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Patterns in Conflict: An Historical Analysis of PRC Crisis/Conflict Management Based on Chinese Perceptions of Sovereignty and National Strategic Frontiers

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Master's thesis

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Primarily based on Chinese perceptions of sovereignty and their national strategic frontiers, this study attempts to discern patterns in PRC uses of force to attain foreign policy objectives. Both concepts are instrumental in understanding when and where the Chinese are willing to use force. For the PRC there exists a dual concept of sovereignty that extends from territorial to influential. Not only is Chinese control expected within its recognized borders, but also predominating Chinese influence is expected in areas outside the territorial borders of the PRC Exactly where this perceived sphere of influence has been at any given time is difficult to establish. Through a twelve case study pattern analysis, this thesis demonstrates that the PRC has repeatedly been willing to use force to ensure their primacy of influence. As the strength of the Chinese nation expands and contracts, so has the PRC definition and application of Chinese influence. This work also identifies past demarcations of the PRCs strategic frontier and how far Chinese strategic interests might extend in the future. Within the last twenty-five years there has been a shift in PRC focus from a continental to a maritime frontier As Chinese comprehensive national strength allows, the maritime claims of the PRC will be defended with force in the name of sovereignty as part of the historic territory of the Chinese people.

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  • Government and Political Science

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