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The Study on China’s Peripheral Diplomatic Strategy in the Period of 2002 to 2012 and its Implications for Cross-Strait Ties
Kau Wu Ming
New Security View
Military Mutual Trust
Since the end of the Cold War, China has given top priority to fashioning a security environment in its periphery that is conducive to its economic development. Diplomatic efforts have since then been focused on developing comprehensive interactions with neighboring countries, Laying a solid foundation for mutual cooperation. After Hu Jintao took the helm, he continued the former government’s line of emphasizing great power and peripheral diplomacy and focusing on developing diplomatic ties with developing countries. Moreover, he kicked into full gear the theorization of “peace evolution,” “peaceful development,” and “harmonious world,” as the guidelines for his administration’s “good neighbor, secure neighbor and well-off neighbor” diplomatic policy. The Hu Jintao administration put special emphasis upon the strategic employment of peaceful development the new security view and joint development, and utilized financial and economic resources to nurture friendly ties with neighboring countries. In doing so, China also took advantage of bilateral, multilateral, regional and unified strategies to build on its ties with neighboring countries and regional organizations, which strategy has proved quite successful. For instance, China has been able to actively participate in regional multilateral organizations, ease tensions with neighbors, including those bordering the South China Sea, increase cooperation with the ASEAN in various respects, embark on regional cooperation to resolve disputes and strengthen economic, trade and energy cooperation. On top of that, China also actively worked with regional countries to creat free trade areas, took steps to facilitate East Asian integration and took the initiative to establish regional mechanisms and regulations, demonstrating its ambition to assume leadership in the region and the world as a whole. Despite its internal and external restraints and challenges China apparently would not stop moving forward. Witness China’s gradual expansion into the Caspain Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East and the South Pacific region. This indicates that China is no longer biding its time. Instead, it is trying to make a difference and make its presence felt. Future developments merit close watch. Cross-Strait relations have been rather stable as the two sides pursue detente that is in line with China’s external strategy and Taiwan’s policy. Bilateral cooperation and exchanges in many areas have been increasingly closer and shown results. There is not without challenges for Taiwan, though. For instance, Taiwanese entrepreneurs have been gravitating toward China, enticed by its by its huge market and bountiful resources. Moreover, as China’s bilateral, multilateral and regional cooperation with its neighbors continues to deepen and widen, Taiwan is in danger of being marginalized. In the future, Cross-Strait relations are still full of uncertainties. Although there is temporarily no danger of military confrontation, the two sides of the Taiwan Straits will almost certainly engage in struggles on the diplomatic and intelligence fronts. At present, leaders of both sides in terms of achieving co-existence and mutual trust mechanisms.
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