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China as a major strategic factor in the future world

Seminararbeit 2008 16 Seiten

Politik - Internationale Politik - Region: Ferner Osten




2.China’s role in egional stability

3.Future Outlook

4.Trading partner or commercial rival? Similarities and Differences.

5.(Cold)War or Peaceful Rise?Theories

6.Conclusion: A framework for peace and development


The People's Republic of China has risen to become a potential super power of today’s world.[1] Its influence has been growing immensely in many fields.[2] It must therefore be regarded as a major strategic factor in the future world order. Changes in the status quo of the Asian-Pacific are of high significance for global politics. Thus, international political strategies, “long term plan[s] of action designed to achieve [a] particular goal[s]”,[3] have to be adjusted in order to cater to China’s existence as a new main player in the international system.

2.China’s role in regional stability

The maintenance of stability in the Asian-Pacific is harder to achieve than in other regions, such as in Europe, for example: The lack of a multilateral system and interlocking institutions is only one reason. Furthermore, there is no significant regional security organization to be found in the Asian-Pacific.[4] What NATO signifies for Europe, namely a body that through its mere existence discourages the initiation of wars of aggression and guarantees security, does not exist for China and its region.

After the exit of the Soviet Union as a political and military factor in East Asia and the Pacific, China experienced an almost automatic appreciation in its role as a regional player.[5] Nowadays, the region’s security mainly depends on two factors: The commitment of the United States of America and its network of bilateral agreements and cooperation on the one hand and China’s ambitions to become a rising regulative player in East Asia on the other. A third and currently less influential factor could be Russia if it decides to become codetermining power in the Asian-Pacific again.

Although the popularity of the United States has been relatively low in the area, the country is acknowledged as being the only player that is able to somewhat curb Chinese expansionist goals. The ongoing rapprochement of the USA and China therefore discomfits Japan as well as smaller countries in the region.[6]

In order to play a regulatory role, the USA has to be able to dominate events in Asia. In order to do so, military bases close to regional trouble spots are needed to accommodate the needs of its combat troops. These bases, however, could theoretically be attacked and destroyed by ballistic launcher systems of other countries. US interventions in the Asian-Pacific can consequently be prohibited by threatening the country to destroy its bases. Moreover, several countries could nowadays threaten the USA to execute retaliatory attacks with weapons of mass destruction on US territory in case of its intervention in the region, as Pakistan or North Korea, for example.[7]

3.Future Outlook

China regards the South China Sea as well as Spratly Islands, a region rich of oil, as its sphere of influence. It can be expected that the country would like to extend this influence towards the East China Sea. These goals, however, contradict Japanese and Taiwanese interests and could be subject to conflict in the future[8]. It can also be speculated that China might have interests to regain -as a long-term goal- territories in the Russian Far East that China has lost in the 18th century or Mongolia.

Sometimes Japan is also regarded as potential regional challenger for China; but mainly so in the past.[9] Japan does nowadays not directly menace the People’s Republic and is therefore only subject to close monitoring in the near future.

China’s main competitors –the USA and Russia – are strategic partners for the country at the same time: Currently Russian expansionism is not to be feared by China and the country serves well as a supplier for arms. The dominant position of the USA, on the other hand, is being noticed and acknowledged by China on the one and gradually pushed back on the other hand.[10]

From a military point of view, China will not be able to fight the United States in the near future. So far, China’s armed forces lack the necessary equipment to compete successfully on the international level. At the moment, China is also a relatively small nuclear power which implies strategic deficits on its way to become a potential super power[11].

Regarding the missile defense program of the United States, China feels challenged to modernize and expand its nuclear potential in order to achieve the status of a deterring global actor[12]. This is especially the case if one regards China’s attitude towards India as a new nuclear power and the fact that China clearly tries to be superior to India[13].


[1] Compare Khanna, P.(2008):Wavin Goodbye to Hegemony, New York Times, in:

[2] Compare without author(2008): Großmächte wetteifern um Einfluß auf den indisch-pakistanischen Konflikt , in:

[3] Compare without author, in:

[4] Compare without author(2001): Machtverschiebungen im asiatisch pazifischen Raum?, in:

[5] Compare Kreft, H.(1997): China im Konzert der Großmächte. Das Streben nach einer weltpolitischen Rolle, in:

[6] Compare Kaiser, K.(2002): Strategic Partner China, in:

[7] Compare Piper, G.(2001): Pakistans Nukleararsenal: Umfang und Sicherheitsprobleme , in:

[8] Compare without author(2001): Machtverschiebungen im asiatisch pazifischen Raum?, in:

[9] Compare without author(2005): The China-Japan challenge, in:

[10] Compare Kreft, H.(1997):China im Konzert der Großmächte, in:

[11] Compare Hieber, S.(2005): Großmacht China?, in:

[12] Compare

[13] Compare Ihlau, O.(2006): Aufholjagd des Elefanten, in:,1518,442495,00.html


ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
594 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Diplomatische Akademie Wien - Vienna School for International Studies
china internationale politik weltordnung strategie asien balance of power




Titel: China as a major strategic factor in the future world