Rising China has been reshaping international order for the last two decades. Yet, we cannot accurately assess China’s impacts without understanding how its growing power resources are actually translated into policy influence over other states. Moreover, while the most common notion of influence is the ability to cause other actors to behave in a manner in which they would not otherwise behave, China tends to gain the support of smaller and weaker countries without forcing them to change their preferences. This seminar presents a collaborative project that provides empirical evidence of China’s actual influence over developing Asian countries, where the power asymmetry is greatest and China ought to have the most significant influence. Evelyn Goh’s presentation will introduce the analytical framework and key findings of the project, emphasizing the importance of seriously studying the targets of China’s influence, not just Chinese power and purpose, if we are to understand the implications of China’s rise.
Ang Cheng Guan will present one of the case studies, focusing on instances of China exerting influence on Vietnam over the last seventy years. He evaluates how effectively China has been able to make use of its resources to get what it wants from Vietnam by analyzing and demonstrating the way Chinese power resources have been translated into actual policy influence from 1950 to the present, spanning crucial decisions about war, peace and normalisation.
Ralf Emmers’ presentation will explore the relationship between China’s rising power capabilities and its ability to influence the behavior and preferences of the smaller developing countries with overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea. He will discuss how China has attempted to exercise policy influence over the South China Sea disputes by calling for the negotiation of joint development agreements (JDAs) since the early 1990s.
About the Speakers:
Evelyn Goh is the Shedden Professor of Strategic Policy Studies at the Australian National University where she is also Research Director of the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre. Her research interests are East Asian security and international relations theory. She has published widely on U.S.-China relations and diplomatic history, regional security cooperation and institutions in East Asia, Southeast Asian strategies towards great powers, and environmental security. Her latest book is The Struggle for Order: Hegemony, Hierarchy and Transition in Post-Cold War East Asia (Oxford University Press, 2013). She is currently extending the project analyzing China’s influence in Greater Asia, and starting a new one on emerging U.S. security partnerships with pivotal Southeast Asian countries. She has held previous faculty positions at Royal Holloway University of London, the University of Oxford, and the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
Ang Cheng Guan is Head, Graduate Studies at RSIS. He specializes in the Cold War International history of Southeast Asia. He has published widely on Vietnamese communist and Southeast Asian dimensions of the Vietnam War, Southeast Asia and the Cold War and Sino-Vietnamese relations. His most recent books include Lee Kuan Yew’s Strategic Thought (Routledge, 2013) and Singapore, ASEAN and the Cambodian Conflict, 1978-1991 (NUS Press, 2013). ). He is currently working on two book projects: (a) Southeast Asia and the Cold War, 1945-1991: An International History and its sequel (b) Southeast Asia and the Post-Cold War: The First Thirty Years.
Ralf Emmers is Associate Dean and Associate Professor at RSIS. His research interests cover security studies and international relations theory, maritime security, international institutions in the Asia Pacific, and the security and international politics of Southeast Asia. Dr. Emmers is the author or editor of 11 books and he has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals. He is also the co-Series Editor of the Warwick Studies in Globalisation (Routledge Book Series) and an Editorial Board member of The Pacific Review. At RSIS, Dr Emmers has served as the Coordinator of the Multilateralism and Regionalism Programme (2009-2013), the Acting Head of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies in RSIS (2011) and the Head of Graduate Studies (2006-2009).