A critical examination of China’s Peaceful Rise` doctrine: The case of the South China Sea.
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This study seeks to delineate China’s ‘Peaceful Rise’ theory using the South China (SCS) region as a specific case study. The People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s claims to a ‘peaceful rise’ on the international arena are being contested in light of the developments around the SCS area. The area has military, economic, and strategic importance for all contenders. The geopolitical importance of the land of water has been the primary reason for fighting amongst different claimant states, namely China, Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. Their respective arguments are examined in detail. The conflict bears implications not only for regional politics but for the changing pattern of global power dynamics. The study also focuses on the nature of Chinese foreign policy, its formulation, principles and how it is shaping events in the SCS. The historical background to the SCS is traced and complex reasons behind the failure of the negotiations is provided. The prime interest is to scrutinize the nature of the Chinese foreign policy and how it continues to influence proceedings considering that it consistently invokes the ‘peaceful rise theory as a guiding philosophy. Furthermore this study demonstrates the strategic importance of the SCS. It proceeds to offer plausible answers to the question why Americans also feel threatened in the face of growing Chinese power. The nature of Chinese diplomacy, both as a primary actor and decisive player, is interrogated. This study further unpacks the perspectives of other players such the United Nations (UN) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). China claims exclusive territorial sovereignty to the SCS, and it is prepared to safeguard the area by any means necessary. Finally, policy recommendations such as peaceful conflict resolution are provided and the need to exercise self-restraint in an attempt not to further complicate the situation is highlighted.
Additional Citation InformationChirunga, D. (2013). A critical examination of China’s `Peaceful Rise` doctrine: The case of the South China Sea. [Unpublished masters thesis]. University of Zimbabwe, Harare.
University of Zimbabwe
SubjectPeaceful Rise theory
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
People’s Republic of China