Foreign Devils, Dictatorship,
or Institutional Control
China's Foreign Policy Towards Southeast Asia

By Niklas Swanstrom
November 2001
Uppsala University Press
ISBN: 91-506-1491-6
197 pages, 6 1/2" x 9 1/2"
$37.50 Paper Original

China is an increasingly important actor in international affairs, especially for its neighbors. The scholarly focus on China's foreign policy has, however, been directed towards the Sino-US relations and little attention has been given to the smaller states in China's immediate neighborhood. This thesis focuses on how the Chinese foreign policy towards Southeast Asia has developed since 1949, and what factors are behind the creation of China's foreign policy. The factor's behind China's foreign policy are divided into three levels - Individual, Institutional and International - that tend to impact on the creation of foreign policy. A focus is on the relative weight of these three levels in the creation of China's foreign policy towards Southeast Asia. It is found that the individual level has decreased in importance in determining the Chinese foreign policy. This is a result of the relative power decline each single individual has experienced when more individuals has become a part of the power structure. The international and, especially, the institutional level have increased significantly as important factors for the creation of China's foreign policy. The international level has gained in importance as China becomes a more integrated actor in international affairs and the institutions seem to result in competing power centras. The decline in individual power creates a need to compromise and cooperate in institutions in order to set and accomplish foreign policy goals.

Politics; Asian Studies
Uppsala University Department of Peace & Conflict Research, Report No. 57

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