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East Asia Responds to the Rise of China: Patterns and Variations

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How is East Asia responding to the rising China? Pertinent literature suggests that explicit balancing or containment has been rare and engagement, if not appeasement, appears to be East Asia's modus operandi. Yet, this study argues that certain, though subtle, variations are nevertheless discernible among the regional states in their responses to China's ascent. Focusing on 15 East Asian states for the period of 2004-2007, the article first presents a bird's-eye view of East Asia's responses to the rise of China. More specifically, inter-state variations are empirically demonstrated and four principal patterns—bandwagoning, hesitant hedging, active hedging and balancing—are distilled from the key responses of these 15 nations. The article then examines the sources of these inter-state variations, and argues that they are conditioned largely by three factors: alliances with the United States, regime characteristics and territorial disputes with China. The article concludes with some observations as to East Asia's complex responses to the rise of China and their security implications for the region as a whole.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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