Course Code


Course Name

Selected Themes on Chinese International Relations


Wednesday 03:30PM - 06:15PM




Prof. Jean Pierre Aurelien CABESTAN

Teaching Assistant

Huang Xiaotong

Course Outline

1. China and the World: Introduction (6 Sept.)

1.1  International Relations and Foreign Policy

1.2  International Relations Theories and China

1.3  China’s Power Attributes and Constraints

1.4  China’s International Objectives


2.China and the World: Historical Background (13 Sept.)

2.1  Imperial China: A Complex Past

2.2  19th Century: China Among Unequals

2.3  Republican China: Attempted Integration in the World Community

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


3.Foreign and Security Policy Decision-making and Implementation Processes (20 Sept.)

3.1  Major Party and State Institutions involved in Decision-making

3.2  Xi Jinping’s Reforms

3.3  Policy Implementation and Gridlocks


4.China and the Socialist Bloc (27 Sept.)

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

4.2  Sino-Soviet Conflicts: Causes and Consequences

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

4.4  Sino-Russian Relations in the Post-Cold War Period

4.5  Relations between China and Central Asia since 1992


5.China and the United States (4 Oct.)

5.1  Ideological and Political Conflicts in the 50s and 60s

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

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

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


6.China and Asia: (a) China and Japan (11 Oct.)

6.1  How does China See Asia

6.2  China-Japan Normalization and its Aftermath

6.3  Japan’s Role in Chinese Economic Development

6.4  China-Japan’s Strategic Rivalry

6.5  The Senkaku/Diaoyu Territorial Dispute


7.China and Asia: (b) China and the Korean Peninsula (18 Oct.)

7.1  The Korean War and its Aftermath

7.2  China-North Korea Relations

7.3  China-South Korea Relations

7.4  The North Korea Nuclear Issue


8.China and Asia: (c) China and South-East Asia (ASEAN) (25 Oct.)

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

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

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

8.4  The South China Sea Territorial and Maritime Issue


9.China and Asia: (d) China and South Asia (1 Nov.)

9.1  China “all-weather” friendship with Pakistan

9.2  China’s Growing Economic Partnership and Strategic Rivalry with India

9.3  The Sino-Indian Border Issue

9.4  China-India Competition in South Asia and the Indian Ocean


10.China and Europe (8 Nov.)

10.1  China’s View of Europe

10.2  China-European Union (EU) Relations

10.3  China’s Relations with Key European Nations

10.4  Sino-British Relations and Hong Kong


11.China and Developing Countries: Africa, Latin America and the Middle East (15 Nov.)

11.1  Sino-African Relations

11.2  Relations between China and Latin America

11.3  Relations between China and the Middle East


12.China and the World (22 Nov.)

12.1  China and the New International Political Order

12.2  On Regional Economic Development and Regional Security Multilateral Arrangements

12.3  China and the Issue of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

12.4  National Sovereignty and Globalization: China and International Institutions

Assessment & Assignments

Term Paper (4,000 words): 40%

Each student will pick a subject among the presentation topics proposed in the schedule below and inform the instructor by email on or before session 5 (4 Oct.) It is possible to propose a subject that is not in the list, upon agreement with the instructor. Several students can choose the same subject, but this is an individual assessment, it is not permitted to write the brief together. Strong similarities between briefs will lead both students to lose points.

The subject of the Term Paper must be different, however, from the subject of the oral presentation.

Specific instructions and recommendations will be posted after the start of the semester.

Students will be required to submit the policy brief by 15 Nov. 10% of the grade will be deducted for each day of late submission. Policy briefs should be submitted with signed VeriGuide receipt. Links for submission will be provided on Blackboard.

Oral presentation: 40%

Starting from week 3 (20 Sept.), oral presentations will be conducted in groups of 2-3 students.
Each group will pick a subject among the presentation topics proposed in the schedule and inform the instructor and teaching assistant with the names of your group members and the presentation topic before or on 20 Sept.
As indicated above, it must be a different subject from the one chosen for the Policy Brief. Specific instructions and recommendations will be posted after the start of the semester.

Attendance and participation: 20%

Attendance is expected in every class and will be included in the participation grade. Therefore, students should get in touch with the instructor in advance if they have any reason to be absent or late.

In addition, student participation in class will be marked each week. Students should take every opportunity to talk in class.

Attendance  5%
Participation  15%
Term Paper  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

If you are unsure about what plagiarism is, or more generally how to comply with standards of academic honesty, you should check the resources at the link above.

You are encouraged to review your note-taking and writing methods, notably by looking at tips provided by various universities (tips here, tips and exercises here, more detailed tips here, and a video here).