The International Spectator, Vol. 44, No. 2, June 2009

Curatori: 
Numero: 
44/2
Data pubblicazione: 
30/06/2009
Editorial Note
Nicola Casarini
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Opinions
China-US Relations, Tending Towards Maturity
Huang Ping, Tao Wenzhao, Wang Rongjun, Yuan Zheng and Zhao Xingshu
The China-US relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world, and it is progressively maturing. Non-traditional security threats are expanding the shared interests of China and the US. The two countries have developed more realistic views of each other than they had decades ago, and this is making military relations more practical. The two are also interdependent in the economic realm, whether they like it or not, and therefore must work together to succeed in handling the current economic crisis. Connected to this economic challenge is that of climate change, an issue which the US must handle wisely in its relations with China. In addition, traditional security and peace issues will remain important, some even sensitive and difficult, in relations in the near future. The better relationship which China and the US are moving towards will contribute substantially not only to bilateral relations but also to global peace and order.
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A Rejoinder:
Building 'Positive, Cooperative and Comprehensive' China-US Relations

Ralph A. Cossa
The US-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. As two of the world’s largest economies, there can be no solution to the global economic crisis if the two work at cross purposes and many of the region’s most complex security challenges - North Korean denuclearisation first among them - require Sino-US cooperation. The good news is that both US President Barrack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao are aware of and accept the shared responsibility and necessity for a cooperative approach toward dealing with the global financial crisis and regional security challenges; both have pledged to develop a "positive, cooperative and comprehensive" relationship and build mutual trust in a way that encourages, rather than worries, friends and allies in the Asia Pacific.
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Essays
China Central? Australia's Asia Strategy
Robert Ayson
From Australia’s perspective, and in spite of the global economic crisis, an increasingly strong China will remain the dominant theme in Asia’s evolving distribution of power. Australia has benefited from the prosperity which is the foundation of China’s rise. But it continues to value the reassurance that a strong United States can bring to Asia. This favourable status quo seems superior to the alternatives: a cooperative Asian community which may be more aspirational than practicable; an Asian concert which requires an unlikely sharing of leadership between the great powers; or a coalition of Asian democracies which could be especially divisive. But as this comfortable status quo is strained, Australia may need to consider geopolitical options which until now have appeared fanciful and risky.
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To Be or Not To Be: South Korea's East Asia Security Strategy and the Unification Quandary
Seongho Sheen
South Korea’s Lee Myong-bak government has adopted a new East Asia strategy to cope with the changing security environment on the Korean peninsula, as well as in Northeast Asia. Departing from its traditional dependence on the bilateral alliance with the United States, South Korea now seeks a diversified strategy which includes upgrading the alliance with the US to a ‘strategic alliance’, developing a ‘strategic cooperative partnership’ with China and promoting a multilateral security mechanism in Northeast Asia. Although it is not clear how South Korea will handle the contradictory elements and the complexity of the new strategy, it provides a more realistic approach to dealing with a possible North Korean contingency and the question of Korean unification, which should and will eventually be shaped by the two Koreas’ choices.
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New Trends in Taiwan's China Policy
Christopher R. Hughes
Elections for a new parliament and president in Taiwan last year have led to a relaxation in the relationship with China that had become increasingly tense under the previous administration in Taipei. Having come to power on a platform of economic revival, the newly elected president, Ma Ying-jeou, now has to win over a wary public to support his policy of deeper engagement with China. This is becoming increasingly difficult as the economic downturn on both sides of the Taiwan Strait has made it hard to deliver the expected material benefits and the island slides into a severe recession. Meanwhile, Ma faces a growing dilemma as he waits for Beijing to deliver concessions on allowing the island more international space. If this is not forthcoming, domestic politics could force him back towards the more assertive foreign policy developed by his predecessors.
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Dilemmas of the 'Middle Continent': Russian strategy for Eastern Eurasia
David Kerr
Russia did not join the West, nor did it join the East. Russia’s commitment to its strategic autonomy and independent foreign and security policy requires the preservation of a ‘middle continent’ that bridges and transcends Europe and Asia. Russia pursues a restorationist strategy for Eurasia but faces a three-way struggle: for its own autonomy as a great power; for resistance to absorption within the US-centred system of common strategic space; and for management of the dynamics between the emergent powers through negotiation between strategic partnerships and regionalisms. This article examines these dilemmas in relation to Eastern Eurasia, and in particular the Sino-Russian relationship.
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China's Growing Military Might in Search of a Strategy
Arthur S. Ding
China’s rapid military modernisation in the past decade has raised concern over when and how will China use its military power in the future. There is no definite answer to this concern. However, the new course in Taiwan, urgent non-traditional security issues, the domestic agenda for re-allocating resources to development of a ‘harmonious society’, and the looming economic crisis could shape China’s foreign policy goals so that it continues the engagement approach adopted in the past decade.
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A New Arms Race in the Asia-Pacific?
Richard A. Bitzinger
Many countries in the Asia-Pacific, enabled by rising defence budgets and aggressive marketing by major arms-producing states, have since the middle of the 1990s greatly expanded their war fighting capacities beyond the mere modernisation of their armed forces. While such purchases are intended to aid deterrence and defence, they may have the unintended consequences of undermining regional security and stability by contributing to arms races or arms competitions leading to a classical ‘security dilemma’. Considering that the Asia-Pacific is still a region of considerable potential conflict, the logic of such arms purchases can be called into question.
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Italy in World Affairs
China, the Italian Prejudice
Francesco Sisci
Italy’s political vision of China has been tainted by prejudice. In past decades, before China’s rapid development, it was a positive prejudice. People on the right saw China as a bulwark against the Soviet Union, people on the left viewed it as model of socialism. In recent years, the prejudice has changed in nature. Those on the right, defending Italy’s small and medium-sized enterprises beleaguered by Chinese competition, accuse Beijing of unfair trade practices, those on the left, fearing that workers might lose their jobs to China, blame Beijing for exploiting workers. In either case, Italy is not interested in discovering the true reality of China, which remains an exotic mystery. This lack of knowledge is the root of Italy’s policy problems with China.
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Book Reviews
A Wall with a View
Vittorio Emanuele Parsi and Giuseppe Gabusi
Review of: Dopo la muraglia, Giovanni B. Andornino, Vita e pensiero, 2008
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Through a Mirror, Darkly
Christopher W. Braddick
Review of: Japan's national identity and foreign policy, Alexander Bukh, Routledge, 2009
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Negotiating with North Korea: An International Deal?
Anna Dall'Oca
Review of: Strategic thinking about the Korean nuclear crisis, Gilbert Rozman, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007 ;
Negotiating with the Hermit Kingdom, Christopher D. LaRoche, Centre for Foreign Policy Studies-Dalhousie University, 2008 ;
North Korea on the brink, Glyn Ford with Soyoung Kwon, Pluto Press, 2008
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China-India Relations: Political Strategies of Economic and Strategic Cooperation
Claudia Astarita
Review of: China and India, Alka Acharya, Har-Anand Pub., 2008
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