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Michael D. Swaine

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Foreign Policy

Chinese Views and Commentary on the “One Belt, One Road”

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The One Belt, One Road initiative offers considerable potential in several economic, political, cultural, and strategic realms; it also presents many uncertainties and potential concerns. 

Beijing, China
Foreign Policy

Xi Jinping’s Address to the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs: Assessing and Advancing Major Power Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, March 19, 2015

Xi Jinping’s speech before the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs—held from November 28-29, 2014 in Beijing—marks the most comprehensive expression yet of the current Chinese leadership’s more activist and security-oriented approach to PRC diplomacy.

Foreign PolicyIn the News

Xi Jinping’s Trip to Latin America

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Xi Jinping’s 10-day trip to Latin America in July 2014 constitutes an important milestone in the development of China-Latin America relations, marking the first major visit to this increasingly important region for a top Chinese leader since the extensive trip taken by Hu Jintao in 2004.  

Foreign Policy

Chinese Views and Commentary on Periphery Diplomacy

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 28, 2014

Recent Chinese initiatives that imply a more proactive approach in foreign and defense policy are the product of ongoing debate in Beijing over how to define PRC national interests toward China’s periphery.  Departing from Beijing’s approach during most of the reform era, they suggest a decreased emphasis on Deng Xiaoping’s longstanding exhortation for China to remain modest and maintain a low profile in its external relations.  Among the many questions this raises for China’s external relations going forward, the most important is how Beijing will reconcile the contradictory policy imperatives of deepening positive relations with neighboring countries while more firmly advancing China’s territorial and resource interests and claims.

Foreign Policy

Chinese Views and Commentary on the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, March 14, 2014

China’s establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone has incited strong criticisms and increased regional tensions. Both authoritative and non-authoritative sources argue consistently and often emphatically that the zone is intended to improve safety and stability and is not directed at any particular country or target. Yet the vague language used to describe the zone, as well as the extensive and often hostile rhetoric toward Japan, suggests that such assertions are incorrect and disingenuous at best. While China has every right to set up an ADIZ, its failure to reassure other nations or clearly define the enforcement and intended impact of the zone has undermined any purported stabilizing intentions and damaged China’s larger strategic interests.

Foreign Policy

Chinese Views on Cybersecurity in Foreign Relations

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, October 7, 2013

In recent months, the issue of cybersecurity has become a major source of both tension and potential cooperation for the U.S.-China relationship. With Western assessments pointing to China—not only to Chinese individuals, but also most likely the Chinese government (and especially military) sources—as the source of an increasing number of destructive cyberattacks on commercial enterprises and government institutions, Washington has greatly intensified its expression of concern to Beijing.

Foreign Policy

Chinese Views Regarding the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Dispute

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, June 6, 2013

China’s behavior and rhetoric toward Japan regarding a range of controversial events in the East China Sea—from resource claims to naval transits and island territories—constitute a major component of an arguably escalating pattern of assertiveness between Beijing and several of its maritime neighbors. Among these altercations, Beijing’s increasingly acrimonious confrontation with Tokyo over five small islands northeast of Taiwan (called the Diaoyu Islands by China and the Senkaku Islands by Japan) is arguably the most dangerous.

Foreign Policy

The 18th Party Congress and Foreign Policy: The Dog that Did Not Bark?

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, January 14, 2013

Foreign policy issues have never played a major role in party congresses, at least during the reform era, for understandable reasons. A party congress is mainly about domestic political power and domestic policies, and even then is primarily an exercise in tedious sloganeering, pumping up the party faithful, and presenting the new leadership lineup. Nonetheless, congresses can be important as indicators of future policy direction and power structure, including in the foreign policy arena. This essay examines the foreign policy aspects of both the congress work report delivered by then Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao and the official membership roster of the new CCP Central Committee, Politburo, and Politburo Standing Committee.

Foreign Policy

Chinese Views of the Syrian Conflict

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, October 1, 2012

In contrast to its traditional stance regarding foreign intervention in the internal affairs of nation-states, Beijing has recently shown signs of accepting, or at least acquiescing in, internationally endorsed interventions in other countries, in some cases for reasons associated with the protection of human rights. This article takes a closer look at Chinese views toward the ongoing Syrian turmoil and the larger context created by the earlier Libyan experience in order to identify the elements of Beijing’s current stance on foreign intervention in human rights–related political conflict occurring within sovereign states, as well as possible differences in viewpoint and approach among Chinese observers.

Foreign Policy

Chinese Leadership and Elite Responses to the U.S. Pacific Pivot

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, August 6, 2012

Over the past several years, the most significant overall U.S. foreign policy action of relevance to China has been the announcement and initial follow-through of the so-called Pacific pivot or “Rebalancing” of U.S. attention and resources to the Asia-Pacific. Many observers and officials in the United States, China, Asia, and elsewhere view this policy move as an important response not only to the growing overall significance of the region to American interests, but in particular to the challenges and opportunities presented by an increasingly powerful China. The Pacific Pivot has thus drawn considerable attention and levels of controversy in many quarters, and nowhere more so than in Beijing. This article takes a close look at Beijing’s reactions to Washington’s increased stress on Asia, including its assessments of the perceived implications of this policy shift for the region and for China in particular.

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