China’s institutional balancing: Peaceful rise?
China’s rise is one of the most eye-catching events in world politics in the twenty-first century. Although China insists that its ascendancy will be peaceful, others are still worried about living in the “dragon’s shadow.” Whether China’s rise is peaceful largely depends on the strategic interactions between China and other states in the Asia Pacific. After the Cold War, the most stunning foreign policy change of China is its gradual embrace of multilateral institutions. Since joining the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 1991, China has become an active founding member of a series of multilateral institutions in the Asia Pacific, such as ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Plus Three (APT), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and East Asia Summit (EAS). In addition, China is also playing an indispensable role hosting and coordinating the Six Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear crisis.