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The Australian National University

Public seminar

Encountering turbulance: China's rise and the international politics of power transition in Asia

Speaker: Dr Nicholas Khoo
Date: Thursday 26 June 2014
Time: 5.45pm – 7.00pm
Venue: Weston Theatre, Crawford Building (#132), 1 Lennox Crossing, ANU
Vodcast: Watch the video
Seminar flyer: Download the flyer
Registration: Click here to register

Nicholas KhooChina’s policy toward East Asia during the Obama Administration represents a curious mix of economic interdependence and strategic distrust. On one hand, eight of China’s top ten trading partners are from the region. On the other, clear and varying levels of tensions exist between China and some key regional states, which are either U.S. allies or have developed an increasingly close relationship with Washington. In short, an increasingly broad economic relationship is more than matched by frictions over territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas, and a rising concern with how China has and will use its growing capabilities and influence.

One of the casualties of these developments is a qualified scholarly consensus on China’s rise. Until very recently, to the extent that a majority view existed, it has stressed Beijing’s role as a status quo actor, practising pro-active, skillful and relatively successful diplomacy. In this respect, analysts have turned to the concepts of identity, socialisation and trade to understand China’s rise.

If this consensus was ever completely true – it no longer is today. There is now strong support for an alternative interpretation of China’s regional policies centered on concepts emphasised in the realist tradition of international relations. Informed by interviews with Chinese academics and analysts conducted in Beijing as part of an NSC-sponsored research project, this presentation will seek to explore and explain the increasing complexity in China’s regional policy.

Dr. Nicholas Khoo is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Otago. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (University of California), a Master of Arts from Johns Hopkins University, and obtained his PhD from the University of Columbia. Dr Khoo specialises in Chinese foreign policy, the international relations of Asia and international security. He is author of Collateral Damage: Sino-Soviet Rivalry and the Termination of the Sino- Vietnamese Alliance (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011). Dr Khoo's research project for the NSC is examining the implications of China's rise.

The National Security College is a joint initiative of the Commonwealth Government and ANU.


Updated:  3 July 2014/ Responsible Officer:  Head of College, National Security College/ Page Contact:  Web administrator, National Security College