China as a Maritime Power in the Post-Cold War Asia-Pacific Region: Implications for Regional Security

Renato de castro


East Asia has witnessed a major shift in power relations since the end of the Cold War. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, many considered China to be the emerging superpower in the region. More recently, China’s rapid economic growth, the development of the country’s air and naval forces, their increased weaponry stockpile and the introduction of the defense ‘doctrine of rapid response’, have generated greater concern throughout East Asia regarding the threat China poses to regional security and stability. However, this paper challenges these alarmist perceptions of China aspiring for regional hegemony. Rather, it argues that these developments in China are signs of the country’s aim to exert ‘strategic initiative’ in the Asia Pacific region. This would allow China to have the unilateral ability to influence current and future developments in the region.

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