Is China committed to peaceful rise? Debating how to secure core interests in China

Jinghan Zeng

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With China’s rise, many argue that its foreign policy has been increasingly assertive. A principal aspect of this assertiveness is to secure China’s “core interests”—a term that suggests a non-negotiable bottom line of Chinese foreign policy and has been increasingly used by the Chinese government to legitimate its diplomatic claim. Built on a previous study on how China perceives core interests, this article analyses how China aims to secure its core interests by using content analysis to study 108 Chinese academic articles concerning “China’s core interests”. It identifies six major suggestions to secure China’s core interests: diplomacy, military cooperation, military modernization, economic cooperation, economic influence, and domestic reform. It finds that, when discussing how to secure China’s core interests, diplomacy is still the most popular solution followed by the suggestion to develop a stronger military power. This article argues that the diverse (and sometimes contrary) views on China’s national security strategy have made it difficult to predict and test the credibility of China’s peaceful rise commitment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-636
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Politics
Issue number5
Early online date19 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017

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