The rise of China and power transition scenarios in East Asia

Woosang Kim

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Power transition theory seems to imply that war between the United States and the rising China is inevitable. However, in this article it is explained that a peaceful power transition is possible. While there is uncertainty for China to successfully catch up with the United States, the future regional power transition scenarios suggest that the United States should make an effort to maintain power preponderance over China. To do that, the United States has to expand its new alliance partnerships and to efficiently manage its existing regional alliance system through its “pivot to Asia” policy. In that sense, the U.S. efforts to encourage Japan to become a “normal” state to share a larger military burden and to introduce the missile defense system in the region, including the THAAD system, to the Korean Peninsula would be helpful for the United States. In addition, inducing China to be less dissatisfied with the status quo is crucial for regional stability. The United States should encourage its allies and friends in the region to increase their economic interdependence with China and to participate actively in the China-led regional economic institutions such as the AIIB. While maintaining power preponderance, inducing China to be less dissatisfied with the status quo is one answer that the power transition theory provides for the United States to peacefully manage the era of the rising China in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-329
Number of pages17
JournalKorean Journal of Defense Analysis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sept 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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