China's Asymmetric Statecraft: Alignments, Competitors, and Regional Diplomacy

The existing scholarship on asymmetric statecraft focuses on how a great power engages with one weaker power, and inadequately examines how a great power engages with multiple weaker powers. Under what circumstances does a great power deal with multiple weaker neighbours through either uniform or selective strategies? Adding to theories that focus on external threats, domestic politics, and ideology, China’s Asymmetric Statecraft proposes a regional competition theory. The theory argues that the number of regional competitors and alignment relationships both shape a great power’s regional diplomacy, with regard to uniform strategies or selective strategies. In an environment of numerous regional competitors and alignments, China has developed a form of asymmetric statecraft toward its many weaker neighbours. Drawing on extensive Chinese, Russian, German, American, and NATO archival sources from the past sixty years, China’s Asymmetric Statecraft explores Chinese policy in East Asia from 1955 to 1965, in South Asia from 1955 to 1963, and in Indochina from 1962 to 1975.

Yuxing Huang is an Associate Professor in the Department of International Relations at Tsinghua University. He has held visiting positions at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Universität Trier, the Carter Centre, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). He is currently an Academic Visitor at the University of Oxford China Centre.