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China Report

China Report; 57(3)

An Introductory Note for the Article

This article by Chih-yu Shih argues that studies of China must simultaneously be studies of East Asia. It offers a philosophically critical reflection on the meaning of Chineseness in lieu of the theme of the special issue—East Asia. The two regions are reciprocally holographical of each other. The latter part of the article further proposes a research agenda of post-Asianness. The article hopes to convey a message that is hidden but strong: that East Asia is a redundant agenda and yet fungible at the same time. This ontological irony can be likewise applied to both Chineseness and Asianness. Ultimately, China, East Asia and Asia are mainly strategic agendas and identities. The critical reflections outlined in this article are intended to display, facilitate and complicate the pluriversality of all post-identities.

For the past decade, China and Japan have been competing against each other over aid market with its implicit intention to pursue their economic interests, which turned into a rivalry between two diplomatic concepts: Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) versus Japanese Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) Strategy. The severe competition over high-speed rail (HSR) by two countries, joined by French and German competitors, has been intensified for the benefit of China, taking all of its catchup benefits with its dubious sense of rule of law. This article by Takeshi Daimon-Sato questions if the two initiatives can coexist with the entry of India into the game and form an equilibrium of ‘grand coalition’, benefiting all its players as ‘win-win-win’ game, which turns out to be feasible and unstable. Nevertheless, Japan still seems to have a good reason to keep India as a strategic partner of FOIP as well as a ‘gateway’ for Central and Western Asia with fragile states such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, and official development assistance (ODA) could play a significant catalyst role as ‘human security’ promoted by Professor Amartya Sen and ex-UNHCR Ms. Sadako Ogata. The COVID-19 pandemic together with the exit of the isolationist US administration may provide the world with glimmering sense of hope for the year 2021 and beyond, if and only if one becomes more aware of the complementarities of comparative advantage of China, India and Japan to pursue common interests.

South Korea’s quest to become a middle power, articulated through autonomy in foreign policy, has been challenged in the ambience of great power competition reality between the USA and China. This paper by Seong-Hyon Lee delineates South Korean foreign policy’s complex nature in the evolving East Asian regional context, focusing on Seoul’s relationship with China in particular. Many observers noted that South Korea has in recent years been increasingly leaning towards China, despite the fact that it is a military-pact ally of the USA. It also comes as a bewilderment to outsiders to notice that South Korea has been ‘cold-shouldering’ Japan, the world’s number three economy. It does not necessarily mean that Seoul maintains good relations with China either. The two nations have yet to overcome the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) dispute. This article also scrutinises how the USA plays an important role in South Korea’s relations with its two neighbours. Seoul has been in search of diplomatic autonomy between the world’s two most powerful nations. The process has been tumultuous. The future outlook seems uncertain.

Mainland China and Taiwan are two significant regions currently executing the death penalty; especially, Mainland China alone is believed to implement an amount of executions even larger than the total of all other countries. However, although Mainland China and Taiwan share the Chinese language, as well as traditional culture, the public’s opinions on the death penalty diverge. There is no evidence showing that more people are becoming abolitionists, albeit different social groups, domestic and overseas, are trying to propel the process of abolitionism. The public’s opinions on the death penalty are highly influenced by various factors, including cultural and historical ones, which are considered to be fundamental. Besides, the media, the public’s confidence in the judicial system, nationalism and international pressure also impact the public opinion. The governments of both Mainland China and Taiwan should take further actions in terms of the judicial system. This article by Qian Qin, Ziyu Li and Xiaotong Jiao sheds light on various aspects influencing the public’s opinion on the death penalty.

East Asia, historically a vibrant region, has been witnessing momentous changes in contemporary times. In the past, it has witnessed a Sinocentric regional order, the era of Japanese imperialism, the Cold War divide and the persistence of the Cold War. The region is also important because in the contests for the Indo-Pacific, the roles of China, Japan and South Korea will have a large bearing. This article by Sandip Kumar Mishra, G. Balatchandirane and Rityusha Mani Tiwary deals with China, Japan and South Korea as the main actors in the region, which have their concerns and challenges in this dynamic region. Most of the time, these countries are so engrossed in their own challenges and concerns that they cannot comprehend the collective regional scenario. Looking at the region from India, a distanced but connected country, it is possible to list their particular concerns and challenges and classify them to comprehend the full picture. This article classifies their concerns and challenges into three broad categories: common, different but reconcilable and different and irreconcilable. The classification is heuristic and subjective, but it is being used to recommend that the countries of the region must try to transform and move their concerns and challenges from the third category to the second category. Furthermore, the article also delves into the place and role of India in the region, along with a few tentative recommendations for India to play a more constructive role in reaching out to these countries bilaterally and collectively. In the process, the article argues that India needs to have a coordinated regional policy.

I Articles


  • Post-Chinese, Post-Western, and Post-Asian Relations: Engaging a Pluriversal East Asia
    Chih-yu Shih
    Abstract

  • Sino-Japan Aid War and India’s Role: Possibilities for ‘Win-Win-Win’
    Takeshi Daimon-Sato
    Abstract

  • Seoul’s up-and-down Romance with China amid US-China Rivalry: A Korean Perspective
    Seong-Hyon Lee
    Abstract

  • Public Opinion on the Death Penalty in Mainland China and Taiwan
    Qian Qin, Ziyu Li, Xiaotong Jiao
    Abstract

  • Contemporary Concerns and Challenges in East Asia: A View from India
    Sandip Kumar Mishra, G. Balatchandirane, Rityusha Mani Tiwary
    Abstract

II Book Reviews


  • Book Review: Andrew B. Liu, Tea War: A History of Capitalism in China and India
    Anurabh Ghosh
    Abstract

  • Book Review: Ezra F. Vogel, China and Japan: Facing History
    Rajiv Ranjan
    Abstract

  • Book Review: Scott A. Snyder, South Korea at the Crossroads, Autonomy and Alliance in an Era of Rival Powers
    Kim Won-soo
    Abstract

  • Book Review: Eiichiro Azuma, In Search of Our Frontier Japanese America and Settler Colonialism in the Construction of Japan’s Borderless Empire
    Brij Tankha
    Abstract

  • Book Review: Catherine Jones and Sarah Teitt, eds. China-North Korea Relations: Between Development and Security
    Sandip Kumar Mishra
    Abstract


 

 

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