Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 02/2013

More Security for Rising China, Less for Others?

Denny Roy

January 2013

East-West Center


In the face of a rising China, the most fundamental concern of Asia Pacific governments is how a stronger China affects their own security. While China could achieve a reasonable amount of security and prosperity playing within the current international rules, there is reason to expect China to use its expanding economic, military, and diplomatic influence to press neighboring governments to conform to its wishes on political issues. Based on a historical perception that a China-centered regional order is the region's natural destiny, China sees itself as the rightful leader of the region. And despite pragmatic forces restraining aggressive behavior by China, there is immense nationalistic pressure that pushes the top leadership toward more confrontational foreign policies. An important aspect of the strategic impact of China's rise depends on whether its policies violate international norms and threaten the security of other countries. Regional security will be defined in part by the willingness and ability of the region to stand up to China's demands.