Now in a fully updated edition, this cogent but comprehensive book examines the international relations of the People’s Republic of China since its founding in 1949. Noted scholar Robert G. Sutter provides a balanced assessment of the country’s recent successes and advances as well as the important legacies and constraints that hamper it, especially in nearby Asia—long the focus of China’s foreign policy attention. Sutter demonstrates how Beijing has carefully created an image of a China that follows consistent policies based on morally correct principles, but its record shows repeated episodes of sometime surprising change and frequent use of violence, intimidation, and coercion. China’s leaders, he argues, still fail to manage the desire for productive foreign relations with their aspirations to build Chinese security and sovereignty interests. Image-building efforts condition Chinese public and elite opinion to be extraordinarily sensitive, self-righteous, and often alarmist in dealing with the many disputes China has with its Asian neighbors and the United States. Advances that the PRC has made in other parts of the world focus mainly on commercial interests, limiting its actual impact on world affairs. Sutter shows readers how to use China’s rise in nearby Asia as a reliable barometer of how important and effective the country will actually become internationally.
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