Volume 2(2013)

PAGE 2/15

If the Chinese economy which has the second largest GDP in the world continues its high growth, it inevitably imposes considerable changes on the existing international economic order. The other countries including Japan and the United States are thought to have to adapt to the changes to some extent. The major economic countries such as the United States and Japan need to tackle to minimize the cost of adaptation to the changes, maximizing the benefit from the rise of Chinese economy. Depending on its success or failure, the economic rise of China can be either a help or threat to them.

Of course, it must be noted that there are many opinions agreeing the bleak prospects of Chinese economy. For example, Tsugami (2013) argues that the potential growth rate of China over 2010s will be about 5% on the grounds of over investment since 2008, negative effect of national capitalism, a low birth rate and a growing proportion of elderly people. The author has no disagreement with the point that these factors constrain the Chinese economy. Especially, the author fully agrees that the Chinese economy will be faced with a difficult situation from 2020s.

However, the prediction that the potential growth rate of China over 2010s will be about 5% seems to be too low, at least if we discuss based on official statistics. The difference of opinion from Tsugami is the perspective on the estimation of growth rate for the next 10 years, especially on room for growth in inland areas associated with the progress of urbanization. According to the calculation of Tsugami (ibid, 36), in the case where the growth rate of China is 5%, the growth rate in Eastern areas is presumed to be 4% and that of the other areas 6%. However, in consideration of real situation that recorded growth rates of 2011 are 8% or more in Beijing and Shanghai and more than 10% in most of inland areas, his presumptions looks too low, especially room for growth in inland areas is estimated too pessimistic. As the investment for urbanization in inland areas will be aggressively executed, it will be an actually likely scenario to achieve the growth target set in the 5 years Plan.

Given the economy still continues its rapid growth over the 2010s, then, with what kind of diplomatic policy does the new leadership of China led by General Secretary Xi Jinping approach the existing major countries such as the U.S. and Japan?

Recently, not a little opinions predicting the foreign policy of the new leadership of China have been seen on the media, most of them focus on the speech and behavior of General Secretary Xi Jinping himself and the lineup of seven members of Central Politburo Standing Committee. Certainly as far as the directions of the policies including diplomacy are finally decided through consultation among the members of Central Politburo Standing Committee, it is imaginable that the personal thoughts of the members may affect the decision. However, more than such personal thoughts, the domestic and international situation they are facing is thought to basically define the direction of foreign policy.

Actually, in the school of International Relations, the foreign policy of a nation is thought to be decided by the factors of three levels, which include policy-making person, domestic politics, and international situation (Waltz, 1959). As for the foreign policy of China, there is a study focused on the role played by Mao Zedong as a study that looks at the policy-making person (Christensen, 1996). However, among the studies of late years, increasing studies analyze China’s foreign policy comprehensively through domestic factors and international circumstances (Zhao, 1996; Shambough, 1994; Harding, 1992.). This paper stands in the stream of such comprehensive analysis of China’s foreign policy.

The purpose of this paper is to predict the direction of the foreign policy of the new leadership of China highlighting the changes of international circumstance due to the expansion of China’s domestic economy.