In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section China and Regional and Global Security

  • Introduction
  • General Overview
  • National Security Policy Making
  • China’s Strategic Security Culture
  • Chinese Views on International Security and Policy Options
  • Sino-US Security Relations
  • China and the Korean Peninsula
  • East China Sea and Japan
  • The Taiwan Issue
  • South China Sea and Southeast Asia
  • Sino-Indian Security Relations and the Indian Ocean
  • Central Asia
  • Sino-Russian Security Ties
  • Global Security Policy
  • Nontraditional Security

Chinese Studies China and Regional and Global Security
Mingjiang Li, Kheng Swe Lim
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 August 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199920082-0134


Many policymakers, scholars, and pundits throughout the world are concerned about the implications of China’s rise for regional security in Asia and many global security challenges as well. Many analysts have sought to answer this question: Will the rise of China be a source of stability or conflict in Asia and the world at large? This bibliographical article is an attempt to present some of the best works on China’s security relations with the outside world. We focus primarily on the post–Cold War era and try to include the latest research findings as much as possible. We also concentrate more on China’s neighboring regions, believing that China’s security policy has been and continues to be predominantly focused on its surrounding regions. We hope this collection can provide researchers and students in the field of Chinese security policy enough background information about the subject, the different theoretical or analytical approaches, and the major policy debates. In addition to the general overview section, we have divided the whole subject into several sections. These include national security policymaking in China, China’s strategic security culture, Sino-US security relations, Chinese policy views on international security, China’s policies toward various security challenges in its neighborhood, including the Korean Peninsula, the East China Sea dispute with Japan, the Taiwan issue, the South China Sea disputes, security contentions with India, Beijing’s security role in Central Asia, and Sino-Russian security ties. Toward the end of the article, we include two sections on China’s role in global security and nontraditional security.

General Overview

The best primary resource for official views on China’s defense policy is China’s Defence White Papers, published by the Ministry of National Defense, which lay out the government’s official views. Tsinghua University’s Institute of Modern International Relations also has an online database on China’s foreign relations, which offers quantitative data on China’s relations with external powers since 1950. Other primary resources include the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute databases, which contain data on China and peacekeeping, military spending, and arms trading, and the Wilson Center’s Chinese Foreign Policy Database, containing declassified documents regarding China’s foreign relations from 1950. Li and Kemburi 2014 offer an up-to-date overview of China’s security relations with other Asia Pacific powers. Fravel 2008 analyzes China’s resolution of territorial disputes with its neighbors, while Holmes and Yoshihara 2007 discusses China’s increasing naval power. Wang 2014 offers a good introduction to the effects of Chinese nationalism on China’s security policy. Meanwhile, the shadow of the past lingers on; Kang 2009 and Yan 2013 look, from different angles, at how China’s traditional modes of thinking influence its foreign policy today.

  • Fravel, M. Taylor. Strong Borders, Secure Nation: Cooperation and Conflict in China’s Territorial Disputes. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.

    Looks at why China chooses to use concessions or force to resolve territorial disputes. Links China’s policy on territorial disputes to threats to its domestic stability as well as its bargaining position vis-à-vis other powers.

  • Holmes, James R., and Toshi Yoshihara. Chinese Naval Strategy in the 21st Century: The Turn to Mahan. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2007.

    Investigates China’s increased focus on maritime affairs and speculates on its future development. Analyzes the influence of Mahan’s ideas on China’s geopolitical thinking, particularly given the increasing importance of maritime trade to China.

  • Kang, David C. China Rising: Peace, Power, and Order in East Asia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.

    Argues that the mentality inherent in the tributary system still holds today, acting as a driver of regional stability. Provides an alternative view to traditional Western theories of international relations.

  • Li, Mingjiang, and Kalyan M. Kemburi, eds. Chinese Power and Asian Security. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2014.

    A collection of chapters that starts with an analysis of growing Chinese power, followed by works to determine its impact on the security situation in different parts of the Asia Pacific region. A comprehensive, up-to-date overview of China’s security influence in the region.

  • Online Database on China’s Foreign Relations, Tsinghua University.

    Provides quantitative assessments of China’s foreign and security relations with other major powers since 1950; the addition of similar information regarding China’s relations with neighboring countries is planned.

  • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. “SIPRI Multilateral Peace Operations Database.”

    Contains data on China’s contributions to international peacekeeping operations, military expenditures, and arms trade. Other articles include “SIPRI Military Expenditure Database” and “SIPRI Arms Transfers Database.”

  • Wang, Zheng. Never Forget National Humiliation: Historical Memory in Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.

    Makes the case that historical memory which is shaped by the government’s propaganda and “patriotic education” serves as a driving force behind China’s foreign policy. An introductory work on the role of Chinese popular nationalism in China’s foreign relations.

  • White Papers, Ministry of National Defense, People’s Republic of China.

    These white papers provide official Chinese views on China’s military development, national defense policy, and military strategies.

  • The Wilson Center. “Chinese Foreign Policy Database.”

    Contains declassified documents on China’s international relations since 1949.

  • Yan, Xuetong. Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.

    In this volume, Yan argues that Confucian concepts of morality underlie China’s foreign policy thinking, while three respondents offer their critiques. The work provides an insight into traditional Chinese ideas of foreign policy and sheds light on the debates over their relevance to the modern world.

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