Rethinking diplomatic discourse with Chinese characteristics
The final two chapters deal with China’s developmental relations, with special reference to one of the leading ASEAN states, Thailand. The first, by Kornphanat Tungkeunkut and Kanya Phuphakdi, deals with diplomatic discourse in Chinese diplomacy. The authors emphasize that “the diplomatic discourse is the language used in a diplomatic realm” to highlight its foreign policy and strategy. In addition, diplomatic discourse could reveal types of bilateral relations conducted by China. In this regard, the authors deliberate on the use of the brotherhood discourse in China’s bilateral relations with neighboring countries. Having examined China’s diplomatic thought in the contemporary era, the authors proceed to survey the use of the brotherhood discourse by China to set normative principles with Southeast Asian countries, indicating its expectations and mutual shared history. They suggest that China puts neighboring countries as “the top priority in its foreign policy” and that the close relationship between China and Southeast Asian countries is oftentimes framed in family and kinship terms. While the authors note the overall brotherhood relationships between China and Southeast Asian countries, they would admit that some are more brotherly than others. In addition, the authors note that China has a deeper tradition to draw from in its neighborhood diplomacy, at least when compared with Sino-African relations. With regard to Thailand specifically, the brotherhood discourse is always expressed in the standard phrase “China and Thailand are brothers”. This brotherhood seems to be adhered to from the historical survey conducted by the authors. Nonetheless, it is useful to note that each side would always place more emphasis on promoting its own national interest in interactions.