Course Code


Course Name

Selected Themes on Chinese International Relations


Thursdays 18:30-21:15


YIA 402


Prof. Jean-Pierre Cabestan

Teaching Assistant

Xiaotong Huang

Course Description

This is an introductory course to some of the major contemporary issues in Chinese international relations. We will address these issues through concrete case studies such as China’s relations with its major partners (United States, Japan, the European Union, India, Koreas, etc), engagement with the United Nations, its role in global security issues, and its aid and development policy. We will also discuss how emerging issues as climate change, technology, and soft power. are shifting the stakes in international relations.

By looking closer at the actors and their interactions, the course aims at complexifying classic debates about China’s emergence on the global stage, as a new “responsible” participant or a “revisionist” challenger of the international order.

Course Outline

1. China and the World: Introduction

International Relations and Foreign Policy

International Relations Theories and China

China’s Power Attributes and Constraints

China’s International Objectives

2. China and the World: Historical Background

Imperial China: A Complex Past

19th Century: China Among Unequals

Republican China: Attempted Integration in the World Community

The People’s Republic of China between Integration and Will to Power

3. Foreign and Security Policy Decision-making and Implementation Processes

Major Party and State Institutions involved in Decision-making

Xi Jinping’s Reforms

Policy Implementation and Gridlocks

4. China and the Socialist Bloc

Sino-Soviet Relations in the 1950s and implications for the domestic development of China

Sino-Soviet Conflicts: Causes and Consequences

China and the Soviet Bloc in the last decade of Cold War Era (1980s)

Sino-Russian Relations in the Post-Cold War Period

Relations between China and Central Asia since 1992

5. China and the United States

Ideological and Political Conflicts in the 50s and 60s

Sino-American Reconciliation in the 1970s: Strategic Rationale and the Balance of Power

Cooperation and Competition of the two Countries during the Open and Reform Era of China

Reunification of China: the Taiwan Issue and the Role of United States

6. China and Asia: (a) China and Japan

How does China See Asia

China-Japan Normalization and its Aftermath

Japan’s Role in Chinese Economic Development

China-Japan’s Strategic Rivalry

The Senkaku/Diaoyu Territorial Dispute

7. China and Asia: (b) China and the Korean Peninsula

The Korean War and its Aftermath

China-North Korea Relations

China-South Korea Relations

The North Korea Nuclear Issue

8. China and Asia: (c) China and South-East Asia (ASEAN)

“Comrades Plus Brothers”: Difficult Relations between China and Vietnam

China and Cambodia: before, during and after the Khmer Rouge regime          

China and non-communist South-East Asia: Towards a Partnership with ASEAN

The South China Sea Territorial and Maritime Issue

9. China and Asia: (d) China and South Asia

China “all-weather” friendship with Pakistan

China’s Growing Economic Partnership and Strategic Rivalry with India

The Sino-Indian Border Issue

China-India Competition in South Asia and the Indian Ocean

10. China and Europe

China’s View of Europe

China-European Union (EU) Relations

China’s Relations with Key European Nations

Sino-British Relations and Hong Kong

11. China and Developing Countries: Africa, Latin America and the Middle East

Sino-African Relations

Relations between China and Latin America

Relations between China and the Middle East

12. China and the World

China and the New International Political Order

On Regional Economic Development and Regional Security Multilateral Arrangements

China and the Issue of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

National Sovereignty and Globalization: China and International Institutions        

Assessment & Assignments

Course Grading System:


Attendance 5%

Participation 15%

Policy Brief 40%

Oral Presentation 40%

Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of the policies, regulations and procedures.