Volume 2(2013)

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Does China’s Economic Rise Matter?
The Outlook for Chinese Diplomacy under the New Leadership
Takashi Sekiyama

Associate Professor, Organization for International Collaboration, Meiji University, Japan


This paper is to predict the direction of the foreign policy of the new leadership of China highlighting the change of international circumstance due to its economic rise. To summarize the result of analyses, China is not necessarily expected to be a large threat to existing international order or major economies for the next 5 to 10 years, even if its economy grows at a pace of the official target. Although the country is expected to increase its voice in international economic negotiations with the economic rise and develop aggressive diplomacy to secure food, resources, and energy, the new leadership of China will basically pursue a cooperative approach in its foreign policy. However, the implications of such analysis result require consideration on the difference between the U.S. and EU, and Japan. The foreign policy of the new leadership of China on the U.S. and EU is cooperative, but as to the foreign policy on Japan, the prospect doesn't allow much room for optimism.

Keywords: China, Xi Jinping, foreign policy, economic power, demands for food and energy


Last year, in China, new members of CPC Central Politburo Standing Committee were elected and the new leadership led by General Secretary Xi Jinping started. Also in Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party made a comeback to the ruling party in the general election and Shinzo Abe's Cabinet was inaugurated. At present, the Japan-China relationship is deteriorating because of the Senkaku Islands issue, which is seriously affecting the business of Japanese companies in Chinese market. It is one of the main issues of the Abe's Cabinet whether it successfully improves this Japan-China relationship or not. US president Obama who won re-election on the opposite side of the Pacific Ocean demonstrated his recognition of China as “both an adversary, but also a potential partner in the international community if it’s following the rules” at an open debate in the presidential election1.

In the conventional security area, the rise of China is likely to be thought as imposing disadvantages on other countries like a zero-sum game. On the other hand, in the economic area, the rise of China may bring opportunities for other countries including Japan and the United States like a positive sum game and actually there are such tendencies.

1. Benjamin Franklin, An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania, from Its Otigins (1759), reprinted in 3 The Works of Benjamin Franklin, at 107 (Jared Sparks ed. Townsend MacCount 1882).