A Rising China and Security in East Asia

Identity Construction and Security Discourse

By Rex Li

© 2008 – Routledge

300 pages | 11 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415449410
pub: 2008-11-19
US Dollars$53.95
Hardback: 9780415449403
pub: 2008-11-19
US Dollars$185.00

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About the Book

This volume provides a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the security discourse of Chinese policy elites on the major powers in East Asia in relation to China’s self-perception as a rising power. It is the first book-length study that utilizes International Relations theories systematically to analyze Chinese security perceptions of the United States, Japan and Russia, and the debate among Chinese international relations specialists on how China should respond to the perceived challenge from the major powers to its rise to a global status.

Rex Li argues that the security discourse of Chinese policy analysts is closely linked to their conception of China’s identity and their desire and endeavour to construct a great power identity for China. Drawing on extensive and up-to-date Chinese-language sources, the study demonstrates that Chinese elites perceive the power, aspirations and security strategies of other East Asian powers primarily in terms of their implications for China’s pursuit of great power status. This new work will contribute significantly to the on-going academic and policy debate on the nature and repercussions of China’s rise.

This book will be essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students and scholars of Asian security, China’s foreign relations, security studies and international relations.


‘[The book] brings necessary insights into the options that are being discussed in Beijing and into the extent to which leaders may be exposed to different points of view. … the extant use of Chinese-language material matches the use of English-language material, giving access to the Chinese realm of policy-making to an extent that cannot be overestimated. This is an important book, which should be read by all those with an interest in Chinese foreign affairs and international security, among them undergraduate and postgraduate students, university teachers and practitioners.’ - International Affairs (Vol. 85, No. 4, July 2009)

'China has interesting political debates, but much stricter limits on what can be said than in the democracies. Still, the country is abuzz with think-tanks and academics publishing on foreign policy, some of them increasingly influential with the ruling elite. Rex Li's book draws on their output to provide a useful overview of Chinese thinking about the world.' - Times Higher Education, October 2009

'Understanding Chinese foreign policy has been a challenge for analysts trained in Western international systems approaches and theories. Rising China provides a bridge between Chinese experts writing on their perception of the world and dominant Western theories on international relations. … Now that China has become the world’s fourth-largest economy, an analysis of security discourse is of critical importance. … What makes the book particularly valuable is the dissection and summary of extensive Chinese literature on how China views events and the intentions of the US, Russia, and Japan. … The book’s main value is its comprehensive review of Chinese literature on perceptions of China in the East Asian region.' - The China Journal (No. 63, January 2010)

Table of Contents

1. A Rising China, IR Theories and Chinese Security Discourse of East Asian Powers 2. Hegemonic Aspirations in a Unipolar World: US Security Strategy under the George Bush Snr and Bill Clinton Presidencies 3. September 11, Preemption and the Bush Doctrine: US Security Strategy under the George W. Bush Administration 4. Security, Identity and Strategic Choice: Japan’s Quest for a Great Power Status 5. A Key Player in an Emerging Multipolar World: Russia and East Asian Security 6. China’s Response to the Security Challenge of the Major Powers in East Asia: Identity Construction and Great Power Aspirations 7. Conclusion: Chinese Security Discourse and Its Implications for the Debate on the Rise of China

About the Author

Rex Li is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Liverpool John Moores University, UK. He has served as an Associate Editor of Security Dialogue, International Peace Research Institute, Oslo, and has published widely on Asia-Pacific security issues and China’s international relations.

About the Series

Politics in Asia

Politics in Asia
Politics in Asia has long been established as a source of distinctive and authoritative studies on the political life of Asia. The series covers a broad range of countries and aspects of politics, and includes volumes from some of the leading scholars working in the field.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General