Reconceptualizing Asian International Relations

AuthorAlexander C. Tan,Nicholas Khoo
Published date01 August 2015
Date01 August 2015
Subject MatterGuest Editorial
Reconceptualizing Asian
International Relations
The rapid rise of China, since her opening up to the world in 1979, has certainly
transformed the dynamics of global politics. In the almost four decades hence,
for better or for worse, Asia has a ‘front-row seat’ to the impact and conse-
quences of this phenomenal transformation of China’s political economy.
China’s partici pation in this regional (and global) production web accelerated
and deepened the economic integration in Asia. By 2000, scholarly attention
began to focus then on the economic rise of China attempting to understand
the Chinese model of fast-paced economic development, not unlike the
literature relating to the rise of the Little Dragon (or Tiger) economies of Asia
in the 1980s.
As the rapid growth continued, China begins to more proactively participate in
regional and global affairs—the so-called China’s peaceful ascendance—a cottage
industry of research on what that ‘ascendance’ might mean to regional and world
order as well as burgeoning research on ‘managing China’ and ‘socializing China’
into global norms. This attention shifted radically when the 2008 global financial
crisis hit as China was thrust into a different plane in global and regional affairs.
Concerns began to surface about the waning US power and hegemony in light of
China’s growing clout then became the focus of scholarly attention—are we
witnessing a power transition in Asia? What are the implications and consequences
of this power transition? What do all these mean to rivalries and alliances in Asia?
Is the prospect of major conflict in Asia unavoidable? What about the implications
and impacts of the deepening regional economic integration to peace, security and
stability in Asia? Are we actually witnessing an Asian century? These are just
some of the many questions that have piqued scholarly interest and tickled their
As Asia’s international relations become the focus of the world’s attention, it
is timely to take stock and take another look at how extant theories, perspectives,
frameworks and approaches can help us make sense of Asian international rela-
tions today. Furthermore, Asia’s international relations also provide us an
opportunity to reassess the utility of our existing theories. Therefore, rather
than impose a particular theoretical perspective, we ask our colleagues to reflect
on how we can understand the international relations and politics of Asia
vis-à-vis our current stock of theories as well as how Asia can help reassess our
theories. In this special issue, we assembled four essays that take a stab at a
Guest Editorial
Journal of Asian Security
and International Affairs
2(2) 129–132
2015 SAGE Publications India
Private Limited
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/2347797015586114

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