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China’s thinking on peace and security

Ola Tunander, 18 December 2014

This report is based on informal interviews and conversations with Chinese officials with access to cabinet ministers. China’s rapid economic growth has been based on peaceful relations with major powers and neighbouring states, and on a common understanding of the UN Security Council as the guardian of peace and security. In 2009 Japan’s Democratic Party government led by Fukio Hatoyama opted for closer ties with China, which was unacceptable to a U.S.-Japanese elite seeking to keep the U.S. alliance as Japan’s primary relationship. By playing the territory card, i.e. by triggering a territorial conflict, they were able to calibrate the level of tension so as to bring about regime change in Japan and reset East Asian geopolitics. This coincided with China’s fundamental loss of trust in the U.S. after the events in Libya and Syria, and with Russia’s turn to China after the events in Ukraine. The new Asian geopolitics, the rise of the BRICS, and the loss of trust in the U.S. and Britain have forced China to develop closer ties with Russia. This does not indicate a new bipolar order, and China tries to maintain a pragmatic relationship of mutual respect with all the great powers, but it does indicate a new geopolitics characterised by fundamental distrust among the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Source URL:http://peacebuilding.no/eng/Themes/Emerging-powers/China-s-thinking-on-peace-and-security