Return to Power.

AuthorHe, Kai
PositionChina's Foreign Policy Since 1978: Return to Power

China's Foreign Policy since 1978: Return to Power. By Nicholas Khoo. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2020. Hardcover: 184pp.

China's rise is one of the defining political events of the twenty-first century. How to understand the evolution of China's foreign policy since its reform and opening-up under Deng Xiaoping is a critical task for scholars and policymakers. Nicholas Khoo's concise book, China's Foreign Policy since 1978: Return to Power, offers theoretical insights into China's foreign policy, especially towards Japan and the United States, in the post-1978 era, from Deng's introduction of economic reforms to Xi Jinping's ambitions of national rejuvenation.

The book has five chapters. The first chapter engages with theoretical discussions on how to conceptualize China. Chapter Two examines China's foreign policy under Deng before the end of the Cold War. Khoo suggests that China adopted a wedging strategy between Vietnam and the Soviet Union to uphold the status quo in Asia. Chapter Three focuses on China's foreign policy towards the United States in the post-Cold War era. It suggests that China carried out a "mix of status quo and revisionist" behaviours (p. 2). Chapter Four touches on China's assertive and revisionist foreign policy towards Japan from 2010, especially over the territorial disputes in the East China Sea, In conclusion, Khoo argues that China's foreign policy has returned to a posture of traditional power competition and revisionism. Conflicts with the United States will be inevitable in the future.

Drawing on China's post-Cold War foreign policy towards the United States and Japan as case studies, the book illustrates China's shift from being a status quo power to a revisionist one. However, readers may want to know more about China's foreign policy towards other countries, especially those in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and in the developing world. If China has indeed become a revisionist power, it should behave assertively or even aggressively towards weaker states in the international system. Despite the maritime disputes between China and some Southeast Asian countries in the South China Sea, China has maintained relatively cooperative ties with ASEAN member states as well as other developing countries. Therefore, some comparative research between China's foreign policy towards America and Japan and its policy towards developing countries might better test the author's power-oriented...

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