China's Domestic and Foreign Policies

Prof. David Arase from Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies presented on domestic and foreign policies of China at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam. This is the second seminar on the topic.


Prof. David Arase, an American scholar, who works at the Johns Hopkins University Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies presented the thesis “China’s domestic policy since China’s 18 Communist Party Congress and its impacts on China’s foreign policy”. There were two respondents, Mr. Nguyen Tam Chien a former vice minister for foreign affairs and Mr. Tran Duc Mau a former ambassador to Germany. Six other participants contributed ideas and opinions during the discussion.

Prof. Arase explained that China’s foreign policy is driven by the domestic situation and domestic governmental policy, which in turn is dominated by the respective current leader – Mr. Xi. Xi wants a bi-polar world, which would elevate China as the principal contestant of the US to the status of big power. The two big powers would then balance each other, but not expand a cooperative relationship. The foreign policy strategies are the pillars to make China this big power in the world. Among the regional strategies China pursues with great effort today, there are: The Maritime Silk Road, the AIIB, the positioning of Chinese boarder provinces as gateways to the neighbours, The much reflected One-Belt-One-Road vision (OBOR) is intended to establish power over other countries through trade, infrastructure development, foreign investment and targeted foreign aid. China also holds the view that any new Asian security concept should be the exclusive concern of the Asian countries, and traditional military alliances have no role.

Responding to respective remarks of the discussants, Prof. Arase agreed that maintaining high rates of economic growth is China’s biggest challenge to be able to continue to pursue its geo-strategic goals. China expects to become the most influential country in Eurasia, and we shall expect a greater coherence of its policies towards Asian countries and towards the West.

When Xi talks about reforms, he means strengthening the rule of CCP. The party does not respect rule of law but it rules by law, imposing its rule on the whole society. One should not expect China to bend to the interests of other countries as it would be in a partnership relation. China is self-centred, inward looking and develops its own picture of the world, not comprehending other countries and their world. China itself is at a turning point. It has removed the mask of restraint. But violent behaviour is not the strategy, except against smaller countries. It remains an open question, if China ever can dominate the South China Sea or the West Pacific, as it has declared.

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  • Prof. David Arase

    Rabea Brauer

    Rabea Brauer

    Leiterin des Länderprogramms Japan und des Regionalprogramms Soziale Ordnungspolitik in Asien (SOPAS) +81 3 6426 5041
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