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China

From a European perspective, the sheer numbers involved when one considers China are staggering.  One in every five people alive today lives in the People's Republic of China, which has a current population of roughly 1.35 billion.  Over the past 20 years, China has undergone rapid urbanization, driven by explosive economic growth, and now more than half its population live in cities. China’s economic transformation began in the late 1970’s when it abandoned central planning and pursued policies of ‘reform and opening up’, and recently China overtook Japan to become the world's second-largest economy in terms of GDP.

The current economic system is best described as 'state-led capitalism', i.e. a market economy in which the government and State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) play a leading role. Much of the dynamism of the Chinese economy over the past thirty years has come from its ability to manufacture goods for export at low-cost, but with rising wages China's priorities are now to ascend the value chain and develop its own domestic consumer market.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is now in the process of transforming itself from a largely mechanized army to a technologically sophisticated one, capable of winning 'local wars under informationized conditions' and has invested heavily in networked and technologically sophisticated systems.  Large increases in the annual budget allocation for defense have supported the modernization drive.

In the security area, China is playing an increasingly important international role, as seen in its contributions to UN peacekeeping operations and to anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.  As China's interests expand overseas – particularly in politically unstable, resource-rich countries – the PLA may find itself called upon more often to guarantee the security of Chinese nationals working overseas.

Through its China Initiative project, ISDP follows developments in China's political, military and economic affairs closely and works with partner institutions such as the PLA Academy of Military Science (AMS) and the China Institutes for Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) in order to better understand China's contemporary realities and to foster dialogue and exchange between China and Europe.


China's Military Transformation Print Email
China Initiative - Projects

The rapid rise of China as a political and economic power with significant and growing global influence has major implications not only for Northeast Asia but the world at large. The international community welcomes the rise of a stable and prosperous China, able to take on a leadership role in Asia for the stability of regional peace and security. China has played a proactive role in fostering security ties with a number of Asian countries in recent years as well as investing in multilateral institutions. However, uncertainty surrounds China's continued expansion and transformation of its military forces.

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Cross-Strait Relations Print Email
China Initiative - Projects

A potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait could serve to critically undermine the stability of the region. The People´s Republic of China approximately has 900 to 1,000 missiles on alert within striking distance of Taiwan. Taiwan has continued its military build-up against China's military threat and request US arms sale to Taiwan.

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Domestic Development Print Email
China Initiative - Projects

During the past decade, China's economic growth has averaged 8-9 per cent a year and has witnessed extensive economic expansion with massive foreign investment. Even during the current global downturn, China has been the primary driver behind recovering of global economy. China has set itself the target of-according to its long-term social and economic development plan-achieving by 2020 a fourfold growth in GDP compared to that in 2000. Despite this goal, there are several reasons for concern in domestic contexts, the reason being that there are a number of risks and uncertainties that threaten to undermine the sustainability of China's domestic development, such as an environmental problem, rise in energy demands and the massive unemployed population. What is more, rebalancing growth between urban and rural areas, between rich and poor people and between ethnic majority and minority will depress domestic demand and could feed social instability.

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Sino-European Relations Print Email
China Initiative - Projects

Both past and presently, Sino-European relations have been secondary to both actors and the US has had primacy in both respective foreign policies. This has created a situation where both the Chinese and Europeans exhibit a serious lack of understanding of one another, which is the root cause of many misunderstandings. The most important and dangerous symptom of this dysfunctional relationship is suspicion, because suspicion breeds mistrust. This is a curious observation considering interaction and trade between the two actors has increased, whilst trust has decreased and has arguably never been lower. This is despite an increased need and interest to cooperate on areas ranging from social and welfare issues to the combating of piracy and peacekeeping. There have been a number of high-level Sino-European meetings but these have not evidenced the progress needed.

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Sino-Japanese Relations Print Email
China Initiative - Projects

Throughout history, the relationship between China and Japan has more often than not been marked by mistrust and animosity, or even violent conflict. Despite three decades of normalized bilateral relations, several past and present issues serve to complicate the relation between the two states. Since a positive and functioning relationship between China and Japan, the two great powers in Northeast Asia, in many ways is a prerequisite for peace and stability in the region, a souring bilateral relationship is not only problematic for the states involved, but has implications for neighboring states and the international community at large. Against this background, it has become increasingly important to understand, identify and implement measures that can prevent and manage conflicts and disputes between these two states.

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Sino-Russian Relations Print Email
China Initiative - Projects

This project aims to bring together scholars specializing on Sino-Russian relations to address the current status of Sino-Russian relations in the political, military, energy and trade sectors. We aim at producing a comprehensive account on the current status of relations between Russia and China in the sectors outlined above and the geo-political realignments that have occurred in Eurasia in the last 2-3 years. This will be done by exploring overlapping interests and tensions between these two states. Apart from the purely bilateral relations, a focus will be on Central Asia as the region is a major determinant of contemporary Sino-Russian relations.

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Publications on China

Ramses Amer
Conflicting Views on Global Governance between China and the U.S.
COMMENTARY, China-US Focus, March 30, 2015 Webpage Link
Wu Xin
The PLA’s Evolving Global Role and New Security Initiatives
ASIA PAPER, March 25, 2015, pp. 27 Webpage Link
Dai Yonghong
China and Myanmar: When neighbours become good friends
COMMENTARY, East Asia Forum, March 06, 2015 Webpage Link
Ramses Amer
Dispute Management in the South China Sea
REPORT, NISCSS Report, No. 1, March 06, 2015 Webpage Link
Bernt Berger
China's Myanmar Policy: Dilemma or Strategic Ambiguity?
POLICY BRIEF, No. 171, March 02, 2015 Webpage Link
Dai Yonghong, Qin Yonghong
Construction and Operation of China-Myanmar Oil & Gas Pipeline: A Geopolitical-economic Analysis
JOURNAL ARTICLE, South Asian Studies Quarterly, No. 1, March 2015 Webpage Link
Bernt Berger
Is Beijing supporting rebel groups in Myanmar?
COMMENTARY, The Lowy Interpreter, February 24, 2015 Webpage Link
Ramses Amer, Li Jianwei
China and Vietnam Require More Meaningful Efforts to Manage Disputes
COMMENTARY, China US Focus, February 12, 2015 Webpage Link
Elliot Brennan
Thailand is stuck in a US-China tug of war
ARTICLE, China Spectator, February 11, 2015 Webpage Link
Wang Shumei
The PLA and Student Recruits: Reforming China's Conscription System
ASIA PAPER, January 26, 2015, pp. 21 Webpage Link
Bernt Berger
China's ‘Non-Policy’ for Afghanistan
BOOK CHAPTER, in The EU–China Relationship: European Perspectives - A Manual for Policy Makers, January 2015 Webpage Link
Ramses Amer
Vietnam's Proactive Foreign Relations
POLICY BRIEF, No. 167, December 15, 2014 Webpage Link
Dai Yonghong, Liu Hongchao
Rivalry and Cooperation: A New "Great Game" in Myanmar
ASIA PAPER, December 12, 2014, pp. 34 Webpage Link
Bernt Berger
The Limits of Russia's "Pivot to Asia"
POLICY BRIEF, No. 166, December 05, 2014 Webpage Link
Dai Yonghong , Qin Yonghong
Sino-Pakistan Energy Corridor: Geopolitical and Geo-economic Thoughts
JOURNAL ARTICLE, South Asian Studies Quarterly , No. 4, December 2014 Webpage Link
Elliot Brennan
Asia Reacts to China's South China Sea Airstrip
COMMENTARY, The Maritime Executive, November 29, 2014 Webpage Link
Lars Vargö
Mending Sino-Japanese Relations
POLICY BRIEF, No. 165, November 18, 2014 Webpage Link
David Mulrooney
Creative Diplomacy and North Korea
POLICY BRIEF, No. 164, November 13, 2014 Webpage Link
Ozan Serdaroglu
Turkey and China: An Emerging Partnership?
POLICY BRIEF, No. 162, October 09, 2014 Webpage Link
Shi Qingren
China's Military Reform: Prospects and Challenges
ASIA PAPER, September 11, 2014, pp. 31 Webpage Link

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