China’s Strategic Calculus toward Southeast Asia

I have published a new article on China-Southeast Asia relations in the Fall 2018 issue of The Washington Quarterly. Here is an abstract:

A conventional wisdom among many international observers holds that China’s recent strategy toward Southeast Asia is self-defeating because its assertiveness in the South China Sea has reignited regional fears of China’s power and mistrust of its intentions. This is not Beijing’s judgment. Its assessment is instead that assertiveness has not engendered a regional backlash detrimental to China’s interests. On the contrary, China has been consolidating strategic gains since July 2016. Chinese officials attribute their overall success in Southeast Asia to a new composite strategy of conditional reassurance that combines reassurance with coercion in a Chinese-style dialecticism.

Follow this link to read the full article.

The China–North Korea relationship: more of the same

When Kim Jong-un visited Beijing in late March, the world took notice. That was Kim’s first visit to China—and his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping—since he became North Korea’s ruler in December 2011.


Is China changing its strategy towards North Korea?

Something paradoxical has happened in Chinese thinking about North Korea. US President Donald Trump’s impulsive decision to accept North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s invitation to a summit has stunned China, as it has many other countries. But other than South Korea, China should be the country most elated about such a summit.



Feng Zhang is a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University’s Department of International Relations, Deputy Director (Higher Degree by Research) of the ANU’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, and a member of the executive committee of the Australian Centre on China in the World based at the ANU. His research focuses on Chinese foreign policy, Asia-Pacific security, and international relations theory. He is also Adjunct Professor at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in China.

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