With four great powers (China, Japan, Russia, and the United States), three nuclear weapons states and two of the world’s largest economies, East Asia is one of the most dynamic and consequential regions in international relations. During the Cold War, East Asia witnessed intense competition and conflict between the superpowers and among the states in the region. In the 21st century the region has undergone major geopolitical and economic changes coupled with old intertwined crises and challenges. They include China’s increasingly provocative and destabilizing military activities not only near Taiwan but also in the South China Sea area; Russia’s revisionist power politics in the neighbouring regions (found in its involvement in the Syrian conflict and aggression in the Ukraine); Russia-India’s strategic partnership; the North Korean nuclear crisis; the Tibet-China conflict; competition for energy, natural resources, and territory in Northeast and Southeast Asia. The trajectory and outcome of such a major shift in the international system remain uncertain.
Are there distinctive patterns in East Asia in international relations? Are there any spe-cific Chinese character-istics following China’s rising political influence on the world stage which can contribute to furthering theoretical developments in the International Relations (IR) Theory? What are the trends in levels of conflict and cooperation in the region? How should we define and measure conflict, cooperation, integration, interdependence in the East Asian context? How are regional patterns of interaction affected by historical legacies, changes in balances of power (global and local), (geo)political and economic development, cultural change, and regional institutionalization efforts? This course traces and examines the sources of conflict and cooperation from a combined historical and geopolitical perspective. It assesses competing explanations for key events in East Asia’s international relations in the region. It particularly discusses specific and crucial issues in political, economic, and strategic dimensions, such as PRC-US-Taiwan-Japan relations, the US-China confrontation in the South China Sea dispute, the China-Russia-India alliance politics, Indo-pacific geopolitics and economic cooperation, and arms control, thereby providing analysis of the future prospects of East Asia in the 21st century.
Course Goals: This course is designed to: 1) both explain the case studies through the application of disciplinary theory (in International Relations and/or IPE) and also to test and elucidate the theories by applying them to the East Asian context; 2) acquire highly detailed knowledge of the international politics of the region; 3) develop students’
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• Hasenkamp, Miao-ling (ed.), China and Autocracy, London, IB Tauris 2021