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The Limits of China’s Charm Offensive

18 10 25
19.11.2018

STOCKHOLM – Over the last decade, China has taken an increasingly muscular approach to relations with East Asian countries. But in recent months, it has surprised its neighbors with a charm offensive. What changed?

Nov 7, 2018 Michael Burleigh marvels at Conservative Brexiteers' utter failure to consider the future of the peace accord – or of the UK.

In terms of China’s behavior in the region, quite a lot. In 2013, China unilaterally declared an Air Defense Identification Zone covering the East China Sea’s disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands – a move that exacerbated tensions with Japan. A year later, China began to construct large artificial islands in disputed areas of the South China Sea. In 2016, China imposed sanctions on South Korea in response to the decision to allow the United States to deploy a missile-defense system there.

Now, however, such geostrategic bullying seems to be taking a backseat to diplomacy. Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Beijing. Abe’s visit to China was the first for a Japanese leader in seven years, and Xi’s scheduled visit to Japan next year will be the first for a Chinese president in more than a decade.

Last week, Chinese Premier Li........

© Project Syndicate