China's role in Pacific basin security

by Jonathan D. Pollack

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The author reviews China's strategic position in postwar international relations in light of its difficulty in defining and maintaining a consistent, long-term policy course. He considers four interrelated issues: (1) China's strategic significance and power prospects; (2) China's orientation toward both superpowers, especially in relation to U.S. and Soviet policy within the region; (3) China's relations with the regional communist powers (Vietnam and North Korea); and (4) China's strategy toward its noncommunist neighbors. The author finds that, although China's politics and prospects in the early 1980s represent a distinct improvement over the past, the largest questions confronting leaders in Peking for the remainder of this century will concern the resiliency of their political and economic institutions, and the extent of China's contribution to stability and security in the West Pacific.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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