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Flexing Muscles Flexibly: China and Asia’s Transitional Polycentrism

  • Tiang Boon Hoo
Chapter

Abstract

Amidst a strategic landscape of transitional polycentrism, China, as the world’s second largest economy and with its own hegemonic designs, is undoubtedly one of the forces of change. This chapter analyses China’s part in shaping this transitional polycentrism, with particular focus on its perceived rising foreign policy assertiveness in the region. It argues that since at least 2013, Beijing has been applying a strategy of ‘flexible assertiveness’ in Asia. This is a nuanced but deliberate policy with two discernible prongs: one is a tougher and more uncompromising approach towards what China regards as its core interests or connecting to its core interests; the other is a more flexible and cooperative approach towards other more negotiable interests that, while significant, are of relative secondary importance to Beijing.

Notes

Acknowledgement

This chapter is adapted from my article ‘Hardening the Hard, Softening the Soft: Assertiveness and China’s Regional Strategy,’ Journal of Strategic Studies (2016). doi: 10.1080/01402390.2016.1221820.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiang Boon Hoo
    • 1
  1. 1.S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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