CHINA'S RENAISSANCE AS A MAJOR STRATEGIC POWER INTRODUCTION 1. Fifty years ago, China emerged from a century long period of disorder and decline. Today, China is one of the most powerful nations in the world. Its size, location, population and economy make it the pre-eminent strategic power in Asia, and if its current rates of economic growth continue, it may become the world's pre-eminent power sometime next century. For these reasons, China's security policy is likely to have global implications. Few nations have not acknowledged that China's actions will have a decisive impact on their own futures in the twenty first century. As a result, the question of how to respond to China's security policy is one of the most important issues confronting security policy decision makers around the world.
2. China's approach to security issues has been shaped by its experience as the traditional East Asian suzerain, and also by its exploitation by the West and by Japan last century.
These experiences have created a heightened sense of awareness among China's security policy decision makers of the vulnerability of China's national status and sovereignty. Although China's security policy is developed by a small group of elite officials, who are not accountable to the Chinese people, their decisions are influenced by concerns about external threats to China's sovereignty, and threats to China's internal stability. These concerns have led to the development of a security policy which attempts to reconcile the competing demands of economic development with China's desire to have a military capability which is commensurate with China's strategic aspirations.
3. It is not often that a new major power emerges, and it is likely that China's ascendance will be accompanied by instability in the region, and possibly around the world. The extent to which this instability leads to conflict...