From balance of power to regional collectivism : China and Asia-Pacific economic cooperation
This thesis is an exercise to examine whether the People's Republic of China will work together with the other Asia-Pacific countries in a multilateral framework. The argument that this thesis has made is that, driven mainly by both internal and external factors, there is a tendency for China to do so. The Chinese government and leaders' desire to turn China into an economically developed country has been the most important reasons for the Chinese government to devote more attention to the development of regional economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. In order to make clear why the Chinese government, since the middle of the 1980s, actively sought to join the process of constructing regional economic cooperation, I have divided the whole thesis into two major parts. The first part is, (A), to define what kind of a region the Asia-Pacific is, and to demonstrate why as geographically and culturally diversified a region as the Asia-Pacific has become a region; (B) to show why the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministerial Meeting (APEC), a forum, was chosen by the Asia-Pacific countries to promote economic cooperation in this region. The second part is focused on China itself. In this part, I shall, (A), find out what has happened in the thinking of the Chinese leaders and academics to bring about China's participation in APEC and why; (B), demonstrate that the economic consideration was the most important reason for the Chinese government's decision to join APEC. In conclusion, I shall demonstrate that important changes in the Chinese foreign policy thinking, caused by the momentum of developing regional economic cooperation and the Chinese government's desire for faster economic development, have led to China's participation in the APEC process. I shall also show that China is strongly motivated to adopt regional collectivism and point out that China's APEC membership will lead to increased cooperation between China and the other Asia-Pacific countries.