Since the end of the Cold War, the implications of China’s rising power have come to dominate the security agenda of the Asia-Pacific region. Will the ascendancy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as a major economic, political and military power be a force for stability or instability in the international system? This question led to the emergence of the so-called ‘China threat’ debate in the early 1990s, a debate that seems destined to continue well into the twenty-first century.1 China threat proponents, largely drawn from the realist school of international relations, see the PRC as a rising hegemon whose growing power and sense of regional entitlement will inevitably lead it into a confrontational relationship with the United States and Japan in East Asia. A hegemonic China, it is argued, may seek to resolve outstanding territorial disputes in its favour, and may not entreat neighbouring countries as equal sovereign states. On the other side of the debate are those who see the rise of China as a stabilising factor in world politics. They argue that economic growth in the PRC enhances the country’s internal stability, and fosters an interdependent relationship with the rest of the world, the fracturing of which would be highly damaging to China’s developmental aspirations.