Positive Paranoia: Chinese Interpretations of Indo-Pacific Geopolitics

Planet Earth viewed from space, focusing on China
Focus Asia May, 2024

This Focus Asia paper seeks to interpret Chinese narratives on Indo-Pacific geopolitics by reviewing Chinese state media and scholarly opinions on Indo-Pacific geopolitics. For this purpose, the paper also examines the PRC’s interpretation of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the ‘Quad’ comprising Australia, India, Japan, and the U.S.) and the interplay with the three middle-power Quad partners. Similarly, it explores China-Europe dynamics in Chinese state media and official discourse, given the expansion of the European Union’s strategic interest in Indo-Pacific geopolitics.

Chinese scholars share many views with those of official state media. This is particularly evident in views of U.S. motives to contain China, dismissals of any U.S. success, and fault-finding with U.S. traditional and potential allies. Yet, Chinese scholars reveal different interpretations of the evolution of U.S. Indo-Pacific policies and the space for U.S.-China cooperation within the Indo-Pacific strategy confines. The paper concludes with a discussion of political events in Beijing in 2024 and what these might imply in the future.


This work is part of a Stiftung Mercator-funded project titled “Order in the Indo-Pacific: Gauging the Region’s Perspectives on EU Strategies and Constructive Involvement.”

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