China as a responsible great power: Conform or reform?

Written by Rob Yates. It has long been established that great powers have a distinct status given to them through recognition by other members of international society. Such status recognition, however, is contingent upon exercising great power responsibilities. In the broadest terms, Hedley Bull outlined great power responsibilities as twofold: managing relations with each other …

China and the US: when worlds collide

Written by Mark Beeson. There is so much going on in the world these days it’s sometimes possible to focus on the ephemeral and the inconsequential rather than the long-term structural changes that are likely to shape the international system for decades. The US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, inaugurated in 2009 by Barack Obama and …

‘Responsible Stakeholder’ with Chinese Characteristics

Written by Beverley Loke. In September 2005, Robert Zoellick urged China to become a ‘responsible stakeholder’ in the international system. The basic premise of his speech was that China should be more heavily invested in strengthening and sustaining the system from which it has benefited. This involved global stewardship: providing public goods, upholding existing norms …

A Sino-Russian Alliance? Rationales and Realities

Written by Jingdong Yuan. Since the early 1990s when Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin first laid the foundation of a partnership between the former allies (1950s) and foes (1960s-1970s), Beijing and Moscow have gradually elevated the bilateral relationship to its current comprehensive strategic partnership. In 2001, the two countries also signed …

Strategic Hypocrisy: the Labelling of Taiwan in the Trafficking in Person Report

Written by Isabelle Cheng. The ‘Nationhood of Human Rights’ (renquan liguo) was critical to the nation-building project of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after the party assumed power in 2000. Interestingly, this slogan was also adopted by the Kuomintang (KMT) government after 2008. The prominence of a human rights discourse in Taiwan’s self-image and the …

The Future of Green Construction in China

Written by Sha Yu. China, as the world’s largest carbon emitter and energy consumer, also has the world’s largest construction market. In the past five years, China has added around 3 billion square metres of building floorspace annually (China Statistical Yearbook 2014, Table 10-7). The building floorspace in China today exceeds that of the United …

Under the sea: Russia, China and American control of the waterways

Written by Simon Reich. In the summer of 2007, in a bizarre incident shown live on Russian television, scientists accompanied by a couple of senior politicians descended 4,300 meters to the floor of the Arctic Ocean in two Mir mini submarines. Divers then planted a Russian flag on the seabed, and Russia officially notified the …

When worlds collide: Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States

Written by Mark Beeson. The meeting between the leaders of China and the United States has rapidly become the gold standard for set-piece diplomatic extravaganzas. Xi Jinping and Barack Obama are, after all, the two most powerful men in the world. So when they have formal talks it matters a lot, and not just to …

In spite of many challenges, Obama-Xi summit will see modest progress

Written by Bates Gill. The enduring paradox of U.S.-China relations will be on full display this week in Washington in what will be one of the most important—and difficult—meetings between Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping. Across so many dimensions of the relationship, the two countries have never been closer. Yet the underlying strategic foundation …

Australia’s changing strategic interests in the South Pacific

Written by Joanne Wallis. If the ‘China threat’ literature is believed, the South Pacific may provide a testing ground for China’s strategic power against the US, which could have destabilising consequences for Australia.  In the worst-case scenario, it could see Australia face a difficult – and potentially alienating – choice between its major economic partner, …