With the current large scale concern regarding the shifting power relationships between the United States of America and China in the Asia-Pacific region, all eyes fall upon the decisions of these two nations in regards to who shall become – or remain as – the regional Hegemon.
The rapid growth of China’s economy over the past 30 or so years, and as of 2014, China’s GDP rose to US $17.6 trillion according to the standards of the exchange rate estimates of the purchasing power parity. Not only has China become the largest economy in the world, it has also begun to close the power gap between itself and the United States. This gap has – according to the 2009 Australian Defence White Paper – started to change the current balance of power in the international system due to the fact that ‘economic changes start to bring about changes in the distribution of strategic power’.
From a realist perspective, competition between the U.S. and China is very much a security threat that needs to be addressed. Although China has not committed any defensive measures that may be seen as causing a security dilemma that threatens the security of the United States...
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...been unable to reach a code of conduct for state behaviour within the South China Sea, as the consensus vote needed by the institution can easily be vetoed by any of the ASEAN nations. Since China is an important economic trade partner that shares many similar desires as the ASEAN member states in regards to regional stability, many ASEAN nations will be seeking to better the bilateral relationships between themselves and China. Herein lies the main problem of multilateral institutions that rely on the agreement of all members aim to curb state behaviour, and it brings into question the overall effectiveness of multilateral institutions as a whole. Whilst some states – such as the Philippines – agree that China is a military threat to the South East Asian region, that is not a universal standpoint, others such as Vietnam see China as a cooperative economic partner.
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