China Leadership Monitor

China’s Assertive Behavior—Part One: On “Core Interests”

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The single most dominant theme in Sino-U.S. relations of the past year or more has been the emergence of a more “assertive China.” This article assesses whether, to what extent, and in what manner Beijing is becoming more assertive in several major areas of relevance to the United States. These are: first, in defining and promoting the concept of “core interests”; second, with regard to U.S. political and military behavior along China’s maritime periphery; third, concerning a variety of economic, trade, and finance issues, from so-called indigenous innovation to global standards regarding reserve currencies; and fourth, with regard to several issues related to international security, from counter-proliferation to climate change.