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China and Japan in the Asia-Pacific regional economic cooperation: Indigenous major powers and international regime formation.
Committee ChairWhiting, Allen S.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractInternational regime theory assume s the hegemon's willingness and capability to be the necessary and sufficient conditions for creating regimes. The larger the power disparity between the hegemon and the subordinate countries, the better the conditions for regime formation will be. But in Asia-Pacific, regime formation has gained momentum since the U.S. hegemonic power began to decline. How do we explain the "anomaly" in Asia-Pacific cooperation? What distinct patterns of regime dynamics have demonstrated in this region? My central assumptions are first, Asia-Pacific regional cooperation is, to a great extent, determined by the respective postures of China and Japan as well as the nature of their bilateral relations; second, regime dynamics in this region can be better captured from the perspective of these two Asian indigenous major powers. I draw upon regime theory, constructivist arguments, and aspects of the traditional Chinese-dominated East Asian order to devise the theoretical frameworks for this study. These theoretical frameworks enable us to capture the fluidity and complexity that have characterized the process of Asia-Pacific regime creation. We find that China's great leap outward has facilitated an ideational change, bringing China closer to the rules, norms, and principles of regional economic regime. Yet China's cognitive support have been mixed and it has refrained from committing to any fora of regional cooperation. Similarly, Japan has adopted a minimalist approach to regional cooperation. Uncertainties and mixed feelings characterize Sino-Japanese relations. China and Japan have not formed and are unlikely to form a political partnership to forge an exclusively Asian bloc, nor have their bilateral relations evolved or are likely to evolve toward confrontation to effect the collapse of regional cooperation. Finally, I summarize how patterns of regime dynamics in Asia-Pacific can be identified and assessed by focusing on the category of the two Asian powers. I conclude that the embedded liberalism defining European-Atlantic regimes could never hold in Asia-Pacific. Regime dynamics in Asia-Pacific have proceeded and will continue to evolve in a fashion that reflects the distinctive power and cultural reality in this world arena.
Degree ProgramPolitical Science