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"Enter the Dragon" A Southeast-Asian Perspective of an Emerging China
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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In spite of impressive economic growth rates, Chinas political reform lags behind its economic achievements. Consequently, Western strategists often view China as an emerging threat citing events over the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea as evidence of a potential drive for hegemony. However, Chinas foreign policies are influenced by the legacy of its past and the humiliation of foreign imperialism has led it to consider issues of sovereignty as non-negotiable and nation rebuilding as top priority. China also recognizes the geo-strategic importance of Southeast Asia and the sea lanes plying through the region and seeks to embrace it politically and economically. But the nations of Southeast Asia are evolving its own regional identity to meet the challenges of the 21st Century through ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations. In addition, the United States has vital interests in the Asia Pacific region and has renewed its commitment to maintain its presence. As China continues to grow and rise to the international stage, ASEAN and the United States will need to continually review their contributions to maintain stability within the region. This notwithstanding, where vital interests are in conflict, hostility may still arise.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE