In the
same white paper, the term, counterterrorism military exercise, was used. The Chi-
nese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) regards the following as nontraditional security
fields (feichuantonganquanlingyudehezuo): joint counterterrorism, maritime search
Does Beijing Understand the Term “International Regimes”? 53

and rescue, combating piracy, and cracking down on drug production and trafficking.
See the same white paper.
48.  ZHAO Bao also said that academics cannot just explain the meaning of
higher-ups. See
jail_blues_kims_successo.php, dated April 10, 2007.
49.  In the same paragraph, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safe-
guard system was used. The word, system, is translated as tixi.


Krippendorf, K., Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology (Thousand Oaks,

CA: Sage Publications, 2004).
Lasswell, H. D., Politics: Who Gets What, When, How (New York: McGraw-Hill,
_______, The Structure and Function of Communication in Society (New York: Harper,
Vogler, John, The Global Commons: A Regime Analysis (New York: John Wiley & Sons,
YU, Peter Kien-hong, Bicoastal China: A Dialectical, Paradigmatic Analysis (New York:
Nova Science Publishers, 1999).
_______, The Crab and Frog Motion Paradigm Shift: Decoding and Deciphering Taipei
and Beijing’s Dialectical Politics (Lanham, MD: University Press of America,
_______, Hu Jintao and the Ascendancy of China (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish In-
ternational Academic Publishing, 2005).
_______, The Second Long March (New York: The Continuum, 2009).
Beijing’s Hegemony under
International Relations and
International Regimes
Peter Kien-hong YU and Chun-chi CHIANG

An edited book by Robert Ash, David Shambaugh, and Seiichiro Takagi,

China Watching: Perspectives from Europe, Japan and the United States, was
reviewed by a business expert on China in the May 2007 issue of Far Eastern
Economic Review (FEER).1 The November 2006 book provided insight into
the world of China studies as well as China itself. In the epilogue, we see
International China Watching in the 21st Century.
In the same issue, Hugo Restall’s article, China’s Bid for Asian Hege-
mony,2 was published.
Our simple and straightforward challenge to all of those authors is: When
can the non-Chinese scholars and experts and Chinese academics and ex-
perts like Willy Wo-lap Lam ever learn about the dialectical Chinese (Com-
munist) mind, so that their analysis can be closer to reality? To the lead
author, scholarship means the following order of importance: logic, contri-
bution, preciseness, closeness to reality, etc. In other words, if what we write
is logical, we should all accept this piece of writing. The ultimate, important
question is, of course, whether one’s publication is closer to reality? If we
applied a wrong approach and methods, which could either be dialectical
or nondialectical, we will not be able to be closer to reality. Distortion in-
evitably follows.


Chinese people are very familiar with Yin and Yang plus the Five Elements.
A typical, dialectical Chinese mind works in the following way: First, he or
she would first think of a dot,3 be it a symbol, a concept, a sentence, a

56 Peter Kien-hong YU and Chun-chi CHIANG

house, the Earth, the solar system, or even the universe or multiple uni-
verses. Second, the dialectician would find its opposite or extreme, namely,
a nondot. For example, one would think of China, and its opposite or ex-
treme would be non-China and vice versa, in between the two extremes. A
nondialectical thinker may ask: What is a non-China? Well, it could mean
a zillion things, tangible or intangible, such as the United States, Japan,
peace, war, etc. A non-China could also be a green apple or red apple. In
September 2009, a British farmer showed an apple with both green and red
colors. Third, he or she would make sideways moves like a crab.4 Fourth, if
this China versus non-China model or framework cannot describe and ex-
plain, if not infer or predict, a certain phenomenon, the dialectician would
right away construct another dialectical model. A jumping motion can be
said as having taken place. Hence, we would see a series of dialectical frame-
works at work. Needless to say, one must figure out the largest dialectical
model, which constitute the whole picture, and all other models would be
part of that largest one. In other words, the dialectician would play a role of
a frog, leaping from this model to another model.5 The same person would
apply another model to link the two models, which could be entirely dif-
In September 1994, the lead author constructed the following Crab and
Frog Motion model and later it was somewhat modified four times:

time/space sequence (1)
time/space sequence (2)
time/space sequence (n)
1 (or 100 percent of the concept or whatever);
3 (or 50 percent of the concept or whatever);
5 (or 1 percent of the concept or whatever);
E (or 100 percent of the concept or whatever)
C (or 50 percent of the concept or whatever)
A (or 1 percent of the concept or whatever)

The 1 2 3 4 5 spectrum is equivalent to what I call the safe zone, and the
A B C D E spectrum, danger zone. The middle way/road/path is 5 in the safe
zone and A is the middle way/road/path in the danger zone, when we look
at the 1 2 3 4 5 A B C D E spectrum.
We are glad that Hugo Restall, editor of FEER, which folded in December
2009 after sixty-three years of publication, cited MAO Zedong’s method of
playing politics and engaging in military affairs. The name for the method,
as mentioned by Restall, is walking on two legs. Other synonyms or related
concepts include dialectics, scientific method, double-faced tactics, double
Beijing’s Hegemony under International Relations and International Regimes 57

dealing, etc. However, he should have applied the Maoist method through-
out his piece from the first word to the last word. Otherwise, he is mislead-
ing readers or we can only get a partial picture, for example, only looking at
the 1 2 3 4 5 spectrum. In a word, Restall should have mentioned both the
positive and negative dimensions of hegemony at the outset. Failure to do
so will lead many, if not most readers, to having the impression that he
wants us to accept his perception that mainland China is threatening oth-
ers. There are many publications on the so-called China threat, since the
meltdown of the Berlin Wall in late 1989. Twenty years later, there are still
some people in the West who perceive that promoting a harmonious world
by Beijing is a Communist plot!
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, at least three
theories have surfaced, and each one of them does not favor the mainland.
The first one argues that Beijing is practicing the neotributary state system
and relationship’s modern version of tributary state system and relation-
ship.6 The Japanese rightists also mentioned this term. This theory can be
easily falsified or negated 50 percent, due to the existence of the West-
phalian Treaty system since October 1648. The People’s Republic of China
(PRC) is neither a dynasty nor an empire. In addition, the mainland, on the
whole, has not been mistreating other countries, international organiza-
tions, international institutions, etc., just like what ancient Chinese dynas-
ties did to the uncultured or uncivilized barbarians by offering them trea-
sures, gifts, etc. More than 600 years ago, ZHENG sailed to other parts of
the world seven times, including today’s America, and yet we did not see
Chinese colonies here and there in the world. In December 2008, the Chi-
nese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) embarked on a counterpiracy regime
mission to waters off the Federal Republic of Somalia (FROS), and we have
yet to see the Chinese PLA Navy taking an inch of that country’s territorial
sea. Up to that time, the Chinese PLA Navy had already visited close to forty
countries on thirty-one goodwill missions.7 As to the United Nations (UN)
Peacekeeping Operations from April 1990 to November 2008, it had al-
ready dispatched 12,443 observers/staff officers and police officers,8 rank-
ing number one in terms of total number of troops.9
The second theory has to do with the peaceful rise of China. It was for the
first time put forward by Beijing in November 2003 at the Boao Forum,
which is headquartered in Hainan Province. In the late 1980s, the China
threat theory began to surface in Japan. Later, when the Soviet Union col-
lapsed, more academics and experts in the West joined the chorus. However,
the skeptics treat the peaceful rise of China theory as a façade, because, if and
when ready, the PRC will show its true colors by threatening others. In late
2008, some observers have already labeled the Chinese PLA Navy as a blue-
water navy. At the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the PRC, some new
weapons were displayed. When the latter launches its aircraft carrier, more
58 Peter Kien-hong YU and Chun-chi CHIANG

people could be led to believe that the PRC is a real threat to other countries,
especially those Southeast Asian claimants of the South China Sea (SCS).
Is it not true that the American military forces are more powerful than the
Chinese PLA since the creation of the PRC? On three occasions, Washington
contemplated the use of atomic or nuclear weapons to attack the Chinese
mainland (neidi). If the Theater Missile Defense (TMD) were set up, which
country will be more worried—the United States or the PRC? The answer is
too obvious, because, unprotected by or unable to counter it with another
type of TMD system, mainland China simply is on the defensive. That is
why the then Russian president Vladimir Putin in May 2007 strongly op-
posed the U.S. plan to deploy missile interceptors in the Republic of Poland
(ROP) and radar units in the Czech Republic (CR) as part of a project to
extend the missile defense system in Europe, which may renew the Cold
War. In March 2009, the Barack H. Obama II administration offered to
make an exchange with the Russian Federation (RF). That is to say, the
United States can scrap this system in Europe, and RF would stop helping
the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI).10 Why? The reason for the Russian strong
objection is that Washington can make the first move to attack its enemies,
while being shielded by the system.
In February 2007, Beijing leaders visited Africa and promised many
things to the African leaders. Yet, some observers pointed out that Beijing is
practicing neocolonialism.11 Needless to say, mainland China is not alone,
because the French Republic (FR)’s security policy in sub-Saharan Africa is
likened to practicing new imperialism.12 Again, this theory can be easily
negated by at least 50 percent, because even the Africans do not agree that
this theory can withstand the test of time.13 Besides, in Chinese history, has
China ever occupied one inch of foreign land? To be sure, Chinese regard
themselves as being peace loving since ancient times, because they would
not militarily venture abroad. Besides, there are several other reasons:
1) There is no need to take over foreign land, because the Chinese culture
centuries ago has been more superior than the non-Chinese culture; 2) the
Chinese heroes were only interested in taking over Zhongyuan (Central
Plains) with Beijing as part of it; 3) the Chinese characters belong to what
we called ideogram/ideograph, and the Chinese characters for country or
state are guojia, the first character of which tells us China is enclosed or sur-
rounded by four walls, that is to say, the Chinese are defensive players;14 4)
the Chinese were more interested in receiving “barbarians” from abroad
and to convert them into Chinese, such as the Mongolians and the Man-
chus, the latter of whom ruled China up to 1911; 5) merchants were at the
bottom of the social strata and, therefore, the merchants would not receive
support from emperors and empresses to venture overseas; 6) after ZHENG’s
seventh trip abroad, the Ming dynasty basically closed its doors to foreign-
ers; 7) the Chinese emphasize filial piety, meaning they must obey their
Beijing’s Hegemony under International Relations and International Regimes 59

parents and ancestors and, therefore, one would be regarded as lacking filial
piety if he or she died abroad; and 8) Chinese philosophers and scholars in
ancient days are fond of collating everything in terms of Yin and Yang. As
such, they prefer balance, if not harmony.
Restall’s theory, or the fourth one, is that the PRC is seeking Asian hege-
mony. To be sure, this theory can be easily challenged, because by “hege-
mony,” most people know that it has a negative connotation under interna-
tional relations or even international affairs. However, hegemony can also
have a positive connotation or what we called benign hegemony, under
international regimes, a term which should be familiar to most people in
the West. Let us elaborate.
Applying the lead author’s model, the positive dimension of hegemony
can be placed at 1, while the negative dimension, 5. By making this kind of
dialectical arrangement, the Chinese Communist action is not what LAM
had mistakenly described—it appears schizophrenic, because it is pursuing
contradictory policies.15 In other words, there is no contradiction whatso-
ever, because whenever Beijing makes a move, it is only thinking of one
thing or concept at a time. There could never be a single contradiction, if
applying the lead author’s dialectical model.
Restall on page 10 of his writing pointed out that there exists a “natural
desire among Asians for self-reliance and freedom from outside interfer-
ence.” If so, why would Beijing want to be a second hegemon or trouble-
maker? Since ZHU Rongji became the PRC premier, he called for a smaller
government and a bigger society. Up to the end of 2008, there are close to
400,000 registered nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the PRC.16
Among them are 1,390 foundations, think tanks, etc. In this connection, is
Restall also referring to the United States, if not other countries, as an intru-
sive hegemon? This is because he acknowledged that “[i]n order to gain
leverage over [the] rogue regimes, the United States may have to acquiesce
to a greater Chinese role in East Asia,”17 and, as he cited, the conclusion of
the U.S. Council on Foreign Affairs (CFA) in which it was stated that there
is “no evidence to support the notion that China will become a peer com-
petitor of the United States” by 2030.18 Restall also mentioned that Wash-
ington is trying to prevent either Beijing or Tokyo “from gaining preeminent
power,”19 implying that the former has long been a hegemon in Asia. Under
the George W. Bush administration, we often hear that the United States
had been practicing unilateralism, which ended in April 2009, when the
United States also suffered a lot in the global economic downturn, espe-
cially in September 2008.
“International regimes” is a term which many people, especially Asians, do
not fully understand. It is simply too abstract. One can sense it. The adjective,
palpable, could be mentioned at this juncture. Examples are the arms control,
disarmament, and nonproliferation regime, the human rights regime, the
60 Peter Kien-hong YU and Chun-chi CHIANG

international business policy regime, the environmental regime, the whaling

regime, etc. They are beneficial to all countries, political entities, and indi-
viduals like you and me, if formed, maintained, or sustained. If Beijing wants
to be a hegemon in maintaining and sustaining many, if not all, international
regimes, it is fostering a more benign image in the international community.
For this reason, Restall observed that the “ASEAN has gone from being the
anti-China club to China’s partner in trade.” The ASEAN + 1 Free Trade Area
(FTA) became a reality in January 2010. Federation of Malaysia (FOM), for
example, eliminated 2,123 items from tariff. In November 2001, the negotia-
tions began.
In sum, Restall has misled many readers. We are pretty sure that Beijing in
the years ahead will maintain and sustain more international regimes, to the
benefit of all. PRC president HU Jintao was certainly serious when he talked
about a harmonious world at the UN again in September 2009. Do not forget
that not all regimes are favorable to the mainland, such as the human rights
regime, which will certainly make the Beijing regime on the defensive.
Here, we can say something about the swarm theory. Like the interna-
tional regimes theory, they share similarities. Scientist Lain Couzin and
his colleagues used computer programs and models to discover the rules
that swarming animals—from ants, to Mormon crickets, to humans—
follow.20 Some of the important facts are as follows, to cite Carl Zimmer’s
report at length:

Couzin et al. started to discover simple rules that allow swarms to work so well.
Those rules allow thousands of relatively simple animals to form a collective
brain able to make decisions and move like a single organism.
Deciphering those rules is a big challenge, however, because the behavior of
swarms emerges unpredictably from the actions of thousands or millions of
“No matter how much you look at an individual army ant,” the scientist
said, “you will never get a sense that when you put 1.5 million of them to-
gether, they form these bridges and columns. You just cannot know that.”
To get a sense of swarms, the scientist built computer models of virtual
swarms. Each model contains thousands of individual agents, which he can
program to follow a few simple rules. To decide what those rules ought to
be, Couzin et al. head out to jungles, deserts, or oceans to observe animals
in action.
He built a computer model based on some basic ant biology. Each simulated
ant laid down a chemical marker that attracted other ants, while the marker was
still fresh. Each ant could also sweep the air with its antennas; if it made contact
with another ant, it turned away and slowed down to avoid a collision.
The scientist analyzed how the ants behaved when he tweaked or to pinch
and pull with a sudden jerk and twist21 their behavior. If the ants turned away
too quickly from oncoming insects, they lost the scent of their trail. If they did
not turn fast enough, they ground to a stop and forced ants behind them to
Beijing’s Hegemony under International Relations and International Regimes 61

slow down. Couzin found that a narrow range of behavior allowed ants to
move as a group as quickly as possible.
Eventually Couzin and others found that the real ants were moving in the
way that the scientist had predicted would allow the entire swarm to go as fast
as possible. They also found that the ants behaved differently if they were leav-
ing the nest or heading back. When two ants encountered each other, the
outgoing ant turned away further than the incoming one. As a result, the ants
headed to the nest end up clustered in a central lane, while the outgoing ants
form two outer lanes.
The more Couzin studies swarm behavior, the more patterns he finds com-
mon to many different species.
Just as liquid water can suddenly begin to boil, animal swarms can also
change abruptly thanks to some simple rules.
However, understanding how animals swarm and why they do are two sepa-
rate questions.
In some species, animals may swarm so that the entire group enjoys an evo-
lutionary benefit. All the army ants in a colony, for example, belong to the
same family. Thus, if individuals cooperate, their shared genes associated with
swarming will become more common.
But, in the deserts of Utah, U.S.A., Couzin and others discovered that giant
swarms may actually be made up of a lot of selfish individuals.
When Mormon crickets cannot find enough salt and protein, they become
cannibals. “Each cricket itself is a perfectly balanced source of nutrition,”
Couzin said. “So the crickets, every 17 seconds or so, try to attack other indi-
viduals. If you don’t move, you’re likely to be eaten.”
This collective movement causes the crickets to form vast swarms. “All these
crickets are on a forced march,” Couzin said. “They’re trying to attack the crick-
ets who are ahead, and they’re trying to avoid being eaten from behind.”
Couzin et al. have been finding support for this computer model in real
groups of animals. They have even found support in studies on mediocre

Finally, as the scientist’s model predicted, the human swarm made a

quick, unconscious decision to follow the largest group of leaders.
The moral of the above-mentioned story is that it is possible for countries
to cooperate and coordinate to tackle an issue-area, issue-areas, or issue-
regimes, which are related to an international regime or international re-
gimes. This author perceives that Beijing will participate in more regimes at
the international level, knowing that each regime transcends sovereignty,
which is a sensitive but noninternational regimes issue.
Last but not least, Beijing should have publicized my dialectical CHINA,
China, and china theoretical framework22 at Boao in November 2003.
CHINA is 1; China, 5, and China, E. The dynamics of the movement is from
the right extreme to the left extreme. Another way of saying the same thing
is Non-China Threat (or 1) versus China Threat (or E). It is in between those
two extremes that Beijing has been playing political games and engaged in
62 Peter Kien-hong YU and Chun-chi CHIANG

military affairs since October 1949, if not earlier. There is no doubt that the
mainland has definitely chose to make moves in the safe zone since Novem-
ber 2003, including its attempt to peacefully reunify both sides of the Taiwan
Strait by first agreeing to signing a legal document, such as the Taipei-pro-
posed Liangan (Cross-Strait) Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement
(ECFA), as first proposed by the MA Ying-jeou government in February
2009, which is modeled after the FTA or Comprehensive Economic Coop-
eration Agreement (CECA), or Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement
(CEPA) between many countries or between the PRC and its Special Admin-
istration Regions (SARs) like Hongkong and Macao. Beijing also wants to
sign an agreement with Taipei to end the civil war hostility, which techni-
cally, or at least conceptually, still exists.

Concluding Remarks

Beijing has been opposing to become a hegemon for a long period of time.
It is for multilateral interactions among nation-states. This can be regarded
as Confucian governance, recognizing that each country is different, while
promoting harmony at the international level. For this reason, it will try to
participate in more international regimes in the future.


Taipei and the International Health Regulations

In February 2009, one ranking official of the ruling party, Nationalist Party
of China (KMT), said he was quite optimistic about Taipei getting the ob-
server status in the World Health Organization (WHO).23 Two months later,
it was confirmed.
This postcript attempts to highlight the main points in the process of
returning to the WHO, which tries to maintain and sustain the world health
There are many concepts foreign to the Chinese in the last few hundred
years, such as democracy and anarchism.24 Thus, the former had been trans-
lated as Mr. De and the latter, being partially transliterated as annaqi-zhuyi.
In the early twenty-first century, the term, “international regimes,” both-
ered most government officials and common people alike, on both sides of
the Taiwan Strait. To this day, there is no proper, standard Chinese transla-
tion for such an abstract term.
Simply put, each regime at the international level has to do with an issue
in a given area of international relations. The following terms can be derived
from this partial definition: issue-area, issue-areas, and issue-regimes. Hence,
Beijing’s Hegemony under International Relations and International Regimes 63

my definition is: A set (or sets of) at least fifteen criteria/core elements/fea-
ture in the context of (fragmented) issue-area, (fragmented) issue-areas, and
issue-regimes. To be sure, we cannot discuss two or more contradictory or
clashing regimes at the same time. We can only describe, explain, and infer,
not predict, positive regimes.
To grasp a fuller understanding of this term, it must be pointed out that
each regime has at least fifteen criteria, core elements, or features, such as
its 100 percent positive nature, one for all and all for one, cooperation, co-
ordination, community-centered arrangement, transparency, and mitiga-
tion of (scientific) uncertainty.
In late January 2009, the WHO, for the first time, agreed to let Chinese
Taipei be part of the International Health Regulations 2005 (tiaoli) (IHR),
which entered into force in June 2007 and are binding in 194 countries or
states across the globe, including all 193 Member States of the WHO. At this
time, Beijing did not sign the Implementation of the Memorandum of Un-
derstanding (IMOU) between the WHO Secretariat and China.25 This is
certainly a result of the two major developments.
First, MA Ying-jeou’s workable, viable, and flexible diplomacy has been
working since May 2008, when he became the president of the Republic of
China (ROC), calling for diplomatic truce between Taipei and Beijing, al-
though we still hear rumors saying Latin American countries like the Repub-
lic of Haiti (ROH), Republic of Paraguay (ROP), and Republic of Panama
(RP) are ready to switch diplomatic relations from the ROC to the PRC at
any time.
Second, in January 1979, Beijing began to call for three links and four ex-
changes between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland (neidi). In December
2008, the last important link, to wit, direct shipping and air flight service, had
finally been realized, and the opposition political party, Democratic Progres-
sive Party (DPP), did not really oppose it, so long as the sovereign, indepen-
dent status of Taiwan can be maintained and sustained. In August 2009, we
witnessed the first direct flight between both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
Why did it take the ROC so long to be part of the WHO system? A brief
description and explanation is first in order. Then, I will again talk about
the international regimes.
There are a few intergovernmental organizations in the world, which are
seemingly not political to begin with, but which can be politicized. One
good example is the WHO.
According to its Constitution, only members of the UN can officially join
it. So, in November 2002, when the severe acute respiratory syndrome
(SARS) or the commonly called new killer strain pneumonia, began to
spread to parts of Asia like the Taiwan area, Hongkong, and Macao, a WHO
official in Beijing said Taiwan is not a country but days later the interna-
tional health body chose to treat it as Taiwan (China) or Taiwan, China.
64 Peter Kien-hong YU and Chun-chi CHIANG

To be sure, the Constitution also states that “other countries may be ad-
mitted as members when their application has been approved by a simple
majority vote of the World Health Assembly (WHA).”
There is still another option by becoming an associate member of the
WHO or an observer just like the Vatican, Liechtenstein, the Palestinian
Authority (PA), the International Red Cross (IRC), and the Knights of Malta
(KM). Thus, Taipei, in its January 2002 application form, used the title of
“Republic of China, Taiwan.”26
To test the Beijing resolve, Taipei, as early as the annual May 1997 WHA, tried
to convince other capitals, saying it can make contributions to enhance the
public health, and therefore, it should be allowed to join the assembly.27
From 1997 to 2009, it proposed to use various names to play a role in the
WHA or the WHO, to wit, ROC (Taiwan) from 1997 to 2000; Taiwan
(ROC) in 2001; Taiwan in 2002; Health Authorities of Taiwan in 2003; Tai-
wan in 2004; Taiwan, Health Entity28 in 2005; Taiwan from 2006 to 2008;
and Chinese Taipei in 2009.29
In April 2007, Washington threw cold water on Taipei’s hopes of gaining
membership simply under the name Taiwan, in the WHA but pledged to
work to find new ways for the latter as an observer to continue to meaning-
fully participate in WHO technical meetings and regional activities as well
as activities outside of the WHA, namely, the Global Outbreak Alert & Re-
sponse Network (GOARN) and IHR 2005, which is a set code of practices
and procedures, dating back to the International Sanitary Regulations (ISR)
adapted at the International Sanitary Conference (ISC) in Paris from July
1851 to January 1852, designed to prevent the international spread or cross-
border transmission of epidemics and serious diseases, due to increased
international travel and trade.30
It goes without saying that the Chinese mainland has been using all of its
might to block the Taiwan area’s participation in the WHO, up to April
2009. Its fear is very simple and straightforward. If Taipei succeeds in enter-
ing the WHA or the WHO, it will most likely make other moves or de-
mands, such as using it as a stepping-stone to return to the UN General
Assembly or other intergovernmental organizations. In January 2009, the
new Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton said the United States will con-
tinue to support the ROC’s efforts to gain more international space, includ-
ing becoming an observer at the WHA.
In May 2005, as a result of revision, the concept universal application
(pushiyuanzhe) became part of the IHR 2005. And, on May 14th of 2005,
Beijing signed an IMOU with the WHO as a special arrangement prior to
resolving a political stalemate between Taipei and Beijing. There were three
First, the WHO Secretariat can invite Taiwan’s medical and public
health experts to individually attend its technical activities. If necessary,
Beijing’s Hegemony under International Relations and International Regimes 65

Taiwan’s experts can say that they come from “Taiwan, China.” Second,
the WHO Secretariat can send its staff and experts to Taiwan to examine
the public health and contagious disease situation, as well as discuss
health issues with Taiwan’s medical and public health experts and provide
medical and public health technical assistance. Third, if Taiwan faces a
serious outbreak, the WHO Secretariat will, if necessary, send experts to
Taiwan as soon as possible and give technical assistance, or invite Taiwan’s
medical and public health experts to join technical activities initiated by
the Secretariat.
In March 2006, the WHO included Taiwan as a province of China in
which humans and poultry were affected by the virulent H5N1 avian flu
virus. Later, it made the correction, deleting Taiwan. And, in January 2008,
Beijing blocked a draft resolution, calling for wider IHR coverage to in-
clude nonmembers, implying, for example, “Chinese Taipei,” during a
Despite numerous setbacks, Taipei did score points. In October 2002,
Japan’s Foreign Ministry for the first time said it would speak on behalf of
the ROC in Geneva if the United States takes the lead in May 2003.31 In June
2003, for the first time in more than thirty years, Taipei was able to dispatch
several officials to attend the WHO Global Conference on SARS in Kuala
Lumpur. On March 31, 2005, Beijing, for the first time, said Taipei can tech-
nically participate in the WHA as an observer under the name “Taiwan,
China.” So, from April 2005 to April 2006, Taipei’s health experts did par-
ticipate in more than ten WHO-sponsored events.32
To be sure, the IHR 2005 can be regarded as a regime at the international
level, beneficial to all the countries and political/economic entities in the
world. Since it is part of the WHO system, Taipei has been making efforts
to be part of the IHR 2005 regime. For example, in the year 2006, it declared
that, even though it is not part of the IHR 2005, it would comply with its
regulations (forming international law).33
Arguably, unless the WHO revises its constitution by declaring itself as
the World Health Regime (WHR) and all the countries and political/eco-
nomic entities in the world are part of its community-centered arrange-
ments, the chance of Taipei joining it as a WHA member is still slim in the
foreseeable future, and, when it tries to join it each time, Beijing will put
pressure on the WHO members with which have diplomatic relations, not
to admit Taipei. This is unless it is done under the One China Principle, as
HU said in April 2004, or as stipulated in the December 1992 consensus.
In sum, many political observers are not aware that MA’s workable diplo-
macy embraces the spirit of international regimes, which transcend sover-
eign, national boundaries, and regimes can certainly work well, if under
urgency, as opposed to other scenarios like insecurity, convergent expecta-
tion, and perception.
66 Peter Kien-hong YU and Chun-chi CHIANG

  1.  Robert A. Kapp, Far Eastern Economic Review (hereinafter FEER) (Hongkong),
vol. 170, no. 4 (May 2007), pp. 74–76.
  2.  Hugo Restall, “China’s Bid for Asian Hegemony,” FEER, vol. 170, no. 4 (May
2007), pp. 10–14.
  3.  Ibid., and see also Peter Kien-hong YU and W. Emily CHOW, “The Study of
Politics and Non-Politics Should Begin with One Dot,” The One-dot Center Occa-
sional Working Papers Series, forthcoming.
  4.  There are crabs which could move forward.
  5.  See Peter Kien-hong Yu, The Crab and Frog Motion Paradigm Shift: Decoding and
Deciphering Taipei and Beijing’s Dialectical Politics (Lanham, MD: University Press of
America, 2002).
  6.  Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro, The Coming Conflict with China (New
York: Knopf, 1997) and Pan Xiaotao, “ZhongguoDe’XinChaogongTixiZhujianXingc
heng.” See
iew&id=11099&Itemid=47, dated December 9, 2005.
  7.  Jiefangjunbao (hereinafter JFJB) (Beijing), December 26, 2008, p. 4.
  8., dated March 4, 2009.
  9.  JFJB, January 4, 2009, p. 7.
10.  United Daily News (hereinafter UDN)(Taipei), March 4, 2009, p. A12.
11.  C. Alden, D. Large, and R. Soares de Oliveira, eds., China Returns to Africa: A
Superpower and a Continent Embrace (London: Hurst, 2008).
12.  Bruno Charbonneau, France and the New Imperialism (Hampshire, UK: Ash-
gate, 2008).
13., dated July 4,
14.  The first one is the Great Wall of China, the second one is the desert in the
western part of the Chinese mainland, and the third and fourth ones are the oceans
or seas, which serve as natural barriers from foreign invasion in ancient times.
15.  Cited in Restall, p. 12.
16., dated March 3, 2009. There are
more than 50,000 NGOs. In Taiwan, Republic of China (ROC), there are 2,162
NGOs. See, dated December 31, 2009, 13:06:19, accessed on the
same day.
17.  Cited in Restall, p. 13.
18.  Cited in ibid.
19.  Ibid.
20.  Carl Zimmer, “Ants and Humans: Peas in a Pod,” Taipei Times (hereinafter TT)
(Taipei), November 18, 2007, p. 19.
22.  See my book, HU Jintao and the Ascendancy of China (Singapore: Marshall
Cavendish International Academic Publishing, 2005).
23. 2009-02-18 21:17:28.
24.  The South Africa tribes began to use this term. Conversation with SHIH
Chih-yu, dated March 17, 2009.
25.  Taipei Times (hereinafter TT) (Taipei), May 13, 2009, p. 1.
Beijing’s Hegemony under International Relations and International Regimes 67

26.  In May 2002, the ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that
Taipei will treat itself as a “health entity” and, therefore, it will simply use “Taiwan”
to apply for a seat at the WHA as an observer. In April 2003, the U.S. Senate major-
ity leader said he will help Taipei to achieve that goal.
27.  The voting result was 128 against Taipei and 19 for Taipei, with 5 absentees
(including the United States). In May 2003, the ROC president, Chen Shui-bian, in
a letter to the editor of Washington Post said Taipei should be able to join the
WHA  as  an observer. A pro-ROC professor in the United States, Chiu Hungdah,
said  in 1999 Wang Daohan was planning to go to Taiwan and tell the latter that
it  can join  the WHO. See
tent/0,3546,110505+112003062300069,00.html, dated June 23, 2003.
28.  There is an article in the WHO, mentioning the term public health entity.
29.  United Daily News (hereinafter UDN) (Taipei), April 30, 2009, p. A3. The Re-
public of China (ROC) Ministry of Education (MOE) in April 2009 asked ROC citi-
zens to follow the following guide when they participate in international organiza-
tions (including nongovernmental organizations), meetings, and activities: Officially
in writing: 1. ROC; 2. Taiwan; 3. Taiwan, ROC; 4. ROC (Taiwan); 5. Taiwan, Penghu,
Kinmen & Matsu. Semiofficially in writing: 1. Taiwan; 2. Chinese Taipei. Verbally
calling the Chinese mainland/mainland China: 1. China or People’s Republic of
China (PRC); 2. Beijing. Verbally calling ourselves: 1. Taiwan; 2. Taipei.
30.  Taipei Times (hereinafter TT) (Taipei), May 11, 2006, p. 3 and May 20, 2006,
p. 1. See also China Post (hereinafter CP) (Taipei), May 20, 2006, p. 19.
31., dated March
1, 2003.
32.  TT, May 11, 2006, p. 3.
33.  See Hua Daily News (hereinafter SHDN) (Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia), Janu-
ary 23, 2009, p. 12.
Adaptation and Strategic Calculation:
China’s Participation in International
Regimes and Institutions
Suisheng ZHAO

For a long time in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) history, China was
reluctant to participate in international institutions because of the concern
over possible erosion of state sovereignty. A contradiction between multilat-
eralism and bilateralism, therefore, has constantly tested China’s foreign
policy makers.1 The post–Cold War era has witnessed a rise of multilateral-
ism in international politics, which is creating more and more pressure on
China’s traditional diplomacy. In response, while China still feels more
comfortable with bilateralism, it has sought memberships and actively par-
ticipated in more and more multilateral institutions at both global and re-
gional levels. As a rising power in the Asia–Pacific, China has not only ex-
pressed particular enthusiasm to participate in regional institutions such as
Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ASEAN Regional Forum
(ARF), ASEAN + 3, and East Asia Summit but also launched the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization (SCO) and hosted the Six-Party Talks to resolve
the North Korean nuclear crisis.
This chapter attempts to explain China’s turn to international institutions
by examining the following three variables: China’s adaptation to the evolv-
ing transnational norms in the context of globalization; China’s strategic
calculation in shaping the distribution of power in the international system;
and China’s evolving position over state sovereignty. It argues that because
China needs to create a stable and peaceful external environment for do-
mestic economic growth, on which the political legitimacy of the Chinese
Communist Party (CCP) now depends, and raise its positive profile and
dispel concerns and misgivings about China’s growing economic and mili-
tary strengths, China has made a positive response to emerging transna-
tional norms associated with globalization. This is an adaptation behavior,

70 Suisheng ZHAO

reflecting China’s increasing involvement in an increasingly interdependent

world and signifying its growing commitment to a rule-based and norm-
driven international order. China’s turn to multilateralism is also based on
a strategic calculation in shaping the distribution of power to China’s favor.
Frustrated by what it sees as a structural conflict between China as a rising
power and the United States as the sole superpower in the post–Cold War
world, China has adopted a soft balancing strategy against the U.S. prepon-
derance, relying on participation in international institutions and other
diplomatic maneuvering. International institutions, therefore, become in-
strumental in China’s strategic maneuvering.
Setting on a path to become a stakeholder in the international economic
and security system, the Chinese government has moved from the position
of staunchly advocating state sovereignty to a more flexible one. China’s
position, however, has not fundamentally changed. China’s comfort level
for participating in multilateral institutions and hence its behavior in these
organizations is guided by its consideration of the ability to maximize its
relative power, national interest, and autonomy within these organiza-
tions. Defending China’s sovereignty, therefore, remains a central concern
in China’s conduct of diplomacy, including participation in international

Adaptation to the Transnational

Norms and Global Regimes

China’s embrace of international institutions is first of all a reflection of its

gradual adaptation to the evolving transnational norms, such as coopera-
tive development, interdependence, human rights, and common security,
which give shape and substance to the international system in the process
of globalization. These transnational norms were alien to Chinese leaders
for many years in PRC history when Chinese leaders insisted on the West-
phalian principles of state sovereignty, equality, and nonintervention in the
domestic affairs. Chinese leaders felt particularly comfortable with the state
sovereignty principle because the historical memories of victimization dur-
ing the long century of national humiliation produced a deeply rooted fear
among Chinese elites about the possible erosion of sovereignty by imperial-
ist powers. In addition, Chinese leaders found the state sovereignty princi-
ple instrumental to China as a relatively weak power for many years in the
contemporary world because they permit all states, big or small, strong or
weak, rich or poor, to participate in international affairs on an equal foot-
ing, manage their own domestic affairs free from foreign interference, and
coexist peacefully with other nations. The state sovereignty principle was a
sword of the Chinese government to cut down democratic dissidents and
Adaptation and Strategic Calculation 71

ethnic separatists at home and a shield with which to ward off external
criticism of China’s domestic practices, including political suppression and
human rights abuses.
The prevailing international norms, nevertheless, have been evolving.
While the core principles of the Westphalian system continue to be ob-
served in the international affairs, their unbridled premises on state sover-
eignty have been challenged by the emerging transnational norms in asso-
ciation firstly with the creation of the United Nation (UN) system and then
with the development of globalization. The UN system brought about new
transnational norms and institutions to enforce peace and promote eco-
nomic development through collective actions that required nation-states
to give away some elements of sovereignty such as conducting war and con-
trolling cross-border economic activities to international institutions. The
UN system thus “laid the basis for unprecedented levels of cooperation and
shared authority over the global system.”2 The transnational norms have
been reinforced by globalization that renders national economies increas-
ingly subject to the disciplines of global economy and susceptible to the
influence and activities of international investment, capital, personnel, and
technology flows. As a result, the rigid territorial boundaries of nation-
states can no longer be barriers of resolving borderless economic problems.
While the nation-state is still sovereign, its authority over transnational
economic activities has been inevitably weakened. Globalization has also
given rise to many nontraditional security threats such as infectious disease,
environmental degradation, and transnational crimes of human trafficking
and drug trafficking. Dealing with these threats, many international institu-
tions have to look beyond territorially bounded nation-state systems and
regulate the behavior of often conflicting states in response to transnational
requirements of globalization. These developments have posed serious
challenges to the state sovereignty principle. Some scholarly writings even
claimed the death-knell of the nation-states and hence an “end of sover-
eignty.”3 Although “the end of sovereignty” has never come through, the
state sovereignty has become more fluid and diminished under the impact
of globalization, and its role in the international system has been redefined
in the relationship with the translational norms and institutions.
Chinese leaders began to encounter the transnational norms after China’s
entry into the UN and its Security Council in 1971. The most important mo-
tivation of China’s participation in the UN system was, ironically, to reinforce
China’s state sovereignty and equality. Beijing saw its UN membership as an
international recognition of the PRC sovereignty and regime legitimacy and
took advantage of its UN membership to advance the so-called Five Princi-
ples of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-
aggression, noninterference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mu-
tual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. Insisting that the core of the Five
72 Suisheng ZHAO

Principles is mutual respect for sovereignty, for many years, China’s attitude
toward transnational norms and international regimes remained very passive
and skeptical, and its participation in the UN institutions was highly selective
and symbolic. China began to gradually converge toward the emerging trans-
national norms only after it started an economic modernization program
that brought China into an unprecedented interdependence with the global
economy in the early 1980s. As a function of China’s position in the global
political and economic system or a “global logic,”4 the growing global eco-
nomic interdependence has created an international context in which sig-
nificant constraints are placed on China’s international behavior.
China’s attitude shift toward the transnational norms has come, however,
at a different pace with regard to different issue areas, reflecting China’s real-
ization of their relevance to its modernization programs. Although China
struggled to achieve self-reliance and Chinese participation in international
economic cooperation was minimal in the early years of the PRC, as Chinese
economy was quickly integrated into the global economy, China quickly be-
came receptive to economic interdependence as a means of pursuing its
modernization programs. China’s participation in international institutions,
therefore, took place first in the international economic issue areas in the
1980s when China began actively seeking memberships in international eco-
nomic institutions. China joined the World Bank and the International Mon-
etary Fund (IMF) in 1980 and established a proactive relationship with these
international institutions to facilitate China’s reform process and advance its
modernization programs. As Pieter Bottelier, former World Bank Chief of
Mission in Beijing, indicated, both the World Bank and the IMF “provided
unique opportunities for China to learn from the experience of other coun-
tries in a professional and politically neutral international setting.” According
to Bottelier, China’s relationship with the IMF was centered on economic
consultations and technical assistance in the development of macroeconomic
institutions, policies, and statistics. The relationship with the World Bank
quickly became very broad and deep, covering most sectors of the economy,
social and regional development, environmental protection as well as macro-
economic reforms. China became the World Bank’s largest borrower and one
of the largest recipients of technical assistance in the early 1990s before the
program began to shrink toward the end of the decade.5
After fifteen years of difficult negotiations for the accession to the GATT/
WTO that started in 1986, China finally became a member of the WTO in
2001. “China’s WTO membership signifies China’s full integration into the
global economy from the position of previously isolated and planned
economy.”6 Embracing economic interdependence, China has become a
major beneficiary of globalization after it transformed its development
strategy from self-sufficient to fully participating in the international divi-
sion of labor in light of its comparative advantages. These changes have
Adaptation and Strategic Calculation 73

brought about a fundamental transition of Beijing’s view about the trans-

national norms guiding international economic transactions. Not only is
transnational economic cooperation now accepted as positive activities,
they are treated as a kind of global collective goods that China has fully
taken advantage of for its economic modernization drive.7
While China quickly shifted its stance on economic issues in the direction
of boundary transgression, it was reluctant to become part of the contest
over the emerging transnational norms on sensitive security and human
rights issues until the 1990s when China proposed a “new security concept”
(xin anquan guan), which is a “Chinese version of cooperative security.”8 A
Chinese scholar said that this new concept came from the realization that
“given the comprehensive and complex nature of security threats in the
world, no single state, even the most powerful country, can cope with all the
challenges alone.” According to him, “many threats in the untraditional se-
curity field are not aimed at any specific countries but challenges facing
many states. The new features of security environment in today’s world en-
hance the common interests and interdependence of countries in the man-
agement of security.” China, therefore, has begun to promote “cooperative
security on the basis of common security.”9 Accepting the concepts of com-
mon and cooperative security, China has shown a growing interest in gain-
ing membership in international security regimes, including international
arms control and disarmament regimes and UN peacekeeping activities.
China viewed nuclear test bans and nonproliferation regimes as ploys of
the United States and other Western powers intended to monopolize nu-
clear weapons and solidify the large nuclear powers’ advantages before the
late 1980s. Its position experienced a significant transformation from suspi-
cion and dismissal to guarded endorsement of the international norms in
arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation in the 1990s when Beijing
began undertaking serious efforts to accession of key treaties and conventions
and active participation in multilateral negotiations. China signed the Com-
prehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Treaty on the Nonproliferation
of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and ratifying the Chemical Weapons Conven-
tion (CWC) during the 1990s. China’s changing position came because
China gradually realized that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
could affect its own security interests negatively and the international non-
proliferation regimes could prohibit such countries as Japan, the Koreas,
and Taiwan to acquire nuclear weapons. By adhering to international treaties
and conventions, China not only commits to nonproliferation principles, but
also places itself, to some extent, under international legal constraints on its
own nuclear weapons modernization programs. Beijing, however, is willing
to pay the price if such mechanisms would prevent its neighboring coun-
tries that may pose a security threat from joining the nuclear club. In addi-
tion, with its rising national comprehensive capacity, China does not want
74 Suisheng ZHAO

to be seen as an outcast or impediment to international nonproliferation

efforts, which would damage its efforts to establish an image as a respon-
sible power.10
As China has turned from rejecting to participating in international secu-
rity regimes, China’s attitude toward sensitive UN peacekeeping and human-
itarian intervention has experienced a significant change. Treating as docile
special detachments of the international imperialism for many years, China
took a very negative attitude toward UN peacekeeping activities and human-
itarian interventions and characterized these activities as a fringe of individual
country’s sovereignty and interference in their domestic affairs. Refusing par-
ticipation in UN peacekeeping for some years after China’s entry into the UN,
Beijing stopped simply casting negative votes on authorizing resolutions in
the 1980s when China for the first time voted for the extension of UN peace-
keeping forces in Cyprus and sent military observers for the first time to serve
in the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in the
Middle East. In the 1990s, China participated in UN-sponsored nontradi-
tional peacekeeping operations in Cambodia, Somalia, and East Timor that
were involved heavily in state-building, which China regarded as a violation
of state sovereignty principles. Since then, China has become a major contrib-
uting country to the UN peacekeeping forces all over the globe. According to
a study, as of December 2008, China was the fourteenth largest contributor
to UN peacekeeping operations, providing more troops, police, and observers
to UN operations than three other permanent members of the UN Security
Council—Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This trend re-
flects China’s overall effort to become more responsive to international ex-
pectations while making positive and tangible contributions to global peace
and security. Positive engagement with the outside world helps China project
a more benign and “harmonious” image beyond its borders, reassure neigh-
bors of its peaceful intentions, and softly balance the influence of other major
players—such as the United States—while gradually but more firmly estab-
lishing China’s acceptance as a great power.11
China’s attitude toward the most sensitive human rights regimes has also
become more flexible since the 1990s as it found itself increasingly isolated
against international sanctions and condemnations of its human rights
abuse following the Tiananmen crackdown on pro-democracy demonstra-
tions in 1989. China now faced an international community that was more
coherent of the human rights issue. More and more countries came to the
agreement that states cannot insist on the absolute sovereignty in their do-
mestic affairs if they abuse the fundamental human rights of their citizens.
While the U.S. government sponsored resolutions in the UN to condemn
China’s human rights abuse every year in the 1990s, President Clinton is-
sued an Executive Order in May 1993 to link China’s MFN status in the
United States to “overall, significant progress” in specific human rights ar-
Adaptation and Strategic Calculation 75

eas. Although the U.S.-sponsored resolution never passed in the UN and

President Clinton delinked China’s MFN status with its human rights re-
cords a year later, Chinese leaders came to the realization that China could
no longer simply reject the criticism of its human rights abuse without con-
fronting the most power members of the international community. This
situation would not only damage China’s international reputation but also
hurt its economic modernization programs, which depended heavily on
foreign trade and investment at the time.
In response, although China continued to reject international criticism of
its human rights record, it took a more pragmatic approach to accepting the
international human rights norms but reinterpreting them to its favor
rather than confronting them. Starting with the Vienna international Con-
ference on Human Rights in 1993, China has actively participated in the
global and regional conferences on human rights and proclaimed its close
association with the international human rights regimes. China’s constitu-
tion amendments in 2004 included an article to ensure human rights pro-
tection for the Chinese people. Conducting an international human right
diplomacy, China signed and ratified five of the six core Human Rights trea-
ties, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cul-
tural Rights. The only one that China did not ratify is the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. China has constructed a favorable
interpretive community by pouring “new meanings into the human rights
norms in the way that would make China less susceptible to international
isolation and condemnation.”12 Claiming that the priority of the human
rights protection in developed countries like China is different from the
priority in the West, the Chinese government has asserted that human rights
are first the rights of economic development and survival, not individual
civil rights. As a Chinese analyst suggested, “For a country aimed to realize
democracy, freedom and human rights, the fundamental way is to promote
economic development and the progress and stability of the society.”13
China is, therefore, at the forefront of an effort to deconstruct the notion of
universal human rights and replace it with a concept in which some rights,
i.e., economic and social rights, are more “fundamental” than others, i.e.,
civil and political rights, the proper balance of which is to be determined
according to “national circumstances.”
China’s participation in international regimes has certainly modified its
rigid position on state sovereignty, growing more reflective of the new real-
ity in an increasingly interdependent world. To create a peaceful environ-
ment for economic development, Chinese leaders have come to the realiza-
tion that conforming to, rather than challenging, the prevailing norms of
the existing international system is in China’s interests. As Zbigniew K.
Brzezinski said, “the Chinese leadership is not guided by rigid ideology in
which their future depends on the imposition of their value system on the
76 Suisheng ZHAO

world like, for example, Stalinist Russia or Hitler’s Germany. They are
guided much more by the thought that they have to be part of the world
and are trying to figure out how to do it.”14 As a result, China has been in-
creasingly receptive to the emerging international norms and generously
sought membership in a variety of international institutions.
China’s adoption behavior, however, has not fundamentally changed
China’s position on state sovereignty. As one study finds, the Chinese gov-
ernment is aware that the impact of globalization on state sovereignty varies
from one state to the other and the determining factors are the strength and
development level of individual states. For weak or small states, globaliza-
tion can represent a significant threat to state sovereignty. A strong and
powerful state, however, could resist the threatening of globalization in its
sovereignty. China as a rising power and with an enhanced state capacity,
therefore, “may integrate into the global economy and participate in the
international economic institutions in its own terms and to reap the bene-
fits of globalization without an undue loss of autonomy and . . . a necessary
erosion of the sovereignty of the nation-state.” China’s adaptation to the
transnational norms, therefore, “relies on a realist perspective of the world,
one that is more ‘intern-national’ than ‘global.’”15 Consequently, a study
finds that “the norm of human rights has not been completely internalized
in China and is controversial if it is confronted with the norm of sover-
eignty.”16 Even in the domain of international economic cooperation, Chi-
nese leaders have not allowed the participation in international institutions
to erode the Chinese state sovereignty. As one case study of Chinese par-
ticipation in two environmental treaties—the Montreal Protocol on Sub-
stances that Deplete the Ozone Layers and the Framework Convention on
Climate Change—reveals, China has selectively joined only the interna-
tional environmental regimes that do not hinder China’s economic devel-
opment, infringe on its sovereignty either through monitoring by external
actors or determination of how China utilizes its resources, or permit the
advanced industrialized countries to further the already unequal techno-
logical or economic advantage they enjoy.17 It is from this perspective that
a scholar suggested that China has been pursuing a neofunctionalism, i.e.,
China is pursuing state-enhancing, not state-diminishing, functionalism,
for long-term statist ends through short-term functionalist means. China
wants to have its political independence cake and eat its global economic
interdependence one too.18

Strategic Calculation and Soft Balancing

Indeed, adapting to the transnational norms and participating in interna-

tional institutions, Chinese leaders remain realists and have always seen
Adaptation and Strategic Calculation 77

changes in the international affairs in a realist sense of power politics. Chi-

nese leaders have paid special attention to liliang duibi (balance of forces),
a Chinese term similar to the realist conception of distribution of power.
The dynamics of international politics have been perceived as a change of
power distribution across the world that is structured around great powers
or poles. According to a Chinese publication, “the term ‘pole’ represents the
interests of one party which has the capacity to exert influence on interna-
tional affairs and has certain control over other world forces. Each country
deals with international affairs in accordance with its own interests and
exerts its influence.”19 Consequently, Chinese leaders have been particularly
sensitive to China’s position in the changing international environment,
which Beijing has only a limited role in shaping. Beijing always carefully
examines the changing alignment and China’s relative power position and
tries to adjust foreign policy accordingly. As a Chinese scholar said, “with-
out a study of liliang duibi, policy-makers in Beijing presumably would not
be able to adjust foreign policy accordingly.”20
Chinese leaders have worked hard to find and shape an international
distribution of power that is in its favor or at least not to its disadvantage.
Mao Zedong saw two camps and decided to lean to one side in the 1950s.
In the early 1970s, Beijing put forth a structure of three worlds and believed
that, in cooperation with third world developing countries, a developed
Japan and Western Europe, which were the second world, could be a force
to counter the alleged hegemonism of the two superpowers that constituted
the first world. After the United States extended diplomatic recognition to
Beijing in 1979, Beijing maneuvered a Washington–Moscow Cold War bi-
polar rivalry and played a balancing role in a strategic triangle often to its
advantage. The sudden collapse of the Cold War bipolar system in the early
1990s, however, “left China’s leaders without a definition of their place in
the world.”21 While Chinese leaders began to feel vulnerable and marginal-
ized in the wake of the anticommunist revolution across Eastern Europe,
they were particularly concerned about the speculation that the world en-
tered a unipolar moment in which American hegemony was to be perpetu-
ated. They understood that a U.S.-dominated unipolar world would be the
worst of all possible power distributions for China because the troublesome
issues such as human rights and nuclear weapon proliferation would be-
come real problems with which the Chinese leadership had to deal.
After the initial shock at losing China’s leverage, some Chinese scholars
began to see that the end of the Cold War bipolar system started a transition
toward multipolarization.22 The official view was uncertain at first. Foreign
Minister Qian Qichen said in December 1990 that the world was in a tran-
sitional phase. The old order had dissolved but no new one had emerged to
take its place.23 Premier Li Peng also told the National People’s Congress in
March 1991 that “the old world structure, which lasted for over four decades,
78 Suisheng ZHAO

disintegrated and a new one yet to take shape.”24 Qian Qichen, however,
changed his position and stated in a 1991 year-end assessment of the inter-
national situation that “although the world is in the transitional period and
a new pattern has not yet taken shape, there is a rough structure in interna-
tional relations, in which one superpower and several powers depend on
and struggle against each other . . . this is the initial stage of the evolution
towards multipolarization.”25 In a press conference on March 23, 1992,
Qian said once again, “The breakup of the old world pattern means the end
of the post-war bipolar system characterized by the hostility between the two
superpowers. A new world . . . is likely to be a multipolar pattern.”26
China began to envision and promote multipolarity against the formation
of a unipolar system because Beijing quickly identified tremendous oppor-
tunities in the transformation toward multipolarization in which China was
on the upward trajectory and could play a balancing role again in global
geopolitics. As one scholar observed, “China would prefer to find itself in a
multipolar world in which U.S. global power declines absolutely and re-
gional powers, such as China, are able to resist external interference in their
respective region.”27 Beijing’s foreign policy analyst anticipated that “the
multipolarization (duojihua) since the end of the Cold War would result in
a relative balance of power that could effectively check on all global pow-
ers.”28 “As a balancing and stable factor in a turbulent world, China could
overcome constraints and explore opportunities.”29 In particular, China has
to find a way to balance the U.S. power dominance because, as one Chinese
scholar said, “China’s rise has led the rapid development of the structure
conflict between the United States and China. Many previously hidden is-
sues have begun surfacing saliently, such as economic and trade issues, geo-
political frictions, foreign policy conflict, etc. Some new issues, such as en-
ergy and environment, have come up one after another.”30
China, however, was not in the position to adopt a traditional hard bal-
ancing strategy based on arms build-up and countervailing military alli-
ances against the United States because of the following two strategic con-
siderations. One is that China generally ruled out a major war with the
United States in the post–Cold War era, especially after the terrorist attacks
on September 11, 2001 and, therefore, did not fear losing its “sovereignty
and existential security to the reigning hegemon, a necessary condition for
such (a hard) balancing to occur.”31 In other words, if its survival was not at
stake, China would not be willing to pay the extremely high cost of an arms
race that could delay China’s economic modernization programs.
The second consideration for China to forgo hard balancing is that it is
unappealing to other powers. Chinese leaders believed that “in the long
term, the decline of U.S. primacy and the subsequent transition to a multi-
polar world are inevitable, but in the short term, Washington’s power is un-
likely to decline, and its position in world affairs is unlikely to change. . . .
Adaptation and Strategic Calculation 79

The Chinese–U.S. relationship remains beset by more profound differences

than any other bilateral relationships between major powers in the world
today.”32 Chinese leaders, therefore, had to admit to the reality that the
United States remained the sole superpower due to its comprehensive na-
tional strength, whether in terms of its economy, scientific and technologi-
cal strength, military might, or foreign influence. What they envisioned was
an unbalanced multipolarity “distinguishable from a unipolar world by the
existence of at least one state that can mount a reasonable defense, at least
for a time, even against the multipolar leader.”33 In the term of Chinese
literature, the multipolarity was characterized by “one superpower and sev-
eral big powers” (yi chao duo qiang).34 The one superpower refers to the
United States and the big powers of the European Union, Japan, Russia,
Germany, China, India, etc. Because of the existing gap between China and
the United States in national power and fundamental differences between
their political systems, emphasizing the desirability and likely emergence of
a multipolar world of sovereign states mutually respecting the principle of
noninterference and at the same time trying to retain its independent power
aspirations by working with other great powers against the U.S. hegemony,
the Chinese leaders are aware of the fact that very few countries would be
willing to participate in a China-led alliance against the United States. As a
result, Chinese leaders have to make pragmatic accommodations in its
steadfast effort to maintain a cooperative relationship with the United
States. As a Chinese scholar said, in spite of the frustrations in the signifi-
cant ups and downs of relationship with the United States, the Chinese
leadership has made efforts in “learning to live with the hegemon,” i.e.,
making adaptation and policy adjustment to the reality of the U.S. domi-
nance in the international system since the end of the Cold War.35 With
such a strategic calculation of living with rather than challenging the reign-
ing power, Chinese leaders have emphasized the common interests and the
opportunities for cooperation between these two countries and are careful
not to take the lead or carry the banner against the United States.
Abandoning the traditional hard balancing strategy, China discovered a
soft balancing strategy that makes “use of international institutions, eco-
nomic leverage, and diplomatic maneuvering to frustrate American inten-
tions.”36 This is a limited, tacit, and indirect approach to contain the Ameri-
can power in a low intensity of competition. It assumes that although the
international power hierarchy gives meanings to the international norms and
institutions, international norms and institutions may in turn shape the prac-
tice of power relations and the behavior of nation-states. Because interna-
tional institutions are an important tool of soft balancing, the soft balance
strategy is also known as “institutional balancing strategy.”37 China’s partici-
pation in international institutions, therefore, became a strategy to bring
about a change of world order from superpower domination toward a multi-
80 Suisheng ZHAO

polarization in which China could joining other powers balancing against

the prevailing power. It could be a world of multiple opportunities for China
to assert itself forcefully on multiple chessboards and to enhance China’s
domestic modernization and to improve its international relations. It is from
this perspective that a Chinese strategist claimed that China’s acceptance of
cooperative security and participation in international security institutions,
traditional and nontraditional, is a response to “the unilateralist approach of
the United States to international security cooperation.”38
China could resort to the soft balancing strategy because of the following
two developments in the post–Cold War world. First, while the United
States has commended unparalleled military power, it has failed to enact an
effective strategy of controlling the globe unilaterally. The U.S. government
is not only subject to strong domestic resistance to foreign military inter-
vention due to the American public’s concern with their domestic problems
and the exorbitant cost of the wars abroad but also faces the reality that the
traditional control of its allies has become more difficult as other big pow-
ers have adopted more independent policies. The end of the Cold War bi-
polarity has brought about multiple contradictions and conflicts in the
world. While the North–South contradictions have been intensified be-
cause of the increase of racial, religious, territorial, and resource conflicts
and the widening gap between rich and poor third world countries, West–
West contradictions have been rising because U.S. relations with its allies
have become more difficult to manage in a multipolar world. According to
a Chinese analyst, under the Cold War bipolar system, even though the
situation was tense, it remained a “strained stability.” With the end of the
Cold War, the West lost its common enemy and other conflicts of interest
began to damage the Western alliance. Some problems, held down by the
two superpowers’ strife for hegemony and by the two blocs’ confrontation,
surfaced, making the situation tumultuous and capricious. This is a situa-
tion of “turbulent détente” in which West–West contradictions have in-
volved economic frictions, political control and anti-control, and division
in defense matters. It is no longer an easy task for the United States, Europe,
and Japan to coordinate their relations.39 Therefore, in the transition toward
multipolarization, from Beijing’s vantage point, an imbalance of power in
Europe and other parts of the world would produce new conflicts between
the United States and its allies, preventing unipolarity from occurring. One
major feature of global politics after the end of the Cold War is that a grow-
ing number of big powers have become bold enough to say no to the sole
Second, in contrast to the contradictions and turbulence that had taken
place in many parts of the world, China has been on a stable and upward
trajectory in the world of transition toward a multipolar system. As a Chi-
nese scholar put it, “with the turmoil in other parts of the world, China has
Adaptation and Strategic Calculation 81

already become a power with enormous economic and military potential.

It is generally agreed that many world issues cannot be solved without the
participation of China.”40 As a rising power, China has shared more and
more interests with the leading members of the international community
and therefore can engage with them in the multilateral institutions in mu-
tual beneficial and more or less equal base.
These developments have made China more comfortable in taking a soft
balancing strategy against the U.S. predominance in international institu-
tions open to a variety of members within and outside the UN system.
Within the UN system, although China has participated in the UN peace-
keeping operation and voted on many occasions in favor of U.S. interven-
tion, Chinese officials have always argued that the UN Securty Council is
not the venue for dealing with internal affairs of individual UN members
without the concurrence of the country involved.  Taking advantage of its
UN Security Council permanent membership position, it has on several
occasions successfully checked the U.S.-proposed resolutions in the UN
Security Council that would give permission to use military force or sanc-
tions against some of its economic and strategic allies and friends, such as
Iran, Burma, and Zimbabwe. While China worked with Russia and blocked
a U.S.-led UN Security Council effort to criticize human rights violations in
Myanmar in January 2007, it again exercised a veto together with Russia and
South Africa in July 2008 to quash an American-led effort to impose sanc-
tions against Zimbabwe in the Security Council, which China believed
represented excessive interference in the country’s domestic matters.
Outside the UN system, China played a leadership role in the Six-Party
Talks of the United States, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and North
Korea to check the U.S. intentions. Initially, Beijing was reluctant to join the
multilateral effort after U.S. intelligence uncovered North Korea’s nuclear
program in the summer of 2002, not only because China was uncertain
about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities but also because Beijing was un-
sure about U.S. intentions toward North Korea and suspected that the Bush
administration’s main objective was regime change. China began to assume
a constructive role in 2003 when Beijing worried that the United States
might launch a preemptive strike on North Korea’s nuclear complex, esca-
lating into a war and resulting in a flood of refugees into northeast China
in the absence of diplomatic progress to shut down North Korea’s nuclear
facilities after North Korea’s reactivation of its nuclear power plant in Yong-
byon, withdrawal from the NPT, and expulsion of the IAEA inspectors.41
The Chinese government persuaded DPRK to participate in the first trilat-
eral meeting with the United States and China in Beijing in April 2003. The
trilateral talk was expanded into Six-Party Talks in August 2003. After four
rounds of talks, China’s draft of an agreement was accepted by all six parties
and a joint statement was released in September 2005. Even though the
82 Suisheng ZHAO

agreement lacked specificity, and Washington and Pyongyang soon seized

upon its ambiguity to start another round of disagreement, the joint state-
ment was the first of its kind reached at the Six-Party Talks and laid the
foundation for the February 13, 2007 accord that detailed an action plan to
fulfill the September 2005 Joint Statement.42
China’s role in the Six-Party Talks is a milestone in establishing China’s
strategic importance as a rising power in regional multilateral diplomatic
negotiations. Making it more difficult for the United States to use force,
China gained leverage over the United States on occasions to consider the
potential impact on Beijing’s cooperation on North Korea when deliberating
on other issues. As a U.S. policy analyst found, although “China did not
blatantly put pressure on Washington or threaten to curtail cooperation on
North Korea unless the United States took a specified action, U.S. diplomats
simply became more mindful of avoiding actions that would irritate Beijing,
especially at sensitive junctures in the Six-Party negotiations.”43 One exam-
ple the analyst cited is that Washington opposed the timing of an initiative
by Tokyo in late 2006 to create a four-way dialogue among Japan, India,
Australia, and the United States, fearing that China might take offense,
which could jeopardize efforts to reconvene the Six-Party Talks. According to
this analyst, concern about affronting China also factored into the delibera-
tions in preparing the May 2007 Joint Statement of the U.S.–Japan Security
Consultative Committee, widely known as the 2 + 2 Statement. In contrast
to the February 2005 2 + 2 Statement in which encouraging peaceful resolu-
tion of issues concerning the Taiwan Strait through dialogue had been high-
lighted among U.S.–Japanese strategic objectives, there was no explicit men-
tion of the cross-strait issue in the new list of shared goals.
In addition, China has designed a global network of strategic partner-
ships covering all the major powers and regional organizations since the
mid-1990s. The network of strategic partnerships with many big powers is
an instrument not only for China to secure the multipolar world, in which
the major powers would establish relationships based on equality and
checks and balances to provide a guarantee of regional and global balance
and stability, but also part of Beijing’s efforts to prevent their participation
in any potential U.S. policy to contain China. The Chinese leadership has
envisioned the China–U.S. relationship within the framework of strategic
partnerships in a multipolar world and taken advantage of the network of
partnerships to prevent the U.S. actions from harming China’s vital na-
tional interests. The network of the strategic partnerships is thus part of soft
balancing against the U.S. preeminence short of formal military alliances.
China has even begun to engage with multilateral organizations such as
G-8, G-20, OAS, and IADB, in which the United States and other Western
powers have played a dominant role. This is a departure from the previous
practice of criticizing American-led alliances. One powerful expression of
Adaptation and Strategic Calculation 83

China’s engagement with Western power-dominated alliances by the Chi-

nese leadership is President Hu Jintao’s acceptance of the invitation to at-
tend the dialogue between by the G-8 and emerging economies in 2003. Hu
became the first Chinese leader present at the G-8 Summit and continued
his presence. Since then China has attended the dialogue of the G-8 and
G-5 emerging economies every year and has taken a positive attitude toward
various suggestions of G-8 expansion to include China as a formal member.
This is a reflection of China’s realization that it has become more and more
difficult for any single country, including the United States, to dominate the
international institutions in the world of moving toward multipolarization.
From this perspective, China’s participation in international institutions is
part of a soft balancing strategy to counter the unilateralist tendencies of the
United States without harming China’s economic ties with it.

Participation in Asia–Pacific Regional Institutions

China has been an active member and a primary mover of the institution-
building processes in the Asia–Pacific since the early 1990s. China’s enthusi-
asm in the regional institutions is first of all an adaptation to the increasingly
interdependent Asia–Pacific economies, which has called for building re-
gional institutions based on geographic proximity and historical linkages as
well as on comparative advantage to facilitate cooperation transcending po-
litical boundaries. Second, participation in regional institutions is based on
China’s strategic calculation to balance the U.S. influence in the Asia–Pacific,
a region where China may not only exert great influence but also find the
most important economic and foreign policy interests. Finally, China has felt
more comfortable participating in Asia–Pacific regional institutions defined
by voluntarism and consensus decision-making process than global institu-
tions dominated by the United States and European powers where formal
procedure, rule-making, and enforcement are emphasized because they
would be less likely to infringe on sovereignty of member states.
China began actively participating in Asia–Pacific regional institutions in
the early 1990s when they came to see the following three developments in
the region. The first was the prospect of a “pacific century,” which Beijing
embraced with the hope that fast economic growth in the region could offer
new opportunities to China’s economic prosperity. The second was the
emergence of “new Asianism,” which claimed that the success of Asian
modernization was based on its unique values. This concept resonated in
the hearts of many Chinese leaders because it challenged the Western ideo-
logical and economic centrality. The third was the development of regional
or subregional blocs.44 In addition, Chinese leaders also gradually came to
the realization that China’s rapid economic growth not only forged a new
84 Suisheng ZHAO

pattern of interdependence but also a perception of China threat among

some of its Asia–Pacific neighbors. In response, Beijing decided to take part
in the Asian collectivism that may not only provide new mechanisms for
China to face the West but also convey the image of a responsible power
willing to contribute to regional stability and cooperation.
China joined the APEC in 1991, and Chinese president Jiang Zemin at-
tended the first APEC Summit in 1993 and hosted the 2001 APEC Summit
in Shanghai. China became the ASEAN’s consultation partners in 1991, and
its status was upgraded to dialogue partner in 1996. While China has insti-
tutionalized the practice of sending its foreign minister for consultation and
dialogue with the ASEAN foreign ministers on the occasion of the ASEAN’s
annual gatherings since 1999, its relationship with ASEAN increased dra-
matically after the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which “was a turning point in
the history of regional cooperation in East Asia.”45 In the wake of the crisis,
many Asian countries looked for the assistance and leadership of the United
States and Japan to bail them out. Nevertheless, both the United States and
Japan responded slowly. In contrast, China made a highly symbolic move to
announce its “stand-by-Asia” policy by firmly refusing devaluation of its cur-
rency. A Chinese devaluation would set off competitive devaluation across
the region. This “beggar thy neighbor” competition would have devastating
economic and political consequences for the whole region.
China’s positive role during the financial crisis led to the creation of two
leading regional institutions, ASEAN + 1 and ASEAN + 3 summits. To cope
with the crisis, the Chinese president was invited to meet with his counter-
parts of the ASEAN countries in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in November
1997, and then joined the leaders of Japan, South Korea, and ASEAN coun-
tries the next month, which turned out to be the beginning of the annual
ASEAN + 1 Summit and the annual ASEAN + 3 Summit process. Chinese
president Jiang Zemin attended the first annual ASEAN + 1 Summit and
announced he would establish a good-neighboring and mutual-trust part-
nership with ASEAN in the twenty-first century. Chinese vice president Hu
Jintao participated in the second summit the next year and these summit
mechanisms have become institutionalized and gained the status of impor-
tant regional regimes. Since 1999, based on their internal division of labor,
the Chinese premier has always been at the annual ASEAN + 1 and ASEAN
+ 3 Summit, while the Chinese president has attended the APEC leaders’
annual summit.46 As the original goal of the ASEAN + 3 mechanisms was
to stabilize East Asia’s economies after the Asian crisis, the finance ministers
of all ASEAN + 3 states came together in the Thai city of Chiang Mai in May
2000 and worked out a regional currency-swap mechanism, known as the
Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI), a network of currency swap arrangement to
provide short-term liquidity for countries facing financial pressures. China
has been part of this multilateral regional arrangement from very begin-
Adaptation and Strategic Calculation 85

ning. In addition, at China’s initiative in 2001, a China–ASEAN Free Trade

Agreement was reached to establish a free trade area in ten years. At the
sixth ASEAN + 3 Summit in Phnom Penh on November 4, 2002, China an-
nounced that it would waive all or most of the debt owed to it by Vietnam,
Laos, Cambodia, and Burma.
China’s active participation in ASEAN + 3 and ASEAN + 1 process has
created an opportunity for China to establish an image as a responsible
power in the regional cooperation so that China could have a relatively
peaceful periphery environment for its economic modernization. It also
helped dissipate the skepticisms about “China threat” in Southeast Asia.
Before the 1997 financial crisis, China was perceived as a threat by many
Southeast Asian countries. China’s positive response helped to convince
many Southeast Asian states that China’s rise would not threaten the re-
gional order and their national interests. After the Asian financial crisis,
China has become an enthusiastic proponent of regional economic coop-
eration in the Asia–Pacific. China even changed its position toward multi-
lateral aid institutions. China had a long history as a donor to developing
countries on a bilateral base. Now China has not only increased its bilateral
assistance to many third world countries, but also began to give aid through
international institutions in the Asia–Pacific region, becoming more in-
volved in the multilateral donor community. One of the well-publicized
efforts in this regard is China’s donation of $20 million to the Asian Devel-
opment Bank (ADB) to set up a regional poverty reduction center in 2005
with a special emphasis on assisting Indochina. This was the first fund set
up by China at a multilateral regional institution.47
China’s active participation in regional institutions also serves its interest
of soft balancing the U.S. influence in the Asia–Pacific. China began to take
a leadership role in regional institutions in the early 1990s because it came
to realize the importance of building good relations with Asian countries to
break out of U.S. sanctions and expand its diplomatic space after the Ti-
ananmen incident in 1989. As one study indicated, through participation
in the ASEAN + 3, a product of “the region-wide resentments toward the
United States and U.S.-led global financial institutions . . . China has
gradually replaced the United Statesto become a new leader in Asia.”48 A
2008 U.S. National Defense University report also indicated that while “the
balance of power in East Asia is stable and favors the United States,” the
balance of influence is tipping toward Beijing” because of China’s “diplo-
matic engagement with other Asian countries, skillful use of commercial
diplomacy, and a more welcoming approach to participation in regional
China’s balancing strategy is facilitated by some of its neighbors’ defini-
tion of Asian regionalism principally in geographic term. In light of this
definition, although the United States has been a Pacific power with sig-
86 Suisheng ZHAO

nificant interests in the Asia–Pacific region, the United States is not able to
take its membership in the regional institutions for granted. At the creation
of the APEC, there was a controversy over closed regionalism versus open
regionalism. The United States pushed for an open regionalism that would
include Asian–Pacific as well as American–Pacific members. However, most
East Asian leaders were reluctant to accept the idea because of “the fear that
APEC could become a field for power projection by the United States.”50
Some East Asian countries also had a concern over a two-faced approach as
the United States claimed to be an Asia–Pacific nation yet formed its own
exclusive trading group, NAFTA. In a 1991 speech to the UN, Malaysian
prime minister Mahathir said, “In East Asia we are told we may not call
ourselves East Asians as Europeans call themselves Europeans and Ameri-
cans call themselves Americans. We are told that we must call ourselves
Pacific people and align ourselves with people who are only partly Pacific,
but more American, Atlantic, and European.”51
Although an exclusive East Asian bloc was proposed as a counterweight
to European and North American blocs, the American version of open re-
gionalism prevailed because of the support of its allies in the region. This
situation led Mahathir to announce the idea of forming an East Asia Eco-
nomic Grouping (EAEG) where only bona fide Asian nations were included
and the United States was excluded. Mahathir argued that EAEG would give
greater bargaining power to East Asian countries in negotiations with the
United States and Western Europe, which he felt were moving precipitously
toward exclusive trading blocs. Mahathir’s proposal was sharply criticized
by the United States and eventually aborted. An exclusive Asia–Pacific re-
gional organization, however, remained alive and led to the creation of the
East Asian Summit (EAS) in 2005. The United States was not invited to the
EAS because it could not meet three criteria of EAS membership: the aspir-
ing countries must have substantive relations with the region; they must be
a Full Dialogue Partner of ASEAN status; and they must have acceded to the
Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC).52
The SCO is another regional organization that the United States is not
invited to for membership. Launched at China’s initiative and known as the
“Shanghai Five” of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan in 1996,
it began to meet under the name of the SCO after a new member, Uzbeki-
stan, was accepted in 2001. At first a talking shop on issues of borders and
territory among China and its Central Asian neighbors, the SCO has gradu-
ally expanded to include economic and security cooperation as the six coun-
tries have agreed to take actions on political, military, and intelligence coop-
eration for the purpose of cracking down on terrorism, separatism, extremism
and to maintain regional security. Although the SCO claims that it is not
against any third country, China played a leadership role in the SCO obvi-
ously with the goal of balancing the U.S. influence in mind. As an Australian
Adaptation and Strategic Calculation 87

newspaper stated when the first SCO Summit was convened, “The newly
formed Shanghai Co-operation Organization, bracketing China, Russia and
four Central Asian republics, is poised to emerge as a potent force against
United States influence.”53 A Christian Science Monitor report also believed
that the SCO “is an effort to develop an organization that could one day of-
fer a modest geopolitical counterweight to Western alliances.”54
Indeed, the SCO has gradually evolved into a semialliance, with its Bei-
jing-based secretariat, a regular annual summit, ministerial meetings, joint
military exercises to address political and military crisis, and shared transna-
tional problems. The SCO conducted the first counterterrorism joint mili-
tary exercises in Kyrgyzstan in 2002 and one in China in 2003. These exer-
cises were followed by the Peace Mission 2005, a joint Chinese–Russian
military exercise, in which observers from four other member states of SCO
were invited to attend. In the 2005 war-games scenario, a fictitious central
Asian state became plagued by terrorist violence and sought assistance from
neighboring states (i.e., China and Russia) to restore law and order. This
scenario was a practice for a joint intervention of China and Russia to keep
a friendly Central Asian regime in power. Coincident with the military exer-
cises, the SCO 2005 Summit published a declaration on “World Order in the
Twenty-first Century” and called for Washington to set a timetable for the
withdrawal of its military from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. One observer
believed that the SCO declaration was “to target perceived U.S. domination
in international affairs.”55 U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen also
said at a hearing that the SCO intensified Russia and China’s efforts “to iso-
late the U.S. politically, militarily, and economically from Central Asia.”56
China’s special interest in Asia–Pacific regional institutions has also been
reinforced by the Asian-way of institution-building that stresses consensus,
consultative procedures, voluntarism, and noninterference in member
states’ internal affairs. For one thing, considering the Taiwan issue as inter-
nal affairs of the Chinese nation, the Chinese government has successfully
prevented the status of Taiwan to be discussed at any of these regional fo-
rums. The Asian-way of institution-building is rooted in “the traditional
Asian distaste for treaty-defined institutions,”57  reflecting the region’s
unique culture, history, and evolving socioeconomic and political condi-
tions. To a great extent, past humiliating experiences of many Asian–Pacific
countries in the hands of imperialist powers still shadow their perception
of the future. Therefore, while many Asia–Pacific countries were victimized
by colonial powers in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, they
have ironically embraced the Western concept of sovereignty with a ven-
geance, which has heightened many Asian nations’ concerns about ceding
sovereignty in the name of regional integration. As one scholar observed,
no nation in the Asia–Pacific, however willing to compromise in the inter-
est of attaining the common objectives of regional institutions, “is ready to
88 Suisheng ZHAO

surrender sovereign rights over its domestic affairs and foreign relations.”58
Small or weak nations are suspicious of what they see as attempts by the
great powers to reassert influence in new ways. So, too, is China reluctant
to abandon elements of sovereignty to regional institutions without strong
evidence that there is more to be gained from doing so.
As a result, China has felt very comfortable with the relationship-based
interaction and consultation in Asia–Pacific regional institutions, particu-
larly the APEC and ASEAN. The APEC has followed a consultative approach
toward regional cooperation, known as “APEC way.” As one Chinese scholar
describes, the main characteristics of the APEC way are “acknowledging
diversity; emphasizing flexibility and gradualness; observing the principles
of respect, equality and mutual benefit for each other; reaching unanimity
through consultation; respecting rights of self-determination and auton-
omy.”59 One study pointed out that China has found APEC the only eco-
nomic organization covering the Asia–Pacific region as a whole, “an easy
forum to operate in, saying it works in the ‘Asian-way’—not requiring
signed agreements, but working according to gradual negotiations to reach
a consensus.”60
The ASEAN has explicitly avoided building an enforcement mechanism
that would interfere in the internal affairs of member states. China has es-
tablished many relationships with the ASEAN. In addition to the consulta-
tive ASEAN + 3 forum and China–ASEAN axis (ASEAN + 1), Chinese foreign
ministers have, except for 2005, attended all the ASEAN Regional Forum
(ARF) annual meetings since its inception in 1994.61 The ARF is a security
institution covering the entire Asia–Pacific region but not a military alliance
that member states come to military assistance to each other in the event of
their being attacked. Instead, ARF seeks to establish cooperative security
through arrangements between states, neither as allies nor enemies, and
mitigate or resolve potential conflicts among member states by diplomatic
means of confidence building measures, preventive diplomacy, and conflict
resolution. One study pointed out that the Chinese indicated a degree of
discomfort with the initial drafting of the ARF concept paper and openly
rejected the term “conflict resolution” because China would prefer a more
consultative approach. China changed its position only after it discovered
that one way of avoiding diplomatic isolation over the crisis with Taiwan
and the United States was to respond positively to overtures from the ASEAN
states. Working with the ARF, China was able to assure much of Southeast
Asian countries’ concerns arising from China’s earlier years of unilateral ac-
tions regarding the Spratly Islands and present itself as cooperative and so-
licitous to the concerns of the Southeast Asian countries about the maritime
territorial disputes. In this case, participation in the multilateral ARF helped
China build mutual confidence but did not touch on the question of dis-
putes about sovereignty over the Spratlys themselves.62
Adaptation and Strategic Calculation 89


China has changed from a reluctant position to an active and sophisticated

approach toward participation in the international regimes and institutions
since the end of the Cold War. The study of this chapter demonstrates that,
as an adaptation behavior and based upon China’s strategic calculation,
China’s participation in international institutions has been shaped mostly
by the following three variables. One is the importance of the issues that the
specific institution has set up to deal with, particularly in relation to China’s
modernization. Second is the distribution of power among the member-
ships, particularly whether or not the United States plays a leading role and
whether or not the leading members are well disposed toward China. The
third is the level of institutionalization that the international institutions
have achieved, particularly if they make binding decisions that require en-
forcement and lead to the possible erosion of China’s state sovereignty.
Rising as a great power after two decades of phenomenal growth, China
has generally felt comfortable with the current international system that has
enabled its success and therefore has accepted more and more of the evolv-
ing transnational norms and principles. In the meantime, as China has in-
creasingly become a part of a larger international environment that pro-
vides constraints as well as opportunities on its policy options, Chinese
leaders have taken part in international institutions in its efforts of promot-
ing multipolarity against unipolarity. This is a soft balancing strategy to
defend China’s economic and political interests without coming to a direct
confrontation with the United States. In this process, sovereignty remains a
central concern of the Chinese leadership. China has expressed a special
interest in participating in regional institution in the Asia–Pacific because
these institutions have coped with the issues most important for China, the
distribution of membership in these institutions are mostly disposed to
China’s favor; and they have operated mostly based on the principle of
noninterference in the domestic affairs of member states.


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58.  Ryokichi Hirono, “Future Prospects for Economic Cooperation in Asia and
the Pacific Region,” in Robert A. Scalapino and Masataka Kosaka, ed., Peace, Politics
Adaptation and Strategic Calculation 93

& Economics in Asia: The Challenge to Cooperate, Washington, DC: Pergamon-Brassey’s

International Defense Publishers, 1988, p. 101.
59.  Ma Ying, “Searching for a Peace Community: Regional Cooperation in
Northeast Asia,” Journal of East Asian Affairs, vol. 20, no. 1, Spring/Summer 2006,
p. 34.
60.  Margaret M. Pearson, “China’s Integration Into the International Trade and
Investment Regime,” in Elizabeth Economy and Michel Oksenberg, eds., China Joins
the World: Progress and Prospects, New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1999,
p. 185.
61.  Ren Xiao, “Between Adapting and Shaping: China’s Role in Asian Regional
Cooperation,” Journal of Contemporary China, vol. 18, no. 59, March 2009, pp.
62.  Michael Yahuda, “China’s Multilateralism and Regional Order,” in Guoguang
Wu and Helen Lansdowne, eds., China Turns to Multilateralism: Foreign Policy and
Regional Security, London: Routledge, 2008, pp. 76–77.
The PRC’s Governance Diplomacy
in the Asia–Pacific Region
Rosita Dellios


When U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates observed that rising powers in
Asia would help determine whether the region had an “open, transparent
and mutually beneficial future” or risked “blundering into a future where
competition and exclusion set the pattern,”1 it was not difficult to detect
who he had in mind with regard to the latter. The People’s Republic of
China (PRC) has long been criticized by the United States for not clarifying
the “strategic intentions” underlying its enhanced military capability. Ad-
dressing a security summit in Singapore in 2008, Gates illustrated his con-
cerns by indirect reference to China’s antisatellite test of January 2007. The
space debris it produced attracted international condemnation and the
event itself was both unannounced and unexplained. Gates spoke of a
similar but transparent exercise by the United States when in February 2008
it brought down its own debilitated USA-193 reconnaissance satellite: “We
did this in an open manner where the plan to engage the satellite was made
public well in advance of the intercept date.”2
In this comparison alone the United States appears to be the supporter
of an “open, transparent and mutually beneficial future,” while China
comes across as the opposite. Yet international relations, unlike the global
news networks, are not primarily events-driven. If they were one could
point to an example of a positive image for the PRC, such as when the
Chinese navy rescued an Italian ship from pirate attack off Somalia in
February 2009; and any number of negative images for the United States
including treatment of terrorist suspects under the Bush administration.
While actor behavior drives international relations, it is its understanding

96 Rosita Dellios

or explanation—and hence remedial or predictive possibilities—that

makes it intelligible.
To this end, many theories have been formulated in order to address the
vexing and perennial quest for security in an anarchical system. Better
known among them is the contemporary realist understanding of the inter-
national system. To the traditional realist emphasis on power as the cur-
rency of international politics, neorealists regard the distribution of power
as the ordering principle for maintaining the structural stability needed for
security. It is here that the merits or demerits of various power configura-
tions are discussed, such as the hegemony of unipolarity, the familiar bipo-
lar system of the Cold War and the more equal power distribution associ-
ated with multipolarity.
By contrast, some theorists who come from the idealist-liberal approach
favor international regimes and institutions as the mechanism for world
order. These political constructs underpin global governance and may be
defined as follows: an international regime (for example, one dealing with
arms control or international trade) represents “a set of rules, norms and
procedures around which the expectation of actors converge on a certain
issue area”; while an international institution (such as the United Nations,
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or the International Monetary
Fund) is normally viewed as a regime’s “tangible manifestation of shared
expectations as well as machinery for coordinating international actions
based on those expectations.”3 State power in the pursuit of national inter-
ests is still important but it is deployed through regimes and institutions
that regulate this activity via “rules, norms and procedures.”
A third theoretical direction that develops the socialization of state power
through regimes and institutions but takes a more critical approach is that
of social constructivism.4 It regards the “international system” as “interna-
tional society” and seeks to “understand” rather than “explain” events (as
neorealists would, on the basis of causal relationships in international rela-
tions). To the realists, constructivists say that states not only pursue interests
and material power but also values that relate to ideational power. Institu-
tionalists are told that norms are more than a vessel to contain and con-
strain state behavior and to socialize those who would pursue power poli-
tics. Rather, norms color the way a state views itself, its interests, and other
states. International relations become an intersubjective experience that can
bring about change in identity and therefore behavior.
While the pursuit power—even through institutional means—cannot be
readily dismissed as a plausible instigator of behavior in the current security
environment, the constructivist perspective is intriguing in that it may help
to explicate China’s governance diplomacy in Asia Pacific. At the same time
it reveals a degree of correlativity with realist and institutionalist modalities,
as will be elaborated in the discussion of Chinese traditional thought.
The PRC’s Governance Diplomacy in the Asia–Pacific Region 97

Is China a Constructivist State

in Search of a Correlative Region?

On the basis of its intersubjectivity, social constructivism regards a nation’s

identity to be a work-in-progress. Its willingness to incorporate the influ-
ences of history and culture endear it to Chinese thinking; its very mutabil-
ity, its constitutive nature, are reminiscent of the Chinese theory of correla-
tivity: the yin-yang philosophy of a mutually determining relationship that
is dynamic across time and circumstances. This is a discernible feature, too,
of regional “governance,” as distinct from “government” in which there is a
legal overriding authority. Regional governance is more interactive and
fluid. It provides, in the words of constructivist pioneer, Alexander Wendt,
the ground for “the micro or bottom-up process of self-organization, and
the macro or top-down process of structural constitution.”5
From a constructivist perspective, China is changing. Even in declaratory
policy it has become more peaceful: from a hostile country in the past to its
current advocacy of a “harmonious world” represents a huge shift. Equally
profound has been the accompanying change from a self-contained econ-
omy to global interdependence. In discussing these changes, Chinese con-
structivist scholar, Qin Yaqing, agrees that there are other factors that con-
strain China’s behavior: most obviously, the material aspect of economic
development since Deng Xiaoping’s opening and reform policy. China’s
dependence on the world economy has grown significantly. From 2004
onward, 60 to 70 percent of China’s GDP has come from international
trade. This represents a high level of global interdependence.6 The global
economic crisis in 2008–2009 has demonstrated in an adverse way just how
interdependent China has become.7
Despite the obvious influence of global interdependence on China’s
policy choices, Qin Yaqing believes that international multilateral institu-
tions are more important in effecting change in China’s behavior:

China has experienced identity change and that is my main argument for a
peaceful China. China began with 20 memberships and in 2007 it was a mem-
ber of 208 international institutions—bringing it on a par with other countries.
This began in the 1990s. National identity is undergoing a fundamental
change. Identity change means a nation’s security concept is affected.8

Indeed, China’s “new security concept,” noted in its defense white papers
from 1998,9 holds for a more inclusive and multilateral doctrine that per-
meates Beijing’s whole governance diplomacy in Asia Pacific. The “new se-
curity concept” in its features of “mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and
coordination with a view to securing a long-term and favorable interna-
tional and surrounding environment”10 is not so much new but adapted for
98 Rosita Dellios

the present era. It dates back to 1982 when China’s reformist leader, Deng
Xiaoping, pronounced the international situation to be sufficiently stable
for China to focus on economic development. This was in contrast to the
theme of “war and revolution” that characterized the strategic thought of
his predecessor, Mao Zedong. Despite contrasts in leadership preoccupa-
tions, the “new security concept” remains faithful to the original “five prin-
ciples of peaceful coexistence” which located China as a nonaggressive
power in the 1950s,11 and which are still evoked in the 2006 defense white
paper: “China maintains military contacts with other countries on the basis
of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and develops cooperative
military relations that are non-aligned, non-confrontational and not di-
rected against any third party.”12
These foundational five principles (mutual respect for sovereignty and
territorial integrity, mutual nonaggression, noninterference in each other’s
internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence) may
also be regarded as the diplomatic ancestor of the post-2005 “harmonious
world” policy, much the same way as China’s Confucian–Taoist–Buddhist
culture is deemed its spiritual ancestor. Other markers on the road to the
early  twenty-first century harmonious world-oriented diplomacy were
China’s so-called “charm offensive” of the 1990s and the 2004 “peaceful
rise” and “peaceful development” slogans. Looking at the results regionally,
it is worth asking what this “peace and harmony” message from Beijing sets
out to achieve for its foreign policy. According to Yang Yanyi, deputy direc-
tor general of the Asian Department in China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

The purpose of China’s regional cooperation policy is to facilitate China’s de-

velopment and promote regional peace and common development. China
wants to maintain a peaceful stable environment, especially on its periphery. It
is using multilateral means to promote economic growth.13

Here one sees an expression of China’s “win-win” diplomacy which pro-

poses that it is possible to serve one’s own and other nations’ national in-
terests.14 Yang Yanyi pointed out that Beijing was now engaged in multilat-
eral activities that included over thirty cooperation mechanisms in Asia.
Subregional cooperation has been most active, for example in the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization and Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) Plus Three (APT, the three being China, Japan, and South Korea).
Transregional cooperation was gaining strength, for example, in the Asia–
Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Asia–Europe Meetings
(ASEM). Economic regionalism remained China’s priority. In the past de-
cade, twenty-four new arrangements were concluded. Cooperation in other
sectors was expanding, including finance, agriculture, and forestry. Coop-
eration in security had begun, notably in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
The PRC’s Governance Diplomacy in the Asia–Pacific Region 99

China’s role in hosting the Six-Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear is-
sue was widely acknowledged. Moreover, China–ASEAN relations had de-
veloped practical governance in nontraditional security issues.15
Critics point out that the institutions China favors are those like the
ASEAN-based system of informal institutions (such as APT, ARF, EAS) that
are governed more by consensus than rules.16 Following a tradition of
“agreeing to disagree without being disagreeable,” the “ASEAN Way,”
according to Simon Tay:

comprises a number of interlocking norms and practices, including the norm

of nonintervention, habits of informal consultation, the preference for consen-
sus over conflict, and the desire to avoid making the ASEAN secretariat a supra-
national institution with initiative, resources and independence.17

Yet it is this institutional modality that has been blamed for ASEAN’s fail-
ure to socialize its more recent member, Burma, whose repressive govern-
ment has gained international infamy. At ASEAN’s 2005 summit, the non-
interference principle appeared to be compromised when the ASEAN foreign
ministers called on Burma’s military junta to undertake democratic reforms
and free opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest. By the 2009
summit, neither reforms nor the freeing of political prisoners had occurred.
While results may appear slow or inadequate in informal institutional
structures, this does not necessary mean that they are failures on the gover-
nance landscape. China’s modus operandi in governance diplomacy—like
ASEAN’s—is marked by flexibility and informality, as regional cooperation
has tended to start with informal dialogue and then progress to practical
projects. According to Qin Yaqing, there is also an emphasis on process rather
than results. This is in accordance with Confucian cultural dynamics. For ex-
ample, in the East Asia Summit, the “comfort level principle” exists. Progress
may be slow but process ensures it is sustainable.18 In his writings with Wei
Ling, the idea is crystallized as “a process-focused model of social construc-
tion” and that “the ability to socialize or absorb major powers through the
integrating process is the soul of this model.”19 In this respect, it is pertinent
to note that an aspect of China’s governance diplomacy is that it prefers to see
small and medium-sized countries taking the lead, not itself. So, too, ASEAN
has had historical concerns about big power interference: from its perspective,
regional integration could not be led by any of the big powers.
Another international multilateral institution that manages to accommo-
date great powers is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), estab-
lished in 2001. Membership includes the regional giants, Russia and China,
and a number of former Soviet republics—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajiki-
stan, and Uzbekistan. It is through the new form of regional governance
represented by SCO that the Russia–China relationship may be better un-
100 Rosita Dellios

derstood as having “largely transcended the past practice of alliances.”20

This was demonstrated by China’s and SCO’s “neutrality” over Russia’s
2008 invasion of Georgia. China and Russia as SCO’s big powers may be
mutually restrictive in their behavior within the organization but they also
combine to give the SCO the strategic clout it needs to address Western
(particularly NATO) influence in the region.
This recalls the structural realists’ perspective concerning the primacy of
the distribution of power in understanding the international system. To this
end, the SCO is commonly referred to as a security organization designed
to keep the United States out of Central Asia, with Sino–Russian military
exercises seen as evidence of the securitization of the region. Yet the SCO
evolved from its 1996 predecessor, the “Shanghai Five,” whose original mis-
sion was to demilitarize the old Sino–Soviet border and resolve border de-
marcation disputes. It evolved into an organization focused on the fight
against “terrorism, separatism and extremism” (a major concern for China
regarding its own Uyghur separatists in Xinjiang), and from there went on
to specialize in “multifaceted political, economic and cultural coopera-
tion.”21 The effects of the global economic crisis, for instance, were ad-
dressed in a practical fashion. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao announced to
an SCO heads of government council meeting in Kazakhstan, on October
30, 2008, that China would give loans for food security, notably in the es-
tablishment of agricultural infrastructure and facilities.
Thus beyond the “win-win” rhetoric of the new security concept, its day-
to-day expression may be seen in the governance of SCO as a new kind of
security organization.22 It is one that includes under its purview: energy
security, food security and food safety, climate change, health risks, terror-
ism, and transnational crime. Moreover, the charter of the SCO is open and
does not require member states to support one another in time of war (as
noted above, the members did not rally behind Russia in its war with Geor-
gia). Rather, there is “considerable space for individual members to pursue
their own policies for their own interests.”23 Another governance character-
istic, as in Southeast Asia, is avoidance of hierarchical relations through
consensus decision-making. Russia, too, it should be noted, had signed the
SCO’s Dushanbe summit declaration that occurred after the Russo–Georgian
conflict. The joint statement exemplifies the interpretation of security as
inclusive of nontraditional security, as well as reflecting the openness of the
SCO’s charter. Indeed, it represents a model document for constructivist
regional governance even if some of the members themselves fall short in
governance indicators when judged by international norms (but well
within the norm for their group’s values). The document states, in part:

In the 21st century interdependence of states has grown sharply, security and
development are becoming inseparable. None of the modern international
The PRC’s Governance Diplomacy in the Asia–Pacific Region 101

problems can be settled by force, the role of force factor in global and regional
politics is diminishing objectively.

Reliance on a solution based solely on the use of force faces no prospects,

it hinders comprehensive settlement of local conflicts; effective resolution
of existing problems can be possible only with due regard for the interests
of all parties, through their involvement in a process of negotiations, not
through isolation. Attempts to strengthen one’s own security to the preju-
dice of security of others do not assist the maintenance of global security
and stability.”24
Because disparities in power cannot be ignored even if great power influ-
ence is exercised indirectly or discreetly, it has been suggested that a hierar-
chic order is in fact the de facto position favored by the Southeast Asian
nations: the United States at the top, China as the regional great power, fol-
lowed by India, Japan, and South Korea as “second-tier regional powers.”25
This represents a hierarchy of power distribution rather than an institu-
tional governance scenario as represented by the European Union (EU)
model at the far end of the realist–institutionalist spectrum.
However, the arrangement could also be viewed as one of a “mandalic”
nesting of states that allows relations to be established through functional
engagement from the center, for it is usually easier to interconnect than inte-
grate. Hence the system of a core set of states “plus” other states or organiza-
tions. Clearly ASEAN has been the leader in this respect, but SCO is develop-
ing it too—for example SCO + Afghanistan.26 Transregional relations are one
outcome, as shown by ASEAN signing a cooperation agreement with SCO in
2005. Meanwhile the EU is looking at an “ad hoc dialogue” with SCO, and
similar arrangements are being considered for SCO–NATO.27 The implica-
tions here for a cooperative rather than competitive dynamic are apparent. As
with the notion of process being more important than results, so too correla-
tive relationships are a feature of China’s regional security thinking. Working
with others on the basis of equality means recognizing them as being part of
one’s identity-cum-security.

Problems and Possibilities

However, from another viewpoint, the diversity of cultures and religions in

Asia poses a problem for identity, while mutual confidence is hindered by
historical legacies or current conflicts of interests. Thus conflict and suspi-
cion often characterize the “mutuality” of relations, thereby conjuring the
negative side of the constructivist coin.28 The region is also geographically
scattered, impeding a stronger sense of regional cohesion. So does eco-
nomic underdevelopment in many parts of the region. Still, regionalism
102 Rosita Dellios

through various multilateral governance regimes is probable when consid-

ered from a “multi-track, multi-speed, and multi-institutional perspec-
tive.”29 China exhibits a realistic appreciation of the complexity and magni-
tude of the task, including the need to be cautious not to be seen as
manipulative of others in view of its size and influence. China’s familiarity
with the constraints imposed by magnitude derives from philosophical,
geopolitical and historical experience.
The above-noted “mandalic” nesting of relations—with its Buddhist
connotations of codependent origination which stresses the interdepen-
dent existence of all phenomena, that they are empty of their own exis-
tence and therefore contingent—is indicative of a correlativity in Chinese
philosophy. This may be represented variously in: the dynamic circle of
the yin-yang diagram; as focus and field; as center and periphery with the
periphery responding to the center. Between center and periphery there
are numerous foci that not so much compete but “respond,” just as the
center and periphery respond to one another.30 Although recognizably
Buddhist and Taoist in thought, there is also a Confucian understanding
here. It concerns the concept of “rule of man” which is disdained in West-
ern political thought because of the imputed untrustworthiness of human
nature, but is viewed differently in Chinese philosophy. This is because
“rule of man” means exemplar—rule of ren—the junzi is a cultivated per-
son. Thus the Chinese believe there could be a good government. In cor-
relativity there is no dualism between government and people: “The ruler
is the heart and people are the body,” explains Chinese philosopher, Tian
Chenshan. “Also people are the priority. This is the role of government in
Chinese tradition. If the center tries to leave the field we see the end of a
By implication, China’s governance diplomacy needs to be responsive to
its periphery, but without the “ruler” metaphor lest the region finds this to
be a troubling hegemonic claim. Nor should China philosophically fail to
keep itself “centered” in terms of equilibrium between Heaven (the moral
universe) and Earth (economic and political affairs). In other words, ideal-
ism and ideology need to be moderated by pragmatism.
From the geopolitical and historical perspective, the “periphery” phe-
nomenon of understanding the “many” to populate the rim of the “one,” is
indicative of a country that is both blessed and condemned to be the
“Middle Kingdom”: geopolitical centrality bestows power but it also de-
mands an outlook of perpetual vigilance and diplomatic dexterity. This has
been honed over centuries of tributary relations. The system was at its stron-
gest in the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) and included as many as 100 king-
doms. With the Chinese emperor being recognized as the symbolic head of
the international household, foreign affairs were thus transformed into in-
ternal affairs. This arrangement yielded security and economic benefits
The PRC’s Governance Diplomacy in the Asia–Pacific Region 103

without the costs of militarism or isolationism. The challenge was how to

disarm the barbarians at the gates by encouraging them to partake of the
Chinese world through tribute relations. While tribute meant a symbolic
submission to civilization (China) it also entailed attractive rewards, both
in terms of trade opportunities and the conditions of peace in which they
could be pursued. In short, the regional periphery of old was a Sinocentric
one in which many nations participated on a hierarchy-of-power basis. As
the Qing dynasty weakened in the face of Western imperial demands, the
Westphalian system of international relations overtook the tribute system.
Its demise was evident in the signing of “unequal treaties” occasioned by
military defeats: most notably by Britain through the Opium Wars of
1839–1842 and 1856–1860. The fatal blow came from Meiji Japan in the
First Sino–Japanese War of 1894–1895.
Among the lessons for China were the hazards of internal weakness, the
importance of technological competitiveness, and affirmation that force
ultimately underpins the international order in which it must live. The last
of these is a notion familiar to Confucian China which recognized the im-
portance of a “hard core” of power within the “soft pulp” of moral author-
ity.32 Lest the core be taken as a militaristic one in this metaphor, it is well
to recall that Taoism places defensive force in the strategic second phase
(exemplified by Sunzi’s The Art of War classic) of a practitioner’s education,
which comes after isolation from human affairs to learn the laws of nature,
but before the poststrategic level of transcendence when the world is one—
Viewed from today’s perspective of China’s (historically instructed)
need to be strong (realist) and inspirational for the implementation of a
new security concept (constructivist), it has followed the route of multi-
lateral institution-building. Its own 2008 defense white paper acknowl-
edges as much: “China is playing an active and constructive role in multi-
lateral affairs, thus notably elevating its international position and
influence.”34 This statement echoes the earlier one made by PRC govern-
ment representative, Ambassador Yang Yanyi, on “win-win” diplomacy:
“The purpose of China’s regional cooperation policy is to facilitate Chi-
na’s development and promote regional peace and common develop-
ment.” The correlativity between China’s constructivist and calculative
strategy is even more direct in her subsequent statement that China “is
using multilateral means to promote economic growth.” Such growth is
defined under the current administration as one that requires a greater
balance between material and societal-environmental values. This is cap-
tured by the “harmonious society” slogan for internal development, the
counterpart to the PRC’s foreign policy of “harmonious world.” An eye to
balanced internal development also assists in improved external percep-
tions of China’s governance capabilities.
104 Rosita Dellios


China has participated in a range of multilateral organizations and advocates

a layered regional cooperation in its governance diplomacy. If China’s behav-
ior is to determine whether the region has an “open, transparent and mutu-
ally beneficial future” or “risk blundering into a future where competition
and exclusion set the pattern,” then it is apparent that Beijing will need to
continue to engage seriously with all players and organizations, including
those of which it has tended to be wary or demonize in the past. In this re-
spect, relations with Washington and progress in cross-strait relations are on
the ascent. It remains to be seen whether Beijing’s proverbial “win-win” for-
mula will fuel the anticipated benefits of greater regional integration. It is
unlikely that China is trying to “govern” the Asia–Pacific region. Rather, the
relationship is mutually constitutive. As with the notion of process being
more important than results, so too correlative relationships are a feature of
East Asian security thinking. Thus this chapter has also explored a number of
possible theoretical underpinnings of China’s governance diplomacy and its
regional context in terms of East Asian modalities of thought, leading to the
conclusion that, on balance, China’s multilateralist behavior—or governance
diplomacy in the pursuit of cooperative regionalism—will in fact contribute
to greater stability and less exclusion in regional affairs.


  1.  Robert Gates, “Challenges to Stability in the Asia-Pacific,” International Insti-

tute for Strategic Studies (IISS), The 7th IISS Asia Security Summit Shangri-La Dialogue,
Singapore, 31 May 2008. See also Peter Spiegel, “Gates Warns Asia on Arms Risk,”
Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2008,
(accessed 10/1/08).
  2.  Ibid.
  3.  Joshua S. Goldstein, International Relations, 6th ed., New York, Pearson Long-
man, 2005, pp. 106, 109.
  4.  See Alexander Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics, Cambridge: Cam-
bridge University Press, 1999.
  5.  Alexander Wendt, “Why a World State Is Inevitable,” European Journal of Inter-
national Relations, vol. 9, no. 4, 2003, p. 498.
  6.  Qin Yaqing, Vice President and Professor of International Studies at China
Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), presentation, “Power: Interdependence and Insti-
tutions,” 23 June 2008, China’s Perspective on Emerging Security Issues, workshop
sponsored by the University of New Haven Global Studies Program and hosted by
the CFAU, East Asian Studies Center, Beijing, 23–27 June 2008.
  7.  By early 2009, 20 to 30 million people in China became unemployed because
of a collapse in export markets. Meanwhile, the Obama administration wanted
The PRC’s Governance Diplomacy in the Asia–Pacific Region 105

China, its largest holder of American government debt—$700 billion in 2008—to

continue buying U.S. Treasuries in order to fund President Obama’s $800 billion
stimulus package.
  8.  Qin Yaqing, “Power: Interdependence and Institutions.”
  9.  See Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China,
China’s National Defense in 1998 (White Paper),
china-defense-july1998.html#2, and China’s National Defense in 2004 (White Paper). (both accessed 2/26/09).
10.  China’s National Defense in 2004, ibid.
11.  See Bates Gill, Rising Star: China’s New Security Diplomacy, Washington, D.C.:
Brookings Institution Press, 2007.
12.  Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Chi-
na’s National Defense in 2006 (White Paper),
defense2006/defense2006(2).html (accessed 2/26/09).
13.  Yang Yanyi, Ambassador, Deputy Director General, Asian Department, Min-
istry of Foreign Affairs, PRC, presentation, “China’s Policy to Its Neighbors,” 25 June
2008, workshop sponsored by the University of New Haven Global Studies Program
and hosted by the China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), East Asian Studies Cen-
ter, Beijing, 23–27 June 2008.
14.  See Yan Xuetong, “China’s First Step Forward in Its ‘Harmonious World-
Oriented’ Diplomacy,” People’s Daily Online, 19 December 2006, english.people- (accessed 9/20/08); as well as
his article that describes the zero-sum nature of an international system that relies
on power status: Yan Xuetong, “The Rise of China and Its Power Status,” Chinese
Journal of International Politics, vol. 1, no. 1, 2006, pp. 5–33,
cgi/content/full/1/1/5 (accessed 3/22/09).
15.  Yang Yanyi, “China’s Policy to Its Neighbors.”
16.  See discussion in Marc Lanteigne, China and International Institutions: Alternate
Paths to Global Power, London and New York: Routledge, 2005, p. 12.
17.  Simon S. C. Tay, “Understanding ASEAN,” Foreword, in Mohamed Bin Salim
(ed.), Changing Faces of ASEAN: A Select Booklist, Singapore: National Library Board,
2002, p. 8.
18.  Qin Yaqing, “Power: Interdependence and Institutions.”
19.  Qin Yaqing and Wei Ling, “Structures, Processes, and the Socialization of
Power,” in Robert S. Ross and Zhu Feng (eds), China’s Ascent: Power, Security, and the
Future of International Politics, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008, p. 125.
20.  Yu Bin, “China Still On-side with Russia,” Asia Times Online, 6 September
2008,, accessed 5/11/08.
21.  See Shanghai Cooperation Organization (2004–2005),
news (accessed 10/23/07).
22.  A notable difference between SCO and ASEAN Plus Three is that the first
began as a security organisation and later developed into a wider socioeconomic
and cultural entity; while its Southeast Asian counterpart was the opposite, moving
from economic cooperation to security cooperation in ARF.
23.  Yu Bin, “China Still On-side with Russia.” See Charter of SCO, Shanghai Coop-
eration Organization, 2001,
(accessed 11/11/08).
106 Rosita Dellios

24.  Dushanbe Declaration 2008, SCO,

&LanguageID=2 (accessed 9/18/08).
25.  Evelyn Goh, Meeting the China Challenge: The U.S. in Southeast Asian Regional
Security Strategies, Washington D.C.: East West Center Washington, 2005.
26.  Personal communication, November 2007, Shanghai, with Center for Shang-
hai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Studies within the Shanghai Academy of So-
cial Sciences at
27.  Ibid.
28.  I am grateful to Richard Mansbach for pointing out after a conference presen-
tation of an earlier version of this paper that constructivism can have destructive
tendencies too. (The One-dot Center for the Study of International Governance,
Regimes, and Globalization, GSIA, Ming Chuan University, Taiwan, 14 March
29.  Yang Yanyi, “China’s Policy to Its Neighbors.”
30.  See David L. Hall and Roger T. Ames, Thinking Through Confucius, New York:
State University of New York, 1987, p. 17.
31.  Tian Chenshan, Director, Center for East–West Studies, Beijing Foreign Stud-
ies University and Center for China Studies, University of Hawaii, presentation,
“Culture and Foreign Policy,” 23 June 2008, workshop sponsored by the University
of New Haven Global Studies Program and hosted by the China Foreign Affairs
University (CFAU), East Asian Studies Center, Beijing, 23–27 June 2008.
32.  A contemporary historian’s metaphor cited in Wang Gungwu, “Early Ming
Relations with Southeast Asia: A Background Essay,” in John King Fairbank (ed.),
The Chinese World Order, Traditional China’s Foreign Relations, Cambridge, MA: Har-
vard University Press, 1968, p. 61.
33.  See Fung Yu-Lan, A Short History of Chinese Philosophy, New York: Free Press,
34.  China’s National Defense in 2008 (White Paper).
ment/central_government/2009-01/20/content_17155577.htm (accessed 2/26/09).
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a
Globalizing World: Using Military
and Nonmilitary Adversary
Regimes as a Tool
Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

There are three major concepts or terms in the title of this chapter, namely,
governance, regimes, and (collective, driving forces or varieties of) global-
ization. Those concepts can be applied at the supranational level, at the
international level, and to the adversary relationship between politically
divided Taiwan and mainland China which has existed since the late 1940s.
The second author calls these places bicoastal China (lianganzhongguo),
with the former maintaining the official title of the Republic of China
(ROC) and the latter, the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Both Taipei and Beijing can govern the Taiwan Strait. It is what the second
author called the Bicoastal Chinese governance. If another country were
involved such as the United States, we will use the term, international gov-
ernance. To be sure, there are many international regimes, which can be
applied to the Taiwan Strait. Under each regime, we see mechanisms and
measures.1 Mechanisms refer to devices and/or institutions, which are used
to maintain and sustain each regime. A hot line is one good example, which
can be traced back to the June 1963 agreement between the United States
of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to Expand the U.S.–
USSR Direct Communications Link. Institution can be subdivided into
practices and/or organizations. Measures are steps planned or to be taken
as a means to achieve an end. However, when the focus is on Taiwan and
mainland China, the term Bicoastal Chinese regimes, mechanisms, and
measures, respectively will be employed. Certainly, relations between the
ROC and the PRC differ from bicoastal Chinese regimes, because bicoastal
Chinese relations include regimes and nonregimes.
In the first section, we will describe and explain what is governance as
well as spell out the qualifications for using the term. In the next section,

108 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

we will identify, with some qualifications, some important regimes or

regime-oriented practices and/or clauses in a treaty, pact, convention, pro-
tocol, covenant, agreement, accord, armistice, truce, moratorium, memo-
randum of understanding (MOU), etc., at the international level, which can
be applied to the Taiwan Strait. In the third section, we will compare and
contrast the Taiwan Strait experience with that of the Strait(s) of Malacca
(and Luzon) in Southeast Asia, to see whether the former experience can be
globalized to the latter and/or elsewhere, such as the Strait of Hormuz in
the Middle East. To be sure, the 9-Degree Channel in the Northern Indian
Ocean is also important to mainland China.

Governing the Taiwan Strait: What is it all about?

Oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, and smaller regions of the
oceans are given names like seas, gulfs, straits, etc. International waters ac-
count for more than 50 percent of the world’s surface.2 There are more than
1,000 straits in the world. About 130 of them can be navigated.3 Efforts
have been made to bring about or foster order in those waters, including
116 straits in the world.
At the outset, it is necessary to have a rough idea of the Taiwan Strait.4 It
is located at 24 degrees (30 minutes) North latitude and 120 degrees (00
minutes) East longitude, covering an area about 60,000 square kilometers.5
Part of the South China Sea (SCS) and connecting to the East China Sea
(ECS) to the northeast, it is 180 kilometers (km) wide. The narrowest part
is 131 km wide. At high tide, the speed of a fishing boat, which is capable
of sailing up to a maximum of ten nautical miles per hour, can be only six
nautical miles.6 The length of Taiwan Island itself is 394 km. Fujian Prov-
ince on the Chinese mainland is to the west of the Strait, while important
islands like Jinmen/Quemoy Islands, Mazu Islands, Xiamen/Amoy, and
Hainan Province, are nearby. To the east are the west coast of Taiwan and
Penghu/Pescadores. The Minjiang and Jiulong Rivers of Fujina Province
empty into the Strait.
Is the Taiwan Strait strategic? On the one hand, some Chinese and non-
Chinese government officials and politicians regard the Strait as strategi-
cally important. In January 1960, Chiang Kai-shek was invited to visit a U.S.
nuclear submarine, which was anchored in the ROC waters for the first
time. Statistics show that, every day, around 300 Japanese ships pass by the
Strait.7 One day, perhaps the world’s largest ocean liner or floating city,
Oasis of the Seas, which was launched in October 2009, or Sun 21 translan-
tic solar catamaran, which for the first time left the cargo port of Basel,
Switzerland in October 2006 and which is the world’s first solar powered
boat without using a drop of gas, may also sail through the Strait. Others
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 109

say this stretch of water is an essential (as opposed to optional) sea route
for oil and other commodities shipments from the Middle East via, for ex-
ample, the Strait(s) of Malacca8 to, for example, the Republic of Korea
(ROK). For the PRC, it is a short cut, connecting the third ranking Guang-
zhou Port, the second ranking Xianggang/ Hongkong/Fragrant Port and the
largest Shanghai International Shipping Center (SISC) with a deep-water
port around the Yangshan Isles,9 and beyond, such as Port of Haiphong of
the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV).
On the other hand, some hold the opposite view. There are times when
even the United States does not have a firm idea as to what it should do
with the Taiwan area and its surrounding bodies of water. In August 1945,
Imperial Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers. The U.S. Navy immedi-
ately regarded Tokyo’s colony, Taiwan, as being strategically important. Yet,
it did not want the ROC to get involved.10 (Ironically, in November 1943,
CHIANG Kai-shek in Cairo twice refused an offer by the then U.S. presi-
dent, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to jointly administer Diaoyutai/Senkakus.11)
However, it had no choice but to scrap its plan to militarily administer the
biggest island of China, Taiwan, when the ROC government dispatched its
70 Jun (70th Army) on October 15, 1945. It should be noted that the 70 Jun,
established in March 1943, sailed from Ningbo Harbor, Zhejiang Province,
to Jilong Harbor, Taiwan Province, and was, ironically, escorted by ten ves-
sels of the U.S. 7th Fleet.12
On February 28, 1947, an incident resulting in bloodshed took place in
Taipei. In June 1947, five native Taiwanese in Shanghai City formed an al-
liance called Taiwanzaijiefanglianmeng (literally the Alliance for Reliberating
Taiwan) and in July and August 1947, they submitted an eight-point gan-
gling (program/guiding principles), which included the idea of having a
temporary United Nations (UN) trusteeship, to the special one-month-long
fact-finding, roving American ambassador Albert C. Wedemeyer, for the
then American president Harry S. Truman. On September 19, 1947, the
lieutenant-general submitted to Truman a damaging report, which strongly
criticized the elder CHIANG government.
On January 5, 1950, Truman said “the U.S. government will not pursue a
course which will lead to involvement in civil conflict in China” nor “provide
military aid or advice to Chinese forces.”13 In essence, Washington virtually
abandoned Taipei until the outbreak of the Korean War in June of the same
year. In March 1950, the elder CHIANG in his dairy wrote that the Chinese
Communists had made plans to attack Taiwan in May of the same year.14
In any case, the Taiwan Strait is important to the PRC. Once in control of
the Taiwan Province, its naval ships can easily project its power beyond the
First Island Chain. As for the United States Department of Defense (DOD),
the Taiwan area must not fall into the hands of the undemocratic and au-
thoritarian Chinese Communists.
110 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

Since the end of World War II, the Strait has been the theater for several
major military confrontations between the ROC and the PRC. From the late
1940s to the late 1960s, we witnessed three such crises. The first one started
on September 4, 1954, when Chinese Communist artillery began shelling
Jinmen, and the Chinese Nationalists returned fire. The latter also launched
large-scale air strikes against the Chinese mainland. The main reason for the
shelling was because the ROC planned to sign a mutual defense treaty with
the United States in December of the same year, and the PRC wanted to
warn the latter not to legally divide China. It was several months before
December 1954 that the One China Principle was formulated for the first
time by the Chinese Communists.15
The second major crisis took place in August 1958, which subsided in
October of the same year, when the then PRC Minister of National De-
fense, PENG Dehuai, sent a second message to his compatriots in the Tai-
wan area, saying shelling of the Jinmen area would only be on odd (as
opposed to even) days of the calendar. Again, Beijing, accusing Washing-
ton, London, and Tokyo of manufacturing two Chinas,16 wanted to make
sure that Jinmen and other remote islands would remain in the ROC
There was another Taiwan Strait crisis, which took place in the first sev-
eral years of the 1960s. In April 1961, the ROC’s Ministry of National
Defense (MOND) began to map out a plan to retake the Chinese main-
land, code-named Operation Guoguang (National Glory). By late 1965, it
was clear that the ROC could not succeed in doing so.17 Not until 1968,
did the Nationalist Party of China (NPC) or Koumintang (KMT) air force
stop intruding into the PRC’s airspace or harassing the coastal area of the
Chinese mainland.18
From May 1995 to the present, politico–military tension continues to
exist. From July 1995 to March 13, 1996, the mainland conducted seven
waves of military exercises. By now, some 1,300 PRC ballistic missiles have
been targeted at the Taiwan area. In February 2007, the ROC armed forces
at the Jiupeng Missile Testing Range for the first time test-launched a land-
attack cruise missile, Hsiung Feng (Brave Wind)-2E, which could be
equipped with BCU-114/B softbombs or CBU-94 blackout bombs that
could short-circuit electrical power distribution equipment such as trans-
formers and switching stations with minimal risk of collateral damage and
is capable of hitting the Shanghai Municipal City (SMC). However, in Oc-
tober 2007, the supersonic antiship missile was not displayed during the
Double Ten National Day parade. Everything started with the invitation in
May 1995 to the then ROC president LEE Teng-hui by the American Con-
gress. They invited Lee to visit his alma mater, Cornell University, in the
following month. Suspicious of LEE’s intention of legally separating the
Taiwan area from China as demonstrated in his speech at the Ivy League
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 111

university, by uttering the ROC on Taiwan (as opposed to merely the ROC
or the ROC in Taiwan), the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began
its military exercise in July 1995 by launching unarmed ballistic missiles
from its Nanping Missile Base, Fujian Province.19 Those missiles splashed
not far away from the waters of northern Taiwan. Because the ROC planned
to hold its first direct presidential election in March 1996 as scheduled,
tension mounted.
To elaborate, on December 19, 1995, the United States sent the USS
Nimitz from the Eastern Pacific to the Strait. This marked the first time
American ships had patrolled the politically treacherous waterway between
Taiwan and mainland China. In November 1969, the 7th Fleet quietly
ended its nineteen-year presence.20 (In May 1975, the United States re-
moved its last squadron of 18 F-4 Phantom jet fighter-bombers from the
Taiwan area and, in June 1976, it withdrew its small military advisory teams
from Jinmen and Mazu.)
The U.S. 7th Fleet monitored Chinese Communist military live-fire exer-
cises off the coast of Taiwan Province in March 1996.21 The Strait became
one of the four flash points in Asia (defined as a place where weapons of
mass destruction might be used by the major powers22). The forward-deployed
USS Independence aircraft carrier battle group, with embarked Carrier Air
Wing Five, responded to rising tensions between the Chinese mainland and
the Taiwan area by taking station off the eastern coast of Taiwan. USS Bunker
Hill, operated south of Taiwan, using its SPY-1 Aegis radar and other means
to observe the missile tests. Other ships operating with the USS Independence
included USS Hewitt, USS O’Brien, and USS McClusky. The USS Nimitz, ac-
companied by six other naval ships, transited at high speed to arrive near the
Taiwan area on March 21, 1996, two days before the ROC presidential elec-
tion, which signaled the intensity of U.S. resolve. However, the then PRC
premier LI Peng warned Washington not to make a show of force by sending
its navy through the Taiwan Strait. The then American Secretary of Defense,
William J. Perry, responded, saying that, while the Chinese PLA is “a great
military power, the premier—the strongest—military power in the Western
Pacific is the United States.” In any case, the U.S. Navy kept away from the
choppy Strait.
In September 1979, the ROC declared its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
In February 1992, the Law of the PRC on Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone
was ratified. In May 1996, its National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing
passed the December 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UN-
CLOS). And, in June 1998, the PRC EEZ and Continental Shelf Law was rati-
fied and promulgated. We should also not forget that the broken U-shaped
line in place since December 1947, which ended up at Guishan Island and is
part of Yilan County, Taiwan Province, still exists.23 In this connection, in
January 1984, a tacit agreement, for the first time providing the precise coor-
112 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

dinates for the dividing line (jiexian)/middle line (as opposed to median line
in the international legal parlance)/demarcation line, was announced by the
Fujian Provincial Service in Fuzhou City. This action enabled the ROC’s
oceanographic scientists and workers to take part in the joint survey work in
the Strait.24 This kind of arrangement is favorable to Taipei, because its re-
mote islands (or enclaves), such as Jinmen and Mazu, can still be in its
hands.25 What both Taipei and Beijing mean is that the Taiwan Strait is defi-
nitely not the high seas [as opposed to the open sea (kaikouhai or gonghai),
which is not a legal term26]. This certainly does make some difference as to
whether both Taipei and Beijing are ruling or governing the Taiwan Strait,
because countries like the United States and the Russian Federation (RF) in-
sist that, traditionally, the Strait has been an international navigation route
and should remain so. Under the following explanation, USS Kitty Hawk and
its five supportive vessels in November 2007 transited the Taiwan Strait: “This
was a normal navigational transit of international waters, and the route selec-
tion was based on operational necessity, including adverse weather.”27 Be-
sides, airspace over the EEZ is still international. So, Washington attempted
to test Beijing’s resolve. For example, not long after July 1997, when Hong-
kong was returned to the PRC, U.S. naval ships, after receiving permission
from Beijing, pulled into its port.28 In addition, former commander-in-chief
of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Dennis Blair, while observing the
ROC’s Hanguang (Chinese Glory) No. 22 War Games in April 2006, said that
Washington would not shrink from a cross-strait military conflict, so long as
the ROC did not provoke the PRC in the first place.29
In a separate development, in March 1995, the State Council of the PRC
promulgated the Procedures for International Navigation Ships Entering
and Exiting Ports of the PRC (PINSEEPPRC). Especially because of the exis-
tence of this decree, the word, govern, as opposed to rule, should be used.
That is to say, Beijing has no intention of nationalizing the Taiwan Strait by
building, for example, many artificial islands. Rule refers to a prescribed
guide for conduct or action or an accepted procedure, custom, or habit.30
Control and command can be its synonyms. However, so long as there are
countries, which resist or challenge such guide, procedure, custom, or habit,
both Taipei and Beijing, even if united, cannot rule the Strait as they wish.
In this connection, upon joining an international regime, a country’s sover-
eignty should be understood as being less than 100 percent, because all the
countries and multiple political and/or economic entities involved must
cooperate and coordinate first, rather than competing, challenging, negoti-
ating, bargaining and so on and so forth with one another, because all the
countries are on the same side regarding an issue-area, issue-areas, or issue-
regimes at the international level. Besides, because nonmilitary regimes
could involve nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) or, in the coinage of
Anthony Judge, Necessary-for-Governance Organizations (NGOs), the au-
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 113

thority of determining basic policy31 by either side or both sides of the

Taiwan Strait could be further decreased. In short, synonyms for governance
include exercise authority over, as of nations; implement regional and inter-
national regulatory frameworks;32 apply multilateralism;33 administration;
management; operation; arrangement; regulation, facilitation, etc. There is
no doubt that, by the turn of the twenty-first century, no one leader can say
that he or she is ruling the country, not to mention the whole world, and
there are many issues whereby no country can act on its own to solve them
in a given area, be it the land, sea, seabed, electron, airspace, outer space, or
nonterritorial dimensions or spheres such as the human rights.

Regimes: Military and Nonmilitary

International regimes are an indispensable tool or niche for Bicoastal China

or international governance. They function differently from, for example,
international organizations. Any regime at the international level has a
conceptual boundary34 but can benefit all the nations, countries, or states,
political and/or economic entities, and Earthlings like you and me, whereas
a particular international body should only take care of its members first.
One international organization may challenge another international orga-
nization or be at odds. For example, during the Cold War, the North Atlan-
tic Treaty Organization (NATO), deterred, if not confronted, the Warsaw
Pact. International law could also be socialist-oriented or capitalist-oriented.
Europe has its own version of law, which is quite different from the Ameri-
can legal experience, due to the latter’s very specific form of government.35
Sometimes, due to limited tangible and intangible resources, NGOs, for
example, cannot do as good a job as a wealthy national government, which
usually has enough budget for foreign aid. Due to the objective circum-
stances of an issue-area, issue-areas, or issue-regimes, nations, countries, or
states and so on have to cooperate and to coordinate with one another in
order to resolve a pressing or critical problem, out of urgency, insecurity,
perception, or convergent expectation.
Periodically, Beijing and Taipei have been politically and/or militarily at
odds since the late 1940s. Despite that, (traditional) adversary regimes can
still be created, maintained, and sustained, resulting in less anarchy, ten-
sion, (scientific) uncertainty, and mistrust, when adversaries, due to objec-
tive circumstance, have (learn) to cooperate and coordinate with one an-
other in resolving an issue in a given area.
In August 2002, the then ROC president, CHEN Shui-bian said there is one
country on each side of the Taiwan Strait. A few months before that, a study
authorized by CHEN and conducted by a ranking military official of the ROC
on the confidence-building measures (CBMs) was completed for the first
114 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

time.36 [In April 1998, the then ROC premier, XIAO Wanchang, mentioned
the CBMs at the Legislative Yuan (Branch)]. Speaking to the Time reporter two
months later, LEE Teng-hui mentioned the same. In this section, we will first
identify some important military regimes and mechanisms/subregimes 37 in
their order of importance. If the word mechanism has been used, it still has
a positive meaning. Sometimes, an agreement contains certain regimes or
community-centered arrangements but, in this context, the agreement itself
does not constitute a regime, because it could not benefit all of the nonsigna-
tories. Only until such time that the same agreement can benefit the non-
signatories, can we use the term agreement regime. Then, we will describe and
explain some nonmilitary regimes and mechanisms,38 which are relevant to
the Taiwan Strait. In the third part, we will also identify some regimes, which
need to be formed, maintained, and sustained.
When we implement a regime or ask a country to comply with or adhere
to it in the Taiwan Strait, it does not matter who owns the Strait in the first
place. If there is delay in the implementation, compliance, etc., of a certain
regime, it implies that there is no urgency, insecurity, perception, and conver-
gent expectation among the parties involved. Thus, Beijing and Taipei did not
conduct the very first proposed rescue exercise in September 2006 in the Tai-
wan Strait, as reported in the press. As another example, in late May to early
June 2006, mainland China, although being slated for a central role, and the
ROK, one after another, dropped out of a maritime joint antiterrorism exer-
cise, which was part of the U.S.-led May 2003 Proliferation Security Initiative
(PSI). However, the Chinese PLA guided missile destroyer, Qingdao, and a
refueling ship arrived from Naval Station Pearl Harbor in September 2006,
for the first time practiced the use of internationally accepted communication
signals to talk to the American naval ships off Hawaii and conducted a search-
and-rescue exercise off the Port of San Diego, California. In November 2006,
the second phase of the exercise was conducted off the Hainan Province in
the SCS. For the record, the PSI operates outside of the UN framework. There
are many variations of regimes, in order of importance: strategic weapons
mechanism, nuclear weapons mechanism, missile technology control mech-
anism, arms reduction mechanism, arms regulation mechanism, arms limita-
tion mechanism, arms control mechanism, disarmament mechanism, nu-
clear nonproliferation mechanism, ban on the use of chemical and biological
weapons mechanism, conventional weapons mechanism, conflict avoidance
mechanism, code of conduct mechanism, demilitarized zone mechanism,
buffer zone mechanism, etc.

Military Regimes
Beijing has on numerous occasions said it is willing to set up Bicoastal Chi-
nese regimes related to military affairs. For example, on May 17, 2004, the
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 115

Office for Taiwan Affairs under the Central Committee of the Communist
Party of China (OTACCCPC) and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Coun-
cil were authorized to issue a statement on current Bicoastal Chinese rela-
tions, later dubbed the “May 17 Authorized Statement.” Part of one of the
seven policies is to establish a mechanism of mutual trust in military field.39
In November 1985, the Chinese PLA navy began to visit other coun-
tries. As of April 2009, the Chinese PLA navy has sailed to thirty-one ports
or to close to forty countries.40 In October 2000, both Beijing and Tokyo
agreed to engage in naval port-calls. In November 2007, a Chinese PLA
navy guided missile cruiser, Shenzhen, basking in a flurry of welcoming
ceremonies, honor bands, and smiling assurances, for the first time
docked at a Tokyo pier. The last time was in August 1886 during the Qing
dynasty. In December 2008, three Chinese PLA naval ships for the first
time sailed to waters off Somali Republic to counter pirates.
Beijing has also set up military regimes with other countries. For example,
as a measure to build up mutual trust, an agreement between the MOND
of the PRC and the DOD of the United States of America on Establishing a
Consultation Mechanism to Strengthen Military Maritime Safety was signed
by the then General CHI Haotian, Minister of National Defense of the PRC
and William S. Cohen, the then Secretary of Defense of the United States
during the latter’s visit to Beijing in January 1998. This was intended to
improve the ability to deal with incidents at sea and increase mutual under-
standing of naval and navigational practices for both ships and aircraft, and
to reduce the chances of miscalculation, misfire, etc. This consultation
mechanism came about as a result of an incident in October 1994, in which
a U.S. aircraft carrier stalked a PRC nuclear submarine in the Huanghai/
Yellow Sea. In October 2006, a PRC conventional submarine stalked USS
Kitty Hawk. Under the agreement, the DOD and the Chinese Communist
defense ministry will meet annually to discuss mutual concerns that relate
to activities at sea by their naval and air forces. In February 2008, both the
PRC and the United States signed an agreement, saying they will have such
a twenty-four-hour link, which became operational in April 2009, the first
of its kind Beijing has ever established with a foreign country at the defense
ministry level, so as to avoid misunderstanding during any moments of
crisis in the Pacific. However, it seems that they do not have to worry too
much about the submerged passage through the shallow Taiwan Strait.41
In this connection, all the parties should also comply with the March
1988 UN Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the
Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUVA Convention) and the October 2005
Protocols as well as the March 1988 Protocol related to Fixed Platforms
located on the Continental Shelf.
In October 2003, the first meeting under the mechanism of China-
Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) maritime affairs consultation
116 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

was held in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province. Issues related to sailing

safety, maritime emergency response, and others were discussed.
In December 1976, the East Sea Fleet of the Chinese PLA navy, which has
a contingency command center (yingjizhihuizhongxin), conducted, for the
first time, an exercise beyond its First Island Chain strategy. The United
States was certainly concerned. In April 2006, the PRC navy for the first time
conducted a joint patrol exercise with a foreign navy, namely, the SRV, in
semiclosed Beibu Bay/Tonkin Gulf. Would Beijing also invite Washington
to conduct a similar exercise in the Taiwan Strait, since Japan hosted the
first Asian PSI exercise in October 2004? In September 2005, a new concept,
comanagement of the Taiwan Strait, was first proposed by the PRC leader,
HU Jintao, to the then American president George W. Bush, when they met
each other at the UN.42 Although it did not materialize as a U.S. policy, this
is intended to be a preventive measure, because both Beijing and Washing-
ton do not want to see another crisis flare up in the Strait. To be sure, Beijing
has on numerous occasions said it can discuss issues that concern Taipei. At
the negotiations table, can Taipei, under the Strait for Peace Plan, propose
to be in charge of managing the entire Taiwan Strait up to the territorial sea
of the mainland?43
According to Samuel P. Huntington, after the collapse of the former So-
viet Union, the focal point of international tension is the clash of seven or
eight civilizations. Terrorism comes with it, especially when we see one
civilization trying to impose its values on another civilization. More atten-
tion has been focused on terrorism since the U.S. homeland was for the first
time attacked by terrorists based in the Middle East in September 2001. In
November 2005, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing issued a worldwide caution
announcement on the continuing threat of terrorist actions. In June 2006,
the American Embassy in the PRC capital again issued a travel warning say-
ing there was a terrorist threat against U.S. interests in the mainland. In
August 2006, terrorists who attempted to blow up some airplanes in the
United Kingdom (UK) were arrested.
In November 2007, the then Indian Defense Ministry spokesman, Sitan-
shu Kar, said that both the PRC and his country will hold the first joint
military exercise in the following month, focusing on counterterrorism
measures in Southwest China’s Yunan Province. Thus, force may have to be
used on issues, such as counterterrorism, fighting against smuggling, piracy,
armed robbery of ships, the (sex) slave trade, unauthorized broadcasting,
human trafficking, drug trafficking, etc. As pointed out by Beijing, some-
times a maritime power such as the United States would put forward a re-
gional maritime security initiative as a first step to “garrison” a state under
the guise of “counterterrorist measures.”44 The scale of terrorism could be
big or small. In the year 2006, the U. S. government regarded close to
20,000 people as potential terrorists.45 A regime is needed, because terror-
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 117

ists can easily escape by boat from either Taiwan or the mainland.46 In April
2006, black-clad, antiterror police of the Republic of Indonesia (ROI)
raided the heart of radicalism in Central Java and some parts of East Java.47
Although two hiding terrorists, who had bomb-making capabilities, were
slain and two suspects arrested, the key leader of the al-Qaeda linked group,
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Noordin M. Top, who was a Malaysian citizen and
who became Asia’s most wanted terrorist, escaped. In June 2007, the JI’s
military chief, Abu Dujana, was captured. In September 2009, Noordin was
shot dead by Indonesian antiterrorist police during a raid in Solo, Central
Java. This meant a major blow to the extremist group. However, it still has
the ability to bounce back, according to the analysts.48 Indonesian terrorists
survived for several years because some of them were financed by outsiders
and sometimes they laundered money. The islands surrounding the Celebes
Sea have become highways or what some Americans call “ratlines” for ter-
rorists moving people and materiel to and from Indonesia, Federation of
Malaysia (FM), and the Republic of the Philippines (ROP).49
Up to now, the PRC may perceive the matter on combating global terror-
ism as not yet that serious between both sides of the Taiwan Strait, although
it is a party to the International Convention for Suppression of Terrorist
Bombings (ICSTB), International Convention for the Suppression of the
Financing of Terrorism (ICSFT), etc., and although it has, under the People’s
Bank of China (PBC) set up the China Anti–Money Laundering Monitoring
and Analysis Center (CALMAC) in April 2004, and put an anti–money
laundering law in October 2006, which identified drug trafficking, orga-
nized crime, terrorist crimes, smuggling, corruption and bribe taking, vio-
lating financial management regulations, and financial fraud, into effect
since January 2007. Thus, the U.S. Department of State, in its April 2006
annual report on world terrorism trends and counterterrorism activities,
said that the PRC has been making efforts to block the ROC’s participation
in international counterterrorism and nonproliferation initiatives.50 In one
case, Beijing has opposed Chinese Taipei’s participation is an Asia–Pacific
Economic Cooperation (APEC) initiative to inspect civilian airports in the
region to assess vulnerabilities. Although, under APEC’s economic and
technical cooperation agenda, Chinese Taipei had in May 2006 signed a
MOU committing US$1 million to strengthen human security in areas such
as counterterrorism, health security, emergency preparedness, and energy
security. In another incidence, the PRC balked at joining the Financial Ac-
tion Task Force (FATF), a broad international coalition of 101 countries
whose mission is fighting money laundering by terrorist groups. In this
connection, mainland China’s “refusal to recognize the Egmont Group, an
umbrella body coordinating the activities of over 100 Financial Intelligence
Units (FIUs) worldwide, because the group includes an FIU from Taiwan,
remains a substantial obstacle to joining FATF.”51 The Group has created
118 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

centers to collect information on suspicious or unusual financial activities

from the countries’ financial industries to combat terrorist funding and
other financial crime. In the Taiwan area, the FIU name for it is Money
Laundering Prevention Center (MLPC). Taipei is also a member of the
Steering Committee of the Asia–Pacific Group on money laundering. In
January 2005, a cabinet-level Counterterrorism Office (CTO) was estab-
lished to oversee and coordinate an interagency response to terrorism in the
Taiwan area and the region. In September 2005, the ROC, which promul-
gated the July 2003 Statute Governing Establishment and Management of
Free Ports or the Free Port Initiative, also joined the United States’ Con-
tainer Security Initiative (CSI) with operations in the Gaoxiong Port, so as
to identify and target shipping containers that pose a terrorist risk. Jilong
Port also became a participant in the CSI activities. This will also apply to
Taipei Port, which began its operation in March 2009. And Taipei has ex-
pressed its willingness to join an American “Megaports” program to help
curb trafficking in radioactive materials.52
In another development, in April 2006, the U.S. DOD announced the
name-list of twenty-two Chinese mainland Muslim Uyghur terrorists de-
tained in its Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which is the only American base
in operation on Communist, Cuban soil. Five of them were released in May
2006 and were flown to the Republic of Albania (ROA) for resettlement. As
to the other seventeen Chinese Muslim Uyghurs, they were still deemed
“enemy combatants.”53 In September 2009, it was reported that the United
States planned to transfer eight of them to the Republic of Palau (RP). In
response, the PRC’s MOFA spokesman in a regular press conference made
the following remarks: “Terrorism is the public enemy of the entire man-
kind and international community. The U.S. should proceed from the in-
ternational anti-terrorist cooperation and China–U.S. relations and handle
the Chinese suspects detained in Guantanamo in line with the interna-
tional law and in a prudent, responsible and proper way.”54
To achieve their sacred cause, terrorists could attack a nuclear power
plant, which should be powered by enriched uranium with a cascade of 164
centrifuges. Once purified to a much higher level, atomic or nuclear bombs
can be made.55 Guangdong Province has, for example, the Daya Bay Nuclear
Power Station, which is located east of Shenzhen City or only 50 km away
from Hongkong. There are 97,672 barrels of nuclear fuel waste being stored
on Orchid Island, Taiwan Province.56 To be sure, Fujian Province also has a
Ningde Nuclear Power Company in Fuding County. It will build new nu-
clear power plants. Even without terrorists’ attack, they carry grave security
risks and a horrendous proliferation problem on the global level.57 In short,
a regime on safeguarding nuclear power plants must be created between
both sides of the Taiwan Strait, for two reasons. First, we still live in the
shadow of the April 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 119

the former Soviet Republic, Ukraine. Second, in May 2006, China Daily
(CD) reported that the state-run energy provider, China National Nuclear
Corporation (CNNC), and China Huadian Group (CHG) had signed an
agreement to build six nuclear reactors of 1,000-megawatt capacity in Fu-
jian Province.58 Fortunately, the then American president, Bill J. Clinton, in
January 1998, signed the formal certifications and reports required by U.S.
law to implement the July 1985 Agreement for Cooperation between the
Government of the United States of America and the Government of the
PRC Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
A nuclear war or, for that matter, dumping of low-level radioactive waste,
still cannot be ruled out in the Taiwan Strait.59 Four residents of the Hunan
Province were tried in August 2007 for selling 8 kilograms of uranium.60
The U.S. military has developed a comprehensive operational plan, dubbed
Oplan 5077-04, which includes provisions for the possible use of nuclear
weapons. While Oplan 5077 has been around since the Ronald W. Reagan
presidency, it was elevated from a conceptual plan to an operational plan
with assigned forces and detailed annexes shortly after George W. Bush,
II  took office. The then U.S. president said in April 2001 that the United
States would do “whatever it takes” to defend the ROC. This go-it-alone
plan does not take the ROC military capability and use it as a force multi-
plier.61 This plan is certainly related to his September 2002 new doctrine or
a watershed in American foreign policy since the Truman Doctrine of March
1947, which called for the containment and deterrence of totalitarian Com-
munist regimes worldwide—when threatened, fire first, talk later, in an era
defined by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland.
The Bush document said “we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to
exercise our right of self-defense by acting preemptively” against hostile
states and groups developing weapons of mass destruction.62 Bush also
signed the Military Commissions Act (MCA) into law in October 2006,
which empowers the United States to declare anyone, including American
citizens, without charge as an “unlawful enemy combatant,” a term un-
known in international humanitarian law, and which contradicts the Inter-
national Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which the United States
is a signatory.63 To be sure, leaders of both Washington and Moscow in
September 1998 only signed a joint statement, reaffirming their commit-
ment to ultimately reach the goal of nuclear disarmament.64
In view of some 1,300 ballistic missiles targeting the Taiwan area by the
end of October 2009, a mechanism on evacuating expatriates should be
sought. In March 1996, Tokyo was making such a plan, and, at the same time,
the ROC was holding its first direct presidential election in the 10,000-year
history of China. In April 2006, when the ROC MOND conducted its Chinese
Glory No. 22 War Games, airports in northern Taiwan and two ports, to wit,
Jilong and Suao were simulated as corridors for the evacuation of American
120 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

and Japanese citizens. In this connection, a ceasefire monitoring mechanism

could be added to the evacuation arrangement.
Smuggling between the Taiwan area and mainland China is another is-
sue.65 In May 1985, Haicang Taiwan Businessmen–Investment Zone (HT-
BIZ) was founded in Xiamen, which is facing Jinmen. In January 2001, a
mini-link between Jinmen as well as Xiamen Port and Fuzhou Port of Fu-
jian Province finally began. It was first proposed by the Chinese mainland
in March 1992. But, xiaoemaoyi/small-scale trading between them in
amounts up to US$100,000 began in January 1994, and the weight of the
ship should also not be more than 100 tons.66 In March 1998, the first non-
foreign PRC merchant ship made a port call in Jilong Port via Ishigaki Is-
land of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands.67 In June 2006, residents in Jinmen started
to visit Quanzhou68 in Fujian Province by relying on ferry services. The
ships only fly company flags in deference to political sensibilities. So long
as Taipei does not internationalize or dezincify/desinicize/desinify the Tai-
wan Strait, Beijing can permit ROC-registered merchant vessels to operate
shipping routes across the Strait. In January 2002, Regulations of the PRC
on Ocean International Shipping (OIS) came into force. On March 19,
2004, a day before the ROC presidential election in the Taiwan area, Hatsu
Marine Ltd. of the Evergreen Marine Corporation (EMC), which has been
headquartered in London since January 2002, for the first time, in compli-
ance with Article 58, directly sailed in the same voyage number from else-
where to Gaoxiong Port and, then, to the Chinese mainland’s oldest special
economic zone, Shenzhen, which has a port called Yantian Port. In March
2006, the State Council of the PRC for the first time at the NPC said it plans
to develop Fujian Province into a haixiaxianjingjiqu/“Peaceful Cooperation
Experimental District on the West Coast of the Taiwan Strait,”69 which is
aimed at attracting more businesses and industries from the Taiwan area to
relocate their operations to Fujian. In May 2009, its premier, WEN Jiabao,
approved the plan. It also means that politicians from the Taiwan area can
serve in certain government positions and play politics in Fujian Province.
However, there are side effects. For example, a total of fifty-eight PRC
citizens in the guise of fishermen were nabbed off northeastern Taiwan Is-
land in March 2006. In another development, a search was conducted of a
ROC fishing vessel, which was contracted to bring PRC fishermen over from
a Fujian Province boat at the tacit dividing line in the Taiwan Strait. Twelve
out of the forty workers were using doctored identification cards.70 In re-
sponse to interpellation at the Legislative Yuan (Branch), the ROC’s Coast
Guard Administration (CGA) said in March 2006 that its principal target in
the year 2006 was to fight smuggling.71 Other goals related to this issue are:
conducting better cooperation with the police, strengthening information-
sharing mechanisms, seeking international cooperation, and beefing up
coast guard training.
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 121

Nonmilitary Regimes

These islands of governance, using Robert O. Keohane’s term, are equally

necessary, and there are many of them, including the whaling or panda
protection regime.72 In May 2006, a ROC Coast Guard vessel for the first
time charged a fishing boat from the SRV for violating laws governing wild-
life conservation. It was catching jingtun (dolphins), which are a protected
species,73 in the Taiwan Strait, off Yunlin County. In passing, it should be
noted that the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program facility at Naval Base
Point Loma in San Diego, California, trains Koa, an Atlantic bottlenose
dolphin, to alert American navy handlers to potential terrorists and to find
mines and swimmers in murky waters. In a separate development, in July
2004, melon-headed whales congregated in Hanalei Bay off the Hawaiian
Island of Kakuai. U.S. government scientists, in a April 2006 report, said the
navy ships’ use of medium-frequency sonar during nearby maritime exer-
cises may have contributed to the mass stranding of more than 150 whales,
and one of the marine mammals was found dead after the phenomenon. A
senior consultant with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
said, “[i]t’s time for the Navy to stop this needless infliction of harm.”74 The
same logic applies to the Taiwan Strait.
Beijing has become more conscious about regimes-formation, although
many, if not most, academics and experts are yet to fully understand the term,
international regimes. It already has created the China Maritime Search and
Rescue Center (CMSRC). In June 2004, the CMSRC and China Ocean Ship-
ping Company (COSCO) launched the first antiterror drill, thereby activating
the emergency response mechanism. In June 2004, the first massive maritime
exercise between the PRC and the Hongkong Special Administrative Region
(SAR) was held in waters off Sanya, a harbor-city in the southernmost island
province of Hainan. And, as of July 2005, the largest maritime rescue drill
during peacetime was held in Yangshan Port in Shanghai, involving rescuing
drowning sailors, fire fighting, cleaning up oil pollution, and thwarting a ter-
rorist attack. Maritime officials from the United States, FR, the International
Maritime Organization (IMO) of the UN, and the ASEAN were also invited
to observe the exercise.75 In October 2008, an emergency rescue and disaster
relief joint operation at sea was carried out for the first time between Jinmen
and Xiamen City, Fujian Province.76
In another historic development, as briefly mentioned earlier, PRC naval
vessels including the destroyer Qingdao conducted military search and res-
cue drills with their U.S. counterpart for the first time in September 2006 in
waters off the Port of San Diego, California. These exercises are part of a
joint antiterrorism operation, which was an arrangement reached between
both sides in July 2006. The second phase took place in the SCS in Novem-
ber 2006.77
122 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

On May 1, 2006, the PRC’s central government announced the establish-

ment of a new office under the General Office of the State Council to deal
with emergencies.78 The General Watch Office will issue warnings, gather
information, and coordinate emergency efforts. It will mainly be responsi-
ble for disaster prevention and control, industrial safety and accidents,
major epidemics, terrorist activities, and other disruptive incidents. To be
sure, a 100 meter-high mega-tsunami took place in northeastern Taiwan at
least 12,000 years ago, destroyed vast tracts of land and wiped out entire
populations across the Pacific Rim.79 Tsunami also struck Gaoxiong and
Tainan areas in April and May 1781, and it took place in December 1867
off Jilong. In December 2007, a ROC professor warned that a tsunami would
follow an earthquake, which originated in the Manila Trench, damaging
southwestern, if not northeastern, parts of Taiwan. To be sure, in May 2006,
a powerful earthquake struck near the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga
(KOT), triggering tsunami warnings for as far away as the Republic of Fiji
Islands (ROJI) and New Zealand (NZ). Yet, word of the imminent danger
never reached the tiny country closest to the epicenter.80 In April 2006, the
PRC’s China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) for the first time
issued a plan on three-scale emergency response for Chinese mainland
tourists going abroad.81 In the same month, it activated the emergency re-
sponse mechanism when the capital of Solomon Islands (SI), Honiara, had
a riot, severely affecting the local China Town. The PRC embassy in Inde-
pendent State of Papua New Guinea (ISPNG) managed to gather around
500 Chinese from mainland China, including five Hongkong compatriots,
and settled them in the SI police headquarters.82
A regime related to satellites must be formed. At the end of 2006, the
Commission of Science and Technology and Industry for National Defense
(CSTIND) said its scientists plan to put into orbit the Haiyang-1B
(Ocean-1B), an advanced version of the Haiyang-1A oceanic color satellite,
so as to monitor marine environment and disasters and to observe sea sur-
face height, waves, currents, and temperatures, including the Taiwan Strait.
In April 2007, the Haiyang-1B was successfully sent into orbit. Right after
that, Beijing said it would develop five more oceanic satellites in the me-
dium term, for the purpose of developing marine economy, providing ma-
rine disaster early warning, and safeguarding the country’s legitimate ma-
rine rights.83 There are only five countries operating more than thirty
oceanic satellites in orbit around the planet. The PRC Ministry of Civil Af-
fairs (MCA) announced in August 2006 that three small disaster-monitor-
ing satellites would be launched in 2007 and another five satellites will be
shot into orbit in 2010. In July 2006, both Beijing and Tokyo, after ending
their sixth round of ECS talks, agreed in principle to set up a maritime
hotline to deal with the unpredictable situations in the ECS, for example.
In this connection, during the fifteenth round of talks between Taipei and
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 123

Tokyo in July 2005, both sides also expressed an interest in setting up a

hotline or a permanent mechanism for resolving bilateral fishery disputes.
Indeed, such a line is needed, because in June 2006 the ROC’s CGA said the
Japanese coast guard attempted to board a fishing boat from the ROC,
shooting paint balls and spraying it with water.84
Environmental regimes are certainly needed.85 In October 2006, it was
reported that scientists have found 200 “dead zones” in oceans, places
where pollution threatens fish, other marine life, and the people who de-
pend on them for living. The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) in Janu-
ary 2007 said a total of 149,000 square km of sea failed to meet acceptable
standards in the year 2006, and this reflects an increase of 10,000 square km
over the previous year. In addition, a total of 12.9 million tons of waste was
discharged into the sea. The SOA will also limit the building of man-made
islands, especially the linking of islands to the land, because they can alter
sea currents and thus change (the life) of marine animals, water flows, and
the lay of the ocean floor.86 Another climate expert in the West warned that
the world’s oceans are becoming more acidic, because they have absorbed
a third of carbon dioxide (CO²), threatening sea life or marine organisms
and the Earth’s fragile food chain.87 In April 2006, the Chinese Petroleum
Corporation (CPC) of the ROC said it had discovered undersea natural gas
off the coast of Gaoxiong County, and it is expected to begin mass produc-
tion of gas from the ten wells beginning the year 2009.88 In May 2009, it
was reported that both sides of the Taiwan Strait will sign a contract before
the end of the year to exploit and extract oil.89 The field is assessed to con-
tain enough for commercial exploration for ten years, and a 120 km under-
sea pipeline will be built to convey the natural gas to a refinery in Yon-
ganxiang in the same county. Both Taipei and Beijing can consult the
framework convention for an international environmental regime in the
SCS, which includes: a forum to raise issues, define the problem, and set
criteria and standards for a solution; a way to formulate prevention and
remedial policies; a mechanism to set targets and timetables for imple-
menting solutions; and an ability to ensure compliance by annual reviews
and financial incentives.90 Seismic survey in the Taiwan Strait basin should
be undertaken, with environmental protection of coral reefs, mangrove
forests, and seaweed beds in mind.91 The CPC said it will implement the
December 1997 Kyoto Protocol (KP), emphasizing more on promoting
environmental accounting system and greenhouse management, in order to
attain its goal of sustainable (and sound) growth.92
Passengers and crew members on ships sailing through or traversing the
Taiwan Strait could be stranded. Aircraft flying over the Strait could also
break up, due to metal fatigue. In May 2002, an ROC China Airlines com-
mercial airplane fell into waters off Pescadores.93 The April 28, 2006 edition
of Taipei Times showed a photograph, captioned “Acting Up.” The following
124 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

story was printed on page 1: “Three men ‘stranded’ in the middle of Xinjie/
New Street River in Taoyuan County wave for help as part of a rescue exer-
cise yesterday. The drill proved too realistic, as passersby thought they were
in danger and flooded the fire department with calls.”
Fishing boats registered in the Taiwan area and mainland China do use
the Strait as a fishing resource.94 In September 1990, the Red Cross Societies
representing both sides of the Taiwan Strait signed the Jinmen Accord,
which contains provisions for the repatriation of individuals, criminals, and
suspects who illegally enter the territory of the other. However, they have
not touched upon other issues, such as what to do with the jurisdiction of
fishing boats, which are held up by the other side’s navy or which hoist PRC
or even ROC flags. For example, in July 1994, a Chinese mainland anti-
smuggling cutter, Xiagongqi No. 2, shot at the Taiwan area fishing boat,
Xinhuaguo No. 12, in the contiguous zone of the Taiwan area. Then, the
ROC navy held up and detained the former.95 A bicoastal Chinese mecha-
nism should also be set up when crimes are being committed in the Strait.
In April 2006, a fishing boat from Hainan Province was ransacked by a
foreign armed ship close to the ROP in the SCS.96

Globalizing the Taiwan Strait

Experience to the Strait(s) of Malacca?

There are over 116 straits in the world.97 Among them, sixteen are consid-
ered most crucial strategic chokepoints to the United States.98 Interest-
ingly, the Taiwan Strait is not among them. But, the Strait(s) of Malacca
and the Strait of Lombok are, because more than half of the world’s
maritime trade passes through them or through the Strait of Malacca and
the SCS pass more ships every year than through the Panama and Suez
Canals combined. For example, in the year 2006, more than 65,000 ships
passed through the Straits.99 There are many similar developments be-
tween them. For example, the Taiwan Strait is a hot spot, according to the
Pentagon. In June 2005, Lloyd’s Joint War Committee, a London-based
advisory body for insurers, based on the Aegis Defense Services (ADS)’s
assessment, again designated the Malacca Strait(s) as a “war risk” zone,
adding the sea lane to a list of twenty-one areas such as the Republic of
Iraq (ROI), that it deemed high risk and vulnerable to war, strikes, and
terrorism, although the Straits were deleted from the list in April 2006.100
As another example, in October 2005, an accident took place in the Tai-
wan Strait, off Xinzhu County, Taiwan Province, whereby a Korean chem-
ical ship sunk. In April 2006, a Panama-registered oil super-tanker of the
Republic of Singapore (ROS), Suva, exploded in the Strait(s) of Malacca,
and four mainland Chinese workers died. It seems that experience of pre-
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 125

venting accidents of one kind or another can be globalized. There are also
differences. For example, the PRC does not have to use the Taiwan Strait
to transport its oil. Yet, about 80 percent of its oil from the Middle East
and elsewhere has to use the Strait(s) of Malacca.101 As another example,
the Taiwan Strait, unlike the SCS,102 is not festered with pirates, at least
not for the last several decades. Thus, it is not necessary for the Japan
government to offer patrol boats to either or both sides of the Taiwan
Strait. On June 1, 2006, Tokyo announced for the first time that it would
provide other countries with weapons, Jarkata being the first one to re-
ceive three patrol boats for use in the Malacca to combat against pirates,
although the problem has been mitigated.103 It is also not necessary for
both Taipei and Beijing to ask the International Maritime Bureau (IMB)
of the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), an ocean
crime watchdog, or the Information Sharing Center (ISC) in Singapore,
which began its operation in November 2006, to provide assistance and
information related to pirates in the Taiwan Strait.
To be sure, there are many definitions or varieties for the shifting, over-
used concept,104 globalization, to name twenty of them or what I called the
driving forces of globalization, in alphabetical order:105 Americanization;
deterritorialization; digitalization; globalization as a “compression of the
world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole”;
globalization as “a respatialization of social life opens up new knowledge
and engages key policy challenges of current history in a constructively
critical manner”; globalization as territorialization; globalization as “the
spread of transplanetary—and in recent times more particularly supraterri-
torial—connections between people”; globalization in terms of communi-
cation, market, and direct; globalization as hybridization; interdependence;
glocalization; internationalization; liberalization; modernization; privati-
zation; regionalization; reterritorialization, weaponization; universaliza-
tion; and Westernization. Others have defined globalization as integration
and centralization. Anthony Giddens was one of the early well-known writ-
ers who tried to define globalization. To him, it is “[t]he intensification of
worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that
local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice
versa.” It is “action at distance.”106 To this author, globalization is a capital-
ist tool. In sum, each definition is not a catch-all. I will discuss several of
them, which are applicable to the Taiwan Strait.
Deterritorialization can be discussed along with territorialization. The
former is put forward by a professor teaching in the UK. The latter was my
finding when I realized that globalization could still be territorialization.
For example, many countries, including the developing ones, want to
launch satellites. Once the satellites are in outer space, they occupy a space.
Each satellite is part of that particular country, and each one of them can
126 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

monitor the Taiwan Strait and the Strait(s) of Malacca. As another example,
landlocked countries also can build artificial islands, installations, and
structures as well as declare safety zones in the high seas. As a third example,
an island is up for sale. A capitalist from another country bought it, only to
be nationalized or confiscated by the first country. In short, both deterrito-
rialization and territorialization cannot be ruled out.
If globalization were to be defined as interdependence, it is acceptable. This
is because both sides of the Taiwan Strait have to cooperate and coordinate
their words and deeds. In other words, they cannot do without the other.
Globalization could be defined as internationalization. If so, would
Beijing be willing to internationalize the Strait, if it denies that an inter-
national navigation route exists? By the same token, would Indonesia and
Malaysia plus the ROS be willing to do the same? If they do not under-
stand what international regimes are, they will mistakenly think of their
sovereignty first.
Modernization is possible, because parties involved have to move for-
ward by understanding and accepting new (scientific) knowledge, such as
the definition of international regimes. They may also have to possess better
equipment in coping with, for example, haze, long-range transport of air
pollutants, or land-based pollution of the ocean, sea, etc.
Several questions can be posed about privatizing the Strait, as globaliza-
tion can be defined as privatization, which, in turn, may mean territorial-
ization. Is it possible? Who has an interest to privately manage the tidal
Strait? Do they include owners of underwater turbines, which is a new
source of kinetic energy and which can use the tide to produce electricity?107
Should more or fewer parties be involved? Would it be profitable? Would
there be more or fewer problems? Would privatization further mitigate an-
archy, tension, (scientific) uncertainty, and mistrust? Would it facilitate
sharing of resources, including wells in the Strait?108 Can the private owner
of the Strait charge toll fees?109 If so, how much is fair? In this connection,
is privatization similar to my definition, which equates globalization to a
capitalist tool? They are similar but with one major distinction. Privatiza-
tion refers to businessmen in the ROC and the PRC who want to jointly
manage the Strait and operate the ports and harbors, whereas capitalists in
the world, such as those belonging to the Group of 8 (G-8) or G-20 may
pool all the money for the purpose of privatizing the Taiwan Strait and the
Strait(s) of Malacca. This possibility cannot be ruled out, if the condition
for leasing is only for, say, ninety-nine years.
Universalization could be the ultimate goal. This is because all the in-
ternational regimes should be applied here and there in the world. When
universalization has been achieved, Americanization and Westernization,
for example, should have disappeared, due to emergence of a global vil-
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 127

Major Findings

Many findings can be noted. First, when we write from a certain perspective,
we can have a different interpretation of the same source materials. A geo-
political study of the Taiwan Strait can yield findings, which differ from a
geoeconomic perspective. Our study relies on the international or bicoastal
Chinese governance approach. Once having taken this perspective, one has
to touch upon the indispensable tool, namely, international regimes or bi-
coastal Chinese regimes as the context may be. When the concept regime is
applied, it does not matter whether there is the U-shaped line; the tacit di-
viding line or coordinates since January 1984, or even the median line be-
tween mainland China and the Taiwan area; EEZ; continental shelf; con-
tiguous zone; maritime area for the navigation; such as the PRC’s Expansion
Project of Pinghu Oil and Gas Field in the ECS from March 1 to September
30, 2006, but the operation which does not cover the disputed area be-
tween the mainland and Japan, etc. By the same token, the One China
Principle, as insisted by the PRC since the mid-1950s110 or, for that matter,
the One China policy, as adopted by the United States since the mid-1970s,
has to be set aside, because parties concerned under urgency have to resolve
critical issues first and they will have no time to negotiate or bargain with
each other. The same thing speaks for whether the Strait is managed by ei-
ther side of the Taiwan Strait, both Taipei and Beijing, or simply by Taipei
or Beijing, whether the coast guard of the Taiwan area is called “ROC Coast
Guard” or “ROC Taiwan Coast Guard,”111 or whether the (dynamic) status
quo can be maintained.112 By the same token, it does not matter whether
Beijing can, in five years’ time or less, launch its first aircraft carrier, which
is to be docked at the Yalong Bay of Sanya City, Hainan Province, but which
can be dispatched to, as described by an American academics, the danger-
ous Taiwan Strait.113 This is because pollution at sea, for example, has no
boundary. Straddling stocks of fish, highly migratory fish stocks, and
shrimps will spawn and breed when the time comes.
Second, one political observer wrote the following words: “As with all
Southeast Asian nations, anticolonial legacy is still strong and they are sen-
sitive to actions they perceive to be an intrusion on their sovereignty.”114 For
example, the Piracy Reporting Center of the IMB, which was created in Oc-
tober 1992, also does not want foreign intervention.115 The ROS hosts an
Information Sharing Center (ISC) for the Japanese-initiated group, Re-
gional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery
Against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), which was launched in November 2004.
In April 2006, Minister of Transport, CHAN Kong Choy, of the federal gov-
ernment of Malaysia since July 2003, said the PRC is willing to assist his
country in defending the Strait(s) of Malacca by providing intelligence and
training of Malaysian personnel, adding the latter will not intrude into the
128 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

former’s sovereignty.116 To be certain, the sovereignty issue will remain sen-

sitive, if government officials do not fully understand international regimes,
they will be unable to transcend their basic positions for the sake of all.
Third, arguably, it is possible to say that the more regimes at the interna-
tional level, the lesser degree of anarchy, tension, (scientific) uncertainty,
and mistrust. However, the regimes do not constitute a whole picture. Na-
tions, countries, or states, international organizations, international institu-
tions, etc., may still pose a threat, challenge, etc., to the regimes. In other
words, some regimes may have to be set aside, frail, ineffective, be derailed,
violated, break down, fail, etc. For example, when there is renewed armed
conflict between Taiwan’s Jinmen and Mazu as well as mainland China, the
currency exchange system between them which started in October 2005
may have to be suspended.117
Fourth, a Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking Accord was signed in Manila
in March 2005 among China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC),
the Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation (VOGC) and the Philippine National
Oil Company (PNOC). The joint marine seismic undertaking by the oil
companies of the PRC, SRV, and the Philippines in a part of the SCS has
been considered an important measure to implement the Declaration on
the Conduct of Parties in the SCS. According to the PRC’s MOFA, it will
make historic contributions to the peace, stability, and development in the
SCS, adding that Beijing has been actively discussing with relevant ASEAN
on ways to conduct pragmatic cooperation in the SCS in a spirit of “shelv-
ing differences and engaging in common development” in recent years, and
is devoted to making the SCS a sea of friendship and cooperation linking
mainland China and ASEAN.118 Can this kind of spirit be applied to the
Taiwan Strait? From a regime perspective, it seems rosy, because state-owned
petroleum companies have already signed contracts to explore the Taiwan
Strait. However, it should be noted that, in March 2009, the Philippine
president signed the Republic Act 9522 or the Philippine Archipelagic Base-
line Law, a move that chilled Beijing–Manila ties.
There are other areas of cooperation and coordination. China has 7,372
islands over 500 square meters each and is allowed to claim domination of
3  million square km according to related international laws, its territorial
land amounting to 380,000 km. The State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping
(SBSM) of the PRC in February 2006 said it will in the coming five years, us-
ing a high-precision stereo mapping satellite for the purpose of quickly cap-
turing geographic information, enforce the mapping of its offshore islands
and reefs, so as to maintain its marine rights and interests. The ROC should
work with the PRC in this endeavor, including surveying the Diaoyutai/Sen-
kakus and Suyan Islet/Leodo (in Korean)/Socotra Rock. In February 2007, it
was reported that the mainland is selecting pilots for its first 7,000-m bathy-
scaphe, which was to be tested in Qingdao in the second half of 2007. The
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 129

bathyscaphe is designed by the No. 702 Institute of China Shipbuilding In-

dustry Corporation (CSIC). This 8-m-long, 3.4-m-wide, and 3-m-tall ellip-
soid bathyscaphe is made of special titanium alloy, capable of holding 710
tons of extra weight even at 7,000 meters (m) below water, which means that
it will be able to reach 99.8 percent of the seafloors in the world. Currently,
only the United States, Japan, France, and Russia are able to build bathy-
scaphes, but none of their bathyscaphes can dive deeper than 6,500 m.119
Fifth, a measure for extinguishing fire on a ship may have to be formed.
In October 2004, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for the first time held
a “China–Philippines Cooperation 2004” table top exercises with the Mari-
time Safety Administration (MSA) of the PRC, simulating an oil tanker vessel
with twenty-eight crew members on board, developing a fire somewhere in
the middle of the SCS.120 Both sides of the Taiwan Strait have to draw up a
contingency plan for search and rescue (SAR) cooperation in case of need.
Sixth, another regime may have to be set up to deal with underwater
weapons, which can carry multiple-nuclear-warheads, in the Strait. Moscow
has concrete submarine C (or C-subs) designed to master the waves by set-
ting on the ocean floor. The heavier-than-water C-subs, operating as silent
predators, would lie at impossible depths and attach surface vessels with
vertically launched torpedoes.121 In May 2006, Moscow succeeded in
launching its first satellite from underwater. The Islamic Republic of Iran
(IRI) in April 2006 announced that it has test-fired what it described as the
world’s fastest domestically produced underwater Fajr-3 missile or hoot/
whale torpedo, which is better than the Russian-made VA-111 Shkval/
Squall, tested in August 1995, which can evade sonar and outpace any en-
emy warship, in the Gulf of Iran.122 Western nations are concerned about
the IRI’s missile capabilities, amid a standoff over the Iranian nuclear pro-
gram, which is, to this day, aiming at building atomic bombs.
A related regime can be set up so as to regularly fund research in develop-
ing more sophisticated technology, such as underwater robots and snake
robots. Since the 1990s, the Shenyang Institute of Automation (SIA) has
developed underwater robots, and it has invented mainland China’s first
cable-controlled remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and autonomous robot
vehicle (AUV).123 Its underwater robot fleet includes two types of AUVs,
which can dive to a depth of 6,000 m under water and which are useful for
exploring seabed mineral resources and helping maintain offshore oil rigs.
To be sure, Beijing and Moscow since the mid-1990s have again joined in
upgrading the deep sea robot that can operate at a depth of 7,000 m.124
Snake robots are an alternative to sniffer dogs, the best search tool for
rescue workers so far. Snake robots are designed to carry cameras and
electronic sensors and can be controlled with a joystick and which wrig-
gle with the help of small electric motors, or servos, commonly used by
hobbyists in model airplanes. An American professor has put years into
130 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

developing robots that behave like the slippery reptiles in a bid to im-
prove high-profile or postdisaster search and rescue operations. Other
snake-like robots have being developed mainly at universities. However,
his robot, which comes in the size of a human arm or smaller, can climb
up and around pipes in flooded houses. Depending on funding, it was
reported that his rescue-related robots may not be ready for another five
to ten years.125
Such robots are needed in the future. This is because the idea of build-
ing a tunnel under the Strait was initially conceived in late 1995, when a
mainland Chinese academic was visiting a United Kingdom university.126
Seminars on the subject have been held between both sides of the Taiwan
Strait, and Beijing has the money to carry out this project.127 The Fujian
provincial government in May 2006 announced that it is planning to first
link Fuqing/Pingtang Island of the mainland with Xinzhu County of Tai-
wan.128 In March 2007, the Fujian provincial government made the prepa-
ratory moves by inviting close to 100 academics and experts to make
suggestions. In April of the same year, three options surfaced.129 If there
were a direct link,130 it takes less than four hours by sea from, for example,
Xiamen, via Jinmen to Taipei. By air, it is within thirty minutes. And, if it
is by car, the time spent for driving between the two places is within thirty
minutes.131 Due to lack of a direct shipping link, up to December 2008, it
would have taken six or seven days for agricultural products from south-
ern Taiwan to reach the Chinese mainland.132 As for air service, two days
are required.
Besides, it should be noted that there are undersea communication cables
in the Taiwan Strait, which are lying on the surface of the seabed down to
about 4,000 m.133 A powerful earthquake in December 2006 hit southern
Taiwan damaging a group of cables linking Asia to the rest of the world.
Millions of people suffered Internet and telephone blackouts. There are also
underwater cities near Pescadores and Okinawa; some of them were possi-
bly submerged at the end of the last Ice Age.134 An underwater hotel could
also be built in the Strait in the future.135 This is not impossible, because,
scheduled to be open in the near future, the world’s first underwater hotel,
Hydropolis Qingdao, could be completed by Crescent Hydropolis Resorts
PLC of the UK in Qingdao City’s Laoshan District, Shangdong Province.
Seventh, in April 2006, on its way to the Middle East, a Panama-registered
oil super-tanker owned by the ROS, Suva, exploded in the Strait(s) of Mal-
acca, and four mainland Chinese workers died. Such an accident or inci-
dent could also take place in the Taiwan Strait. However, from the website
of the PRC government, we did not see help from the ROC government,136
although it does have the National Disasters Prevention and Protection
Commission (NDPPC) under the Executive Yuan (Branch), the Central Di-
saster Response Center (CDRC), and the National Fire Agency (NFA) of the
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 131

Ministry of the Interior (MOI), etc. There should be more cooperation and
coordination between all the heavy-users of the Taiwan Strait and the
Strait(s) of Malacca.
Eighth, regime formation has to do with urgency, insecurity, convergent
expectation, and perception. Thus, it is necessary to mention the following
possible development regarding the Taiwan Strait, whereby we do not need
regimes at sea. There was no such strait since ancient times. However, due
to tectonic plate shift, a strait eventually developed. Yet, according to some
scientists in mainland China, Taiwan, the United States, and Japan, each
year the east coast of Taiwan Island has been moving 7 or 8 centimeters
toward mainland China, and, after several million years, the Strait will dis-
appear again in 15,000 years.137 In short, the regimes for the Taiwan Strait
will no longer be needed, should it disappear.
Ninth, a regime may be needed to salvage ancient vessels. In August 1987,
a Song dynasty ship was discovered in waters off Chuanshan Archipelgo,
Guangdong Province. The ship is estimated to be more than US$100 bil-
lion.138 There could also be valuable sunken ships at the bottom of the Tai-
wan Strait. How to salvage them intact requires knowledge, skill, etc.
Tenth, a regime should be created for a man-made reef. In May 2006, U.S.
divers from the Pensacola Naval Air Station, Gulf of Mexico, got the first
underwater look at the retired USS Oriskany, which became the world’s larg-
est man-made reef for divers and marine life.139 Taipei is usually slow when
it comes to protecting its coral reefs. In May 2006, members of the Taiwan-
ese Coral Reef Society, Society of Wilderness, etc., called upon the ROC’s
Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), the CGA, the Ministry of
Transportation and Communications (MOTC), and the Council of Agricul-
ture (COA) to establish an agency exclusively devoted to the protection of
coral reefs in waters near Taiwan and to the removal of underwater wreck-
age, so as to spur new coral growth in those areas.140
In March 2009, it was reported that a desert in the seabed of the Taiwan
Strait was found, and there was enough sand to be used by builders of
houses on both sides of the Taiwan Strait for more than 100 years.141 Per-
haps another regime should be set up.

Concluding Remarks

In the twenty-first century, we simply cannot neglect nor ignore interna-

tional regimes or bicoastal Chinese regimes, because the study of interna-
tional governance will replace the realism/neorealism paradigm and other
schools of thought, including Constructivism or the Social Construction
school of thought,142 in ten to fifteen years.143 Moreover, the central govern-
ment in each country may sometimes need the help of, for example, NGOs.
132 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

Even the UN since December 1997 has a list of some 1,500 NGOs which
may be invited to attend certain workshops, meetings, conferences, etc.
Sovereignty is increasingly at bay. The globalization process will con-
tinue. Human beings have been globalized, since there were only Adam and
Eve to begin with. Since the creation of the World Trade Organization
(WTO) in January 1995, the momentum for the globalization process has
been accelerated. Recognition of this trend is important, because both sides
of the Taiwan Strait will be able to focus more on cooperation and coordi-
nation than conflict. Since the early 1990s, Beijing began to resolve its
border problems with other countries. As of August 2006, the mainland has
signed twelve border treaties or agreements with twelve other countries. The
remaining unsettled ones are with ROI and Kingdom of Bhutan (KOB). If
the Strait is peaceful, tranquil, equitable, and sustainable, both Northeast
Asia and Southeast Asia, if not other areas, will be benefited.144


   1.  See Confidence-building Measures; Successful Cases and Implications for

the Taiwan Strait, sponsored by New Taiwanese Cultural Foundation in cooperation
with Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, dated January 16–17, 2008,
at the Westin Taipei.
   2.  Taipei Times (hereinafter TT) (Taipei), May 20, 2006, p. 6 and en.wikipedia.
   3.  Jiefangjunbao (hereinafter JFJB) (Beijing), February 25, 2009, p. 6.
   5.  Phiphat Tangsubkul, An Asian Viewpoint on the Status of Straits in East Asia,
no date, no publisher, p. 10.
   6.  This means that it takes a half-day to reach from the mainland coast to the
Taiwan coast. See United Daily News (hereinafter UDN) (Taipei), May 17, 2009, p. A5.
   7., dated October
16, 2005.
   8.  Malaysia maintains the Maritime Enforcement Agency (MEA), which is
headquartered at Tabuan Jaya.
   9.  Other nearby competing ports include Ningbo Port and Suzhou Port. See
UDN, November 1, 2005, p. A5. A Greater Xiamen Port, including Haicang Port, was
formed in January 2005. See ibid., December 22, 2005, p. A13.
  10., dated
April 28, 2006.
  11., dated 2009-03-04 09:50:46.
  13.  Quoted in Winberg Chai and May-lee Chai, eds., Chinese Mainland and Tai-
wan: A Study of Historical, Cultural, Economic and Political Relations, with Documents,
2nd edition (Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1996), p. 160 and
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 133

Congressional Quarterly, China: U.S. Policy since 1945 (Washington, DC: Congressional
Quarterly, 1980), p. 88.
  14.  UDN, December 11, 2007, p. A10.
  15.  China Times (hereinafter CT) (Taipei), May 1, 2006, p. A15.
  16.  Congressional Quarterly (note 12), p. 114.
  17.  China Post (hereinafter CP) (Taipei), March 27, 2006, p. 1; CT, March 27,
2006, p. A4; and UDN, March 28, 2006, p. A15.
  18.  Zhongguorenminjiefangjunquanshi (The History of the Chinese PLA) (Vol.1)
(Beijing: Junshikexuechubanshe, January 2001), p. 358.
  19.  Liberty Times (hereinafter LT) (Taipei), March 5, 2006, p. A3.
  20.  Congressional Quarterly (note 12), p. 187–188. See also www.globalsecurity
.org/military/ops/taiwan_strait.htm, mentioning the year 1976. Another source said
January 1, 1979, because the United States established diplomatic relations with the
People’s Republic of China (PRC). See my book coauthored with Martin L. Lasater,
Taiwan’s Security in a Post-Deng Xiaoping Era (London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2000),
p. 178.
  21., LT, March 5, 2006,
p. A3, and CT, March 8, 2006, p. A10.
  22.  John F. Copper, Taiwan: Nation-State or Province? 4th edition (Boulder, CO:
Westview Press), p. xi.
  23.  See my article, “The Chinese (Broken) U-shaped Line in the South China
Sea: Points, Lines, and Zones,” Contemporary Southeast Asia (Singapore), vol. 25,
No. 3 (2003), pp. 405–430. In January 1998, the Republic of China (ROC)’s Legisla-
tive Yuan (Branch) decided not to mention the term, historic waters, nor the line,
from the January 1998 Statute on Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone as well as the
Statute on Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf. See UDN, Janu-
ary 3, 1998, p. 4; January 7, 1998, p. 11, and January 10, 1998, p. 11 and CT, January
8, 1998, p. 8 and January 11, 1998, p. 8. The ROC in February 2006 began building
an airport in Taiping/Itu Aba Island. It may take two years to finish building it.
However, Beijing is still maintaining the U-shaped line.
  24.  For the exact coordinates, see my article, “The Choppy Taiwan Strait:
Changing Political and Military Issues,” Korean Journal of Defense Analysis (herein-
after KJDA), vol. XI, no. 1 (Summer 1999), pp. 39–66 at p. 40. See also ibid.,
p.  46. See also Lasater and Yu, pp. 153–154. This line can also be called the
imaginary line, which was initiated by the United States with the signing of the
December 1954 Sino–U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty. See ibid., p. 45. In December
2007, a former ranking official of mainland China said that, in early 1990s, JIANG
Zemin agreed to meet LEE Teng-hui in the middle line of the Taiwan Strait. How-
ever, the latter chickened out. See
WOR1/4128462.shtml, dated December 7, 2007. In December 2007, it was re-
ported on Beijing’s plan to draw up an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)
within the Taiwan Strait to submit to the International Civil Aviation Organiza-
tion (ICAO) and pass it on to other countries. ADIZ is an area of airspace usually
along a national boundary within which identification of all aircraft is required
for national security reasons. Germany has the world’s most modern research ves-
sel or floating laboratory, Maria S. Merian, which explores the northern seas along
the ice rims. See CP, June 11, 2006, p. 3.
134 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

  25.  However, the dividing line was politically broken in June 1991, when state-
owned vessels from mainland China crossed it in an effort to exercise their power
in handling the Yinwanghao incident. See ibid., pp. 46–47. In other words, do Jin-
men and Mazu belong to Taipei’s jurisdiction?
  26.  Jeanette Greenfield wrote: “if the breadth of the strait is wider than twice the
breadth of the territorial sea declared by the coastal state, the sea area outside the
territorial sea should be open sea. The Taiwan Strait was held to conform to this
situation.” See her book, China’s Practice in the Law of the Sea (Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1992), pp. 310–312.
  27.  TT, December 1, 2007, p. 1.
  28.  Just before the Hongkong handover, naval ships from the mainland and the
United Kingdom confronted each other off the British colony.
  29.  TT, April 30, 2006, p. 3.
  32.  Rorden Wilkinson, “Introduction,” The Global Governance Reader (London:
Routledge, 2005), pp. 1–22, especially p. 1. John Braithwaite and Peter Drahos
studied range of regulatory regimes that currently impinge on global businesses,
which come from transnational interest groups, including associations of progres-
sive firms attempting to impose the same costs for environmental and social stan-
dards on their competitors and traditional consumer groups, labor groups, environ-
mentalists, etc. See Craig N. Murphy, “Global Governance: Poorly Done and Poorly
Understood,” in ibid., pp. 90–104, especially p. 95.
  33.  This is similar to a bottom-up system of representation. See ibid., p. 8.
  34.  Friedrich V. Kratochwil, Rules, Norms, and Decisions: On the Conditions of
Practical and Legal Reasoning in International Relations and Domestic Affairs (Cam-
bridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 60. This is because we are talking
about a given area or islands in Robert O. Keohane’s term.
  35.  Alain Marciano and Jean-Michel Josselin, eds., The Economics of Harmonizing
European Law (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2002), pp. 7–9.
  36.  CT, March 5, 2009, p. A10.
  37.  For mechanisms of global governance, see James N. Rosenau, “Governance
in the Twenty-first Century” in Wilkinson (note 31), pp. 45–67.
  38.  Decision-making a mechanism. See, for example, Johan Lammers, “The
Mechanism of Decision-making under the Vienna Convention and the Montreal
Protocol for the Protection of the Ozone Layer” in Gerard Kreijen et al., eds., State,
Sovereignty, and International Governance (London: Oxford University Press, 2002).
  39., dated
May 17, 2004. It was reported in April 2006 that useful intelligence to the ROC
amounted to only 37 in one year, out of more than 300,000 pieces collected. See
CT, April 5, 2006, p. A12.
&kindid, dated April 16, 2009. See also JFJB, January 23, 2007, p. 11 and December
26, 2008, p. 4.
  41.  W. Michael Reisman, “The Regime of Straits and National Security,” Ameri-
can Journal of International Law, vol. 74, no. 1 (1980), pp. 48–76. The author argued
that freedom of navigation under the United Nations (UN) Law of the Sea
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 135

(UNCLOS)’s Article 38(2) on rights of transit passage does not include freedom of
submerged transit through territorial waters in straits. See pp. 48, 52–54, 62–64,
66–77, and 69–75. Authoritative American sources stated that “[s]hallow estuaries
of large rivers are among the world’s most difficult geophysical environments, where
only relatively small, highly manoeuverable, and properly ballasted submarines can
survive.” Cited in Douglas Brubaker and Willy Ostreng, “The Military Impact on
Regime Formation for the Northern Sea Route,” in Davor Vidas and Willy Ostreng,
eds., Order for the Oceans at the Turn of the Century (The Hague: Kluwer Law Interna-
tional, 1999), Ch. 19, especially p. 271. Regarding the issue of submerged passage,
the Russian and American practices diverge. The latter relies on rare limited stealth,
and the former would only quietly protest in its Arctic Straits, due to pressures from
international trade. See p. 282.
  42.  CT, December 3, 2005, p. A13 and March 4, 2006, p. A15.
  43.  Washington said Taipei, as a member of the World Trade Organization
(WTO), has to allow its member economies to use the Strait. See my article (note
22), p. 47. See also Kenneth Dombroski, Peacekeeping in the Middle East as an Inter-
national Regime (London: Routledge, 2006).
  44., dated October 5, 2006.
  45.  Guojiribao (hereinafter GJRI) (Sarawak, Malaysia), August 26, 2007, p. A17.
  46.  See, for example, William M. Carpenter, “Terrorism and Piracy: Converging
Maritime Threats in East and South Asia,” American Journal of Chinese Studies,
vol. 11, no. 2 (October 2004), pp. 119–132.
  47.  TT, April 30, 2006, p. 5.
  48.  Ibid., June 17, 2007, p. 5.
  49.  Ibid., March 7, 2006, p. 9.
  50.  Ibid., April 30, 2006, p. 1.
  51.  Ibid.
  52.  For related books, see Tae-woo LEE, ed., World Shipping and Port Development
(New York: Palgrave, 2005) and Kevin Cullinane, ed., Asian Container Ports: Develop-
ment, Competition and Cooperation (New York: Palgrave, 2006).
  53.  TT, May 7, 2006, p. 1.
  54. Later in the same
month, Communist Chinese ambassador to the Republic of Albania (ROA) said the
five Chinese from the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in the northwest of China were
members of the terrorist organization, East Turkistan. The five Chinese fought on
the side of Taliban during the Afghan War and had close relations with al-Qaeda.
The United States had asked about twenty countries to offer settlements to the de-
tainees. But, countries such as Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, and Turkey turned
down the request. See
html, dated May 9, 2006. In the May 2006 antiterror Multilateral Planners Confer-
ence, which was attended by ninety-one countries, the United States Pentagon did
not invite the mainland.
  55.  CP, April 29, 2006, p. 1 and May 14, 2006, p. 1. In April 2006, the Interna-
tional Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Tehran had the enriched ura-
  56.  Ibid., April 29, 2006, p. 20.
  57.  Ibid., p. 6.
136 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

  58.  By the end of 2006, the Chinese mainland’s nuclear power generation ca-
pacity will be over 9,100 megawatts. By 2020, the capacity could reach 40,000 mega-
watts or 4 percent of its total power output. See TT, May 20, 2006, p. 4. A French
study showed that there was no evidence of an increase in the rate of childhood
leukemia in the vicinity of twenty-three French nuclear plants between 1990 and
2001. See CP, June 10, 2006, p. 11.
  59.  In October 2006, it was reported that the State Administration of Quality Super-
vision, Inspection and Quarantine (SAQSIQ) suspended or revoked the qualifications
of seventeen foreign companies from exporting waste materials to the mainland.
  60.  See Hua Daily News (hereinafter SHDN) (Sarawak, Malaysia), August 25,
2007, p. 9.
  61.  TT, June 5, 2006, p. 3.
  62.,1870,144424,0.html,  dated
September 21, 2002. The United States fired the first shot and sunk an Imperial
Japanese midget submarine an hour before the main attack on December 7, 1941
on Pearl Harbor. See,1870,140802.00.html,
dated September 1, 2002.
  63.  Respected legal experts in Europe had been using the same term for de-
cades to refer to “individuals who fight in a conflict but who do so in an unlawful
way so that they are not benefiting from prisoner of war status.” See CP, October
28, 2006, p. 2.
  64.  TT, March 5, 2006, p. 7. In the same news report, head of the U.S. National
Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said “I do not see any chance of the po-
litical conditions for abolition arising in my lifetime.”
  65.  There are ten dangerous beaches or waters in Taiwan Island. See UDN, May
14, 2006, p. A10.
  66.  Lianhezaobao (hereinafter LHZB) (Singapore), June 13, 1999, p. 12.
  67.  By the end of 2006, Taipei will change the Sino–Ryukyuan Cultural and
Economic Association (SRCEA), its private diplomatic representation in Okinawa,
into the Naha Branch of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in
Japan. Naha is the capital of Okinawa Prefecture. Taipei said it “has never denied”
that Okinawa belongs to Japan. See TT, May 31, 2006, p. 1.
  68.  Beijing claims Jinmen as part of Quanzhou.
  69.  CT, March 6, 2006, p. A13.
  70.  CP, March 18, 2006, p. 20.
  71.  Ibid., March 23, 2006, p. 19. In May 2006, the first conflict between the
ROC’s Coast Guard Administration (CGA) in Jinmen and fishermen from the main-
land took place.
  72.  See, for example, Steinar Andresen, “The Whaling Regime” in Steinar An-
dresen, et al., Science and Politics in International Environmental Regimes: Between In-
tegrity and Involvement (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2000),
pp. 35–69. See also Steinar Andresen, “The International Whaling Regime: Order at
the Turn of the Century?” in Vidas and Ostreng (note 40), pp. 215–230. According
to a U.S. scientist, the rapid extinction of many large mammals 10,000 years ago or
the sixth great extinction may be attributed to a radical climate change at that time,
but not to human overkill. Mammals, which had been blossoming for 60 million
years, retreated for the first time between 13,000 and 10,000 years ago, because of
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 137

the sixth great extinction. Other theories include the Blitzkrieg model which argue
that humans killed off some big mammals almost simultaneously; human coloni-
zation may have destructed some keystones of the ecological system; or humans
may have induced some diseases deadly to other mammals. See
.cn//200605/11/eng20050511_26461.html, dated May 11, 2006.
  73.  Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said too much demand for
sushi from Japan may finish off stocks of red tuna in the Mediterranean.
  74.  CP, April 29, 2006, p. 11.
  76.  Some observers say that it was the first step toward having confidence building
measures between both sides of the Taiwan Strait. See CT, February 23, 2009, p. A8.
  77.  U.S. Congress has imposed restrictions on the scope of the military ex-
changes, such as forbidding contacts that would enhance the Chinese PLA’s combat,
logistical, or surveillance capabilities. See TT, September 24, 2006, p. 5.
  79.  TT, November 13, 2005, p. 17.
  80.  CP, May 7, 2006, p. 2.
  81.  For the Chinese version, see
04-26/content_4475131, dated May 26, 2006.
  82.  In May 2006, a new Solomon Islands prime minister was elected, and he paid
a personal visit to the ROC’s ambassador in the capital. See TT, May 11, 2006, p. 3.
  83., dated April
11, 2007.
  84., dated July 1, 2006.
  85.  See, for example, Edward L. Miles, et al., Environmental Regime Effectiveness:
Confronting Theory with Evidence (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002), especially Fig-
ure 1.3 on p. 12.
  86.  CP, April 7, 2007, p. 7.
  87.  TT, January 11, 2006, p. 6.
  88.  Ibid., April 1, 2006, p. 11.
  89.  CT, May 12, 2009, p. A12.
  91.  In the late twentieth century, Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau
(ZPEB) was paid US$5.6 million by the Ethiopian government to undertake a seis-
mic survey in the Calub gas field in the Ogaden basin to make eight gas wells for
production. See,
dated May 12, 2006. A 2005 earthquake off the coast of Indonesia pushed an island
1.2 m out of the water, causing one of the biggest cases of coral death recorded. See
TT, April 14, 2007, p. 5.
  92. See Tora Skodvin, “The
Ozone Regime” in Andresen, et al. (note 71), pp. 122–145.
  93.  The eighty-four-year-old retired engineer who did not do a good job in
maintaining the airplane was sentenced to a two-year imprisonment. See UDN,
April 29, 2006, p. A11.
  94.  In April 2009, for the first time, both Taipei and Tokyo tried to help a fishing
boat from the Republic of China (ROC) which was hit by an unidentified vessel in
Diaoyutai/Senkakus waters. See CT, April 18, 2009, p. A8.
138 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

  95.  Ibid., July 14, 1992, p. 3. In July 2006, two ROC coast guards were forced to
go to mainland China by PRC fishermen. This is the fourth time in ten years. See
SHDN, July 3, 2006, p. A25.
  96.  Ibid., May 2, 2006, p. A13 and
ca21458c.htm, dated May 2, 2006.
  97.  International Straits of the World, initially funded by the Rockefeller Founda-
tion, is a series organized and edited at the Graduate College of Marine Studies of
the University of Delaware. See one of its books, Gerard J. Mangone, ed., The Russian
Arctic Straits (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2005).
  98.  UDN, March 20, 2006, p. A13.
  99.  Commercial Times (hereinafter CT) (Taipei), April 5, 2009, p .A5. See also www.;
/02rm05.htm; and TT, March 7, 2006, p. 9. See also J. Ashley Roach, “Enhancing
Maritime Security in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore,” Journal of International Af-
fairs (hereinafter JIA) (U.S.), vol. 59, no. 1 (Fall/Winter 2006), pp. 97–116. One source
said 62,621 ships passed through those straits. See
webapp/doc/docDetail.jsp?coluid=4&kindid=16&docid=100153611. In the year 1999,
there were 43,965 ships using the Straits. See also SHDN, August 2, 2006, p. 2.
100.; eaglespeak.; CP, March 22, 2005, p. 5;
and SHDN, August 9, 2006, p. 4.
101., dated March 19, 2006, 07:49:33.
ndid=27&docid=100386253, dated June 11, 2007.
103.  From January 2007 to July, there was no piracy reported. However, some
shipowners chose not to report to the authorities. Usually, it is the third party which
reported piracy to the authorities. Malaysia does not require shipowners to install
satellite-tracking or reporting devices on vessels. See
crn-webapp/doc/docDetail.jsp?coluid=4&kindid=16&docid=100153611 and SHDN,
August 9, 2006, p. 4 and August 25, 2007, p. 7. See also Graham Gerard Ong-Webb,
ed., Piracy, Maritime Terrorism and Securing the Malacca Straits (Singapore: Institute of
Southeast Asian Studies, 2006).
104.  Paul Hirst and Grahame Thompson, Globalization in Question: The Interna-
tional Economy and the Possibilities of Governance, 2nd edition (Malden, MA: Blackwell
Publishers, 1999).
105.  For others, ranging from the narrowly economical to global, see, for exam-
ple, Andreas Busch, “Unpacking the Globalization Debate: Approaches, Evidence
and Data” in Colin Hay and David Marsh, eds., Demystifying Globalization (Hamp-
shire, UK: Palgrave, 2001). Writing in June 1996, S. Brittan defined globalization as
referring “to a world in which, after allowing for exchange rate and default risk,
there is a single international rate of interest.” See p. 21.
106.  Anthony Giddens, Beyond Left and Right: The Future of Radical Politics (Stan-
ford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994), p. 4.
107.  The United States for the first time is considering using the giant turbines in
the murky waterways around New York City. See CP, April 15, 2007, p. 3.
108.  See Mark J. Valencia, Jon M. Van Dyke, and Noel A. Ludwig, Sharing the Re-
sources of the South China Sea (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1997). In
Governing the Taiwan Strait in a Globalizing World 139

July 2007, it was reported that a well was for the first time drilled in May 2007 in
the East China Sea (ECS).
109.  Malaysia is calling upon the international community to share the expenses
in maintaining the Strait(s) of Malacca safe. See
.html, dated March 14, 2007.
110.  When Beijing learned that Washington will sign a mutual defense treaty with
Taipei in December 1954, it began to talk about the principle. See CT, May 1, 2006,
p. A15.
111.  In late 2005, the ROC’s Coast Guard Administration (CGA) rectified the
name from ROC Coast Guard to ROC Taiwan Coast Guard on each vessel. See UDN,
March 12, 2006, p. A4. In late 2005, ROC ships sailing between Taiwan and Jinmen
and Mazu cannot have the proper noun, Zhongguo (China). See ibid., December 22,
2005, p. A13.
112.  The United States said it will define the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. For
example, in February 2006, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said “[t]he best
course is to have a situation in which neither side tries to change the status quo
unilaterally. We also believe that the Chinese should not provoke Taiwan.” Cited in
TT, February 18, 2006, p. 1. See also Sinchew Ribao (hereinafter SCRB) (Malaysia),
February 3, 2006, p. 24. For a Taiwan area perspective on the same issue, see TT,
February 20, 2006, p. 8 and Taiwan News (hereinafter TN) (Taipei), February 6,
2006, as cited in Taiwan Security Research, dated February 6, 2006.
113., dated May 1, 2006. Taipei perceives that the mainland
is planning to build its second aircraft carrier by 2020. See UDN, November 26,
2006, p. A10. See also Nancy B. Tucker, ed., Dangerous Strait: The U.S.-Taiwan-China
Crisis (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005).
114.  TT, March 7, 2006, p. 9.
115., dated April 9,
116.  getmsg?msg=09E18A79-EF4E-4DBD-BA08-8c69872, dated April 20, 2006.
117.  In May 2006, some rules and regulations were further relaxed. Each Jinmen
and Mazu resident can exchange up to Renminbi $20,000.
121.  Straits Times (hereinafter ST) (Singapore), April 13, 1998, p. 9.
122.  CP, April 3, 2006, p. 1 and April 4, 2006 p. 1. The Iranian torpedo, called
hoot/whale moves at 360 kilometers per hour, while the Russian Shkval has a speed
of over 200 meters per hour. The former is about four times faster than normal
underwater torpedoes.
123., dated
March 16, 2006.
124., dated De-
cember 1, 2006.
125.  TT, April 15, 2006, p. 7.
126.  In 1996, the academic presented a paper on the subject. He pointed out that the
idea of building a Taiwan Strait tunnel was suggested more than half a century ago.
140 Shawn S. F. KAO and Peter Kien-hong YU

127.  by106fd.,sg=Cobdcd4-6-854f-4627-83e-385bf95, dated October 19, 2005.

128.  CT online, dated May 8, 2006.
129.  CT, April 23, 2007, p. A13.
130.  In April 2007, the TKM-World Link was announced by Moscow. The planned
undersea tunnel would contain a high-speed railway, highway, and pipelines, as well
as power and fiber-optic cables. It is the world’s longest 6,000-kilometer (3,700-
mile) transport corridor from Siberia into New York, U.S.A. Investors are described
as a public-private partnership.
131.  The State Council of the PRC has a thirty-year plan for constructing super-
highways, which can connect the Taiwan area. It was unveiled for the first time in
January 2005.
132.  In July 2005, Beijing permitted the import of the Taiwan area’s eighteen
agricultural products. Beginning May 1, 2006, four more products were added. See
CT, April 22, 2006, p. A13.
133.  The first international submarine cable was laid between the United King-
dom and France in 1850.
134.  TT, November 13, 2005, p. 17.
135.  In Pingdong County, Taiwan Province, the first section of the three-story
National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (NMMBA) was opened in Feb-
ruary 2000.
137.  UDN, August 15, 1990, p. 9; CT, April 7, 1997, p. 1;
publish/today/11_0900.4w/4wms(011106), html, dated November 5, 2001; and LT,
April 19, 2006, p. A8.
138.  Ibid., May 7, 2007, p. A9.
139.  CP, May 20, 2006, p. 6.
140.  Ibid., May 5, 2006, p. 16.
141., dated March 29, 2009, 09:35:10.
142.  As constructivists will say poverty is a social construction.
143.  This is a prediction made by James C. Hsiung of New York University on
December 22, 2005 at Ming Chuan University (MCU), Taoyuan County, Taiwan,
144.  John F. Copper perceives that “[t]he future looks, if anything, worse. There will
be more confrontations and it is very possible one of them will escalate out of con-
trol.” See his book, Playing with Fire: The Looming War with China over Taiwan (West-
port, CT: Praeger Security International, 2006), p. 237. In his lecture, Taipei and Bei-
jing in a Globalizing World, which was presented at Ming Chuan University (MCU)
on April 24, 2007, Copper said probably in five years we will see the confrontations.
Globalization, East Asia,
and the Future of Global Politics
Richard W. Mansbach

Every one of us is touched by globalization. The forces driving the process

are said to include “deterritorialization, digitization, internationalization,
liberalization, modernization, privatization, regionalization,1 universaliza-
tion, weaponization, Westernization, etc.”2 But the process is poorly under-
stood, and its impact is fiercely debated. Are globalizing trends making for
the continued advance of a “human web,”3 a global “network society,”4 a
“flat”5 or “spiky”6 world, selective “denationalization,”7 or “fragmegra-
tion”8? Or, is the world becoming “round” again in the face of global finan-
cial and economic crises?9 And, “East Asia,” as Lowell Dittmer observes,
“has been a conspicuous beneficiary of economic globalization.”10
Is globalization still advancing, stalling, or is it in retreat? Are sovereign
states losing influence or merely adapting to globalizing processes? Is “sov-
ereignty” absolute, or has it always been “organized hypocrisy”?11 Are we
seeing “the end of history,”12 reflecting a consensus around free market
capitalism and political democracy?
For East Asia,13 globalization poses challenges even as it affords opportu-
nities. Thus, China’s integration into the world economy has produced rapid
development but has exposed the country to the chill winds of a global fi-
nancial and economic crisis.14 The two sides of globalization in the case of
China are captured by the Economist: “[E]ven as officials trot out a litany of
achievements they attribute to the country’s ‘reform and opening’ pol-
icy—200 million fewer citizens living in poverty, a 6 percent share of global
GDP compared with 1.8 percent in 1978, a nearly 70 percent increase in
grain production—the world financial crisis weighs heavily on their minds,
and their leaders are struggling with unfinished business.”15 It is, as Doug
Guthrie puts it “a story of the forces of globalization, played out locally.”16

142 Richard W. Mansbach

This chapter seeks to clarify what globalization means, elaborate on some

of its positive and negative consequences, and capture its impact on East
Asia. The globalizing process knits people everywhere together, thereby
producing worldwide interdependence and featuring the rapid and large-
scale movement of persons, things, and ideas across sovereign borders. As
such globalization may undermine traditional norms and elites, erode na-
tional autonomy, and dilute individual and collective identities that, as
Suny explains it, “are embedded in the stories we tell about ourselves indi-
vidually and collectively, implied in the way individuals and groups talk
and give meaning to their being, their selves, their roles” and “are part of a
search for a usable past and an acceptable modernity to stave off anxiety
about the present and future.”17
Globalization challenges the unity and capacity of states and cultures,
including those in East Asia, threatening unique traditions and cultures,
reducing the authority of nation-building leaders, and “denationalizing”
their economies.18 The result has been a combination of acceptance and
resistance on the part of local elites bent on anchoring nationalism, preserv-
ing power, and reinforcing traditional normative structures linked to reli-
gion, language, and/or ethnicity.
How East Asian states meet this challenge varies. According to Vivienne
Shue, for example: “In the Chinese case . . . the state has struggled to adjust
its course so as to steer between the paradigmatic extremes of modernism,
on the one hand—which it finds ineradicably contaminated by Western
ideals and values—and of nativism, on the other hand—which it finds in-
eradicably contaminated by popular mysticism and magic.”19

The Meaning and Features of Globalization

David Held and his colleagues define globalization as “the widening, deep-
ening and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness in all aspects of
contemporary social life, from the cultural to the criminal, the financial to
the spiritual.”20 It consists of the “multiplicity of linkages and interconnec-
tions that transcend the nation-state (and by implication the societies)
which make up the modern world system.” It “defines a process through
which events, decisions, and activities in one part of the world can come to
have significant consequences for individuals in quite distant parts of the
globe.”21 In a globalized world, contacts among people and their ideas are
growing as a result of advances in communication, travel, and commerce
that produce mutual awareness among individuals.
Still, there remain competing definitions of globalization that reflect di-
vergent empirical and normative views of the phenomenon. Held and his
colleagues identify three distinct perspectives toward globalization that they
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 143

label hyperglobalist, skeptical, and transformationalist. Hyperglobalists, who

consist of both neoliberals and Marxists, focus on the economic dimension
of globalization. They believe that changes in the global economy are ush-
ering in “a new epoch of human history”22 in which territorial states have
become obsolete economic units. Globalization, in their view, has pro-
duced a single global market in which transnational corporations from
many countries vigorously compete with one another. “Hyperglobalizers
argue that economic globalization is bringing about a ‘denationalization’ of
economies through the establishment of transnational networks of produc-
tion, trade, and finance,” “a ‘borderless economy’” in which “national gov-
ernments are relegated to little more than transmission belts for global
capital.”23 Neoliberal hyperglobalizers applaud the growth in overall wealth
and minimize the fact of growing inequality within and among states,
whereas Marxist hyperglobalizers focus on the growth of inequality.
Skeptics argue that contemporary globalization is not new or revolutionary.
Interdependence, they argue, is no higher today than it was in the late nine-
teenth century. In their view, developments such as the linkage between the
lowering of American interest rates by the Federal Reserve in 2008 accompa-
nied by a strong yen and a reduction in Japanese exports reflect traditional
interdependence. Like hyperglobalizers, skeptics focus on the economic di-
mension of globalization, arguing that it features high levels of interstate
trade and the expansion of regional common markets such as the European
Union (EU) and the North American Free Trade Agreement that, they claim,
reduce global economic integration. In their view, states retain a dominant
role in these activities, including an ability to regulate and unravel economic
processes. The power of governments, in other words, has not ebbed; state
sovereignty has not eroded; and transnational corporations remain under
national control and retain national attitudes. States, especially the United
States, are responsible for higher levels of economic intercourse and the exis-
tence of global institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO).
For their part, transformationalists are convinced that “globalization is a
central driving force behind the rapid social, political and economic
changes that are reshaping modern societies and world order”24 and has no
historical parallel. According to transformationalists, two consequences of
interconnectedness are a merging of the foreign and domestic policy arenas
and, owing to the microelectronic revolution, the erasing of physical dis-
tance and reduced role of territory. Thus, Held describes “the growing deter-
ritorialization of economic activity as production and finance increasingly
acquire a global and transnational dimension.”25 “Internalizing globaliza-
tion is about how people are changing their domestic political worlds in the
context of growing complex interactions—economic, social, and political—
across national borders. In addition, states are weakening as they are pulled
in different directions in a process that involves the simultaneous impact of
144 Richard W. Mansbach

globalization and localization.”26 According to transformationalists, inter-

national, subnational, and transnational groups are growing more impor-
tant as state power ebbs. And with the declining capacity of sovereign states
and the reduced importance of territory, the role of identity based on fea-
tures such as religion and ethnicity has grown.
Globalization has several interrelated features, all apparent to some de-
gree in East Asia.
(1) The spread of communications technologies that shrink the role of geo-
graphic distance and the role of territory. Globalization is built on the prolif-
eration of powerful computers and microelectronic technologies that allow
individuals and groups to communicate virtually instantaneously by e-
mail, cellular and satellite telephones, and fax machine and move vast
amounts of money and information via these technologies. It also involves
the spread of satellite technology for television and radio, as well as the
global marketing of films and television programs. Overall, these techno-
logical revolutions overcome physical distance in politics, economics, and
war and reduce the importance of territory. Could Alexander Graham Bell,
who invented the telephone, have imagined that some day people could
acquire an MSAT Mobile System to allow them to make or receive calls and
e-mail from vehicles, planes, or ships, or an Immarsat satellite service that
provides telephone and fax access to over 98 percent of the world, including
areas beyond the reach of any other communications?
The lessening importance of territory will reduce the desire to conquer
and occupy other countries. Some territories will remain important, espe-
cially if they are sources of critical raw materials like oil, but on the whole,
geography is growing less relevant. Distance no longer poses a significant
obstacle to many important global activities from economic transactions
and mobilization of political activity to projecting military force and ex-
changing ideas and information by e-mail and mobile telephone.
The proliferation of subnational, transnational, international, and supra-
national institutions and actors in global politics, alongside of and sharing
adherents with states, have returned global politics in some respects to the
overlapping and crosscutting political life of medieval Europe and away
from the neat, exclusive territorial boxes characteristic of state-centric
maps.27 Declare Inayatullah and Blaney: “Thus, alternative constructions of
space—as overlapping, heterogeneous, and relative—may compete with
modern visions that subscribe to the magic of straight lines.” Consequently,
“the separate and overlapping character of group relations and ambitions
might be recognized and negotiated where relative notions of space . . . are
also put into play.”28 But, why, as they suggest, should we accept “the as-
sumption that property/sovereignty should be governed by the logic of
straight lines”? Instead, they argue, “territorial spaces are historically con-
structed, entailing a set of social relationships and processes, and not a
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 145

universal and fixed category within a Euclidean geometry or Newtonian

(2) The spread of knowledge and skills and an explosion in political participa-
tion. The communications and transportation revolutions enable ever more
people, even in remote corners of the globe, to be informed about the
world, form opinions about events, and get involved in politics in ways that
were previously unimaginable. This is the case throughout Asia, where so-
cieties are open to the acquisition of “the necessary skills and habits of
mind to function in the competitive market.”30 Cable and satellite televi-
sion provide exposure to an almost infinite variety of opinion and informa-
tion. And the Internet31 is becoming the most important tool of all in fa-
cilitating the exchange of views, the dissemination of information and
propaganda, and the coordination of activities because it is inexpensive and
accessible. Internet blogs and bloggers are already influencing people
around the world by transmitting information and opinion.32
Although globalization may weaken conventional forms of democracy
and produce a “democratic deficit,” the desire of people to control their
destinies is likely to intensify. Thus, political participation will continue to
grow and manifest itself in a variety of unconventional ways ranging from
street demonstrations and formation of new political groups to political
agitation and even terrorism. Rosenau argues that the revolutions in trans-
portation, information, and communication technologies, combined with
the spread of education in much of the world, are having a profound im-
pact at what he calls the “micro level.” People, Rosenau believes, are getting
smarter, and microelectronic advances such as the Internet give them the
information needed to discover whether their interests are being sacrificed
to those of sovereign states and their governments. A growing sense of self-
efficacy, Rosenau believes, is the consequence of the acquisition of new
skills and orientations by individuals. The “printing press, telephone, radio,
television, and personal computer have created conditions for skill develop-
ment among citizenries that governments could not totally control and that
have helped make citizenries more effective in relation to the centers of
One consequence is that it will become more difficult for countries to
conquer and occupy one another as they did for centuries. Colonialism was
only possible when populations were politically inert, and foreign rulers
only needed to conquer or co-opt local elites to impose their will. Today,
the mobilization of whole populations against foreign occupation, as il-
lustrated by the Iraq debacle, is likely to make the costs of such efforts
prohibitively high.
(3) The global triumph of capitalism and emergence of a global market that
transcends state boundaries. The global triumph of market capitalism and
neoliberal orthodoxy are responsible for driving and sustaining economic
146 Richard W. Mansbach

globalization. With the end of the Cold War, free-market capitalism, but-
tressed by a desire for “modernization,” as an economic ideology triumphed
in much of the world, including China, Russia, and the developing world.
Its triumph has been accompanied by an expansion of transnational corpo-
rations, the rapid movement of investments, the shifting of jobs and indus-
tries “off shore,” the proliferation of global networks of production and
distribution, the emergence of “world cities” such as New York, Tokyo,
Frankfurt, and Shanghai, and the emergence of a new urbanized economic
and cultural elite, and the privatization of government functions as part of
national efforts to become economically competitive. As Cerny argues: “The
main task or function of the contemporary state is the promotion of eco-
nomic activities, whether at home or abroad, which make firms or sectors
located within the territory of the state competitive in international mar-
kets. . . . [W]hile the state has always been to some extent a promoter of
market forces, state structures today are being transformed into more and
more market-oriented and even market-based organizations themselves,
fundamentally altering the way that public and private goods are pro-
vided”34 Nevertheless, post-Soviet societies, as elsewhere, reveal “the reflex-
ive embrace of neoliberal ideas underpinning the market” even though
“state-society relations—like the boundaries between public and private—
vary across issue-area depending on intersubjective understandings of or-
der.”35 Thus, in East Asia, economic decentralization is not only a conse-
quence of the pressures of globalization but also reflects the efforts of local
politicians to retain autonomy from the center.
Although most countries have come to applaud free trade and invest-
ment, this enthusiasm is unlikely to persist if global prosperity diminishes.
A significant and prolonged economic slump may, as in the past, renew
support for protectionism and other forms of economic nationalism. Nev-
ertheless, globalization “is most often viewed as primarily concerning exter-
nal economic changes and how these constrain domestic actors, under-
mines the state’s capacity to make economic and social policy, and put
international capital in the driving seat.”36
(4) The spread of a global culture. Globalization has been accompanied by
the spread of culture through mass media, migration, tourism, music and
the like, originally Western, featuring shared norms based on mass consum-
erism. The homogenization of mass culture can be seen in everything from
dress, diet, and education to advertising and spreading the belief in human
rights. Globalization ranges from Big Macs and designer jeans to abhor-
rence of torture. “McDonald’s,” writes Benjamin Barber, “serves 20 million
customers around the world every day, drawing more customers daily than
there are people in Greece, Ireland, and Switzerland together.”37
This process, however, undermines older local cultures and religious be-
liefs and has produced a backlash. “Modernization, economic develop-
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 147

ment, urbanization, and globalization,” argues Samuel Huntington, “have

led people to rethink their identities and to redefine them in narrower,
more intimate, communal terms.”38 “In the former Soviet Union,” writes
Douglas Blum, “one finds a veritable preoccupation with cultural globaliza-
tion,” experienced by many “as Westernization (or, often, as ‘Americaniza-
tion’), which is widely understood as conveying a massive pressure for ho-
mogeneity. This in turn generates a powerful mix of emotions: excitement,
pride, anxiety, and disgust.”39
The popularity of religious zealotry in the Middle East reflects this back-
lash, especially owing to fears of social pollution and moral collapse. Para-
doxically, globalization can reinforce states by threatening sovereignty, tra-
dition, and national identity, focusing attention on “outsiders,” and
triggering internal efforts to emphasize shared values and reinforce collec-
tive identity. Thus, cultural homogenization is not a necessary consequence
of globalization. “Rather,” argues Featherstone, “the globalization process
should be regarded as opening up the sense that now the world is a single
place with increased contact becoming unavoidable, we necessarily have
greater dialogue between various nation-states, blocs, and civilizations: a
dialogical space in which we can expect a good deal of disagreement, clash-
ing of perspectives and conflict, not just working together and consensus.”40
Throughout Asia globalized culture has been mixed with and modified by
efforts to update and assert traditional values and norms.
(5) The spread of English as a global language. English links elites across the
globe much as Latin and French did in earlier epochs and enjoys a special
status in seventy-five countries. It is spoken as a native language by between
300 and 400 million people and as a second language by about 375 million
more. Everywhere, the demand to learn English is intense because it is the
language of commerce, science, and technology. Although many more
people are native speakers of Mandarin Chinese41 and Hindi, what makes
English dominant is that it is spoken so widely compared to other
languages—in 104 countries. “Based on English as its lingua franca and on
the rise of the internationally mobile knowledge worker,” writes Michael
Talalay, “a type of international citizenry is appearing. In the office of one
of my consultancy clients in Switzerland, the native languages of the staff
include Italian, Croatian, Russian, Serbian, Portuguese, Hindi, French,
Greek, and German. The working language, however, is English. This is the
official policy of the company, not merely a de facto development.”42 De-
clares another observer: “It is no longer just top execs who need to speak
English. Everyone in the corporate food chain is feeling the pressure to
learn a common tongue as companies globalize and democratize.”43 As a
result: “On the back of modern technology and the consequent spread of
English as the global language. The entire world is heading for a common
culture.”44 Even in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan the “ability to speak English
148 Richard W. Mansbach

is also considered essential, providing not only a gateway to knowledge but

also a tool for national development.”45
(6) The spread of democracy. Globalization has been accompanied by the
spread of democratic norms from the core areas of North America, Western
Europe, and Japan to Latin America, Asia, the countries of the former Soviet
bloc, and even to Africa.46 This process, it has been suggested, is partly a
result of neoliberal economic policies that create wealth and enlarge the
middle class who demand democratic rights. Although it is premature to
declare the triumph of liberal democracy, globalization is witnessing grow-
ing acceptance of individual rights, including that of choosing one’s own
leaders. Democracy remains fragile at best in some regions, nonexistent in
others, and is violently contested by those whose authority would vanish in
the face of free elections.
In East Asia, it is revealing that in terms of globalization relatively demo-
cratic Japan ranks twenty-eight and authoritarian China sixty-six of the
seventy-two countries in Foreign Policy’s 2007 Globalization Index.47 Yet, even
in China, “[p]ro-democracy unrest in the late 1980s played a bigger role in
turning China capitalist than either officials or admirers of China’s supposed
gradualist approach suggest,” because they “triggered fierce debate among
Chinese leaders about the direction of reform.”48 For its part, South Korea has
become even more embedded in globalization since 1997–1998 when the
“Asian Contagion” presented the country with an unprecedented economic
crisis even as it was making a transition to a more democratic polity. By con-
trast, authoritarian North Korea remains a “hermit kingdom,” largely un-
touched by globalization. In Blum’s words: “Democratic ideas have also found
broad discursive resonance, as evidenced by the widespread idea that it is
‘normal’ or ‘civilized’ for people to express different views, to tolerate others’
opinions, and to seek compromise solutions when disagreements arise.”49
(7) The spread of global civil society. The proliferation of international and
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including giant transnational
firms, has led some to suggest that a global civil society is beginning to
coalesce and that states are sharing some degree of authority with them.
Such a society “champions the political vision of a world founded on non-
violent, legally sanctioned power-sharing arrangements among many dif-
ferent and interconnected forms of socio-economic life that are distinct
from governmental institutions.”50 A growing number of NGOs are com-
mitted to finding cooperative solutions to collective dilemmas. These
NGOs are sources of activism and expertise and are welcomed by many
countries seeking to manage change in nonviolent ways.
Writing of economic globalization, Sassen argues that: “While the state
participates in enabling the expansion of the global economy, it does so in
a context increasingly dominated by deregulation, privatization, and the
growing authority of non-state actors, some of which assume new normative
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 149

roles. In many of these new dynamics and conditions, the state continues
to play an important role, often as the institutional home for the enactment
of the new policy regimes we associate with economic globalization.”51 Al-
though these organizations and movements have different aims, many col-
laborate in confronting global challenges.
Today, there exist global networks of individuals and NGOs52—made
possible by the communications revolution­­—concerned with issues such as
capital flows, human rights, women’s rights, and the environment, and
leaders in some countries like Russia fear the democratizing effects of these
networks and have taken steps to suppress them. By contrast, NGOs are
finding greater acceptance in Japan where “a more audible civil society is
beginning to make itself heard,” although it could be argued “that many
NGOs and citizens’ movements have been subject to approval from and
supervised by government, and as a result are beholden to and suffer from
the same symptoms of fatigue and rigidity as traditional structures of gov-
ernment in responding to the demands of globalization.”53 And, in China,
“it is the void left by declining Communist Party power that we began to see
autonomous organizations and the makings of a civil society.”54
International institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
the World Bank, and the WTO play key roles in sustaining globalization, and
their future is tied up with their ability to persuade less-developed countries
that they are genuinely dedicated to ending poverty and encouraging growth.
However, the United States, EU, Japan, and China must demonstrate that
they are willing and able to maintain an open trading system.
(8) The growth of complex transgovernmental linkages. The proliferation of
economic, environmental, security, and other issues that transcend national
boundaries and provoke bureaucratic divisions within governments have
produced transgovernmental alliances and networks. Cerny, for instance,
describes “systematic linkages between state actors and agencies within
particular jurisdictions and sectors, cutting across different countries and
including a heterogeneous collection of private actors and groups in inter-
locking policy communities.”55 And Sassen writes of “transnational net-
works of government officials” and “novel types of networks” that “connect
corporate globalization and the globalizing of governmental responsibili-
ties and aims,” examples of which include “judges having to negotiate a
growing array of international rules and prohibitions that require some
measure of cross-border standardization,” “immigration officials needing
to coordinate border controls,” and “police officials in charge of discover-
ing financial flows that support terrorism.”56
(9) The diffusion of global power. With the end of the Cold War, many ob-
servers concluded that the world had entered a period of unipolarity, with
the United States as undisputed top dog. Today, the United States remains
the world’s leading military power. However, its military superiority is no
150 Richard W. Mansbach

guarantee that it can realize its objectives. American efforts to spread de-
mocracy have had some successes but also have triggered considerable re-
sistance. The U.S. goal to win the War on Terror remains elusive, and U.S.
efforts to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)
have had little success. The United States also remains the world’s leading
economic power, but its superiority in this realm is eroding as other centers
of economic power, especially the EU, Japan, India, and China, prove able
competitors in global trade and as American dependence on foreign energy
remains high.
(10) Environmental degradation. Depletion of fossil fuels, fish, fresh water,
and arable land continues. Human wealth and welfare are challenged by
global warming, deforestation, desertification, and the loss of biodiversity.
To date, global responses have been spotty, and vested economic interests
have resisted concerted global policies. It is difficult for people to focus on
these trends because many of them pose long-term rather than imminent
hazards. However, as such threats pose greater economic burdens, markets
may begin to facilitate investments in solutions such as wind and solar
energy. In addition, science may provide partial answers to some of these
problems, for example, the use of nonpolluting hydrogen as a fuel in auto-
mobiles. Finally, concerned individuals have mobilized their skills and in-
fluence transnationally to find answers and have created global networks to
lobby for cooperative responses to environmental challenges.
(11) A shift from conventional to irregular warfare. Although interstate war-
fare between uniformed and organized armies will erupt from time to time,
a combination of factors will minimize its occurrence. These include the
declining importance of territory and the growing difficulty in occupying
countries, the role of economic interdependence, the proliferation of WMD,
and the spread of civil strife. The distinction between legitimate war and
crime will blur, and violence among groups competing for power over the
carcasses of failed or failing states or over sources of wealth like diamonds,
oil, and cocaine will increase. Terrorism will persist, as dissatisfied individu-
als and fanatical nonterritorial groups seek vengeance for real or imagined
wrongs endeavor to prevent the erosion of local cultures, or try to spread
messianic ideologies. The United States and perhaps other countries may
launch preemptive wars, but they will have only limited success as long as
poverty, religious and political intolerance, and political oppression persist,
as these are the fundamental conditions that give rise to dissatisfaction
and hate.
(12) The proliferation of WMD. One major challenge of the near future
involves the spread of WMD. U.S. anti-proliferation policy is in tatters, and
the use of force against countries such as Serbia and Iraq may actually pro-
voke other countries to acquire WMD to deter the United States. North
Korea has acquired nuclear weapons, and Iran is nearing that goal. And as
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 151

these countries acquire WMD, those who fear them will be tempted to ac-
quire their own. Although deterrence threats may prevent countries from
using WMD, terrorist groups are far more difficult to deter because they
consist of fanatics who are seeking to become martyrs, and, unlike coun-
tries, it is difficult to find them.
(13) The erosion of state autonomy. The sovereign boundaries of states are
becoming more penetrable every day. Even the United States is virtually
helpless in the face of streams of migrants moving northward or in slowing
down the flood of drugs coming to American cities and towns from around
the world. In addition, despite America’s extraordinary precautions, dedi-
cated foreign terrorists are likely to penetrate its defenses. Global commu-
nications technologies make it virtually impossible to prevent subversive
ideas and ideologies from crossing a state’s boundaries. Nor can countries
control their own economy or protect themselves from the vagaries of
global markets. “Globalization,” as Peter Taylor argues “has two broad im-
plications for the discourse on sovereignty. First, political, social, and eco-
nomic activities are becoming global in scope and dissolving the internal/
external distinction crucial to the orthodox definition of sovereignty. If the
line between internal supremacy and external equality can no longer be
maintained, sovereignty must be reformulated. If globalization has blurred
the distinction between national and international, transformed the condi-
tions of nation decision-making, altered the legal framework and adminis-
trative practices of states, obscured lines of responsibility, and changed the
institutional and organizational content of national politics, then sover-
eignty as a doctrine is of limited relevance. In this sense, globalization refers
to more than the erosion of autonomy. It highlights a change in the politi-
cal landscape and requires an adaptation of political practice.”57
(14) The spread of non-state identities. The weakening of states, the growing
separation of nationalism from citizenship, the degree to which new tech-
nologies have made it easier for ideas to be communicated at vast distances,
and the dehumanizing and homogenizing impact of the global economy
and culture suggest the growing importance of identities associated with
religion, ethnicity, and civilization. Groups based on these identities are
likely to proliferate and lead a backlash against globalization. And, their
aspiration for autonomy within or for secession from existing states will
threaten the integrity of heterogeneous societies such as Nigeria, Russia,
Indonesia, and Pakistan.
(15) Growing acceptance of human rights and a “law of people.” Human-
rights norms have spread globally as part of the gradual replacement of the
“law of nations” by a “law of peoples.” However, human-rights abuses in-
cluding genocide and ethnic cleansing remain widespread as well. Never-
theless, despite setbacks in countries like Russia and Uzbekistan and the
continued reluctance of countries like China and Belorus to accept human
152 Richard W. Mansbach

rights, human-rights norms are deepening and will continue to elicit wide-
spread support, especially as more people become prosperous and as states
and international organizations adopt new human-rights conventions and
set legal precedents that can gradually earn broad acceptance.
(16) The changing definition of security. A variety of global problems, in-
cluding poverty, environmental deterioration, drugs, famine, crime, and
disease, imperil human well-being. As awareness of these problems grows,
so does recognition that security encompasses more than guarding against
military threats. Recognition of these additional threats is widening as more
information becomes available to more people, as networks of interna-
tional and NGOs form, and as potential solutions emerge to problems that
for most of history have been regarded as insoluble.

Globalization and Localization

One unresolved question about globalization is whether the process is in-

exorable or whether it can be reversed. Hyperglobalists and transformation-
alists regard this as the era of globalization in which peoples organized in
territorial states become ever more interconnected by and enmeshed in
global political, economic, cultural, and knowledge networks that reduce
state and local autonomy and link the fates of people geographically re-
mote from one another. Globalization is believed to deterritorialize and
denationalize state activities. Its advocates believe that as globalization
thickens, it will be accompanied by cosmopolitan identities in which indi-
viduals view themselves as members of a single global community.
Globalization and localization are interdependent in a variety of ways.
“Globalization,” argue Cerny, Menz, and Soederberg, “itself is . . . reshaped
by and through local conditions and domestic political objectives; it is not
just imposed from outside. It starts from the competing goals of people in
everyday politics and economics . . . and seeps into the deepest nooks and
crannies of everyday life. International and domestic politics are therefore
not two separate arenas, but parts of an interpenetrated set of webs of poli-
tics and governance that increasingly cut across and entangle the nations of
the world, summoning forth and molding the actions of ordinary people.”58
In East Asia, as elsewhere, globalization “must be conceptualized as a rela-
tionship between the global and the local.”59
However, as regards identities, globalization, at least in part, is anti-
thetical to localization60 in which individuals identify with disparate and
exclusive communities that evaluate their well-being relative to “outsiders.”
A basic fact of global politics is that the world remains divided into groups
that mistrust one another. Among the most significant “local” communi-
ties are nations and ethnic communities, and “nationalism” is the ideology
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 153

that places nations and ethnicities at the acme of human loyalties. Global-
ization advocates believe that nationalism is waning, but, as we shall see,
nationalism remains a powerful though changing force and an ideology
that appeals to innumerable people in both the developing and developed
worlds. Its persistence reveals an intensification of identity politics in
which individuals and groups assess goals and policies on the basis of
“who they are.”
It is difficult to say whether globalization is irreversible.61 Held and his
colleagues elaborate several dimensions along which to conceptualize and
measure the direction and magnitude of change in globalization. They offer
several “spatio-temporal” dimensions: “(1) the extensiveness of networks of
relations and connections; (2) the intensity of flows and levels of activity
within these networks; (3) the velocity or speed of interchanges; and (4) the
impact of these phenomena on particular communities.”62 They also iden-
tify several descriptive organization variables: infrastructures, institutional-
ization, stratification, and modes of interactions that should be kept in
mind in considering the nature of globalization over time.63
Globalization owes much to American hegemony after World War II and
the end of the Cold War and the desire of American leaders to encourage
and sustain an open trading system, global economic growth, and the
spread of values such as individualism, democracy, and free enterprise.
Some argue that globalization could not survive if the United States and
major countries such as Japan and Germany no longer supported it. They
believe that if today’s major powers became disillusioned with globaliza-
tion, their withdrawal could bring about the collapse of key public and
private institutions that sustain it. Others argue that the process is so far
along that it can no longer be reversed, that it is no longer controlled by any
country or countries, and that the costs for a country to cut the web of in-
terdependence in which it is enmeshed is simply too high to consider.
Recent years have been testing ones for globalization, and a number of
events have challenged the globalization process, including the growth of
protectionism in reaction to the financial crisis, the collapse of the Doha
trade negotiations; the proliferation of U.S.–European trade disputes; the
rejection of the EU64 constitution by French and Dutch voters; America’s
unilateralist foreign policies, especially the Iraq imbroglio; the growing
complaints about the outsourcing of jobs from the developed world; and
growing resistance in the developed world to the flow of migrants and asy-
lum seekers from poor countries. But probably the most important threats
to globalization were the 9/11 terrorist attacks and America’s subsequent
“War on Terror.” These events suggested that state frontiers were again criti-
cally important and that the world was breaking up into hostile “tribes” and
cultures rather than uniting within a single, homogenized culture of moder-
nity based on democracy, secularism, and consumerism.
154 Richard W. Mansbach

Overall, the evidence is mixed about whether these challenges have curbed
globalization, at least so far, but the years since 9/11 have not shown any
marked reduction in globalization. A measure developed jointly by A. T.
Kearney, Inc. and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scores
countries in four categories, each of which consists of several factors that re-
flect the degree to which countries and their societies are embedded in the
global system and interact with one another. These categories are Economic
Integration, Personal Contact, Technology, and Political Engagement.65
Of the ranked countries, the most globalized were mainly small highly
developed countries such as Singapore, Hongkong, the Netherlands, Switzer-
land, Ireland, and Denmark. For the most part, they are also democracies. By
contrast, the least globalized, including Iran, India, Algeria, Indonesia, Ven-
ezuela, Brazil, China, and Turkey—were large, for the most part relatively
poor, and with some notable exceptions, subject to authoritarian govern-
ments.66 Nevertheless, the globalization index is a state-, not a system-level,
measure, and the factors it uses to measure globalization are contested.
Recent years have also witnessed an apparent revival of nationalism in
reaction to the homogenizing impact of globalization and the end of the
Cold War’s ideological bifurcation of global politics, and, as Connor ar-
gues, the essence of nationalism “is a psychological bond that joins a
people and differentiates it, in the subconscious convictions of its mem-
bers, from all nonmembers in a most vital way.”67 Dramatic resurgence in
identity theory is apparent in scholarship as diverse as Huntington’s civi-
lizational thesis and the several strands of constructivist thought. National
movements reflect the unleashing and manipulation of old (or forged)
identities and memories. Thus, the passionate separatist yearnings that
gripped Bosnian Muslims, Croatians, Albanians, Armenians, Tibetans,
and others reminded Daniel Moynihan of Milton’s “Pandaemonium,”
that “was inhabited by creatures quite convinced that the great Satan had
their best interests at heart.”68
In recent years nationalist fervor has been encouraged and manipulated
by political leaders, for example, Russia’s Vladimir Putin who has used sym-
bols ranging from the canonization of the murdered Tsar Nicholas II and
his family in order to link the Russian Orthodox Church to the regime and
the restoration of the Soviet national anthem to citing the threat posed by
Russia’s “enemies” such as Chechen rebels, American hegemony, and Geor-
gian adventurers. An “ugly nationalism,” declared The Economist, “is abroad
in Russia.”69 For their part, leaders of former Soviet republics like Georgia,
Moldova, Latvia, and Ukraine and former Soviet bloc countries like Poland
have pointed to resurgent Russian power to mobilize nationalist sentiments
to reinforce their political positions. Indeed, on every continent “[n]ational
movements are regaining popularity, and nations that had once assimilated
and ‘vanished’ have now reappeared.”70 Today, as in past centuries, nation-
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 155

alism is a companion of rapid change; it was and remains “a subversive and

revolutionary force.”71
In recent decades, nationalism and national self-determination have be-
come critical sources of localization, eroding collective state identities and
challenging globalized political authority. National self-determination,
which can mean either autonomy for a “people” within an existing state or
a “people’s” ownership of its own state, has been very much in the air since
the second half of the nineteenth century, especially as it was applied to
multinational empires like Austria–Hungary. Referring to the Versailles
Conference, U.S. president Woodrow Wilson declared on September 25,
1919, that: “There was not a man at the table who did not admit the sacred-
ness of the right to self-determination, the sacredness of the right of any
body of people to say that they would not continue to live under the Gov-
ernment that they were then living under.”72 With great prescience, Wilson’s
Secretary of State Robert Lansing was aghast at the prospect. “Will it not
breed discontent, disorder and rebellion?” he asked. “The phrase,” he con-
tinued, “is simply loaded with dynamite. It will raise hopes which can never
be realized. It will, I fear, cost thousands of lives.”73
In the 1950s and 1960s, nationalism and national self-determination—
enshrined in the UN Charter, Article 1(2)—were the ideological bases of
decolonization. Today, nationalism, as Rosenau contends, is “a form of
exclusionary localism” because “it emphasizes boundaries and the dis-
tinction between us and them, with the result that even in the United
States the idea of a melting pot has tended to give way to what some re-
gard as a multicultural regime in which different minorities stress their
ethnic and racial ties even as they downplay the relevance of an inclusive
identity that links them to the varied groups that reside in their coun-
try.”74 In other words, nationalism and ethnicity are identities that are
associated with closure and with the thickening of vertical barriers.
“Wherever nationalism is highly salient in states today, or wherever na-
tions aspire to become states, exclusionary localism can be readily dis-
cerned, with the ethnic cleansing policies of Serbia in the 1990s the most
notorious recent example that can be cited in this regard.”75
Contemporary nationalism no longer reinforces state power. Although
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries witnessed the wedding of “nation”
and “state” and the creation of powerful territorial polities, the trend toward
separation of the two identities has accelerated since World War I. There is
a growing queue of groups in global politics that want their own state, even
if this means the collapse of existing states like the Soviet Union and Yugo-
slavia or state failure. In much of the developing world, ethnic and tribal
loyalties threaten the integrity of existing states. Bloody examples in
Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and elsewhere illustrate how politicians ma-
nipulate ethnic divisions. Not only did the USSR split into quarreling na-
156 Richard W. Mansbach

tionalities, but several remain at each other’s throats—Armenians and Az-

eris, Georgians and Ossetians, Russians and Georgians, and Russians and
Moldovans. According to one analysis, there were over two hundred politi-
cally active ethnic movements by the mid-1990s.76
“If we don’t find some way that the different ethnic groups can live to-
gether in a country,” asked former U.S. secretary of state Warren Christo-
pher, “how many countries will we have?” His answer: “We’ll have 5,000
countries rather than the hundred plus we now have.”77 Since almost any
group can claim to be a distinctive “people,” there is a risk of fragmenta-
tion of political authority into ever smaller and less viable polities. Even
on the marchlands of Europe and Canada, there are “ethno-national”
groups that claim that their culture is being swallowed up by majorities
within nation-states—Spanish Basques, French Bretons and Corsicans,
Canadian Québeçois, Canadians Inuits and Native Americans, Northern
Irish Catholics, Celtic Scots and Welsh, and others. In Québec’s case, efforts
by the Francophone advocates of secession have had to confront the op-
position of non-Francophone English and other minorities (allophones),
as well as the threat of the Cree and other indigenous Indian groups who
claim large areas of Québec to secede on the basis of the same right to
national self-determination claimed by Francophone Québéçois.
However, nationalism and ethnicity need not imperil globalization. Peo-
ple have multiple identities and are simultaneously members of many
polities that may overlap. There is no reason, for example, that one cannot
identify oneself both as a Basque or a Scot, and as a European. The first
identity may be relevant for some issues and the latter for others. “Europe”
provides economies of scale that would be unavailable for a tiny island of
psychological security. In this sense, it is rational to advocate ethnonational
secession from existing states. Thus, national movements such as those of
the Basques and Catalans in Spain, the Flemish and Walloons in Belgium,
or the Bretons in France may reduce the cohesion of their state but are un-
likely to impede globalization. Indeed, globalization may benefit small
polities and allow them greater autonomy from existing states. Problems
arise if nationalism and ethnicity prove to be Hobbesian categories based
on passion rather than reason. Thus, Horowitz suggests that ethnic conflicts
are frequently intractable and that the “contest for worth and place is the
common denominator of ethnic conflict among unranked groups” that are
divided “by a vertical cleavage.”78 Whether such conflicts are zero-sum de-
pend on the degree to which national or ethnic cleavages crosscut or rein-
force other social cleavages such as economic status. If the latter, conflicts
may prove irreconcilable and produce state collapse.
Although national pride can reinforce healthy collective identities, it can
also produce negative localism that impedes globalization. The negative
localism associated with nationalism and ethnicity afflicts both the devel-
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 157

oping and developed worlds and may assume several forms, including state
failure and the division of polities into ever smaller islands of authority,
opposition to migration, and neomercantilism.

State Failure
Failure to build viable and stable states after the retreat of colonialism and
the post–Cold War upsurge in violence within and across states in much
of Africa and parts of Asia are partly associated with national, tribal, and
ethnic rivalries, revived and manipulated by ambitious politicians seeking
political power and loot. In Africa, Europeans imposed states and politics
that inhabitants never fully accepted and that divided ethnic groups or
enclosed ethnic rivals within the same states. The governments of such
states may be in the hands of one of the ethnic contenders, may be
deemed illegitimate by members of other ethnic groups, may be unable to
exercise authority over a state’s territory, may be unable to provide security
or essential services to citizens, and, frequently, they may confront armed
opponents. Such states “can no longer reproduce the conditions for their
own existence.”79 Not surprisingly, the “civil wars that characterize failed
states usually stem from or have roots in ethnic, religious, linguistic, or
other intercommunal enmity.”80 When combined with poverty and un-
even economic development, overpopulation, refugee communities, and
environmental stress, state institutions collapse, resulting in failed states.
According to Foreign Policy’s Failed States Index, of the twenty states “most
at risk of failure” eleven are in Africa (Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Chad,
Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic,
Guinea, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Nigeria), six are in Asia (Afghanistan,
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, North Korea, and Sri Lanka), two are in the
Middle East (Iraq and Lebanon), and one (Haiti) is in the Caribbean.
Virtually all are multiethnic societies.81

Opposition to Migration
A second form of negative localism, is partly a reaction to globalization, is
reflected in the fence being built along America’s border with Mexico, the
tightening of immigration controls in the EU, and failure to achieve im-
migration reform in the United States. Ethnic xenophobia of resident na-
tional groups is one consequence of the large-scale movement of persons
as refugees and as illegal migrants across state frontiers, combined with
fear of terrorism. Residents argue that such migrants cannot assimilate into
dominant cultures and create economic and social problems for their ad-
opted societies including lower wages, human smuggling, street crime, and
spiraling welfare costs. The issue of economic migration from poor to rich
158 Richard W. Mansbach

countries has become a focus of political contention both within and

among states. Migration is largely a product of demographic forces and
economic inequality. Population growth has ended and in some cases
populations are decreasing in wealthy countries owing to factors such as
urbanization and greater opportunities for women. Simultaneously, popu-
lations are “graying.” In Europe and Japan, the consequences include spi-
raling costs for health care and social security and a declining tax base with
fewer young people to fill jobs, especially lower paying jobs. By contrast,
burgeoning populations in Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia are
producing a surplus of young workers in search of employment and higher
wages. “These movements of people, often from former colonies,” writes
Modood, “whether welcome or not, have created a multiculturalism that is
qualitatively different from the diversity of personal difference or lifestyles
of historic, territorially based that already characterize some Western Euro-
pean countries.”82
Until recently, Europe was dominantly Christian and Caucasian, but
large numbers of Muslims arrived after World War II as a result of guest-
worker programs, filling poorly paid jobs that Europeans avoided. Although
initially guest workers, notably Turks, were only supposed to be temporary
residents, many remained and were joined by family members. By 2005,
Europe’s Muslim population reached between 15 to 20 million or 4 to 5
percent of Europe’s total population and will double by 2025.83 Excepting
Germany, most Muslim immigrants in Europe originated in the country’s
former colonial territories. Following 9/11, Europeans grew uneasy about
the increasing numbers of Muslims in their midst, even as many of the
children and grandchildren of the first generation of Muslim migrants were
alienated from Western culture. “Jihadist networks,” writes Leiken, “span
Europe from Poland to Portugal, thanks to the spread of radical Islam
among the descendants of guest workers. . . . In smoky coffeehouses in Rot-
terdam and Copenhagen, makeshift prayer halls in Hamburg and Brussels,
Islamic bookstalls in Birmingham and ‘Londonistan,’ and the prisons of
Madrid, Milan, and Marseilles, immigrants or their descendants are volun-
teering for jihad against the West.”84
Among European and North Americans, fear of Muslim extremism is
highest in Russia, Spain, and Germany and lowest in Canada, the United
States, and Poland.85 For their part, many Muslims in Europe—51 percent
in Germany, 42 percent in Britain, 39 percent in France and 31 percent in
Spain—believe that Europeans are hostile toward them. In addition, large
majorities of European Muslims—81 percent in Britain, 69 percent in
Spain, 61 percent in Germany, and 46 percent in France—identify them-
selves as Muslims first and only secondarily as citizens of their country.86
Among Europeans, fear has fueled xenophobic nationalism and has in-
creased support for right-wing, anti-immigrant politicians.
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 159

Although America’s multicultural tradition allows immigrants greater

latitude to express their identities than in Europe, even in the United States,
there is nationalist concern about the assimilation of the country’s Mexican
immigrant community. This sentiment is controversially represented by
Samuel Huntington who argues that Hispanic immigrants are not assimi-
lating into American society.87 In his view, Hispanics are establishing insu-
lated cultural islands, and the sheer number of Hispanics in the United
States threatens to undermine America’s culture. Huntington’s provocative
claim rests on the assertion that Hispanics do not assimilate into American
society as did earlier waves of immigrants from Europe. The result, he con-
tends, will be “a culturally bifurcated Anglo-Hispanic society with two na-
tional languages.”88 The density of links across the U.S.–Mexican border
“could produce a consolidation of the Mexican-dominant areas into an
autonomous, culturally and linguistically distinct, economically self-reliant
bloc within the United States.”89
Huntington’s analysis is an extension of his view—the antithesis of glo-
balization—that we are entering an era of clashing civilizations.90 He fears
that relentless globalization will undermine existing national cultures and
perhaps even national integrity and independence. To his critics, Hunting-
ton is a xenophobic nationalist, whose belief that American culture is
rooted in Anglo-Protestant tradition is false and whose fears are overheated.
To his supporters, he summarizes the resentment toward a global tidal wave
that threatens national identities, boundaries, and traditional values.

Globalization is generally seen to have gone farthest in the economic realm.
Cerny writes of the “competition state.” “The key to the new role of the state,”
he argues, “lies in the way that economic competition is changing in the
world.” “[S]tate structures today are being transformed into more and more
market-oriented and even market-based organizations themselves, fundamen-
tally altering the way that public and private goods are provided.”91 “The func-
tions of the state,” Cerny maintains, “although central in structural terms, are
becoming increasingly fragmented, privatized and devolved.”92 Thus, the “on-
going division of labor (‘globalization’)” places states “under ever-increasing
pressure, and with it sovereignty-based IR theory.”93
Economic nationalism or neomercantilism is experiencing a revival.
Contemporary neomercantilists, in Buzan’s words “seek to make the inter-
national economy fit with the patterns of fragmentation in the political
system by reducing the scope of the global market. They emphasize the
integrity of the national economy and the primacy of state goals (military
welfare, societal). They advocate protection as a way of preserving integrity,
but may be attracted to the construction of their own economy dominating
160 Richard W. Mansbach

at the centre.”94 Currently all major trading states have developed sophisti-
cated nontariff barriers to free trade such as America’s “antidumping” poli-
cies and China’s managed currency float. Moreover, China’s currency is still
not fully convertible; capital flows are managed; prices of staples such as
water, electricity, and fuel are controlled; and well over 100,000 enterprises
remain state-owned.
Although indications of a revival of economic nationalism abound, the
most striking evidence is the failure of Doha Round of global trade talks that
were begun in 2001. In Doha, it was agreed that negotiations would focus on
freeing trade in agriculture and services, both contentious issues, with an eye
toward reaching agreement by 2005. However, none of the three impedi-
ments identified by Bergsten as preventing agreement, which requires WTO
consensus, has been overcome: “massive current account imbalances and cur-
rency misalignments pushing policy in dangerously protectionist directions
in both the United States and Europe; the strong and growing antiglobaliza-
tion sentiments that stalemate virtually every trade debate on both sides of
the Atlantic and elsewhere; and the absence of a compelling reason for the
political leaders of the chief holdout countries to make the necessary conces-
sions to reach an agreement.”95 The “most contentious issue” involved agri-
cultural subsidies in the developed world that prevent developing countries
from selling their products overseas.96 Efforts to reach agreement collapsed in
July 2006 as the United States and the Europeans failed to agree on agricul-
tural subsidies and, in response, developing countries like Brazil refused to
open their markets to developed countries’ manufactured goods and services.
One view is that this outcome threatens “long-term damage to the notion of
multilateralism.”97 However, others decry “the ‘bicycle theory’ of trade nego-
tiations—the view that the trade regime can remain upright only with con-
tinuous progress in liberalization.”98
Additional evidence of economic nationalism emerged with dramatic
increases in grain and commodity prices in 2008. Confronted with domes-
tic unrest, countries as varied as Ukraine, Argentina, Pakistan, India, and
China99 reacted by imposing export taxes and export bans on grains and
fertilizers thereby worsening food shortages elsewhere, especially in East
Africa. In addition, cooperation in the face of global recession has been
spotty. On the one hand, for instance, Germany has refused to adopt as
vigorous fiscal-stimulus programs as other European governments. In con-
trast Japan, South Korea, and China have agreed to cooperate closely in
responding to recessionary strains.100
Finally, opposition in the United States to concluding bilateral trade
agreements with countries such as Colombia and South Korea, along with
unwillingness to make the hard decisions to rescue the Doha Round and
the election of a president who has expressed skepticism about free trade,
suggest that Washington is no longer willing to exercise leadership in main-
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 161

taining a liberal economic system. Without a hegemon to lead, economic

liberalism may slow or even be reversed in some respects. Indeed, all of the
elements in economic nationalism described above were exacerbated by the
global financial and economic crisis that unfolded in 2008–2009.101
The question of whether globalization is reversible is linked to views of
whether the globalization process is, on balance, beneficial or harmful.
After all, globalization has “losers” as well as “winners,” and individuals
everywhere are increasingly discovering that their welfare is determined by
remote forces beyond their control or the control of their governments.

Normative Implications of Globalization

Globalization incites passionate supporters and critics. Many opponents of

globalization reserve their highest loyalties to the sovereign state, which
they believe exists to protect their interests. Globalization “challenges
clearly defined national boundaries which have traditionally demarcated
the basis on which individuals are included and excluded from participa-
tion in decisions affecting their lives,” and states “are vehicles to achieve
self-determination, which means that nationalism or the search for a lost
identity becomes a solution to the privatizing effects of the market.”102 In
particular, anti-globalizers argue that in democratic states, such as those in
Europe and North America, citizens have a voice in determining their own
fates but have little or no voice in the boardrooms of giant corporations,
remote international bureaucracies like the EU or the WTO, or economic
markets. In other words, globalization has created a “democratic deficit” by
empowering institutions in which people have no voice and by unleashing
economic and cultural forces over which people have no control. The result
is growing alienation and anxiety, as people’s lives are buffeted by remote
forces beyond their control or understanding.
Opponents denounce an era in which the rigors of the global market-
place force countries and industries to shed jobs, reduce welfare programs,
and become more efficient to survive in a cut-throat capitalist world. As
Cerny argues: “The state itself—although still the most important single
organization level and institutional structure in the world—has been trans-
formed by and through the globalization process. . . . This transformation
involves a fundamental shift of organizational goals and institutional pro-
cesses within state structures themselves, as the ‘industrial welfare state’ has
been replaced by the ‘competition state.’”103 If states lose authority, who will
assume responsibility for welfare, uphold citizens’ rights, or tend to their
economic needs and deliver justice? “No one,” answers anti-globalizers,
certainly not the elite of corporate executives and shareholders who are the
main beneficiaries of globalization. Thus,
162 Richard W. Mansbach

An emerging community of scholarship is . . . focusing attention on whether

the webs of monetary and financial interdependence now being so tightly
woven together will someday constitute the sinews of new forms of governance
beyond the territorial state. Simply put, is the raw power inherent in border-
spanning capital markets . . . reconstructing fundamental political relations
across the international system and creating a new kind of governing author-
ity? If so, the sense of disquiet that global economic integration has long stimulated
among domestic social reformers promoting equity and distributive justice becomes
understandable. The legitimacy of such an order is at issue.104

The diverse range of international regimes that have emerged in recent

decades is among the most important of these new forms of global gover-
According to critics, the operations of giant transnational conglomerates
and financial institutions undermine national economic and social policies
and, consequently, constitute a form of structural violence against the poor.
International institutions like the IMF and the WTO serve corporate inter-
ests, force countries to adopt policies that are not in citizens’ interests, and
place harsh conditions on loans against which populations can only feebly
protest. As events from the 1997–1998 “Asian contagion” to the 2008 col-
lapse of subprime mortgage instruments suggest, huge and rapid move-
ments of capital, often speculative in nature, can overwhelm central banks
and may create financial volatility that threatens national and even global
economic stability. Another consequence, it is argued, is greater inequality
within and among countries.
Anti-globalizers also argue that the movement of investment capital to
countries with poor environmental and labor standards threatens reduc-
tions in living, working, and environmental conditions. In a globalized
world, oligarchic corporations and banks scour the world for cheap labor,
moving jobs from country to country, forcing workers into sweatshop con-
ditions, using child labor, and destroying the environment in an effort to
remain competitive in a “race to the bottom.” In sum, globalization threat-
ens a reduction in the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, in the state’s
capacity to ensure public welfare, and in the possibilities for serious demo-
cratic participation.
Anti-globalizers decry the way in which the global economy and culture
have homogenized distinctive local tastes, traditions, and even languages.
Ancient cultures are giving way before the onslaught of a superficial “Coca
Cola/McDonald’s/Levi’s Jeans” culture. This consumerist culture promotes
individualism, narcissism, and greed; spreads pornographic and violent im-
ages; and eats away at moral standards and religious beliefs. Some argue
that globalization, as Kinnvall puts it, “is only another term for Western
colonization and a buzzword to denote the latest phase of capitalism” with
“no place” for “non-Western values have no place within this process.”106
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 163

Thus, ethnic, national, and religious groups bridle at the threat they per-
ceive to their uniqueness, dignity, and values. If nation-states provided a
measure of physical and psychological security for citizens, a clear identity,
and a sense of belonging, globalized culture leaves a psychological void.
“Citizens may respond to this crisis by turning to leaders who they hope
will solve their problems of material deprivation, psychological uncertainty,
and ideological absence.”107
Other consequences of globalization, according to opponents, are mas-
sive migrations of people, who leave in search of jobs or to flee violence
that disrupt communities, create cultural ghettos, and foster transnational
criminal industries in drug smuggling and human trafficking, as desperate
people seek work, and women become trapped in domestic or sexual slav-
ery.108 In addition, globalization, it is argued, facilitates international terror-
ism and global arms flows.
Advocates seem to be looking at a different world than globalization’s
opponents. They view states as created to wage wars that benefit rulers but
not citizens. Despite the spread of popular sovereignty, decisions about war
and peace and the distribution of wealth, they believe, remain in the hands
of ruling elites who cultivate and manipulate nationalism to rally followers
over domestic woes. Pro-globalizers claim that nationalism erected barriers
between peoples, stymied efforts to deal with global problems, and pro-
duced ever bloodier wars. They applaud processes that erode the state, dis-
solve the barriers of nationalism, and make people more prosperous and
interdependent. As a result, the number of interstate wars is declining, and
the human-rights abuses committed by governments are losing the protec-
tion of state sovereignty.
Also, the forces of globalization are replacing ideologies that divided the
world in the twentieth century with a single ideology based on liberal de-
mocracy that will assure the “democratic peace.” Thus, international law
has expanded to protect people rather than states. As publics come to recog-
nize that states cannot deal with collective dilemmas like environmental
degradation, they are placing their faith in NGOs and international institu-
tions that can coordinate their activities, thereby enabling the world to cope
with global challenges.
Despite inequality, the economic pie as a whole is growing, and global
poverty is declining dramatically, notably in formerly impoverished re-
gions such as Southeast Asia, China, and India. A global market with ever
fewer barriers to trade provides consumers an unprecedented choice of
increasingly inexpensive goods. Overall, globalization has been accompa-
nied by sustained growth and has brought countless workers around the
world new jobs and higher living standards. Losers are associated with
obsolete or uncompetitive enterprises, but without losers, there could be
no winners.
164 Richard W. Mansbach

Pro-globalizers dismiss opponents as a mixture of Marxists who still

hope to destroy capitalism; militant anarchists like the members of the
Black Bloc; animal-rights activists and environmentalists who value snail
darters more than jobs; labor unionists trying to keep alive industries that
should peacefully die; and xenophobic nationalists.
Also, declare globalization’s proponents, the threat of cultural homogeni-
zation is exaggerated. Local cultures can thrive alongside the global culture
of modernity. Argues Latin American novelist Mario Vargas Llosa: “[C]on-
trary to the warnings of those who fear globalization, it is not easy to com-
pletely erase cultures . . . if behind them is a rich tradition and people who
practice them, even in secret. And, today, thanks to the weakening of the
nation-state, we are seeing marginalized, and silenced local cultures re-
emerging and displaying dynamic signs of life in the great concert of this
globalized planet.”109 Moreover, the defense of local cultures means the
defense of reprehensible practices and conditions that should disappear,
such as genital mutilation of women in Africa, the Muslim practice of po-
lygamy, or the Indian caste system.
Pro-globalizers reject the criticism of modern technology, arguing that
anti-globalizers are Luddites who reject modernity, ignoring the impact that
such technologies play in expanding the global economy and widening
political participation. More information creates an informed citizenry,
makes it harder for politicians to mislead citizens, enhances democracy and
the ability to mobilize in cyberspace that contribute to a diversity of views
and the networking of NGOs for civil society. And, although a digital divide
exists between rich and poor, new communications and transportation
technologies such as mobile phones are speeding up economic develop-
ment in poor countries.
Pro-globalizers view the decline of state sovereignty as a great achieve-
ment. Sovereignty, they believe, legitimated a world in which states domi-
nated war-making, economic policy-making, and even cultural and social
policy. Yet, today’s trade is largely among transnational corporations or the
subsidiaries of such corporations, and national economic units are no lon-
ger compatible with markets. At present, the resources controlled by large
corporations and banks, and by certain super rich individuals, dwarf the
resources of most governments, and the wealth of large corporations ex-
ceeds the gross domestic product of most countries.
Sovereignty should assure a state’s right to exist and its freedom from ex-
ternal intervention. In fact, it often does not do so, and provides fewer
privileges to states. Today, sovereignty tells us little about real states. The
world’s two hundred states includes one superpower and a host of “mini-
states” that are scarcely viable. Eighty-seven countries have fewer than
5 million inhabitants, fifty-eight have less than two-and-a-half million, and
thirty-five fewer than 500,000.
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 165

Consider the dramatic contrast between the prosperous city-state of Sin-

gapore and the state-like remains of Somalia, which features dozens of
warring clans that engaged in looting and the terrorizing of citizens. In
countries like Somalia, the idea of sovereignty is turned on its head; in-
stead of providing citizens with security from foreign aggression by guard-
ing the country’s borders, armed militias are the source of insecurity for citi-
zens who desperately flee them by crossing those very borders. All in all,
in recent decades sovereignty has offered little protection against military
predation, amounting to what Robert Jackson calls “negative sovereignty,”
that is, little more than protection for corrupt regimes in what Jackson calls
Thus, there is a growing gap between the promise of sovereignty and the
reality of global politics. With few exceptions, states are less autonomous
and less able to protect or inspire citizens than at any time in recent centu-
ries. Erosion of state institutions and frontiers is least evident in rich states
in Europe, East Asia, and North America and most evident in poor post-
colonial countries in Africa and Asia.
One response to claims of state erosion might be that citizens are pre-
pared to die for their country but not for international or NGOs. Yet, it is
hard to imagine citizens of modern states lining up as they did between
1914 and 1918 to join armies in battles that cost thousands of lives. In fact,
readiness to die for a cause is found more frequently among ethnic or reli-
gious minorities than among the ordinary citizens in most countries.
In sum, globalization is revolutionizing global politics. According to
Switzerland’s 2009 KOF Index of Globalisation, globalization continues to
thicken.111 It will have its ups and downs in coming years, but it is unlikely
to be reversed barring a major global war or other catastrophe such as the
collapse of the U.S. dollar and the global trade system.

Dilemmas Facing East Asia

Overall, East Asian countries rank surprisingly low in terms of overall glo-
balization. Of the 72 countries ranked by Foreign Policy in 2008, only Hong
Kong was near the top (2nd globally), while Japan ranked 28th, Taiwan
37th, and China 66th.112 East Asia fared worse in the 2009 KOF Index.
South Korea ranked 59th, Japan 70th, China 91st, South Korea 59th, Japan
70th, and North Korea 181st of the 208 entities in the survey.113 However,
East Asia was home to some of the most globalized cities in the world; of
the 60 major urban areas surveyed by Foreign Policy, Tokyo ranked 4th,
Hong Kong 5th, Seoul 9th, and Beijing 12th.114
East Asia, as noted at the outset, is a leading regional beneficiary of eco-
nomic globalization. Economic globalization has helped produce dramatic
166 Richard W. Mansbach

reductions in overall poverty, but nowhere more so than in Asia. Between

1990 and 2002, the world’s poor, defined as those earning $1 or less per
day, declined from 28 to 19 percent of the population of the developing
world between. However, a high proportion of that reduction took place in
one country—China—where 400 million people emerged from poverty.
Intensifying economic interdependence is reflected in China’s enormous
dollar reserves and the degree to which America’s trade deficits are financed
by Chinese purchases of American securities.115
Huge amounts of foreign direct investment have flowed into East Asia,
and China in particular has been the destination of ever more direct invest-
ment by major transnational corporations (TNCs). Overall, East Asia is the
leading regional recipient of FDI increasing by 19 percent in 2007 to $157
billion, and China, the recipient of some $84 billion in FDI,116 “is the most
preferred investment location.”117 Moreover, increasingly investments in
China, Hongkong, and Taiwan have shifted from low-cost and labor-intensive
manufacturing to services and technologically sophisticated products.118
However, there has been a shift of FDI from East Asia to India and South-
east Asia, although China and Hongkong remain the two largest regional
recipients.119 FDI to South Korea “dropped for the third consecutive year”
to “the lowest level since 1997” owing to “slower economic growth, high
oil prices, appreciation of the won, and a decline in cross-border M&A
In East Asia, as a whole, continuing globalization was reflected by the
growing number of cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Among
emerging economies, Taiwan and Hong Kong account for the largest num-
bers of transnational corporations, with China ranking third.121 Beijing and
Shanghai alone host some 220 regional corporate headquarters,122 and sov-
ereign wealth funds, for example, the China Investment Corporation with
$200 billion in assets,123 have been created throughout Asia. East Asia, nota-
bly Hongkong, has thus become a major source as well as recipient of FDI.
Chinese investments in raw material extraction in Africa and Asia, espe-
cially in countries politically shunned by the West such as Sudan and Myan-
mar, have attracted considerable public attention. Nowhere is globalizing
China more visible than in Africa. In November 2006, China invited Afri-
can leaders to Beijing, where President Hu Jintao announced a broad aid
package including $5 billion in loans, debt relief, and technical assistance,
and China has become Africa’s third largest trading partner after the United
States and France, increasing from some $14 billion in 2000 to almost $40
billion in 2005, with estimates that it would reach $100 billion by 2010.
China has invested heavily in infrastructure, including railroads in Nigeria
and Angola, roadways in Rwanda, and Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam in
Ethiopia. China’s interest in Africa is fueled by its appetite for fuel and raw
materials. Angola and Sudan alone provide China with 25 percent of its oil
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 167

imports,124 and the dramatic rise in global commodity prices prior to the
2007–2008 global financial crisis was widely attributed to Chinese imports
of raw materials to feed that country’s economic expansion.
In return for raw materials, China exports finished manufactured goods
to Africa. In Kano, Nigeria, for example, numerous Chinese restaurants have
appeared, a Chinese shoe factory employs over 2,000 workers, and Chinese
products fill store shelves. Declared the owner of a Kano textile factory who
had to cut his workforce dramatically: “Without a little protection, if the
Chinese bring their finished cotton to Nigeria, you cannot compete with
them. . . . The gap is so wide that if you just allow them to come in, you are
killing Nigerian companies.”125
However, globalization entails trade-offs for East Asia. Economic inequal-
ity is growing more evident in much of the region.126 Divisions between
prosperous coastal and impoverished rural China threaten serious political
and social unrest. Although economic globalization offers the prospect of
rapid economic development, Selected personality traits, notably individu-
alism,127 are needed to prosper in a neoliberal world, but entrepreneurial
talent (as well as corruption) produces significant economic and social in-
Globalized culture threatens what Sassen calls “denationalization.”128
Asian states have to contend with a growing population of ambitious,
skilled, and self-confident individuals as well as a host of transnational
NGOs, including those engines of globalization—transnational corpora-
tions. Most importantly, states must cope with the exigencies of global
markets. Thus, as Dittmer suggests, although opposition to economic glo-
balization in Asia is relatively low, “Asian adoption of globalization has
always been highly selective. The realm of ultimate values has typically been
excepted, in part to preserve indigenous cultural traditions, partly in defer-
ence to the interests of political and social elites. The result has been a dis-
tinctively Asian hybrid of pell-mell economic globalization and political–
cultural exceptionalism.”129
Concern about the impact of globalization, equated with Westernization,
led some Asians to argue that their values were different than those of the
West. Some have claimed that Western values, however useful in Europe
and America, are unsuited to Asian conditions and violate Asian traditions.
Western social values such as deregulation, weak unions, and a minimalist
welfare state, some Asians still claim, are fundamentally incompatible with
their own practices and traditional social values.130 As Guthrie suggests,
“economic systems are themselves cultural systems, where learned practices
and behaviors become embedded in the norms and rules by which indi-
viduals operate over time.”131
Until the economic crisis of 1997–1998, East Asians had pursued a path
to economic growth featuring a high degree of state involvement in eco-
168 Richard W. Mansbach

nomic planning. As first Japan and then Asia’s newly industrializing coun-
tries, especially South Korea and Taiwan, and finally the little tigers of
Southeast Asia clawed their way from poverty to prosperity, Asian politi-
cians began to speak of the superiority of “Asian values.” As articulated by
regional leaders like Lee Kwan Yew, the Asian path to economic growth
combined political authoritarianism with “managed” or state capitalism.
For many of Asia’s leaders, Western emphasis on individual liberty—a
cornerstone of the liberal democracy—as essential to economic growth
was mistaken. “I do not believe,” declared Lee, “that democracy necessar-
ily leads to development. I believe that what a country needs to develop
is discipline more than democracy.”132 While Westerners emphasized in-
dividual freedom and prosperity, many East Asians remained loyal to so-
cial values like equality of outcome that are associated with the teaching
of Confucius. “Asian values,” in the words of one commentator “are dif-
ferent in kind, not in degree. They are self-reliant, yet somehow commu-
nitarian rather than individualistic; built on personal relationships and
mutual obligation . . . respectful of authority and hierarchy; and state in-
terventionist, even into the private space of individuals. The word that
summed up this—in part self-contradictory—spirit was Confucianism.”133
Asian leaders emphasized “Confucian precepts of work, frugality, and hi-
erarchy” that they believed, “underlie the dramatic economic growth
achieved in East Asia by Japan in the 1970s and 1980s, the four ‘tigers’
(Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore) in the 1980s and mid-1990s,
and the three aspiring tigers (Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia) until the
middle of 1997.”134
The question of whether democracy characterizes governance in East Asia
is contested. Some argue that democratic norms have accompanied eco-
nomic globalization in East Asia but that these norms are different than
those that underpin Western liberal democracy. “The notion that democ-
racy is a peculiar Protestant Europe cultural project,” declares Edward Fried-
man, “is belied by the strength of democracy all over Asia.”135 Friedman
continues by observing that, although many Chinese contend that “au-
thoritarian China is morally superior,” “this does not stop Chinese villagers
from organizing and demonstrating for fair treatment, understood as insti-
tutionalizing a politics where they have a political voice and leaders can be
rendered accountable.”136 Guthrie argues that a gradual sequence of changes
involving the growing autonomy of markets, declining communist control
of workplaces, emergence of alternative careers in the private sector, and
growing access to information, along with the evolving role of people’s
congresses, local self-governance, reform-minded elites, and the impact of
foreign economic penetration make democratization of China over time a
virtual certainty.137 Regarding the authoritarian implications of Confucian-
ism, Friedman responds that “South Korea, the most Confucian society in
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 169

the world is democratic.”138 So are Confucian-infused democratic Japan139

and Taiwan.” “Taiwan’s democracy is both as democratic and Taiwanese as
Germany’s is German and democratic.”140
Dittmer argues that the Asian financial crisis of 1997–1998 gave the re-
gion’s “hybrid globalizers their first sharp setback,”141 forcing elites to recon-
sider many of the practices they had used to achieve rapid economic develop-
ment. “The East Asian pattern of adaptation to globalization had been
one-sided and partial, promoting exports while barring imports, grafting
export-led growth onto continuing import substitution. . . .” Moreover,

The Asian values that had facilitated the Asian miracle were now seen to be a
double-edged sword. The tight family structure that fostered achieve-
ment-oriented socialization and a voluntary welfare safety net was also condu-
cive to nepotism and cronyism. The bonds of community that underpinned
social stability and civility also gave rise to corporatism, lack of transparency,
and moral hazard. The respect for authority so conducive to industrial disci-
pline also permitted blind obedience to elite corruption. Paradoxically, the
same cultural values that made Asia the late twentieth century’s miracle of non-
Western modernization suddenly seemed to be a grave liability, giving rise to a
highly effective but clearly flawed form of capitalism.142

The degree to which Asian and Western values differ is hotly debated.
Surveys conducted by Japan’s Dentsu Institute for Human Studies in Japan,
China, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and India (1998) and in Britain,
France, Germany, Sweden, and the United States (1997) suggest that Asian
and Western values are less dissimilar than observers had thought and that
Asians themselves differed significantly when asked about the relative im-
portance of “financial wealth,” “acquiring high-quality goods,” “family re-
lationships,” “success in work,” “mental relaxation,” “leisure activity,” “liv-
ing for the present,” “striving to achieve personal goals,” and “having good
relationships with others.” On only two of the nine dimensions of value
measured were Asians and Westerners significantly different.143


Interconnectedness, the essence of globalization, continues to intensify

despite opposition. The spread of modern technologies continues to make
national frontiers more porous and produces a “compression of the world
and the intensification of the consciousness of the world.”144 In the words
of Marc Williams: “It is this interpenetration of national societies which
subverts the competence of national authorities and erodes their auton-
omy,” while “the development of transnational networks and global au-
thority structures dislocates and fractures national decision-making.”145
170 Richard W. Mansbach

Although individual countries like Burma may opt out of globalization, the
costs to do so will be high.
Problems associated with globalization—for example, the rapid spread of
disease and economic crises, transnational crime, and migration from poor
to wealthy societies—are likely to become more pressing. Recent history
involving issues like global warming does not provide grounds for opti-
mism about their solution. Several factors reflect continuing globalization.
States remain, but they have been thoroughly penetrated by global eco-
nomic forces over which they have little control. In this world, governments
have grown less significant than the global market. The global market,
along with giant transnational corporations, distributes global resources
and determines the well-being of individuals everywhere, sometimes for
better and sometimes for worse.
For increasing numbers of people, especially those in business and poli-
tics, national and communal identities have softened. What it means to be
American, Canadian, or Chinese is less important than the opportunities
available to individuals and previously marginalized groups. Migration
continues despite efforts to manage it, especially in the West. Notwithstand-
ing setbacks in countries from Venezuela and Russia to Thailand and Zim-
babwe, democratic aspirations continue to spread and animate political
life. In a world of multiple identities, people can retain subnational, na-
tional, and transnational identities at the same time, although intrastate
and interstate economic inequality and backlash against cultural homoge-
nization and the erosion of traditional values and weakening of traditional
elites will continue to mobilize opponents of globalization. Globalization’s
greatest impact is already the developed world, and the growing gap be-
tween rich and poor countries, the proliferation of failed states, and the
spreading impact of ethnic and religious intolerance suggest that this will
continue to be the case. In addition, the globalization process entails pre-
venting a new economic depression and the proliferation of beggar-thy-
neighbor policies and coping with the threats like transnational terrorism
and large-scale migration from poor to rich countries.
To date, the institutions of globalization ranging from transnational cor-
porations to international organizations have remained in reasonably good
health despite American unilateralism, Russian and Chinese nationalism,
and the resurgence of protectionism. A panoply of NGOs continue to pro-
vide humanitarian relief and protection for civilians despite the opposition
of authoritarian regimes like Putin’s in Russia. International organizations
like the UN, the EU, and NATO, aided by a variety of NGOs and wealthy
states, continue to intervene to restore peace or provide for the welfare of
citizens living in countries that have failed or are in imminent danger of
doing so, and the norms that underpin interstate and transnational col-
laboration remain strong.
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 171

In coming years, however, these norms will be sorely tested by ethnic and
religious “neotribalism” in regions such as Darfur, Bosnia, Congo, and Ti-
bet. At present, it is not clear whether major states will have the political
will or vision to oppose oppressive regimes such as those in Zimbabwe and
Sudan or provide the wherewithal for international institutions to manage
the use of force during civil strife. Thus, humanitarian intervention has
been haphazard, depending on the attitude of major powers like the United
States (which opposed declaring Rwanda the victim of Hutu genocide
against Tutsis) and China (which opposed intervention in Darfur).
Such neotribalism makes Huntington’s vision of conflicting civilizations
a real possibility, as well as Robert Kaplan’s apocalyptic vision of a world as
dominated by “poverty, the collapse of cities, porous borders, cultural and
racial strife, growing economic disparities, weakening nation states,” a
world of “disease pandemics like AIDS, environmental catastrophes, orga-
nized crime.”146 “I believe,” argues Kaplan, “that, for a number of reasons,
we’re going to see the weakening, dilution, and perhaps even crackup of
larger, more complex, modern societies in the next 10 or 15 years in such
places as Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Pakistan”147 and that a combination of
political upheavals, demographic factors, resource scarcity, and climate
change will produce global chaos.
In Kaplan’s world of failed states and failed institutions, political author-
ity has broken down, and local militias, criminal gangs, and religious ter-
rorists roam freely. It is a Mad Max world of terrorists with nuclear weapons
in suitcases, snipers on street corners, bioterror outbreaks, and resource
scarcity. This despairing vision owes much to events like the terror attacks
of al Qaeda, waves of suicide bombers in Israel and Iraq, the Washington
D.C. Beltway sniper, the Bali nightclub bombing, and the acquisition of
WMD by Iran, North Korea, and potentially even terrorist groups.
The kind of chaos described in this model is likely to afflict parts of the
developing world like Somalia and Congo where a toxic combination of
poverty, population growth, ecological disaster, and corruption foster state
failure. Such conditions might usher in a revival of authoritarian solutions
in reaction to popular anxiety. This was the path that publics in Germany,
Italy, and Japan chose to follow after the Great Depression in what Eric
Fromm described as their “escape from freedom.”148 It is the path taken by
Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina in the 1970s. Contemporary Russia illustrates
how creeping authoritarianism can occur as a way of restoring “order.”
As long as globalization does not rob states of their political indepen-
dence, many governments will view events through the prism of the national
interest, especially as long as territorial issues like those that divide India and
Pakistan and Israel and the Palestinians persist. A more dangerous prospect
would be heightened fear in the United States if it appeared that a rising state
like China posed a serious challenge to American hegemony. Such an event
172 Richard W. Mansbach

would challenge the global status quo and trigger a U.S. effort to increase its
power. To date, both countries have recognized this danger and the con-
straints imposed by their growing economic and political interdependence.
Global transformation and changing patterns of authority, identities, and
resource distribution in any era provoke anxiety and instability. Whatever
form it assumes, tomorrow’s world is likely to be complex and unpredict-
able. This leads Kaplan to conclude that “We are not in control.”149 Complex-
ity produces misunderstanding; misunderstanding creates unpredictability; unpre-
dictability breeds instability; and instability threatens conflict. Political leaders
are not, however, entirely helpless in the face of unpredictability. In the
words of one observer of Asian politics: “Local actors do not remain passive
targets and learners as transnational agents acting out a universal moral
script to produce and direct norm diffusion in local politics. Local agents
also produce norm diffusion by actively borrowing and modifying transna-
tional norms in accordance with their preconstructed normative beliefs and
practices,” and “norm-takers perform acts of selection, borrowing, and
modification in accordance with a preexisting normative framework to
build congruence between that and emerging global norms.”150
The rapid spread of financial and economic distress globally suggests that
major economic outcomes remain the result of market forces that govern-
ments can try to soften but cannot resist. Asia’s 1997 financial crisis was a
foretaste of the present global crisis. The institutions of globalization, nota-
bly the IMF, did not serve Asia well at that time, but the Asian economies
recovered quickly and East Asia did not turn its back on globalization.
Whether the current crisis will have a similar outcome remains to be seen,
but East Asia’s experience with globalization and its stake in maintaining a
liberal economic system suggest that, while it may seek a different institu-
tional architecture in which it has a greater voice, it will not reject globaliza-
tion in a wholesale way.


   1.  Regionalization has not taken root in East Asia because, as one observer ex-
plains, of “modernization with insufficient globalization.” Gilbert Rozman, Northeast
Asia’s Stunted Regionalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 7.
   2.  Peter Kien-hong YU, International Governance, Regimes, and Globalization: An
East Asian Perspective (Boca Raton: BrownWalker Press, 2008), p. 76.
   3.  J. R. McNeill and William H. McNeill, The Human Web: A Bird’s Eye View of
World History (New York: Norton, 2003).
   4.  Manuel Castells, The Rise of Network Society, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Blackwell,
   5.  Thomas L. Friedman, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Cen-
tury (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005).
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 173

   6.  Richard Florida, “The World Is Spiky,” Atlantic Monthly (October 2005), pp.
   7.  Saskia Sassen, Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006).
   8.  James N. Rosenau, Along the Domestic–Foreign Frontier: Exploring Governance
in a Turbulent World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).
   9.  During the second half of 2008, global trade experienced a significant de-
cline led by the United States whose combined imports and exports dropped by 18
percent between July and November of that year. Kelly Evans, John W. Miller, and
Mei Fong, “Global Trade Posts Sharp Decline,” Wall Street Journal, January 14, 2009,
pp. A1, A10.
  10.  Lowell Dittmer, “The Twilight of Asian Exceptionalism,” in Catarina Kin-
nvall and Kristina Jönsson, eds. Globalization and Democratization in Asia (New York:
Routledge, 2002), p. 22.
  11.  Stephen D. Krasner, Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy (Princeton, NJ: Prince-
ton University Press, 1999).
  12.  Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press,
  13.  East Asia includes China, South and North Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.
  14.  See Loretta Chao and Andrew Batson, “China’s Small Factories Struggle,”
Wall Street Journal, January 31–February 1, 2009, p. A6, and Ian Johnson and An-
drew Batson, “China’s Migrants See Jobless Ranks Soar,” Wall Street Journal, February
3, 2009, pp. A1, A10.
  15.  “The Second Long March,” The Economist, December 13, 2008, p. 30. For a
sense of China’s immense role in the global economy, see James McGregor, One
Billion Customers (New York: Free Press, 2005).
  16.  Doug Guthrie, China and Globalization (New York: Routledge, 2006), p. 3.
  17.  Ronald Grigor Suny, “Provisional Stabilities: The Politics of Identities in
Post-Soviet Eurasia,” International Security, vol. 24, no. 3 (Winter 1999/2000),
p. 144.
  18.  See, for example, A. Claire Cutler, “Locating ‘Authority’ in the Global Political
Economy,” International Studies Quarterly, vol. 43, no. 1 (March 1999), pp. 59–81.
  19.  Vivienne Shue, “China: from Heshang to Falun Gong,” in Kinnvall and Jöns-
son, eds. Globalization and Democratization in Asia, p. 225.
  20.  David Held and Anthony McGrew, David Goldblatt and Jonathan Perraton,
“The Globalization Debate,” in Stuart Hall, David Held, and Tony McGrew, eds.
Classic Readings and Contemporary Debates in International Relations, 3rd ed. (Belmont,
CA: Wadsworth, 2006), pp. 547–570.
  21.  Tony McGrew, “A Global Society,” in Stuart Hall, David Held, and Tony
McGrew, eds., Modernity, and Its Futures (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1992), pp. 13–14.
  22.  Held, McGrew, Goldblatt, and Perraton, “The Globalization Debate,” p. 549.
  23.  Ibid., p. 550.
  24.  Ibid., p. 554.
  25.  Ibid., p. 555.
  26.  Rosenau, Along the Domestic-Foreign Frontier, pp. 99–117.
  27.  See Yale H. Ferguson and Richard W. Mansbach, Remapping Global Politics:
History’s Revenge and Future Shock (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).
174 Richard W. Mansbach

  28.  Naeem Inayatullah and David L. Blaney, International Relations and the Prob-
lem of Difference (New York: Routledge, 2004), pp. 191, 210.
  29.  Ibid., pp. 189, 191.
  30.  Douglas W. Blum, National Identity and Globalization: Youth, State, and Society
in Post-Soviet Eurasia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 161.
  31.  For the impact of the Internet and other information technologies in China,
see Guthrie, China and Globalization, pp. 282–286.
  32.  See Daniel W. Drezner and Henry Farrell, “Web of Influence,” Foreign Policy,
vol. 145 (November–December 2004), pp. 32–40.
  33.  James N. Rosenau, Turbulence in World Politics: A Theory of Change and Conti-
nuity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990), p. 239. See also Rosenau,
Distant Proximities: Dynamics beyond Globalization (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univer-
sity Press, 2003).
  34.  Philip G. Cerny, “What Next for the State?” in E. Kofman and G. Youngs,
eds., Globalization: Theory and Practice (London: Pinter, 1996), pp. 124–125. See also
Rodney Bruce Hall and Thomas J. Biersteker, eds., The Emergence of Private Authority
in Global Governance (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003).
  35.  Blum, National Identity and Globalization, pp. 76, 192.
  36.  Philip G. Cerny, Georg Menz, and Susanne Soederberg, “Different Roads to
Globalization: Neoliberalism, the Competition State, and Politics in a More Open
World,” in Soederberg, Menz, and Cerny, eds., Internalizing Globalization: The Rise of
Neoliberalism and the Decline of National Varieties of Capitalism (New York: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2005), pp. 1–2. Emphasis added.
  37.  Benjamin Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Reshap-
ing the World (New York: Times Books, 1995), p. 23.
  38.  Samuel P. Huntington, Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National
Identity (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005), p. 13.
  39.  Blum, National Identity and Globalization, p. 74.
  40.  Mike Featherstone, Undoing Culture: Globalization, Postmodernism and Identity
(London: Sage, 1995), p. 102.
  41.  Peter Kien-hong Yu points out that “there are many Chinese characters that
cannot find their equivalent in English.” International Governance, Regimes and Glo-
balization, p. 80.
  42.  Michael Talalay, “Technology and Globalization: Assessing Patterns of Inter-
naction,” in Randall D. Germain, ed., Globalization and Its Critics (New York: St.
Martin’s Press, 2000), p. 220.
  43.  Stephen Baker and Inka Resch, with Kate Carlisle and Katharine A.
Schmidt, “The Great English Divide,” in Business Week Online, August 13, 2001.
  44.  Talalay, “Technology and Globalization,” p. 211.
  45.  Blum, National Identity and Globalization, p. 163.
  46.  David Held, Anthony McGrew, David Goldblatt, and Jonathan Perraton,
Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture (Stanford, CA: Stanford Univer-
sity Press, 1999), pp. 69–70.
  47.  “The Globalization Index,” Foreign Policy 163 (November/December 2007),
pp. 70–71. However, by almost any measure such as receipt or export of FDI, corpo-
rate mergers and acquisitions, or entry into the WTO China is rapidly globalizing.
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 175

See Guthrie, China and Globalization, pp. 316–329. He concludes (p. 330) that “all
indications are that China’s growth will continue to integrate the country into the
global economy.”
  48.  “The Second Long March,” p. 31. See also Guthrie, China and Globalization,
pp. 257–303.
  49.  Blum, National Identity and Globalization, p. 184. However, Blum notes that
“arguments in favor of democracy tend to be couched in neoliberal terms, as being
inseparable from the market and individualist values” (p. 81); democracy, in other
words is a precondition for economic development.
  50.  John Keane, Global Civil Society? (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
2003), p. 62.
  51.  Sassen, Territory, Authority, Rights, p. 269. Emphasis added.
  52.  See, for example, Margaret E. Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists Beyond
Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University
Press, 1998) and Thomas Risse, Stephen C. Ropp, and Kathryn Sikkink, The Power of
Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic Change (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1999).
  53.  Hugo Dobson, “Social movements and society in Japan,” in Kinnvall and
Jönsson, eds. Globalization and Democratization in Asia, p. 146, 147.
  54.  Guthrie, China and Globalization, p. 271.
  55.  Philip G. Cerny, “Globalization and Other Stories: Paradigmatic Selection in
International Politics,” in Axel H. lsemeyer, ed., Globalization in the Twenty-first Cen-
tury: Convergence or Divergence? (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2003), p. 65. Pio-
neering enquiries into transgovernmental politics include Robert W. Russell, “Trans-
national Interaction in the International Monetary System, 1960–1972,” International
Organization, vol. 27, no. 4 (Autumn 1973), pp. 431–464; C. Robert Dickerman,
“Transnational Governmental Challenge and Response in Scandinavia and North
America,” International Organization, vol. 30, no. 2 (Spring 1976), pp. 213–240;
Raymond F. Hopkins, “The International Role of ‘Domestic’ Bureaucracy,” Interna-
tional Organization, vol. 30, no. 3 (Summer 1976), pp. 405–432; and Robert O. Keo-
hane, “The International Energy Agency: State Influence and Transgovernmental
Politics,” International Organization, vol. 32, no. 4 (Autumn 1978), pp. 929–951.
  56.  Sassen, Territory, Authority, Rights, p. 298. Another area of transgovernmental
bureaucratic cooperation is in civil liberties. See Abraham L. Newman, “Building Trans-
national Civil Liberties: Transgovernmental Entrepreneurs and the European Data Pri-
vacy Directive,” International Organization, vol. 62, no. 1 (Winter 2008), pp. 103–130.
  57.  Peter J. Taylor, “The Modern Multiplicity of States,” in Eleonore Kofman
and Gillian Youngs, eds., Globalization: Theory and Practice (London: Pinter, 1996),
pp. 117–118.
  58.  Cerny, Menz, and Soederberg, “Different Roads to Globalization,” p. 1.
  59.  Catarina Kinnvall, “Analyzing the Global-Local Nexus,” in Kinnvall and
Jönsson, eds. Globalization and Democratization in Asia, p. 4. Emphasis in original.
  60.  Peter Kien-hong YU, International Governance, Regimes, and Globalization, pp.
  61.  Niall Ferguson, “Sinking Globalization,” Foreign Affairs, vol. 84, no. 7 (De-
cember 2005), pp. 64–77.
  62.  Held, et al., Global Transformation, p. 17.
176 Richard W. Mansbach

  63.  Ibid., pp. 16–20.

  64.  The EU is already something of an anomaly of a globalizing era. The Euro-
pean Union, writes Stephen Krasner, “has territory, recognition, control, national
authority, extranational authority, and supranational authority. . . . Is it a state, a
commonwealth, a dominion, a confederation of states, a federation of states?” Sov-
ereignty: Organized Hypocrisy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), p.
235. Held, et al. conclude that “it is best described neither as an international re-
gime nor as a federal state, but as a network of states involving the pooling of sov-
ereignty.” Global Transformations, p. 74.
  65.  “Measuring Globalization,” Foreign Policy, vol. 141 (March/April 2004), pp.
  66.  “The Globalization Index,” pp. 70–71.
  67.  Walker Connor, “Beyond Reason: The Nature of the Ethnonational Bond,”
in John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith, eds., Ethnicity (Oxford: Oxford Univer-
sity Press, 1996), p. 70.
  68.  Daniel P. Moynihan, Pandaemonium: Ethnicity in International Politics (New
York: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 174.
  69.  “Obama’s World,” The Economist, November 8, 2008, p. 34.
  70.  Yael Tamir, Liberal Nationalism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,
1993), p. 3.
  71.  Roman Szporluk, “Thoughts about Change: Ernest Gellner and the History
of Nationalism,” in John A. Hall, ed., The State of the Nation: Ernest Gellner and the
Theory of Nationalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 27.
  72.  Woodrow Wilson, “Appeal for Support of the League of Nations at Pueblo,
Colorado,” in Mario DiNunzio, ed., Woodrow Wilson: Essential Writings and Speeches
of the Scholar-President (New York: NYU Press, 2006), p. 415.
  73.  Cited in David Binder, with Barabara Crossette, “As Ethnic Wars Multiply,
U.S. Strives for a Policy,” New York Times, February 7, 1993,
  74.  James N. Rosenau, Distant Proximities: Dynamics beyond Globalization (Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), p. 107.
  75.  Ibid.
  76.  Ted Robert Gurr, Minorities at Risk: A Global View of Ethnopolitical Conflicts
(Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1996).
  77.  Cited in Binder, “As Ethnic Wars Multiply.”
  78.  Donald L. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict, 2nd ed. (Berkeley: University
of California Press, 2000), pp. 186, 197.
  79.  Jonathan Di John, “Conceptualising the Causes and Consequences of Failed
States: A Critical Review of the Literature,” Development as State-Making, no. 25
(January 2008), Crisis States Research Centre,
serviceID=ISN&fileid=E23CB, p. 10.
  80.  Robert I. Rothberg, “The Failure and Collapse of Nation-States: Breakdown,
Prevention, and Repair,” in Rothberg, ed., When States Fail: Causes and Consequences
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), p. 5.
  81.  “The Failed State Index 2008,” Foreign Policy, vol. 167 (July/August 2008),
p. 67.
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 177

  82.  Tariq Modood, “Introduction: The Politics of Multiculturalism in the New

Europe,” in Modood and Prina J. Werbner, eds., The Politics of Multiculturalism in the
New Europe: Racism, Identity and Community (London: Zed Books, 1997), p. 1.
  83.  Robert S. Leiken, “Europe’s Angry Muslims,” Foreign Affairs, vol. 84 no. 4
(July/August 1995), p. 122.
  84.  Ibid., p. 120.
  85.  Pew Global Attitudes Project, “Islamic Extremism: Common Concern for
Muslim and Western Publics” (July 14, 2005),
  86.  Pew Global Attitudes Project, “Muslims in Europe: Economic Worries Top Con-
cerns about Religious and Cultural Identity” (June 6, 2006),
  87.  Samuel P. Huntington, Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National
Identity (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005).
  88.  Ibid., p. 221.
  89.  Ibid., p. 247.
  90.  Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations: Remaking of World Order (New
York: Simon & Schuster 1996). Huntington especially fears a “Confucian–Islamic con-
nection” (p. 188) reflected in Chinese and North Korean nuclear and conventional
arms transfers to Iran and Pakistan
  91.  Cerny, “What Next for the State?” p. 124. Cerny’s competition state is echoed
by Philip Bobbitt’s “market-state” (The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course
of History [New York: Random House, 2003]), p. 211.
  92.  Cerny, “Globalization and Other Stories,” p. 65.
  93.  Andreas Osiander, “Sovereignty, International Relations, and the West-
phalian Myth.”International Organization, vol. 55, no. 2 (Spring 2001), p. 283.
  94.  Barry Buzan, People, States and Fear (New York: Columbia University Press,
2008), p. 252.
  95.  C. Fred Bergsten, “Rescuing the Doha Round,” Foreign Affairs, vol. 84, no. 7
(December 2005),,
p. 1. See also Alan Tonelson, “The Real Lessons in the Doha Round’s Failure,”
AmericanEconomicAlert (August 15, 2006),
  96.  Arvind Panagariya, “Liberalizing Agriculture” Foreign Affairs, vol. 84, no 7
(December 2005),
gariya/liberalizing-agriculture.html, p. 4.
  97.  Peter D. Sutherland, “Correcting Misperceptions,” Foreign Affairs, vol. 84,
no. 7 (December 2005),
sutherland/correcting-misperceptions.html, p. 1.
  98.  Dani Rodrik, “Don’t Cry for Doha,” Policy Innovations, August 19, 2008, www. See also Philip G. Cerny,
“Thinking Outside the Bicycle: Shifting Gears on Global Trade Talks,” Policy Innovations,
December 10, 2008,
  99.  China imposed controls on food prices in January 2007 but lifted them in
December 2008.
100.  “Asian giants agree economic plan,” BBC News, December 13, 2008, news
178 Richard W. Mansbach

101.  See, for example, Neil King Jr., Alistair MacDonald, and Marcus Walker, “Cri-
sis Fuels Backlash On Trade,” Wall Street Journal, January 31–February 1, 2009, pp.
A1, A6, and Bob Davis and Carrick Mollenkamp, “Financial Protectionism Is Latest
Threat to Global Recovery,” Wall Street Journal, February 2, 2009, p. A2.
102.  Kinnvall, “Analyzing the Global-Local Nexus,” p. 14.
103.  Cerny, “Globalization and Other Stories,” pp. 63–64.
104.  David M. Andrews, C. Randall Henning, and Louis W. Pauly, “Monetary
Institutions, Financial Integration, and Political Authority,” in David M. Andrews, C.
Randall Henning, and Louis W. Pauly, eds., Governing the World’s Money (Ithaca, NY:
Cornell University Press, 2002), p. 10. Emphasis added.
105.  Stephen D. Krasner, ed., International Regimes (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University
Press, 1983), and Oran R. Young, International Regimes (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univer-
sity Press, 1989).
106.  Kinnvall, “Analyzing the Global-Local Nexus,” p. 6.
107.  Ibid., p. 13.
108.  For an analysis of female migration in and from Asia and of the efforts of
regional governments to cooperate around the issue, see Nana Oishi, Women in Mo-
tion: Globalization, State Policies, and Labor Migration in Asia (Stanford, CA: Stanford
University Press, 2005).
109.  Mario Vargas Llosa, “The Culture of Liberty,” Foreign Policy, vol. 112 (January/
February 2001), pp. 66–71.
110.  Robert H. Jackson, Quasi-States: Sovereignty, International Relations and the
Third World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990). Jackson argues that,
even if there is an abyss between reality and aspiration, sovereignty does provide
states with a degree of legitimacy denied other actors.
111.  KOF Swiss Economic Institute, “KOF Index of Globalisation 2009” (January
27, 2009),
112.  “The Globalization Index,” pp. 70–71.
113.  Hong Kong and Taiwan are not among the countries ranked in the KOF In-
dex. The index is an aggregation of economic, social, and political indicators, and
the East Asian countries ranked highest in political globalization and lowest in eco-
nomic globalization.
114.  “The 2008 Global Cities Index,” Foreign Policy, vol. 169 (November/Decem-
ber 2008), p. 70.
115.  Guthrie, China and Globalization, p. 7.
116.  United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Investment Re-
port 2008: Transnational Corporations and the Infrastructure Challenge, Part I, www.unctad
.org/en/docs/wir2008p1_en.pdf, p. 47.
117.  Ibid., p. 33.
118.  Ibid., p. 51.
119.  Ibid., p. 8.
120.  Ibid., p. 47.
121.  Ibid., p. 29.
122.  Ibid., p. 47.
123.  Ibid., p. 50.
124.  Jill McGivering, “China’s Growing Focus on Africa,” BBC News, January 17,
2006,; Peter Ford, “China Woos African
Globalization, East Asia, and the Future of Global Politics 179

Trade,” Christian Science Monitor, November 3, 2006, p. 1, 4; Craig Timberg, “From

Competitors to Trading Partners: Africans Adjust as Business Ties with China Grow,”
Washington Post, December 3, 2006, A23.
125.  “From Competitors to Trading Partners.”
126.  For a contrary view in the context of Asia, see Machiko Nissanke and Erik
Thorbecke, eds., Globalization and the Poor in Asia: Can Shared Growth Be Sustained?
(Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2007).
127.  There is concern, however, that excessive individualism may produce “social
atomization.” Blum, National Identity and Globalization, p. 88.
128.  Sassen, Territory, Authority, Rights, pp. 13–14.
129.  Dittmer, “The twilight of Asian exceptionalism,” p. 22.
130.  For a balanced analysis of this issue, see Takashi Inoguchi and Edward New-
man, “Introduction: ‘Asian Values’ and Democracy in Asia,” Proceedings of 1997 First
Shizuoka Asia–Pacific Forum: The Future of the Asia–Pacific Region,
131.  Guthrie, China and Globalization, p. 16. Emphasis in original.
132.  Cited in “Asia’s Different Drum,” Time, June 14, 1993, 18.
133.  C.O. Khong, “Asian Values: The Debate Revisited,” Proceedings of 1997 First
Shizuoka Asia–Pacific Forum: The Future of the Asia–Pacific Region.
134.  Charles Wolf, Jr., “Are ‘Asian Values’ Really Unique?” Hoover Institution,
Hoover Digest, no. 2, (2000),
135.  Edward Friedman, “On Alien Western Democracy,” in Kinnvall and Jöns-
son, eds. Globalization and Democratization in Asia, p. 54.
136.  Ibid., p. 56.
137.  Guthrie, China and Globalization, pp. 276–303. “A totally democratic sys-
tem,” Guthrie concludes, “may be decades down the road, but the party is now at a
point where there is no turning back” (p. 303), and “a rule-of-law society is emerg-
ing in China” (p. 22, also pp. 217–255).
138.  For a more critical version of South Korean “democracy,” see Geir Helgesen,
“Imported democracy: The South Korean experience,” in Kinnvall and Jönsson, eds.,
Globalization and Democratization in Asia, pp. 73–91. Helgesen describes South Ko-
rean democracy as “strongly supported, yet weak in practice” (p. 74), and he con-
cludes that “the present, commonly shared social morality in Korea does not sup-
port a liberalist version of democracy which hails individual freedom, freedom of
choice, and political pluralism as the supreme good” (p. 88).
139.  By contrast, Hugo Dobson approvingly quotes Chalmers Johnson’s description
of the Japan’s political process as one of “soft authoritarianism” in which bureaucracy
is the chief political actor. Dobson, “Social Movements and Society in Japan,” p. 132.
140.  Friedman, “On Alien Western Democracy,” pp. 58, 59. Emphasis in original.
141.  Dittmer, “The Twilight of Asian Exceptionalism,” p. 22.
142.  Ibid., pp. 34–35.
143.  Khong, “Asian Values: The Debate Revisited.”
144.  Roland Robertson, Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture (London:
Sage Publications, 1992), p. 8.
145.  Marc Williams, “Rethinking Sovereignty,” in Kofman and Youngs, eds. Glo-
balization, p. 117.
180 Richard W. Mansbach

146.  Robert D. Kaplan, The Ends of the Earth: From Togo to Turkmenistan, from Iran
to Cambodia, a Journey to the Frontiers of Anarchy (New York: Vintage Books, 1996),
p. 436.
147.  “Mr. Order Meets Mr. Chaos,” Foreign Policy, vol. 124 (May/June 2001), p. 54.
148.  Erich From, Escape from Freedom (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1941).
149.  Kaplan, The Ends of the Earth, p. 436. Emphasis in original.
150.  Amitav Acharya, “How Ideas Spread: Whose Norms Matter? Norm Localiza-
tion and Institutional Change in Asian Regionalism,” International Organization, vol.
58, no. 2 (Spring 2004), p. 269.
Universality Claims and
“Failures” across Cultures:
Liberalism vs. Asian Values


This chapter is concerned with two highly elusive questions: (a) How certain
gems of ideas or theories acclaimed in the West to be universally true
should fail to have their validity vindicated in another cultural context such
as in much of Eastern Asia;1 and (b) Why they failed the way they did. Un-
doubtedly, the latter (the Why) is even more elusive than the former (the
How), although neither one is an easy task to tackle. I am aware that to try
to do so is to sail into largely uncharted and even stormy waters. But, I am
willing to brave the storm because of the theoretical importance of the sub-
ject and the possible intellectual payoff of the undertaking.
At the outset, I must make it clear that this chapter does not question the
wisdom of the quest for certain transcendental principles that may attest to
some universal human aspirations. Rather it is guided by a curiosity over
whether any set of principles, ideas, or institutions developed in one cultural
context, no matter how sensible and preferable within it, can expect to have
the same meanings and appeal (including explanatory power) in another
cultural context, and if the answer is no, Why no.
More specifically, under scrutiny is the puzzle confronting the apparent
“failures” of the universal validity of certain keystone Western ideas when
introduced, for example, into the cultural context of nations imbued with
what critics pejoratively call “Asian values.”2 I am referring to such keystone
Western ideas as liberal democracy (more particularly the democratic the-
ory of development) and laissez faire economics, here lumped together
under the general rubric of “liberalism,” as the title suggests. “Failures,” as
used in this discussion, include the instances in which the promises or pre-

182 James C. HSIUNG

scriptions inherent in the democratic theory of development or laissez faire

economics were not borne out, or were even proven false, in the course of
events in the Asian region over time.
In order to trace the gestalt of the modern Asian values, I will go back to
their roots in the classical formation and evolution of Confucianism in
China, which left off indelible far-reaching effects throughout the Sinic circles
of nations long before the coming of the Western colonialists—and have
continued on long after their departure. In doing so, I hope to be able to find
a way that will illuminate why the said Western ideas failed to make good in
the region of our study. Ultimately, I will try to build an inchoate cognitive
model of the Confucian roots of the Asian values, in order to ascertain why
the said Western keystone ideas failed either in presaging the course of events
or in guiding their unfolding. I will attempt to explore the corresponding
question of how the so-called Asian values have helped shape the modern,
postcolonial developments in the vast array of societies ranging from East
Asia (China, Japan, the two Koreas, and Taiwan) to southeast Asia (or
ASEAN-9, sans Myanmar, formerly known as Burma).3 The methodology so
used, I hope, will prove to be of some use in a larger study of problems of
transplanting Western ideas, theories, or institutions across different cultural
and, hence, societal, contexts. First of all, I shall provide some concrete ex-
amples of what I meant by “failures” used in this discussion.

Empirical Failures of Universality

Claims: Some Examples

It is customary in the West to assume that the validity of such keystone ideas
as democracy and laissez faire economics transcends all bounds, cultural or
societal. At the empirical level, especially in a non-Western milieu, however,
these noble wishes may oftentimes remain what they are, namely: noble
wishes. I choose to examine the universality of these cardinal Western ideas
not because I have any doubts about them per se, but because their as-
sumed universality is rarely questioned in the West. Methodologically
speaking, I am using the Asian region as a testing ground. Below are a num-
ber of examples of “failed” universality claims.
Until in recent decades, a prevailing view in the West, echoing the origi-
nal suggestion of Max Weber, was that China’s Confucian legacy would
hamper the nation should it attempt to catch up with the West economi-
cally. Weber (1951: 229–232), reputedly the father of modern Western so-
cial science, took an unreservedly dim view of Confucian ethic, as con-
trasted to the Protestant ethic. He found the dominant teachings of
Confucianism—though rationalistic in form—lacking “an ethical prophecy
of a supra-mundane God” and thus without “an inward core, of a unified
Universality Claims and “Failures” across Cultures 183

way of life flowing from some central and autonomous value position.”
Without the “religiously systematized utilitarianism” of the Protestant faith,
Weber found Chinese enterprises to lack the compulsive urge to reinvest
earnings as in a truly capitalist system (p. 248). Besides, he found that the
Confucian emphasis on harmony did not adequately prepare the Chinese
for a competitive mode of life in the capitalistic world.
Therefore, Weber divined that China would be ill-equipped, in the lan-
guage of his day, to adopt capitalism and make it flourish. To translate it
into modern-day English, it means that China because of the influence of
its Confucian legacy would not be able to achieve economic development
in similar ways as the West. It is noteworthy that Weber did not think it was
the country (China), so much as its culture (the Confucian values), that
presented an obstacle to economic development. Hence, China’s neighbors
that were likewise tainted by the Confucian ethic would share the same fate
of nondevelopment.
Ironically, despite Weber’s prognostication to the contrary, a World Bank
study (1993) identified eight Asian societies4 (including China) as the
“high performance” economies constituting a special region, not dupli-
cated elsewhere, following their sustained “miraculous” growth for decades
on end. Among other reasons, the World Bank attributed their phenomenal
success to government “intervention” with its typical “macro-management”
(rather than laissez faire economics) plus high savings and reinvestment
rates (contrary to Weber’s view). Not only did this region of Asian high-
performance economies outstrip all other regions, it also achieved some-
thing not quite found in the history of rapid economic growth, namely
“growth with equity” (that is, free of the severe widening gaps of income
distribution that plagued other regions or countries going through rapid
economic growth). The World Bank eschewed any mention of precondi-
tions or cultural overhead, but made vague references to factors like “creat-
ing human capital” (p. 43ff) and upholding “cognitive skills” (p. 70ff), al-
though without explicitly linking them to the region’s Asian values that put
special premium on education. Other analysts were more explicit. Herman
Kahn (1979: 121–123), the late guru of the Hudson Institute, for example,
identified the ultimate source of the economic success of the four Asian
“Tigers”—South Korea, Taiwan, Hongkong, and Singapore—as their shared
“cultural heritage,” referring to their common linkage to the Confucian
legacy. The unasked question remains: Was Weber wrong?
During the 1960s, when former Western colonies, exercising their newly
found right of self-determination, were crossing the threshold of statehood
en mass, well-meaning Western scholars and aid officials alike collectively
echoed a common warning to the effect that without prior political devel-
opment (a code word for democracy) there cannot be economic develop-
ment (prosperity).5 A rare dissent to this literature came from David Apter
184 James C. HSIUNG

(1965), who cautioned that the new nations in the developing world
should not be expected to see democracy at work until they had first gained
economic stability and begun to industrialize, thus reversing the sequence
endorsed by the mainstream academics.
Now, four and a half decades later, what have we learned about the rela-
tionship between political development and economic development?
Ashutosh Varshney (2000) conducted a survey of the “long-standing de-
mocracies in the developing world” in three continents, and found that all
of them “failed to eliminate poverty.” In other words, those new, postcolo-
nial nations in his study that had an early head-start on democratization
(political development)6 failed dismally in their economic performance.
Contrary to what the mainstream Western academics had preached, politi-
cal development (democracy) did not spawn economic development (pros-
perity) in the postcolonial world. I would add that the high-performance
economies in the Asian region, on the other hand, followed a very different
path, and had very different results. In two of the Asian Tigers, the sequence
was just the reverse. South Korea and Taiwan opened up to democracy only
after, not before, achieving their miraculous economic success. Hongkong
remained until 1997 a British colony and, as such, did not have a demo-
cratic system. But the absence of democracy did not hamper Hongkong in
its economic achievements. Singapore, the remaining member in the Asian
Tigers group, is a country known for its rule by law, but not rule of law. Thus
far, democracy has eluded the Singaporean economic power house.
The most notable challenge to the Western democratic theory of develop-
ment is China, whose economy increased over eight-fold in twenty-five
years since 1978 and continues to grow at a 9.6 percent clip or even better
annually. It was the only economy that withstood the ravaging attack of the
Asian Financial Crisis of 1997–1999 almost totally unscathed. Yet, without
a doubt, it is the country that has the least to show for democratic creden-
tials, although concededly elections were introduced at the village level,
again following, not preceding, its initial economic advances.
Throughout the Asian region, to reiterate, none of the high-performance
economies identified by the World Bank showed evidence that prior politi-
cal development (democracy) was a precondition for achieving stunning
economic progress, defying what countless Western pundits had prescribed
for the developing world since the 1960s. Critics might retort that postwar
Japan’s fast track to an economic superpower status is a glowing example
that bailed out the mainstream Western developmental theory. I must say
that before we make Japan a glowing example of the democracy-qua-pros-
perity thesis, we have to examine a few crucial factors related to Japan’s saga
of economic success, which, because of its importance, will be discussed in
a separate section below. For now, let us continue with another example of
“failed” universality claims.
Universality Claims and “Failures” across Cultures 185

During the second half of 1997, when a financial crisis hit the Asian re-
gion, nearly all the vibrant Asian economies were sent tumbling down, with
the sole exception of China. In a few weeks, their once-strong currencies
faced a sordid meltdown. The severity of the crisis can be fully appreciated
only in a comparative perspective. During the Great Depression of 1929–
1932, the assets of Standard and Poor’s 500 fell by 87 percent. During the
Asian crisis, the asset value crash ranged from 75 to 85 percent in South
Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand (Prybyla 2000; Hsiung 2001: 79).
Immediately, nearly every critic in the West blamed the trouble on Asian
“crony capitalism.” A swarm of sarcastic laments and gloating denunciations
greeted the temporary misfortune of the Asian tigers and cubs. The former
optimists and “apologists” for the Asian miracle were shut up like the pro-
verbial cicada in the winter. Instead, all that could be heard was the “I told
you so” refrain from Western commentators who apparently had bottled-up
contempt for the Asian model of economic dynamism all along. Among the
Western media and community of economists, there was a chorus of despair,
nay, ridicule, but not a single word of consolation, let alone a cool-headed
plea for suspending final judgment until more was known about what hap-
pened. Christopher Patten (1999), the bitter last British governor of Hong-
kong before it was returned to China in 1997, could hardly wait to rub it in
with a petulant, in a way self-serving, book celebrating “that all the tigers are
skinned and stuffed.” But, alas, the Patton and Co. did not have the last
laugh. In just two years, the Asian economies shook off the bite of the finan-
cial crisis, stunning even the International Monetary Fund, which had an-
ticipated years, if not decades, of suspense before these economies could
ever hope to regain their vibrancy again. While the story of their relatively
speedy recovery is the concern of chastened economists (cf. Yu and Xu
2001), our interest here is in the non-laissez faire strategy that the Asian na-
tions adopted in coping with the ferocious assault, pulling themselves from
the brink of collapse, and repositioning themselves to rise again.
We shall not waste time on the intricate origins of the Asian financial crisis,
except to note that contrary to the assertions of the critics of Asian “crony
capitalism,” the crisis was largely precipitated by exogenous sources following
a series of similar currency crises that began in Europe (1992–1993) and later
hit Latin America (1994–1995). The culprit was globalized capital creating a
casino syndrome (hot money in and hot money out). Manipulations by the
predatory international currency dealers and mammoth hedge funds out to
make a kill, at the victim nations’ expense, made the attack more devastating.
I have summarized the results of an extensive study of the subject in an earlier
study (Hsiung 2001: 81–84). But, here, I think we should be concerned with
how the government intervened, employing a strategy of control forbidden
to teachings of laissez faire economics, in each and every Asian nation that
successfully fenced off the rapacious onslaughts of the financial crisis. The
186 James C. HSIUNG

successful outcome of government intervention as such, which flew in the

face of the pleadings of laissez faire economics for more liberalization, in-
stead of control, deserves our scrutiny.

Control, Not More Liberalization: How Asian

Nations Fought Off the Financial Crisis

Laissez faire economists, in condemning the Asian nations for their “crony
capitalism,” were laying the blame for the financial crisis at these nations’
door step, for the simple reason that their economies were not liberalized
enough—thus, they had to pay for their own sins. But, from the Asian na-
tions’ point of view, unguarded liberalization unduly exposed their domes-
tic stock and assets markets to both the ravaging effects of the casino syn-
drome created by globalized capital and the manipulations by professional
international currency speculators. For any nation to indulge in more liber-
alization in the face of the ongoing financial crisis would incur greater dam-
age beyond repair. Hence, they chose an opposite tack. And, the key word
of the day was control, not more liberalization.
Malaysia, for example, which had been among the most open economies
on the capital account, went the furthest among the crisis victims in rein-
troducing capital controls, taking a leaf from China’s standing system. Be-
ginning in August 1998, its exchange controls removed the Malaysian ring-
git from international currency trading. The new system made the ringgit
convertible on the current account, as before, but not on the capital ac-
count. It thus prevented the buying of foreign exchange for speculative
purposes. Holders of offshore ringgit accounts were given one month’s time
to repatriate their riggits, after which repatriation would be illegal. Thus,
contrary to fears of capital flight, imposition of exchange controls as
such—a taboo to laissez faire theory—yielded a short-term, debt-free, mea-
sured capital inflow (Wade 1998: 367; World Bank 2000: 32f). Other Asian
economies followed suit. True to the same principle, Hong Kong, Taiwan,
South Korea, etc., each in its own way introduced or reintroduced measures
of currency control (Hsiung 2001: 84–86). In Hongkong, for example, the
government intervened to fend off imminent attacks on the Heng Seng In-
dex futures of the local stock market and the foreign exchange market. The
immediate purpose was to ease pressure on the Hongkong dollar, which is
pegged to the U.S. dollar. On one single day, August 14, 1998, the govern-
ment bought about 6 percent of the stock market, infusing enormous
amounts of cash and acquiring a government stake in the private sector
(including shares of thirteen leading companies). Despite criticisms that
the act contravened Hongkong’s laissez faire tradition, the intervention
pushed up the Heng Seng Index by 564 points, a rise of 8.5 percent. The
Universality Claims and “Failures” across Cultures 187

rally had immediate global impact, for instance, on the London and New
York stock exchanges (Kueh 2000: 249).
In Taiwan, the policy response was to insulate the New Taiwan (NT) dol-
lar, by barring foreign short-term investors while encouraging local inves-
tors. In a measure allowing the authorities to control demand for the cur-
rency, central bank approval was required for inflows of funds destined for
the stock market. The offshore market in NT dollars was also closed. In ad-
dition, the government established four stabilization funds, one of them
alone totaling US$16.3 billion, designed to stave off any turbulence, be-
yond a certain level, in the stock market driven by external attacks by for-
eign speculators (New York Times, 14 March 2000, p. 10).
South Korea, where some capital account restrictions had been in place
on the convertibility of the won, likewise became much more intervention-
ist, although the government did not impose Malaysian-type exchange
controls. In the financial sector, the government moved fast to buy up bad
loans from the banks and forced small banks to merge with larger ones
(Wade 1998: 368f). The government adopted tighter monetary and fiscal
policies and accepted slower growth to keep inflation below 5 percent of
GDP (Sikorski 1999: 120). Like elsewhere, these were measures taken with
a view to enhancing government controls, contrary to the structural reforms
that Western critics had urged.7
As a perceptive but nonorthodox commentator (Wade 1998: 369–370)
observed, these financial controls, installed in the nick of time, were badly
needed for two reasons: (a) to protect against excessive inflows of foreign
capital, especially short-term loans (i.e., the casino effects); and, more im-
portant, (b) to make the fairly open economies in the Asian region “less
vulnerable to the whims and stampedes of portfolio and hedge fund man-
agers, and to reestablish stable growth” following the whirlwind of the fi-
nancial crisis.
The ultimate lesson learned from a somber scrutiny of the Asian financial
crisis reveals a tale of two sides on the shibboleth of free market (and liberal-
ization). Other than its intrinsic value, the idea of free market can be used as
a weapon by an offensive side to pry open the target nations’ domestic mar-
kets (i.e., liberalization). But, the latter nations, being on the defensive, often
have to cover their flanks. Under the pall of the Asian financial crisis of
1997–1999, prudence called for protective controls of one’s own markets
against the offensive attacks unleashed by the combination of the casino ef-
fects of globalized capital and the willful manipulations by international
currency dealers. The defensive game hence called for less, not more, liberal-
ization. This point helps place in proper perspective the more recent (sum-
mer 2005) U.S. Congressional action in blocking an $18 billion bid by the
Chinese National Overseas Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to acquire UNOCAL,
described by the media as a fourth-echelon American oil company. In pulling
188 James C. HSIUNG

off its protective coup, Congress never bothered with the niceties of free trade
or liberalization, because in doing what it did, Congress was on the defensive
side. In a hypothetical case in reverse, however, should it be acting on behalf
of American businesses trying to further pry open the China market, Con-
gress in an offensive mode would hardly hesitate about harping on the can-
ons of free market and would most likely throw the book of liberalization at
the Chinese. Such is the hypocrisy spawned by the political use of the relevant
Western keystone ideas, thus undercutting their credibility and universal ap-
peal, out of no fault of these ideas.

Did Japan Bear Out the Democracy Thesis?

Before we leave the umbrella question of the relationship between political

and economic development, we have to return to the question raised earlier
as to whether Japan’s fast track to becoming an economic superpower was
attributable to its post–WWII democratic system. The answer is extremely
complicated, and we should note that there is no solid consensus on this
point. Chalmers Johnson (1982), the dean of American scholars on Japanese
political economy, believed it was the country’s “developmental state” that
moved it to the forefront of economic powerhouses. By definition, the “de-
velopmental state” model, in contrast to the American “regulatory state”
model, means that the government actually intervenes in the country’s econ-
omy and sets its directions, even though employing what Johnson calls
“market-conforming” methods. As such, it does not strictly conform to the
principles of laissez faire economics or the democratic developmental theory,
which posits democracy as a precondition of sustained economic growth.
Besides, whether Japan is a bona fide democracy is more controversial than
meets the eye. On the one hand, there is staunch support among most
America’s Japan experts in both academe and government, especially those
who were somehow identified with the American Occupation’s drafting of
the post–WWII “peace Constitution” for defeated Japan. This latter group had
an understandable personal pride in seeing postwar Japan become a democ-
racy of the Anglo-American tradition, under the American tutelage. Their
disciples and writings duly influenced the ensuing generations of America’s
Japan scholars. But, on the other hand, there is no lack of dissenting opinions
among the larger international pool of Japan specialists. One such example
is a naturalized Japanese citizen and former German Jesuit priest, Professor
Peter J. Herzog (1993) of Sophia University. Mobilizing massive evidence and
documentation in support of his dissenting view, Herzog concludes that Ja-
pan only has a “pseudo-democracy.” He pounced on a few things, such as the
lack of independence of the Supreme Court, which despite its Constitution-
empowered right of judicial review, was rarely not taking the government’s
Universality Claims and “Failures” across Cultures 189

side in cases against the government. The prime ministers’ habitual visits,
over the years, to the Yasukuni Shrine represented to Herzog a failure to
separate state and church in Japan. The reason was that among the war-dead
heroes enshrined in Yasukuni are many Class A War Criminals tried and con-
victed by the Allies’ postwar Tokyo Trials. Among the enshrined War Crimi-
nals was Hidoki Tojo, the general who ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor in
1941 as well as Japan’s military pushes into other Asian countries. To Prof.
Herzog, Japan’s election system also followed an “unequal equation,” al-
though his book was published before the more recent reforms aimed at
eliminating the very inequities that he criticized.
This debate may be inconclusive. But, in the context of our discussions
here, concerning the universal validity of the Western democratic develop-
mental theory, I do wish to single out for evaluation a general proposition
held to be sacrosanct by the theory’s adherents. That proposition holds out a
causal relationship between increases in accountability (or increased degrees
of democracy in the political system) and corresponding improvement in the
performance of the economy. But, this thesis was not empirically borne out
in the Japanese case. Let us recall that one single party, the Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP), was able to dominate the Japanese political scene for thirty-eight
years straight, 1955 through 1993. Only in 1993 did the LDP lose its majority
control in the lower house of the parliament (known as Diet). As a result, a
coalition of parties including the LDP filled the ranks of the cabinet, and to-
gether they ruled Japan. At one point in time, a Socialist even headed the
coalition, and became the country’s first and only Socialist prime minister. By
any definition, the loosening up of one-party domination as such would
qualify as a change that brought about more “accountability” of the political
system. But, let us also recall that despite its miraculous economic success
story before, Japan’s economy hit the snags after the early 1990s, coinciding
with the decline of the LDP’s monopoly of political power. When these two
facts are juxtaposed together, the obvious conclusion is that, as accountability
increased (or greater democracy surfaced) in the Japanese polity, its economy
contrarily headed for serious but steady declines (cf. Hsiung 2001: 88). If
anything, the economy showed only some slight improvement after 1996,
when the LDP began to gain back more seats in the Diet and was within reach
of resuming its majority control between 1996 and 2004. It did regain major-
ity control in 2005, and Japan’s economy also showed signs of improving.
Hence, the Japanese example did not lend empirical support to the particular
point in the democratic prosperity thesis just noted. The evidence showed the
opposite was true in Japan, where increased accountability was correlated
with decreased efficiency in the economic performance.
Another important point to consider is that if indeed Japan, contrary to
Herzog’s views, has a bona fide democracy that was responsible for fostering
the country’s pre-1990 economic boom, then how come Japan has been
190 James C. HSIUNG

mired in chronic economic woes after 1990, as its political system did not
change and, in fact, witnessed greater degrees of accountability throughout the
1990s. Unless this puzzle can be solved, it would be hard to try to trace Japan’s
once economic superpower status to origins in a democratic precondition.
To simplify matters, we will not belabor the revisionist view that the re-
cently revealed postwar “M Fund” of the CIA, backed by a reservoir of $500
billion at its peak, played a decisive role in helping push Japan economi-
cally forward as well as keep LDP in power during the Cold War years.8 It is
nevertheless instructive that Japan’s economic miracle reversed course after
the Cold War era ended in 1989, while the LDP’s grip on power also began
to slip. In view of these developments, which may or may not be coinciden-
tal, it is nevertheless questionable whether it can be maintained that Japan’s
fast track to an economic superpower status in the 1980s was simply the
result of its prior political development (democracy), as the democratic
theory of development would have it.

Asian Values: What They Are and Why They Matter

As noted above, Herman Kahn and other scholars since him have held out
the thesis that the “Asian values,” and the Asian developmental model they
underpinned, were responsible for the general phenomenal success of the
high-performance East Asian economies. As this thesis holds the key to an
answer to the question why the Asian developmental path diverges from
the Western developmental theory, we need to discuss it at some length. To
begin with, we have to make a few fine distinctions.
First, Asian values do not fall into a monolithic order. There can be, and
are, as many different versions of Asian values as there are nations in the
region, although they all share the same Confucian roots. What are usually
called Asian values in the literature are in fact equated with the virtues ex-
tolled by the Singaporeans, or the Singaporean School (Jones 1994).9 But,
the irony is that the Singaporeans were originally raising a genuine episte-
mological question as to whether Asian values and the liberal democratic
values should be dichotomized, a question that inscrutably evoked the
specter of the rise of conservatism in Asia. This specter, as Richard Robinson
(1995: xv) points out, aroused fears in the West that conservatism might tilt
the global balance against liberalism and skew the ideological contest
within Western societies. Hence, the debate on Asian values often got
shunted into a polemical battle waged by self-designated defenders of lib-
eralism. We need therefore to keep in mind the differentiation between
intellectual debate and polemics.
Second, the spirit of liberalism and the views held by its self-designated de-
fenders may not necessarily be the same. For instance, an essential hallmark of
Universality Claims and “Failures” across Cultures 191

true liberalism is its tolerance of diversity and pluralism, but its self-designated
defenders are obviously not so tolerant of the Singaporean dissent.10
Third, by the same token, a fine distinction should be made between Con-
fucianism and Asian values. Even as we accept the former as a short-hand
label for the latter, to denote in abstract something found in common
among East and Southeast Asian nations, it is necessary to distinguish the
Confucian culture as developed in China, on the one hand, and the
Confucian-imbued Asian values found in the other contemporary Asian na-
tions, on the other. In China’s long past, Confucianism meant the rise of
learning and acquired knowledge, a noninheritable achievement, as a crite-
rion of social mobility, replacing wealth as a measure of all things. This
crucial shift not only led to the creation of a system governed by the learned
literocrats (in effect, an “epistemocracy,” as it were) but also the tempering
of brute political power by Confucian humanism and a Confucian censorial
system (Creel 1953: 39–44; Hucker 1965: 50–76). Even the emperor had to
bow to the teachings of Confucius. The hereditary nobility in government
was replaced by a cadre of plebeians recruited through the keju regimes, hu-
mankind’s first civil service system. Shortly after Confucianism was adopted
as the national ethos by Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty in 136 B.C., it was
possible for Kung Sun-hung (also Romanized as Gong Sunhong, d. 121 B.C.)
to be the first commoner to become the nation’s prime minister, setting a
precedent for all the ensuing dynastic governments in China (Hsiung 1985:
7–9). Parenthetically, critics should ask themselves: When was the first time
that plebeians were ever able to reach such heights in the West?
Confucianism as a shorthand label for modern Asian values, as attributed
to the Singaporean School and applicable to the region as a whole, consists
of the following attributes: (1) respect for elders and authority, (2) strong
family, (3) reverence for education, (4) hard work, (5) frugality, (6) team-
work, and (7) a balance between the individual’s interests and those of
society (Hitchcock 1994: 2). If this inventory embodies Asian values in the
running debate, one wonders what it is that Western critics found so repug-
nant. Some of the attributes (such as hard work, frugality), in fact, are con-
sistent with Max Weber’s Protestant work ethic. The value laid on team-
work jives with a principle in modern business and industrial management.
Some of the others (respect for authority, and familism) are conducive to
social and political stability, a sine qua non for development.11 With frugal-
ity comes high savings, which is conducive to recapitalization and invest-
ments. The stress on education is exactly what is needed for today’s high-
tech society, in which “knowledge economy” is the rising star of tomorrow
(Subramanian 2000: 24). Specifically, Gilbert Rozman (1992: 312) has put
his stamp of approval on the stress on education: “The increasingly knowl-
edge based management of pre-modern East Asian societies was to prove
beneficial for their modern development.”
192 James C. HSIUNG

Thus, the fuss about Asian values is not really about the alleged inherent
faults or flaws of their Confucian content. Rather, as Robinson reminds us
above, it is because Asian values have unfortunately been implicated in a
polemic war in the West between the self-appointed defenders of liberalism
and challengers from a rising school that has caught fire on communitarian
thought. While the buried roots of communitarian thought in the West go
far back, even to Socrates’ polis and Rousseau’s general will, as Markate
Daly (1994) has documented, the self-designated defenders of liberalism,
whose focus is on the rights and freedoms of the individual, have great fears
that the Confucian legacy, with its inherent emphasis on the collective will
of the community, will further erode their own support both at home and
abroad.12 The Asian financial crisis of 1997–1999, therefore, afforded them
a gratuitous opportunity to pull off a fusillade in a vain attempt to kill off
the target of their fears, Asian values, for good. Without waiting for the
death certificate, the Economist (July 25, 1998), quite typically, was running
an obituary for Asian values in jubilation.
The bottom line here is that the blind trust placed in Western liberalism
by its self-designated defenders—and their oblivion to the formidable
problem arising from the cultural differential—made them unable, in fact
unwilling, to see why their cherished Western keystone ideas “failed” to
fulfill their universal potentials in Asia. To wind up this long discussion of
Asian values, I wish to note that while the distinct identity of the Confucian
roots inherent in the region’s Asian values are obvious, what is not so obvi-
ous is that the exclusivist bent in the body of liberal democratic values
makes itself unacceptable to Asian cultures. The inclusivist tenor of the
Confucian culture has been fully explored by Charles A. Moore and his as-
sociates (Moore 1967). I would merely add that this inclusivism makes it
possible for the Confucian core values to take root in various cultural mixes
in contemporary Pacific Asia. While the Confucian ethic constitutes the
bedrock of Asian values, it is blended to varying degrees with other cultural
elements, such as with Islam (as in Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.), Buddhism
(Taiwan, Thailand, etc.), Shinto (Japan), Marxism (China), and Christianity
(South Korea, the Philippines, etc.). Most important of all, the Confucian-
based Asian values do not reject the modern industrial culture radiating
from the West. Hence, Asian nations imbued with Confucian-based values
can comfortably absorb Western-derived hi-tech and managerial culture, to
excel in ways that overtake Western nations in their comparable times of
developmental takeoff.
The varying mixes of the Confucian core with native cultural elements in
different Asian countries manifested their practical effects during the recent
Asian financial crisis. From the records of the various nations’ ability to
cope with the onslaught of the crisis, Wang Gangmao (1999), a Singapor-
ean economist, mapped a composite table of projections for the likely post-
Universality Claims and “Failures” across Cultures 193

crisis recovery and growth in the region. He identified five groups in a de-
scending order of their economic vitality, as gauged by their comparative
standing on five indicators.13 He placed Singapore, Taiwan, Hongkong, and
mainland China in the top pack, or Tier One, in terms of their ability to
resume their developmental path beyond the crisis. In an earlier work, I
tried to map a taxonomy of zones showing varying degrees—from high,
medium, to low—of Confucian influence among the Asian countries. All
the four named by Wang as belonging to Tier One seem to fall into the zone
most highly influenced by the Confucian ethic. Malaysia, South Korea, and
Thailand are in the medium zone. They are followed by the Philippines,
Indonesia, and Japan, which are in the zone where the Confucian influence
is comparatively the weakest in the region. This taxonomy happened to
coincide with Wang’s projections of fast, medium, and slow recovery from
the Asian financial crisis (Hsiung 2001: p. 367f).
The correlation may or may not suggest a causality. Nor does it mean that
a re-Confucianized Japan, for example, would necessarily be better able to
cure its lingering economic setbacks. Nevertheless, the comparison as such
leads us to a crucial point, which is that it was not Asian values that sent the
Asian economies tumbling down during the financial crisis of the late
1990s, as many Western economists had initially alleged.
Furthermore, as Eiichi Shibusawa, the nineteenth-century guru often hailed
as the father of Japanese capitalism, had cogently put it, Confucian ethic made
it possible to foster what he called a “union of righteousness and profit” (see
Kuo-hui Tai 1989: 78), thus anticipating the rare “growth with equity” noted
earlier in the World Bank’s 1993 report on the record of economic develop-
ment of the contemporary Asian high-performance economies.
Many Western pundits take a jaundiced view of the Eastern Asian nations
because of their peculiar “Asian values.” The Economist obituary of these
values and Christopher Patten’s celebration of the transfiguration of the
Asian Tigers into “stuffed animals,” noted above, are but two handy exam-
ples of the West’s cynical reaction to the misfortunes of the Asian region
while under attack during its recent financial crisis. Another example is a
blanket negative comment by an enthusiast of Western capitalism, Jeffrey
Henderson of the Manchester Business School. While addressing a United
Nations audience, Henderson announced that a “tragedy” of the Asian fi-
nancial crisis was that “non-Anglo-American routes to prosperous econo-
mies have been delegitimated (emphasis added).” In its wake, Eastern Eu-
rope, Africa, and other parts of Asia were left with no alternative model “to
counterpoise . . . Anglo-American capitalism” (Henderson 1998). The real
tragedy from hindsight, however, is that if Western analysts keep taking this
jaundiced view of Pacific Asia in like manner, their credentials as serious
scholars will be “delegitimated” in no time. Paradoxically, their bias only
detracted from the universal appeal of the Western values they purport to
194 James C. HSIUNG

uphold. Sadder still, applying their Western cultural exclucivist view, some
analysts reacted with utter disdain to any upbeat reports or prognostica-
tions about the potential rise of Pacific Asia. One such example is a review
of a book provocatively titled: “Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising
Asia,” coauthored by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (2000), both
of the New York Times. Reviewing it for Foreign Affairs (November–December
issue, 156–162), Walter Russell Mead unabashedly declared that, contrary
to the coauthors’ trumpeting for a rising Asia, the twenty-first century will
see the “end of Asia.” He gave two reasons: (a) The spread of capitalism and
“Abrahamic ideology” (i.e., Judeo–Christian culture) will wipe out the re-
gion’s “pre-Abrahamic culture,” and (b) that the rise of individual Asian
societies, especially China and India, will make it “finally impossible to talk
about ‘Asia’ as a political or cultural unit.” On the second point, the re-
viewer–critic was inadvertently echoing Winston Churchill, whom he mo-
mentarily ridiculed, in his viewing of Asia as a geographic unit. Hence, the
rise of strong, organized human societies such as China and India would
make the maintenance of “Asia” as a mere geographic name no longer ten-
But, more crucial was Mead’s belief that the spread of capitalism and
“Abrahamic ideology” would obliterate Asian culture, which he calls the
“last traces of pre-Abrahamic culture.” The implied premise that all cultures
must head toward oblivion, to be replaced by the “Abrahamic culture,” is as
alarming as it is arrogant, bordering on the preposterous. The unilinear
view recalls to mind the Western obsession in the 1960s that a Western-type
democracy (described as “political development”) would be an indispens-
able precondition for economic development for the non-Western world.
This view has since been discredited, as the empirical examples scrutinized
in Varshney’s study (2000) above have clearly shown. Our discussion of the
distinct role of Asian values seems to suggest an alternative model of devel-
opment and governance to the Western capitalistic path to prosperity.

The Unilinear View and “Failed” Universality Claims

By now, I hope it is apparent that much of the reason for the “failure” of the
universality of the Western keystone ideas in question is the habitual unilin-
ear view held by Western analysts, like Walter Russell Mead, that sees all
things in the human world as having sprung from the same root substance
and as following the same path of development. Another version of the uni-
linear view of human progress is represented, for example, by the “end of
history” vision propagated by writers like Francis Fukuyama (1992). It sees
liberal democracy as the “end point of mankind’s ideological revolution” and
the “final form of human government.” In agreement with Mead, Fukuyama
Universality Claims and “Failures” across Cultures 195

believes that all societies, despite their different cultural and other roots, will
end up going the same direction as shown in the Western experience.
The boldness in this prognosis deserves serious reflection. Ultimately, as
we will see, the answer to the universality of ideas across cultures boils
down to the question of whether wittingly or unwittingly we hold out a
unilinear view of human history. It really depends on whether we put our
faith blindly in the monogenesis and unidirectionality of all things in all
times and all places, or whether we allow for an alternative antiunilinear
For an illustration of this alternative perspective, a metaphor may be
found in the field of evolution theory. According to its adherents, the Dar-
winian model of evolution, which benefited from the method of classifica-
tion pioneered by the great Swedish biologist Linaeus, is supposedly ap-
plicable to all species in all cases, hence unilinear. On the other hand, an
alternative evolutionary paradigm is offered by Alfred Wallace, a contempo-
rary of Darwin’s, who exemplified the antiunilinear view. The paradigm of
this process is found in the giraffe, which, by reaching upward for a long
period of time, somehow willed itself to lengthen its neck. The relevant les-
son gained from this paradigm of acquired traits, despite the controversy
and challenge mounted by its critics, is that one should always be keen on
an alternative explanation. In Wallace’s case, the alternative explanation of-
fered is something not reducible to the lottery of heredity or to the cruel
vagaries of the environment, which are held to be the only truth that mat-
ters in the unilinear view (Iyre 1984: 3). The skepticism inherent in this
moral embodies the essence of a nonunilinear approach.
What is true of natural science is true of social science. As will be shown
below, the nonunilinear perspective has the potential of opening to us a
new vista on the whole question of challenge to the alleged universality of
certain of our pet ideas and values. More specifically for the concerns of this
chapter, it holds the key to finding an explanation for (a) why the universal-
ity claims of the pet Western keystone ideas failed to hold true in the Asian
region; and, no less important, (b) why the societies imbued with the Asian
values have to be understood in the logical context of their Confucian roots,
in contrast to the Abrahamic roots of Western values.

A NonUnilinear Appraisal of Values:

Confucian–Asian vs. Abrahamic

Each culture or value system has its inherent logic, emanating from a body
of first principles that permeates and connects all derivatives. The Asian
values that we find so resistant to the Western keystone ideas above are
rooted in the Confucian ontology that was transplanted to nations tradi-
196 James C. HSIUNG

tionally under the sway of Chinese cultural influence. In order to get to the
gestalt of the Confucian tradition, I would argue, we need briefly account
for both its fundamental premises (first principles) and the historical cir-
cumstances that helped shape its flowering in China. Failing this, not only
will we never be able to understand fully the true meaning of the Confucian
tradition and the Asian values it gave rise to. More important, we will never
fully comprehend why keystone Western ideas lose their universal validity
or appeal in the Eastern Asian region.

First Principles in the Confucian Tradition

Two fundamental but interrelated premises in the Confucian tradition merit
particular attention: (a) its peculiar assumption about human nature, and (b)
the Confucian conception of man-in-society. Before elaborating on them, I
wish to stress that these premises deserve particular attention because they
provide a stark contrast, a counterpoint, to the Abrahamic ontology. In due
course, we will see why the keystone Western ideas of an Abrahamic origin
failed to live up to their universality claim, when introduced in Asian nations.
Parenthetically, I think it necessary to keep in mind that by “Confucian tradi-
tion” we mean more than just the teachings of Confucius. The term “tradi-
tion” here implies that while Confucius himself had inherited essential ele-
ments from pre-ancient Chinese philosophy and weltanschauung before
him, his teachings were later elaborated and expanded by his followers.14
More than that, the Confucian tradition takes on additional coloration as it
blends into the native cultural contexts of the nations on China’s periphery
that embraced its influence. Despite its amplifications over time, however, the
basics of the tradition that are being addressed here have remained.
Contrary to the Abrahamic ideology in the West, which is rooted in the
logic of the original sin, the Confucian tradition stakes out a view that sees
human nature as corrigible, or potentially disposed toward good. I say “po-
tentially” because Confucius (551–479 B.C.) never explicitly spelled it out
beyond indicating that human nature, far from being originally wicked, was
moldable to become good. Hence, while it was possible for Xun Zi (Hsun
Tzu; 298–238 B.C.), a disciple, to claim human nature was innately bad,
another disciple, Mencius (Meng Zi; 372–289 B.C.?), developed an elabo-
rate theory of Confucian humanism inspired by the notion of the innate
goodness of human nature.15 Future Confucians and most of the Chinese
ever since accepted the Mencius interpretation, which made him the second
sage after Confucius. His interpretation is consistent with the original Con-
fucian tenet that what determines human nature is the conditioning effects
of the human environment (society), including moral education (li jiao).
Two related prescriptions ensue from this prognosis of human nature: (i)
that society be cleansed of corrupting influences; and (ii) that man finds
Universality Claims and “Failures” across Cultures 197

fulfillment, not in isolation, but in his social environment; hence, the con-
cept of man-in-society. This man-in-society conception, as Donald Munro’s
earlier work (1969) has found, begins with the premise of man’s natural
equality (contrary to the usual Western impression of Confucian values)
and ends with the prescription that proper education (a social added value)
will help individuals fulfill their respective potentials. According to the
Confucian tradition, society should be an enlarged lifetime school. True to
his belief in universal education, Confucius would not turn away whoso-
ever came to him to be educated (you jiao wu lei). The elite should be en-
dowed with a sense of mission so that one does not think of advancing just
oneself, but aims at advancing the collective self (ji yu li er li ren). The end
result from this social variable is a hierarchy of individuals of varying po-
tentials and accomplishments.
Thus, it would be futile trying to square the Western notion of the indi-
vidual-unto-himself with the Confucian notion of man-in-society. Many
ramifications emerge from this contradistinction, such as in the competing
priority of the free will and rights of the individual vs. the collective will and
rights of society; of the welfare of the individual vs. the collective well-being
of men-in-society. The moral of this contrast is that while the concept of
(and urge for) human fulfillment is universal, it may take different forms in
different cultural and societal contexts. This is not a suggestion of cultural
relativism, but a crucial fact we must face in search of a true answer to the
question concerning the universality of human aspirations.
Although to my knowledge no systematic study has been made of the
possible links, if any, between the Judeo–Christian premise of the wicked
individual and modern Western political theories, nevertheless, I think it
appropriate to raise a question whether a logical connection can be identi-
fied. A cursory examination seems to suggest that there is a connection. For
example, for modern Western political theorists from Machiavelli to
Hobbes, the central premise of the wickedness of the individual seems com-
patible with their characterization of human beings as antisocial power
seekers by nature. Hence, a logical deduction is that the state exists to pro-
vide security for the people, by putting the necessary safeguards (like laws,
or wills of the sovereign) between wicked individuals fighting for their own
aggrandizement. The state, in this light, does not engage in moral educa-
tion, as classical (basically Greek) and Confucian thinkers advocated.
As Hobbes saw it, unless there be a sovereign, society is a fiction. How-
ever, just as the state is necessary to protect the self-seeking individuals from
one another, institutional guarantees must be erected to preclude abuse of
power by the wicked individuals running the government. For this purpose,
democracy would be the ideal answer as such an institution: The built-in
checks and balance in a democracy would minimize the danger of the
wicked officials abusing governmental power.
198 James C. HSIUNG

On the other hand, as we have seen, given its different assessment of hu-
man nature, the Confucian ideal is that the state be the agent mandated to
keep society from corrupting influences. Thus, government must engage in
the moral education of its people (in reality, because of the concomitant
Confucian stress on familism, the extended family is often the practical agent
of moral education in all Chinese communities). Likewise, it is incumbent
upon the government to intervene in aiding society’s collective search for
fulfillment and in engendering societal macrodevelopment. But, to do so, the
government must be strong, efficient, and citizen-friendly. Only such a gov-
ernment can transcend any special interests and control them.
The above contrast should not be construed to be endorsement of one or
the other approach to human nature and the suitable mode of governance,
but it serves to demonstrate that because of differences in the fundamental
assumptions (first principles) between the two traditions, the deduced goals
plus the instruments for their fulfillment are also drastically different and
incompatible. Understanding this point may shed new light on how ade-
quately to evaluate the question of the universality of human aspirations.

The Historical Circumstances Surrounding

the Growth of Confucianism in China
The ideal of the government’s function in fostering societal development
(and social justice) was institutionalized early on in China. Following the
adoption of Confucianism as the guojiao (national learning) by Emperor
Wu of the Han dynasty in 136 B.C., China saw the introduction of the keju
system (a civil service examination system writ large) by which the state
became the certifying agent of social mobility for the Chinese nation (not
just the bureaucracy). An unexpected side-effect from this development,
however, was that the state became bigger than society. It also created a one-
career society in China in that all eyes were fixed on acquiring a good
enough education to make it through the keju system so as to join the en-
vied ranks of the literocrats, the elite who helped the emperor rule the
country, while all other professions became trivialized. This remained so
until the keju system was abolished in 1905.
Although the Confucian tradition that seeped through Chinese borders
to neighboring nations did not bring with it the Chinese keju system—
hence sans its state-dominance side-effect—it is nevertheless true that the
inherent Confucian exaltation of respect for authority did rub off in various
places. In Japan, for example, the legacy of the Tokugawa jusha Confucian-
ism, abetted by the samurai bushido, anticipated the advent of the develop-
mental state model that brought instant modernity to the Meiji era (1868–
1912) and post–WWII Japan’s rise as an economic superpower. That the
model spread from Japan to other Asian nations is a familiar story; but, I
Universality Claims and “Failures” across Cultures 199

wish to stress that the common Confucian legacy shared by these other
Asian nations paved the way for their embrace of the ideal of the interven-
tionist state in promoting economic welfare.
Before leaving the subject of a nonunilinear view of history, I wish to add
a cognate point about the different “time zones” that complicate our com-
prehension of the problems confronting the universality of human aspira-
tions. As Paul Bracken (2000: 147) wisely notes, the year 1998, for example,
may look the same on a calendar to all nations on earth, but its meaning
may be vastly different. For Asia, the year 1998 represented the 500th an-
niversary of Vasco da Gama’s landing in India, an event that opened the
West’s infamous inroads in Asia, a history that the West would rather have
the world forget. Instead, he adds, the West spent the 1990s celebrating its
victory in winning the Cold War. The new epoch, in the views of many,
marked the triumphal spread of a Western form of globalization, a linking
of economics and cultures; and in it “American values and norms would
spread to countries who would willingly embrace the superior ways that
gave the United States the world’s greatest military force as well as the
world’s richest economy” (148).
The trouble with this view, Bracken cautions, is that “the post–Cold War
era never came to Asia. It was a Western deceit.” Without using the term
“nonunilinear,” Bracken suggests an alternative line of interpretation that
sees Asia and the West not to live in the same historical time zone (my term)
and, hence, have different horizons.16 The very term “post–Cold War era,” he
notes, presumes that the U.S.–Soviet struggle was a central event of our time
and that its end marked a completely new beginning for the entire world.
But, the Cold War was not a world war. In Asia, the Cold War was not merely
different from that in Europe; it was also relatively less important, observes
Bracken, adding: “The central motor of Asia’s history in the second half of
the twentieth century was postcolonialism, the efforts of China, Vietnam, In-
dia, and others to create viable nation-states after the long period of foreign
rule” or, as in China’s case, foreign domination (p. 148; emphasis added).
To carry Bracken’s view one step further, we may say that throughout the
East and Southeast Asian region, the second half of the century just past ush-
ered in a new era in which, with the rare exception of Japan (which was itself
a colonial power), all nations—both the newly independent postcolonial
states and China plus Thailand (the only two other independent Asian states
before the end of World War II)—share a common jubilance over the demise
of colonial rule or, in the Chinese case, the end of Western “imperialist”
dominance. Postcolonial nationalism and the tasks of state- and nation-
building that go along with it, as contradistinguished from the technology-
led search for power in the West, lie at the heart of all social and political
pursuits in postcolonial Asia.17 In this context, the tasks of securing socio-
political stability and economic development to overcome poverty merit
200 James C. HSIUNG

greater priority than political development (democratization) and the pro-

motion of individual liberties and self-centered rights. This is why the Confu-
cian ideals inherent in the region’s Asian values that highlight the fulfillment
of collective well-being (man-in-society) make much more sense to most of
the nations concerned. In this light, therefore, it is not that the Western liberal
ideas per se are wrong, but merely that they do not answer postcolonial Asia’s
immediate needs and concerns. Besides, when weighed against centuries of
Western colonialism and “imperialist” domination, the liberal ideas that the
West touts as universally treasurable cannot but have a hypocritical ring to
them, as viewed by many Asian nations.

Concluding Remarks

This lengthy discussion of a cognitive model of Confucianism and its mod-

ern influences, I hope, does not just throw new light on Asian values. Ulti-
mately, I hope it offers a new perspective on the ultimate question of why
Western keystone ideas, conceived in the Abrahamic ideology, should lose
their supposed universal appeal, and even explanatory power, when applied
to the Asian region. The fault, to reiterate, is not with the Western liberal
ideas themselves. Rather, as we have seen, they do not answer the immedi-
ate needs and concerns of postcolonial Asia. Nor does their intellectual
tenor tally with the Confucian roots in the Asian values.
This anomaly lies at the very root of the puzzle why the Western demo-
cratic theory of development and laissez economics neither can explain the
actual path of Asian development, nor could have served as a guide. Only
after, not before, their economies had reached phenomenal levels of suc-
cess—resulting in the rise of a growing middle class—did Korea and Taiwan
begin to be embarked on the road of democratization (political develop-
ment). The good news is that in all Asian nations, a common feature is the
emergence and expansion of a middle class, following on the heels of sus-
tained economic growth. If what has happened in South Korea and Taiwan
is any guide, this trend anticipates the coming of the second stage of devel-
opment, beyond economic success, which will likely see the sprouts of de-
mocracy, ushering in a convergence age with the industrial and democratic
West. When that happens, it will lend support to the universality claims of
the Western keystone values of liberalism.
In the final analysis, if this chapter has anything of theoretic value to offer, it
is the suggestion that the ultimate root of the “failures” of the universality
claims of the Western keystone ideas can be grasped only from a nonunilinear
perspective on cultural traditions. What is found true with the Asian region may
very well be true with other regions, but it is beyond the ken of this chapter to
look into the other regions. I hope that the methodology used here, more in
Universality Claims and “Failures” across Cultures 201

particular the cognitive model I ventured to build as an explanatory device, can

offer an example as to how similar testings, mutatis mutandis, of the universality
claims of the Western keystone ideas can be pursued for other regions.


  1.  In this chapter, Eastern Asia includes both East and Southeast Asia. A synony-
mous term would be “Pacific Asia.”
  2.  I shall define and discuss what these Asian values are below.
  3.  The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) now has ten members,
including: (a) the original five founding members, Thailand, Malaya, Singapore,
Indonesia, and the Philippines, (b) Brunei; (c) the Indochina states, Vietnam, Laos,
and Cambodia; and (d) Burma.
  4.  The eight are: Japan, the four “Asian Tigers” (Hongkong, South Korea, Tai-
wan, and Singapore), China, and three newly industrializing economies (NIEs) of
southeast Asia: Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
  5.  Cf. the series of publications on development sponsored by the Committee
on Comparative Politics, under the Social Science Research Council, the last of
which was the volume edited by Pye and Verba (1965).
  6.  In Varshney’s Table 1, he lists the following as among the democracies in the
developing world that have not been able to shake off poverty: India, Sri Lanka, the
Philippines, Botswana, Jamaica, Trinidad-Togago, Costa Rica, and Venezuela (p. 719).
  7.  In a change of heart, the Korean government did allow more access to domes-
tic markets by foreign banks and insurance companies. But it at the same time re-
quired improvement in corporate and state disclosure to increase the transparency
of the financial system, so as to upgrade the government’s control in such matters
as borrowing, a crucial cause for Korea’s succumbing to the financial contagion. See
Sikorski (1999: 120).
  8.  For this revisit view, see Chalmers Johnson, et al. 2000 (esp. p. 90).
  9.  In parts of this discussion, I am relying on Subramanian (2000).
10.  In the Singaporean view, Western liberal democracy is but one variant, among
many, of democratic systems of government. See Kausikan (1998: p. 17).
11.  To what extent Indonesia suffers from social instability because its predominant
culture is not Confucian is a moot question bordering on racism. But it would be tan-
talizing to ask if there is any correlation between Indonesia’s lack of social stability and
its relative lagging behind the region’s other Asian nations in economic development.
12.  Defenders of liberal democracy consider communitarianism as the culprit for
the rise of what they call “illiberal democracy.” See Fox (1997: 561); and in general
Bell (1996), and Zakaria (1997).
13.  The five indexes are: GDP growth rate, interest rate, inflation rate, external
debt to GDP ratio, and the exchange rate.
14.  For a discussion of this point, see Hsiung (1970: pp. 143–147).
15.  Donald Munro 1969: pp. 74–81.
16.  The idea of time zones is developed Arthur Stein (1990).
17.  For many Asian nations, political institutionalization was the main task of
state-building in the postcolonial period. Cf. Robert Scalapino, et al. (1986).
202 James C. HSIUNG


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Abrahamic ideology, 194, 195–200 confidence building measures, 46, 113

action popularis, 14 Confucian tradition, 196
adversary regime, 42, 113 Confucianism, 182, 191
Asian Development Bank, 85 Confucius, 168
Asian Values, 168, 181, 191, 192, 195– convergent expectation, ix, 20
200 cooperative regionalism, 104
Asian-way, 88 countervailing military alliances, 78
Association of Southeast Asian Crab and Frog Motion model, 56
Nations, 84 crony capitalism, 185, 186

Beijing, 57, 62 DAI, Bingguo, x

bilateralism, 69 Democratic Progressive Party, 63
Brzezinski, Zbigniew K., 75 DENG, Xiaoping, 98
Bush, George W., 16, 119 dialectical terms, 48
Duvall, Raymond, 10
Central Intelligence Agency, 190
central plains, 58. See also Zhongyuan exclusive economic zone, 111
CHEN, Shui-bian, 3
CHIANG, Kai-shek, 109 Ferguson, Yale H., 1
Chiang Mai Initiative, 84 Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence,
China Airlines, 123 98
China threat, 85 Free trade, 188
Civil Aviation Organization, 13
Clinton, Hillary R., 64 Gates, Robert M., 95
collective security, 11 global governance, ix, 3
comanagement of the Taiwan Strait, 116 globalization, 69, 72, 159; antithesis
community of states, 14 of, 159; definitions, 2, 125;
community-centered arrangement, 43 normative implications of, 161–165

206 Index

globalization index, 154 Malaysia, 186

good governance, 3 Mandalic nestling of relations, 102
governance diplomacy, 5, 102, 104 Mansbach, Richard W., 1
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, 118 MAO Zedong, 77, 98
Marx, Karl, 3, 4
Haicang Taiwan Businessmen– measures, 30, 47
Investment Zone, 120 mechanism, 30, 31, 35, 39, 43, 47, 49,
harmonious society, 103 84, 115
harmonious world, 103 Ming Chuan University, 2
hegemon, 78 Missile Technology Control Regime, 18
hegemony, 59, 62, 79 Moscow, 129
Held, David, 142 Multilaterism, 5, 69
Hermit kingdom, 148 Multipolarization, 78
HU, Jintao, 83 Myanmar, 20
human rights, 32, 39, 42, 45, 70, 74
humanitarianism, 44 9-Degree Channel, 108
Huntington, Samuel P., 116 nationalism, 155
hyperglobalizers, 143, 152 Neocolonialism, 58
neofunctionalism, 76
institution, 30 neoliberalism, 3
interdependence, 72 neorealism, 2, 9
international community, 35 neotribalism, 171
international governance, 1, 2, 3, 10, 11; neotributary state system, 57
prerequisites, 11 new Asianism, 83
International Health Regulations 2005, 63 new security concept, 73, 100
international regimes, 22, 59; core Necessary-for-Governance
elements, 4; criteria, 4; definitions, Organizations (NGOs), 112
ix, 26 normative power, 10
norms, 12, 15, 16, 19, 22, 35, 69, 70;
Japan, 190 and American values, 199
Jinmen Accord, 124
jus cogens, 13, 14 Obama, II, Barack H., 3
One China policy, 110
keystone Western ideas, 181, 201
Khan, Herman, 183, 190 Pacific century, 83
Krasner, Stephen D., 26 Papua New Guinea, 122
pareto-optimal bailout, 11
laissez faire economics, 181–182 peaceful rise of China, 57
law regime, 38 Peacekeeping operations, 74
LEE, Teng-hui, 110 Perry, William J., 111
legitimacy, 11, 69 ploys of the United States, 73
LI, Peng, 111 postinternational universe, 1
liberal democracy, 181–182 Powell, Colin, 16
liberalization, 188. See also free trade power, 10–11, 17, 19, 149
Libyan, 18
QIAN, Qichen, 77, 78
MA, Ying-jeou, 63, 65; Diplomacy, 63 Qing dynasty, 40, 103
Index 207

realism, 17, 96 system, 36, 37, 41

regimes of international law, 18
regional governance, 97 Taiwan, 49, 63, 169, 183
Roosevelt, Franklin, D., 109 Taiwan Strait, 130
Rosenau, James A., 155 three links and four exchanges, 63
rule of man, 102 transformationalists, 143
turbulent détente, 80
Sanction, 15
self-help, 11, 17 unequal treaties, 40, 103
Shambaugh, David L., 55
Shanghai Five, 86, 99–100 Vienna Convention on Law of Treaties,
Singapore School, 191 14
Six-Party Talks, 69, 82–83
skeptics, 143 Wedemeyer, Albert C., 109
Social constructivism, 97 WEN, Jiabao, 120
Sovereignty, 71 Wenzao Ursuline College of
space debris prevention regime, 44, 45 Languages, 1
Spratlys, 88 World Health Organization, 63
straits in the world, 124
Straits of Malacca, 124, 126 Yin and Yang plus the Five Elements,
superpowers, 45 47, 97, 102
superstructure, 3
swarm theory, 60 Zhongyuan, 58
About the Contributors

Chun-Chi CHIANG received his Ph.D. from the National SUN Yat-Sen
University. He is an assistant professor at Da-ren University in Pingdong
County, Taiwan Province, Republic of China (ROC). CHIANG was also an
honorable member of the  Phi  Tau  Phi  Scholastic Honor Society in 1997
and one of the national outstanding university students in 2000. His thesis
on military education was awarded by the Ministry of National Defense
(MOND), ROC in 2002. His teaching and research interests include meth-
odology, philosophy of science, international relations, and international

W. Emily CHOW (Ph.D., University of Cambridge, 2001) is an assistant

professor at the Graduate School of International Affairs (GSIA), Ming Ch-
uan University (MCU). She served as the vice director of the Division of
International Education & Exchange at MCU, voluntary worker of many
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and lectures for various social
training programs.

Rosita Dellios is associate professor of international relations at Australia’s

Bond University. She lectures on Chinese defense and foreign policies as
well as trends for the international future with an emphasis on Asia. She has
published widely on these topics, has written one book on China’s defense
policy, and is working on a second. She applies Eastern philosophy to in-
ternational problems and has engaged in original research on “mandalic”
regionalism that employs traditional and contemporary forms of regional
governance in Asia.

210 About the Contributors

James C. HSIUNG teaches international–politics theory, international law,

and international governance in the Graduate School of Arts and Science
(GSAS), New York University (NYU). His teaching and research interests
also include Asian Pacific politics and international relations. He is the
author and editor of nineteen books, including: Twenty-First Century World
Order and the Asia Pacific (2001); Anarchy and Order: The Interplay of Politics
and Law in International Relations (1997); and Asia Pacific in the New World
Politics (1993). His latest, edited book is China and Japan at Odds (2007).
A former advisor to the Singaporean government, he was visiting chair
professor and head, department of Politics and Sociology, Lingnan Univer-
sity, Hongkong, 1997–1999. In May 2007, he also became the senior direc-
tor of the One-dot Center for the Study of International Governance, Re-
gimes, and Globalization, Graduate School of International Affairs (GSIA),
Ming Chuan University (MCU).

Shawn S. F. KAO (Ph.D., University of Virginia) is associate professor of

international politics, Department of Political Science, Tung-hai University,
Taiwan, Republic of China (ROC). He has been working in various capaci-
ties, such as dean of International College, director of Graduate School of
International Affairs (GSIA) at Ming Chuan University (MCU); senior staff
officer, Taipei Office on Education Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Coopera-
tion (APEC); deputy secretary general, People-to-People International
(PTPI-ROC). His teaching and research interests include China in Southeast
Asia, East Asian regional security, and international relations. His publica-
tions include: U.S. Strategic Policy Toward Occupied Japan (1985); A Potential
Threat to the Peace of the Southeast Asian Region: A Study of the Problems in the
South China Sea (1999); State Sovereignty in the Internet Era: Puzzles and Pros-
pects (2000); Whether CHINA, China, china: Threatening or Non-threatening?
(2007); and China Rise and the Myth of ASEAN/East Asian Regional Integration

Richard W. Mansbach earned his B.A. at Swarthmore College and his

D.Phil at Oxford University where he was a Marshall Scholar. He served as
chair of political science at Rutgers University–New Brunswick and Iowa
State University and as coeditor of International Studies Quarterly for five
years, spent two years as a visiting ACE scholar at the National Intelligence
Council (NIC), and one year as visiting professor at Glasgow University. He
has also been Fulbright Professor at the National University of Singapore,
Chung-Ang University in Seoul, the National University of Mongolia, and
the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna.
Mansbach has authored, coauthored, or edited fifteen books: The Do-
minican Crisis of 1965 (1970); Northern Ireland: Five Decades of Partition
(1973); Structure and Process of International Politics (1973); The Web of World
About the Contributors 211

Politic: Nonstate Actors in the Global System (1976); In Search of Theory: A New
Paradigm for Global Politics (1981); The Elusive Quest: Theory and International
Politics (1988); The State, Conceptual Chaos, and the Future of International
Relations Theory (1989); The New Order in Northeast Asia and the Korean Pen-
insula (1993); Polities: Authority, Identities, and Change (1966); The Global
Puzzle: Issues and Actors in World Politics (3rd edition, 2000); The Elusive
Quest Continues: Theory and Global Politics (2003); Remapping Global Politics:
History’s Revenge and Future Shock (2004); Introduction to Global Politics
(2007); Global Politics: A Reader (coedited with Edward Rhodes) (4th edi-
tion, 2008); and A World of Politics: Essays on Global Politics (2008).
He has also published twenty-four book chapters and innumerable arti-
cles in journals, including: International Studies Quarterly, International Orga-
nization, Millennium, Geopolitics, International Studies Review, International
Politics, Asian Perspective, Global Governance, The Journal of East Asian Affairs,
British Journal of Political Science, Polity, Journal of Politics, and Comparative

Suisheng ZHAO is professor and executive director of the Center for

China–U.S. Cooperation at Josef Korbel School of International Studies,
University of Denver. He is founder and editor of the Journal of Contempo-
rary China, a member of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Committee of
the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (USCSCAP), a
member of National Committee on U.S.–China Relations, a research asso-
ciate at the Fairbanks Center for East Asian Research in Harvard University,
and a honorary jianzhi professor at Beijing University, Renmin University,
Fudan University and Shanghai Foreign Studies University. A Campbell
National Fellow at Hoover Institution of Stanford University, he was associ-
ate professor of political science/international studies at Washington Col-
lege in Maryland, associate professor of government/East Asian politics at
Colby College in Maine, and visiting assistant professor at the Graduate
School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of
California–San Diego. He received a Ph.D. degree in political science from
the University of California–San Diego, a M.A. degree in Sociology from the
University of Missouri, and a M.A. degree in economics from Peking Uni-
versity. He is the author and editor of nine books, including: China and the
United States, Cooperation and Competition in Northeast Asia (Palgrave/Mac-
million, 2008); China–U.S. Relations Transformed: Perspectives and Strategic
Interactions (Routledge, 2008); Debating Political Reform in China: Rule of Law
versus Democratization (M. E. Sharpe, 2006); A Nation-State by Construction:
Dynamics of Modern Chinese Nationalism (Stanford University Press, 2004);
Chinese Foreign Policy: Pragmatism and Strategic Behavior (M. E. Sharpe,
2003); China and Democracy: Reconsidering the Prospects for a Democratic
China (Routledge, 2000); and Across the Taiwan Strait: Mainland China, Tai-
212 About the Contributors

wan, and the Crisis of 1995-96 (Routledge, 1999). His articles have appeared
in Political Science Quarterly, The Wilson Quarterly, Washington Quarterly, In-
ternational Politik, The China Quarterly, World Affairs, Asian Survey, Asian Af-
fairs, Journal of Democracy, Pacific Affairs, Communism and Post-Communism
Studies, Problems of Post-Communism, and elsewhere.

Peter Kien-hong YU (Ph.D., New York University, October 1983) is profes-

sor of political science/international relations at Swinburne University of
Technology (Australia) and director of the One-dot Center for the Study of
International Governance, Regimes, and Globalization at Ming Chuan Uni-
versity (MCU), Taiwan, Republic of China (ROC). From October 1983 to
July 2009, he worked in various capacities, such as the dean of Research and
Development at an institution of higher education, director of the Graduate
School of International Affairs (GSIA) at MCU, professor at the National
SUN Yat-sen University, senior research fellow at the National University of
Singapore (NUS), etc. He is the author, coauthor, editor, and coeditor of
fifteen books in both English and Chinese and some ninety journal articles
and book chapters published in the West. He is the recipient of many fel-
lowships, awards, and grants. His latest books are Hu Jintao and the Ascen-
dancy of China (2005), part I of which deals with the Central Military Com-
mission (CMC) of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and The Second
Long March: Struggling Against the Chinese Communists Under the Republic of
China (Taiwan) Constitution (2009), which is published by The Continuum
(U.S.). His April 2010, coedited book is entitled International Governance,
Regimes, and Globalization: Case Studies from Beijing and Taipei.