China and Regional Security Dynamic

Over the next 10 to 15 years, China's steady process of political-military development will reshape the regional security dynamic in East Asia. This is particularly true for smaller regional powers, such as the countries of Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and the Koreas. But China's increasing political-military capability will also affect the security balance with larger powers such as Japan, Russia, and the United States as well. In this more complex security environment, the smooth and stable emergence of growing Chinese power will demand deft diplomacy of statesmen and strategists across the region, and especially in the United States.

This project draws on many years experience examining key aspects China's defense and security policy and its impact on East Asian regional dynamic to provide balanced, well-informed, and prudent observations and recommendations for U.S. policy in the region. The work of the project covers four important areas of Chinese security and defense policy, all with important implications for U.S. policy in East Asia:

  • China's political-military policy toward Taiwan: Examines the multifaceted and increasingly complex Chinese policy toward Taiwan, which involves political, military, and economic aspects.
  • China's relations with the Korean peninsula: Analyzes China's "two-Korea" policy and the delicate political-military and diplomatic balancing act China performs to help maintain relative stability on the Korean peninsula.
  • China's multilateral security policy: Examines China' s ongoing political-military engagement of regional neighbors, especially in Southeast and Central Asia.
  • China's defense industrial development: Focuses on China's ongoing effort to develop a more advanced and less dependent military-technical base.

Project output includes a forthcoming book on U.S.-China security relations, chapters in edited volumes, congressional testimony, op-eds and other media commentary, participation in the National Committee on American Foreign Policy cross-Strait dialogue process, and co-chairmanship of a "track 1.5" U.S.-Japan commission on arms control and regional security at the behest of the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.

We will enter a fundamentally different era requiring greater resources, deft diplomacy, and seriousness of purpose [to maintain] a stable relationship with China. It will be a period characterized by complexity and contradiction. Under these conditions, simplistic, black-and-white understandings of U.S.-China relations … may be politically elegant, but are strategically foolhardy.—Remarks by Bates Gill before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, July 19, 2000