Ko, Ariel Hui-min
Not for political domination: China's foreign economic policy towards Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia in the open era.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This thesis is an exploration of China’s bilateral foreign economic policy (FEP) towards Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia in the open era. It expects to answer the central question that what motivated China’s bilateral economic cooperation with small partners? Is it for political domination, or is it for national prosperity?
Drawing upon the evidence from primary materials, this thesis challenges the hypothesis that China, as a rising economic power, intends to generate political gains from the creation of trade asymmetry of small partners. In contrast, this thesis argues that China’s bilateral economic cooperation with individual ASEAN members is for the pursuit of prosperity; in this process, the shared concerns of Beijing’s management of bilateral economic relations with individual ASEAN members are to raise the national income and to sharpen the national competitiveness in exports. In other words, Beijing’s FEP at bilateral level has the very strong implication for national economic development in general. Contrary to the realist expectations about foreign trade, this thesis shows that China did not take initiatives in bilateral economic cooperation to ensure the advantageous political gains; in addition, this thesis also finds that different political relations did not seem to affect the implementation of China’s bilateral FEP towards individual partners. By revealing China’s preference order of foreign economic cooperation at different levels, this thesis also argues that the calculations of welfare effects, rather than the consideration of relative gains, is more likely to be the determinant of China’s foreign economic behaviors.
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