The goal of this rubric is to filter and promote the recent scholarship on East Asia coming from the leading IR and Area Studies journals. The Regional Security Knowledge Hub team periodically refreshes the list, in winter, spring, summer and autumn. If you are interested in getting updates on the new content, please subscribe to our newsletter.


Autumn 2021

Riding the tide: assessing South Korea’s hedging strategy through regional security initiatives, by Yaechan Lee, The Pacific Review, published online 13 September 2021.

Abstract: This article examines how South Korea has used the ASEAN Plus security platforms to hedge between the US and China and why it has not participated in the FOIP strategy. It argues that the platforms’ neutral guise, owing to ASEAN centrality and their global norms-based agenda has allowed Korea to passively voice its alignment with the US, thereby answering to the pressure for a higher commitment from the US and clearing the political risk of linking the alignment decision to its own views. It asserts, therefore, that access to effective multilateral security platforms allows higher leverage to the weaker ally in an asymmetric alliance relationship.


Way of Authoritarian Regional Hegemon? Formation of the RCEP From the Perspective of China, by In Tae Yoo, Charles Chong-Han Wu, Journal of Asian and African Studies, published online 11 October 2021.

Abstract: How has China contributed toward the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)? The extant literature tends to either undervalue China’s role or emphasizes the absence of China’s willingness to realize the RCEP. However, it is difficult to form region-wide multilateral preferential trade agreements (PTAs), such as RCEP, without any significant contribution from a regional hegemon, such as China. This paper, thus, argues that China has contributed significantly toward the conclusion of RCEP by engendering incentives for member countries to join through multiple cooperative structures. These cooperative structures involve China-led bilateral PTAs and international development forums, which include the Belt and Road Initiative and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. With the gradual shift from bilateral to multilateral PTAs and forum-linkage strategies, China turned to be more assertive in concluding the RCEP than in the early years of RCEP negotiations, as evidenced by the discourse of political and opinion leaders.


Studying Chinese Foreign Policy Narratives: Introducing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Conferences Corpus”, by Michal Mochtak, Richard Q. Turcsanyi, Journal of Chinese Political Science, published online 23 September 2021.

Abstract: The paper presents an original corpus of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conferences. The dataset is a unique source of information on official positions and diplomatic narratives of China mapping almost two decades of its foreign policy discourse. The corpus contains almost 23,000 question – answer dyads from 2002 to 2020 ready to be used for analytical purposes. We argue the dataset is an important contribution to the scholarship on Chinese foreign policy stimulating further research using corpus based methods while employing both qualitative and quantitative strategies. We demonstrate possible applications of the corpus with two case studies: first maps the diplomatic discourse towards the US under the presidency of Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping (employing quantitative tools), while second analyzes narratives concerning the South China Sea disputes (employing more qualitative approach).


Modernization Planner, Authoritarian Paternalist, and Rising Power: Evolving Government Positions in China’s Internet Securitization, by Weishan Miao, Rongbin Han, Journal of Contemporary China, published online 28 September 2021.

Abstract: This article combines semantic network and critical discourse analysis to examine China’s official cybersecurity discourse from 1983 to 2018. By integrating the securitization theory and positioning theory, it shifts the analytical focus from ‘threat politics’ to ‘power politics’ by theorizing securitization as a dynamic power game. Three historical phases of cybersecurity discourse are identified, reflecting China’s evolved understanding of the issue and how it defines rights, obligations and power relations among involved actors. Though the state’s self-positioning evolved across time, first as a modernization planner, then an authoritarian paternalist, and ultimately a rising power; all three stages demonstrate continuity in featuring a state-society power relationship with the state in the presiding position to securitize the Internet instrumentally toward pursuing its policy and strategic goals.


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