Papers on International Relations II

Institutions
Wednesday
4:00 pm – 5:45 pm
Room 3

  • Nihal Kutlu, “The Hybrid Power: Explaining China’s Distinctive Participation in UN Peacekeeping”
  • Un Hye Joe, “The People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s Role toward an East Asian Economic Community (EAEC)”
  • Reinhard Biedermann, “A Diamond Decade, But for Whom? China’s Belt and Road Initiative and ASEAN”
  • Josie-Marie Perkuhn, “Alternative Peace—with Chinese Characteristics?”

Nihal Kutlu, “The Hybrid Power: Explaining China’s Distinctive Participation in UN Peacekeeping”

If we take a look at countries’ participation behaviours in UN peacekeeping, we see a significant divergence between top financial contributors and troop contributors. While the top ten financial contributors are developed countries, the top ten troop contributors consist of lower-middle-income and low-income countries. However, China is an exceptional case since it is the second major contributor to UN peacekeeping budget and is the only UN Security Council permanent member among the top ten troop-contributing countries.
This research, rather than relying on outsider labels to define and explain China’s behaviour, uses the concept of “responsible major developing country” (RMDC) -China’s self-referential description of itself- as a framework of analysis. The RMDC concept perfectly captures China’s purpose(s), behaviours, and dilemmas in the international system since the late 1990s.
I argue that the RMDC concept characterises China’s hybrid identity -being a developing country and a great power at the same time- and China’s effort to reconcile the different expectations arising from two identities under the term of being responsible while attempting to fulfil the goals of its national interests. The process turns China into a hybrid power.
After discussing the sources of China’s hybrid identity, I explore the expectations from its two reference groups, i.e., the Global South and P5 countries. Then, I explain how China’s troop contribution serves its national interests by contributing to the modernisation of its military, while China meets the expectations of two reference groups by sticking to its non-intervention principle and abiding by the UN system.

Un Hye Joe, “The People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s Role toward an East Asian Economic Community (EAEC)”

In the wake of the 1997/98 financial crisis, East Asian states have looked to strengthen regional integration inter-governmentally at the macro-level. In November 2019, 13 ASEAN Plus Three (APT) participating countries, Australia and New Zealand, finally concluded text-based the world’s largest trade bloc negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). According to the models of regional integration, RCEP will be the first step of regional community-building, as an economic and primarily trade-focused proposal, which lays the most important foundation stone for the next customs union integration-step, like the European Economic Community (ECC), i.e. EAEC. However, East Asia’s endeavour is strictly restricted by the principle of non-interference in national sovereignty, possesses no EU-style legal institutions with supranational governance power and lacks regional public goods that an EAEC will produce for the regional community. This is due to the collision between the sovereignty game and the modern international political game in the East Asian region.
While ASEAN has been placed in a position of operational centrality regarding EAEC proposals, its success depends on the relationships between the large economic powers; ultimately on the role of PRC. The Treaty establishing the ECC (1957) showed that the participating countries were under rule of law and European integration continues with trust between countries and public institutions. East Asian Integration is blocked by the sovereignty game and can’t proceed to legal space, to EAEC. Strengthening legal institutionalisation based on mutual trustworthiness is key to unlocking and expanding new sectors of cooperation. And that will require PRC’s leadership.

Reinhard Biedermann, “A Diamond Decade, But for Whom? China’s Belt and Road Initiative and ASEAN”

China has replaced the European Union as the biggest trading partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) resulting from the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), in force since 2008. In 2013, China proposed the ten year-plan “diamond decade” under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to further develop economic relations
However, central to China’s ASEAN strategy is the BRI, a large Eurasian infrastructure connectivity project that has attracted much attention in recent years. China’s President Xi Jinping initiated the BRI in 2013, which, since then, has provided significant investments of all kinds of infrastructure to improve connectivity and economic development. While China promotes this program as a Chinese public good for the world, based on the principle of win-win, scholarly experts and Western political actors are more cautious about the BRI: It would support unsustainable development and political collusion, and mainly serving the interests of China’s political leaders and overcapacities in the domestic economy. Also, China’s BRI would mainly strengthen bilateral relations with individual ASEAN countries, and in addition to that weaken the integrative forces of ASEAN.
Thus, has China become a stumbling block for the ASEAN single market? This article explores the development of trade and investment of China in ASEAN, compared to the development of domestic ASEAN trade. Furthermore, it elaborates conditions and rules that come with the BRI. This research also takes a look at ASEAN adaptation and responses to China’s BRI and ASEAN’s current single market dynamics.

Josie-Marie Perkuhn, “Alternative Peace—with Chinese Characteristics?”

What is alternative about peace norms with Chinese Characteristics? The concept of Harmonious World clearly envisions a normative concept with Chinese characteristics for peace. With it, China proposes an alternative understanding that is based on the Confucian ideal of a Harmonious Society and the concept of Tianxia. While Chinese thought already spread with Chinese money along revived silk roads, scholars widely discuss implications of Chinese alternative thinking (Acharya & Buzan 2010; Zhang & Chang 2016). Assuming that insights from the vivid Chinese IR debate contribute to the international research of how to define peace in terms of Galtung’s distinction of positive and negative peace definitions, evaluating China’s alternative peace concept seems promising. Hence, this paper questions to what extent contributes China’s peace understanding to the normative debate of positive/negative peace research? By tracing this proclaimed alternative thinking in Chinese foreign politics this paper explores China’s peace understanding in terms of defining peace alternatively. Based on governmental statements this paper conducts a qualitative discourse analysis and evaluates the conceptual idea, the establishment and maintenance of China’s peace norm by analysing Chinese understanding of peace concept, peacebuilding, and peacekeeping.

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Room 3
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Institutions