chapter  4
18 Pages

Crises as impetus for institutionalization

Maritime crisis management mechanisms in China’s Near Seas
WithGaye Christoffersen

This chapter examines China's search for a maritime strategy during a time of tension in the East and South China Seas. Chinese efforts to manage tensions might be understood through two models: the bureaucratic politics model of foreign policy making and the unitary actor model. The chapter shows that the Chinese state as unitary actor, guided by a maritime strategy, is a strategic priority ideal that Chinese organizations strive for, but that various maritime incidents, domestic debates over maritime strategies, center-local bureaucratic differences, and civil-military differences can best be explained with a bureaucratic politics model. It compares the United States of America (US)-China and China-Japan crisis management mechanisms created in response to maritime incidents. As China's strategic priorities shift from an identity of land power to maritime power, there have been numerous domestic debates over what its maritime strategy should be.