Analyzing China’s Influence in the Developing Asia

Professor Evelyn Goh
15 August 2018

Rising China has been reshaping international order for the last two decades. Yet, we cannot assume that growing resources and capabilities automatically allow China to cause other states to change their behaviour. We can only accurately assess rising China’s impacts by first demonstrating how its growing power resources are translated into policy influence over other states. Moreover, while the most common notion of influence is the ability to cause other actors to behave in a way they would not otherwise behave, China tends to gain the support of smaller countries without forcing them to change their preferences. Like any other international actor, China draws upon military might, economic benefits, institutional authority, and ideational appeal, to purposefully coerce, induce, or persuade others to behave in ways that help achieve Chinese goals. But whether and the extent to which it succeeds is determined as much by the political context and decision-making processes of the target states, as it is by how skillfully Chinese actors deploy these tools.

About the Speaker: Evelyn Goh is the Shedden Professor of Strategic Policy Studies at the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific, where she is also the Director of Research for the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre. She is co-editor of the Cambridge Studies in International Relations book series. Her research interests are East Asian security and international relations theory. Her research focuses on U.S.-China relations and diplomatic history, regional security cooperation and institutions in East Asia, Southeast Asian strategies towards great powers, and environmental security. Her key publications include Rising China’s Influence in Developing Asia (Oxford University Press, 2016); The Struggle for Order: Hegemony, Hierarchy and Transition in post-Cold War East Asia (Oxford University Press, 2013, 2015), ‘Great Powers and Hierarchical Order in Southeast Asia: Analyzing Regional Security Strategies’, International Security 32:3 (Winter 2007/8): 113-57; and Constructing the US Rapprochement with China, 1961-1974 (Cambridge University Press, 2004). She has just published (with Rosemary Foot) ‘The International Relations of East Asia: A New Research Prospectus’, International Studies Review (advance online, June 2018); and completed (with Barry Buzan) a forthcoming book, Re-thinking Sino-Japanese Alienation. She has held previous faculty positions at Royal Holloway University of London, the University of Oxford, and the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore; and visiting positions at the Woodrow Wilson Center and East-West Center Washington.