East Asia within the Pacific Basin is one of the world most dynamic and diverse region in the 21st century. Fast becoming a power hub through the interconnectivity of economics, political and security processes, East Asia’s rise was firstly spearheaded by Japan, then the economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan and now in the 21st century China has become the momentum behind the region’s evolution. This paper addresses the topic of whether a Sino-centric regional order will ultimately emerge in East Asia in the future. The paper attempts to argue this question by firstly briefly examining why a Sino-centric regional centric could be expected; next, it examines the relationship between Japan and China as competing Great Powers to take over the United States’ power mantle in the Pacific Basin; and, lastly, this paper will conclude that a Sino-centric regional order will not emerge and provide evidences that obstructs China from revolutionizing the power architecture of the region. States have various choices as they emerge as a Great Power. An emerging power does not necessarily become a hegemon. It has a choice to pursue a status of hegemony or not. Structural factors, internal politics, and domestic societal pressures dictate the strategic direction that a state may take. As China’s economy grows, it is natural to see the country become more prolific in the engagement of other states. However, while popular theories abound that China’s return is set to challenge the status quo within the region in an attempt to regain its lost opportunities to function as a great power in the 19 th century, many factors internal and external prevents China from overstretching its muscles. China continued integration into the regional would see the regional architecture checking her through diplomatic and consultative means.
Some observers believe that a Sino-centric regional order will ultimately emerge in East Asia in the future Do you agree with this view? Why or why not?
The belief that a Sino-centric regional order will arise is a belief that prior to the establishment of this order instability will reign. A Sino-centric regional order points our attention towards the Pacific Basin where the United States military power is focused through the Pacific Command in Hawaii and Guam. East Asia
Fig 1: East Asia and The Pacific Ocean
Situated at the western rim of the Pacific Basin are China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and the ASEAN countries whose strategic interest in the region lies in the sea lines of communications (SLOC) connecting Asia to the Western Coast of America. The economies of these Asian states are heavily dependent on the sea routes to bring resources to them for the sustainment of their economies as well
as connect them to global markets. Two significant SLOC and four out of the world seven major sea lines pass through the Pacific. The re-emergent of China is perceived to potentially challenge United States’ hegemony within the Pacific Basin as well as threaten regional security. In John Mearsheimer’s neo-realist view, maximizing relative power to the point of hegemony is the ultimate aim of every state; a “hegemon” is defined as a ‘state that is so powerful that it dominates all other states in the system. 12 Mearsheimer qualifies domination to mean of the entire world system, but because of the sheer impossibility of such an outcome, qualifies that it is possible to apply the hegemon concept more narrowly and use it to describe particular regions.3 East Asia which sits on the western rim of the Pacific Basin is one such region where the re-emergence of China and her military developments has generated concerns over the restructuring of the area’s multilateral security architecture because of US and Japan’s treatment of China. Observers of China have noted the country’s unparallel economic growth from the 1990s. Over the...
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