ABSTRACT

Even if China has emerged as an economic hegemon in East Asia, Beijing has a long way to go to be able to replace American primacy with China-centric hierarchical order. What China needs most, in addition to the concentration of power and willingness to lead, is a benevolent leadership providing collective goods (e.g., regional stability) and a sense of social purpose (e.g., a vision of the world or regional order) that can motivate the collective action of countries in the region. Without them, Beijing’s leadership would have limited followership at most.