National Identity and Changing Great Power Relations in the Asia-Pacific: Is a Cold War Emerging?

International relations in the Asia-Pacific have long been driven and dominated by great power politics. Despite the growing significance of smaller nations and regional organizations in East Asian affairs, the great powers remain the key actors in shaping the regional security environment. Arguably, China, the United States, and Japan are the most influential powers in shaping the security dynamics and future direction of the region. Until recently, these three were able to maintain relatively stable relationships despite differences on various issues. Since 2009, however, there has been rising tension in US-China relations and Sino-Japanese relations. Meanwhile, regional flashpoints such as the territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas and the North Korean nuclear issue have become more prominent. This has caused considerable concern that the existing tension could seriously destabilize the Asia-Pacific region, leading to the emergence of a new cold war. To consider how likely a Sino-US and/or Sino-Japanese cold war is, this article analyzes the national identity dimension of China’s relations with the United States and Japan, assessing how identities are constructed and how changing identity discourses are linked to foreign policies and security strategies. The prospects for a cold war, to a significant extent, depend on how serious these identity tensions are and whether and to what extent they may be reduced.

National Identity, Foreign Policy, and Identity Conflict

To understand the role of national identity in shaping Sino-US and Sino-Japanese relations, it is important to define the concept of identity in relation to foreign and security policy. National identity is a form of collective identity, whereby the identity of a group of people is defined and shaped by its internal cohesion and external relationship with other groups of people. Anthony Smith believes that it is “perhaps the most fundamental and inclusive” collective identity which provides “a powerful means of defining and locating individual self in the world through the prism of the collective personality and its distinctive culture.”1

According to social identity theory, the identity of the “self” is intimately linked to its perception of and interaction with the “other.”2 The scholarly insights into personal identity can be usefully applied to the analysis of national identity and international relations.3 “In a state-centric world, the substantive content of national identity is the state, which defines itself as what it is as well as what it does.”4 National identity does not emerge naturally. Rather, it has to be forged through education and sometimes inculcation. Thus, national identity “should be understood…as an ongoing process or journey rather than a fixed set of boundaries, a relationship rather than a free-standing entity or attribute.”5 This is particularly relevant to our analysis of the process of national identity formation in China and Japan.6

National identity matters because it “provides a cognitive framework for shaping its [a state’s] interests, preferences, worldview and consequent foreign policy actions.”7 As Alexander Wendt has rightly pointed out, “without interests identities have no motivational forces, without identities interests have no direction.”8 A state (the self) forms its identity in relation to how it evaluates the perception of other states (the other) and their actions. As constructivists argue, change in a state’s identity can cause considerable changes in its interests, which shapes national security policy. Alternatively, states may develop interests during the process of forging or maintaining a specific identity,9 often relying on a “discourse of danger” to construct its identity, in the sense that it needs to create a threatening “other” in order to construct a universalized “self.” The process of “othering” can be very powerful in asserting national identity, as seen in its construction in China, Japan and the United States.10

The Global Financial Crisis and Changing Discourse on China’s Great Power Identity

The conception of China’s national identity is closely related to its historical legacy. As a political entity, China was established on the basis of dynasty and culture rather than the nation-state. The Asian order was essentially a Sino-centric order with China occupying a central role in a hierarchical system. But the Chinese empire began to crumble in the nineteenth century when it was challenged by Western powers and Japan. Most Chinese elites are proud of their civilization and historical pre-eminence but also shamed by the “century of national humiliation” (bainian guochi). Since the founding of the PRC, the primary goals of Chinese leaders have been to build a prosperous and strong (fuqiang) China, and to regain what they perceive as their country’s rightful place in the world. Throughout the Cold War, China’s foreign policy was seriously constrained by its strategic relations with the United States and the Soviet Union. As Gilbert Rozman observes, “A great power’s identity focuses on the country’s past, present, and future in international relations, concentrating on its capacity to project power in comparison to other countries with their own ambitions.”11 Seen from this angle, the foreign policy and security strategy of other great powers are connected to China’s identity formation, assisting or hindering its pursuit of a great power status.12

Between 1989 when the Cold War ended and 2008, Chinese scholars and policy elites engaged in a rigorous debate on what path China should follow in pursuing its great power status. While many analysts were apprehensive of the security intentions of the United States and Japan, their discourse on China’s position in the international system in relation to other major powers was rather subdued. Many recommended a non-confrontational approach to handling great power relations and territorial disputes with other Asian countries. However, this identity discourse changed in 2008 when the global financial crisis seriously undermined the economic strengths of many of the dominant players in the world economy.

While the United States and other Western powers were still struggling to revive their economies in 2009, China had recovered, partly due to the introduction of a large economic stimulus package, including a four trillion yuan investment package, tax cuts, and consumer subsidies. Making its economic development less dependent on Western consumers, China grew rapidly, boosting confidence and leading to a reassessment of the global strategic environment. America’s weakened position and China’s continued rise were a clear indication of the changing global balance of power, perhaps explaining the way China has recently handled territorial disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

Many Chinese scholars and think-tank specialists have argued for the adoption of a more proactive and assertive strategy. While controversy over following Deng Xiaoping’s advice on “hiding our capabilities and biding our time” (tao guang yang hui) has proceeded, there is agreement that China should be more active in “accomplishing something” (you suo zuo wei). Some argue that the trend of multipolarization (duojihua) has strengthened. Others go further in implying that this term is no longer the guiding principle. At the same time, the “China model” (Zhongguo moshi) has attracted considerable attention.13 China should take advantage of the current strategic environment (zhanlue huanjing) and historic opportunity (lishi jiyu) to hasten its development as a great power, one reads. Instead of merely following the trends of “peace and development,” China needs to create an environment (mou shi) for fulfilling its great power aspirations. As the biggest winner (yingjia) of the financial crisis,14 writers argue China “must not waste the opportunity that has emerged from the crisis.”15 Many increasingly are critical of the American/Western economic system, responsible for causing the global financial crisis,16 and more certain that the Chinese model has proven itself to be successful. The financial crisis has proved, one analyst asserts, the “failure of market fundamentalism.”17

More Chinese analysts, since the mid-2000s, have advocated that China should develop itself as a maritime power. They contend that China has no option but to become a maritime power because its trade and economic activities depend heavily on external resources. “90 percent of China’s imported oil passes through the Strait of Malacca, which is in effect the lifeline of the country.”18 If this strategic sea lane is controlled by the United States and Japan, China’s economic development and national security are under serious threat. Without naval power to dominate the water adjacent to China, the future of China will be in jeopardy. Ni Lexiong believes that China would suffer a miserable defeat, as Germany did, if it were to be afraid of developing its sea power.19 In the words of one security analyst, “without a powerful navy China will certainly not have a great future.”20 Especially to military analysts, the development of China as a maritime power is an important part of constructing China’s great power identity. Maritime policy is driven by what Robert Ross calls “naval nationalism,” a “manifestation of ‘prestige strategies’ pursued by governments seeking greater domestic legitimacy.”21 The link between nationalism and geopolitical discourse is identified by Christopher Hughes as “geopolitik nationalism.”22

Perceived American decline and China’s rise have led to both official encouragement of a confident response by foreign policy analysts and intellectuals on how China should respond to the changing international environment and to an exuberant reaction from the general public. The publication of popular books such as Unhappy China and China Dream has shaped the identity discourse,23 arguing that China is suppressed and condemned by the West despite its economic progress, and that a Sino-American confrontation is inevitable as China has been identified by the US rival. They advocate development of a robust Chinese military capability and adoption of a tougher policy toward Western powers. The unprecedented level of confidence explains why PRC leaders felt that they were able to pursue a more assertive policy toward the United States. Much recent discourse indicates that the United States is a major hindrance to China’s efforts to achieve great power status. To many, America is determined to preserve its unipolar position despite a major economic crisis, the Obama administration is pursuing “hegemonic ambition” and global dominance in the name of freedom and democracy, and Washington is attempting to dominate the Asia-Pacific through the US-Japan security alliance and other bilateral security arrangements. They assert that Obama has become more proactive and assertive in shaping the Asia-Pacific security environment to serve US interests. PRC analysts are convinced that Washington is using its “pivot” to Asia or rebalancing strategy to perpetuate US dominance in the Asia-Pacific with a specific objective of containing China.24

The perception of US “strategic encirclement” is widely evident, as many write that China has become the main target of America’s “offshore balance,” not believing that hegemony can be benign. Rather, they associate it with domination, control, and subjugation, using the term “hegemonism” (baquan zhuyi) with very negative connotations to describe US policy. This is contrasted with the culture of “harmony” (hexie) and the Confucius concept of “benevolent rule” (wangdao) in Chinese foreign policy.25

Many PRC writers are critical of “democratic peace theory,” which, it is argued, underpins Obama’s foreign policy. This is said to have provided the ideological justification to criticize or undermine countries whose political systems the United States disapproves. Behind the facade of democracy promotion, Chinese contend, is the ambition of global dominance.26 They argue for an alternative political system based on the Chinese conception of “good governance” (liangzheng), which emphasizes policy “contents” and “results” rather than the “Western preoccupation of correct procedures.” In Chinese political culture, a regime’s legitimacy is thought to derive from the “minds and hearts of the people” (minxin) rather than public opinion (minyi) associated with regular elections and multiparty politics. This type of system, one scholar maintains, is superior to the Western system.27

Japan’s desire to construct the identity of a “normal nation” has been a continuous concern for Chinese policy analysts, who believe that by 2003 a consensus had been reached by political forces that Japan should take this path in quest of the status of a political power (zhengzhi daguo). From Japan’s perspective, to become a political power it is necessary to develop military capabilities accordingly, which is thought to be the rationale behind Japan’s active involvement in the US-led “war on terrorism” and other activities. Japan’s “UN diplomacy” is deemed to be an integral part of its attempts to reach the status of a political power and revise its pacifist constitution.

The Chinese have expressed concern that the progressives in Japan are no longer in a position to constrain the right-wingers. Most of the “new generation politicians” (xinshengdai zhengzhijia) are said to have strong conservative tendencies. Many advocate revision of the constitution, unafraid of putting forward their views on sensitive issues or restrained by traditional party or factional allegiance. As they have little wartime experience, say the Chinese, they do not have a guilty conscience towards other Asian countries that suffered from Japanese imperialism. This is illustrated by the growing number of incidents in recent years where Japanese politicians have attempted to justify Japan’s actions during the Second World War.28 Without an historical burden, they subscribe to the view that Japan should assume more responsibility in world affairs and make a full contribution to the international community.

China’s view is that the conservative tendency has become stronger in the past few years, particularly under the leadership of Abe Shinzo, who is regarded as a staunch supporter of Japan’s UN Security Council membership, revision of the Japanese Constitution, expansion of the role of the armed forces, and strengthening of the US-Japan security alliance. The prevalent view among many Chinese is that Japan’s efforts to alter its national identity in the direction of a “normal” power is tied to its militarist past, and that its desire to seek a stronger voice at regional and global levels is driven by motives similar to those in the prewar era. They also believe that Japan is exploiting its close defence relationship with America to challenge China’s attempt to develop its great power identity.29 The emphasis on the “common values” of democracy and freedom in Abe’s foreign policy is perceived as a strategy of undermining China’s moral authority. As China’s economic power grows, it is argued, Japan has treated China as its major rival and has done everything it can to contain China in the region. The Abe administration, accordingly, is willing to confront China over the Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute at the cost of a reduction in Sino-Japanese trade.30

The clash of identities between China on the one hand, and the United States and Japan, on the other, has been exacerbated over the past few years at a time when all three great powers are undergoing a process of redefining their national identities. Especially on the Chinese side this creates fertile soil for a divide reminiscent of the Cold War: overarching and irreconcilable.

US Leadership in a Liberal International Order

National identity plays an important part in underpinning America’s foreign policy and security strategy. Despite differences on specific policies, successive US governments have been fully committed to such values as democracy, liberty, freedom, and the free market. All are regarded by leaders and policy elites as significant symbols of their national identity. In a long-running debate on the direction of US foreign policy, some favor an isolationist or neo-isolationist policy, arguing that America’s military should be limited because the country is thought to be sufficiently secure due to its geographical location, military strength, and economic power. It is, therefore, unnecessary to define the national interest to include the protection of the security and freedom of all its friends and allies. This view is contested by others who believe that it is vitally important to play a global leadership role in order to maintain a liberal democratic international order. In their view, national interest and security can be enhanced immensely in a rule-based international system, where economic and security issues are resolved through multilateral institutions and international organizations and America promotes democracy around the world. This view draws on the theory of democratic peace, which postulates that democracies do not fight democracies. Related to this is the idea that war can be prevented by trade interaction and economic interdependence among democratic nations. Many believe that the preeminent US position in the world is best preserved by maintaining military superiority, preventing rising powers such as China from challenging US preponderance. This means supporting multilateralism while preparing to act unilaterally for the protection of American interests.

Obama’s foreign policy is heavily influenced by liberal internationalism.31 As his predecessors, Obama is keen to promote democratization in the world, but given the legacy of the Bush era, he is less inclined to get involved directly in military conflicts. America should play a leading role in promoting liberal democratic ideas and governance. Willing to involve other countries, including emerging great powers, in the exercise of American leadership as evidenced by the proposal of building a multi-partner world presented by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009,32 Obama is also prepared to accept different paths to democracy while promoting what is central to US national identity. A bipartisan task force of foreign policy and national security experts issued a report entitled Setting Priorities for American Leadership: A New National Security Strategy for the United States, arguing that America’s global role should be based on the belief that “the advancement of an open, rules-based international order that promotes universal values of liberty, democracy, human dignity, and economic freedom is essential to the security and economic vitality of the United States.”33 According to a recent survey, the majority of respondents to the question “What does it mean to you to be an American?” emphasized freedom, including freedom of speech, movement, and religion, freedom from fear and tyranny, political freedom, and freedom to own property.34

A liberal unipolar system, what G. John Ikenberry calls a “one-hub” international system, is best seen as “an organizational complex in which the United States is the organisational hub.”35 Unipolarity is established on the basis of not only US economic and military power but an American-led open and rule-based global system, which can be joined by other great powers. This type of global leadership reflects a conception of US identity as a benign hegemon that builds a liberal international order with the cooperation of other countries. Such an international order is welcomed by many US friends and allies, including those in East Asia. Obama’s “pivot” to Asia can be seen as an important step in exercising American leadership in building a liberal order in the Asia-Pacific.36 Yet, such discourse in the past few years and its manifestation in US foreign policy have caused considerable concern in China. While China has benefited substantially from the existing international economic order, it is concerned about the political and ideological challenge of American unipolarity. Indeed, Obama’s decision to fortify American relations with other democratic countries in the Asia-Pacific, such as India, Japan, South Korea, and Australia, on the basis of common values could be seen as a move to deny China’s moral authority as a regional leader.

By criticizing China’s lack of political freedom and poor human rights record, the Obama administration is, in effect, questioning the moral basis on which China’s identity as a respectable great power is constructed. Raising serious concerns also about the implications of China’s military developments and lack of transparency in its defense budget can be seen as questioning the sincerity of the rhetoric of “peaceful rise” that underpins China’s great power identity. The US is particularly concerned about China’s recent military activities relating to its territorial disputes with other Asian countries in the South and East China Seas. While America’s position on these disputes is neutral, Washington has indicated that it has treaty obligations to support regional allies such as Japan and the Philippines.

China’s political system and ideology are fundamentally different from those of the United States.37 The values that America cherishes are precisely the values that are contested by the Chinese authorities. While US identity is built on such values as freedom, democracy, and liberty and the notion of American exceptionalism, the construction of China’s identity is closely associated with the revival of the Chinese nation and regime survival. The differences in their identity discourses have become much more conspicuous in the past few years. They have different conceptions of and preferences for the world order. China is increasingly assertive in articulating its conception of a future order based on Chinese civilization and philosophy. For example, the idea of building a “harmonious world” (hexie shijie) has been widely advocated. In constructing and spreading China’s cultural values, it is suggested, Chinese socialist theory should also be integrated with traditional Chinese culture.38 Their perception of each other’s national identity is to some degree shaped by a “discourse of danger.”39 In ideological and structural terms, both the United States and China see the other side as a threatening “other.” This perception has, in turn, contributed to the formation of their national identities. A major challenge for both countries is how to manage the process and consequences of the “power transition” in the international system in an increasingly interdependent world. They are aware of the danger of treating each other as enemies. Their economies are inextricably linked and they are facing a wide range of common challenges. The United States needs China’s cooperation to tackle a variety of traditional and non-conventional security issues, such as the North Korean nuclear issue, climate change, and global terrorism. They understand that to discredit the other country’s national identity completely would have profound implications. The Obama administration has said that the United States welcomes the rise of a stable and prosperous China.40 Recently, Chinese leaders have proposed the idea of establishing “a new type of great power relationship” (xinxing daguo guanxi).41 Yet, we can discern heightened identity tension, or what Gilbert Rozman calls an “identity gap,”42 between the United States and China. This has already led to some difficulties in managing relations. China’s more assertive foreign policy and defense posture are undoubtedly linked to its more assertive identity discourse since 2009. Chinese analysts have often used “cold war mentality” to describe the thinking behind US policy. Washington is said to be using cold war measures to contain China.43 Should the US-China identity tension increase, it may well lead to a new cold war in the Asia-Pacific.

Japan: Constructing the National Identity of a “Normal” Global Power

Ever since the end of the Second World War, Japan has been struggling to find an identity that reflects not only its own self-identity in the light of its defeat in the war but also its changing relations with the outside world.

Japan’s postwar developments led many analysts to believe that Japan had abandoned its military aspirations in favor of a national identity that is based purely on economic pursuit.44 This is, of course, at odds with the realist view that an economically powerful country would inevitably utilize its resources to develop military capabilities. That is why Kenneth Waltz refers to Japan as a “structural anomaly.”45 To many observers, Japan clearly opted for a pacifist national identity, developing norms of anti-militarism originated from the Yoshida doctrine. However, Japan was a close security ally of the United States, which had gradually developed its defense capability, although constrained by Article 9 of the Constitution. Japan’s defense budget was not supposed to exceed one percent of its GDP, but given the size of the economy, Japan was able to develop its military power with a budget climbing to third in the world. This reflects the intrinsic tension in Japan’s postwar identity formation. Even in the Cold War era, there were voices arguing for a more active role in international affairs.

The end of the Cold War forced every country to reconsider its position in the international system. Japan, like other great powers, has been trying to advance its status in the hierarchy of the emerging structure. During the period of 1975-1990, according to Takashi Inoguchi, Japan was a systemic supporter.46 But from 1990-2005 Japan, along with Germany, was said to become a global civilian power, joining in a range of activities such as peace-keeping, international rescue and relief, and economic reconstruction. As these activities were related to human security concerns, Japan was able to maintain its pacifist national identity. Since 2005, Inoguchi believes, Japan has chosen the emerging role of a global power. This signifies a transformation of identity from an economic superpower to an “ordinary power.” Japan is now able to deploy its Self-Defense Forces beyond its borders in support of America’s counter-terrorist activities. The momentum for constitutional revision is building, against the background of growing nationalism. Clearly, both the elites and the people are involved in a process of redefining Japan’s national identity in a changing world.

The construction of the identity of a “normal” international actor is a challenging task for Japan due to the contentious interpretations of Japan’s actions in the Second World War. The problem of war memories is inseparable from Japan’s efforts to construct an identity in a new era. The controversies over history textbooks, apologies for war crimes, and politicians’ visits to the Yasukuni Shrine have caused considerable divisions among the Japanese and strong reactions from other East Asian countries. Despite the difficulties in confronting its past, Japan has gradually augmented the scope of its contribution to regional and global security, particularly in the last decade, which is explained by Bhubhindar Singh as a shift in security identity from a peace-state to an international-state.47 Security activities have been seriously constrained by a complex process of identity construction.48 This is why Japanese leaders have been assiduously seeking to construct the identity of the country in such a way that would enable it to engage actively and proactively in security affairs in East Asia and beyond. By declaring that “Japan is back,” Abe Shinzo clearly indicates that Japan intends to play a more prominent and active role in global affairs, including toward China.

With Chinese leaders and elites concerned about Japan’s aspirations to become a normal power and its security implications for China and Japan’s apprehensiveness about China’s dismissal of Japan’s right to be a political great power or even to acquire a sense of being a “normal” state, the gap between the two states appears to be irreconcilable. The growing confidence in China’s identity discourse in relation to its role in the international system and its relations with the United States and Japan has led to much anxiety in Japan. China’s more assertive posture in its recent territorial disputes exacerbates Tokyo’s concerns. Meanwhile, Japan’s identity as an economic superpower has been challenged by China overtaking it as the second largest economy in the world. There has been a greater emphasis on strengthening Japan’s security relations with other democratic countries in Asia, which is reflected in Abe’s “value diplomacy,” which advocates closer cooperation on the basis of common values such as freedom, democracy, and human rights. This is an indirect way of highlighting China’s lack of commitment to the values of the global community, undermining its moral authority, and indicating an emerging identity conflict.

Conclusion: Is a New Cold War Emerging in the Asia-Pacific?

The analysis of identity discourse indicates growing identity tension between China and the other two Asia-Pacific powers. Rooted in their historical relations and ideological differences, it has become much more prominent in the past few years. The gap between identities has been widening following the global financial crisis, as China has become less tolerant of the identities of the others, which is reciprocated. Recent events show that some of their responses to the other’s policies are a result of a re-evaluation of self-identity and the identity of their perceived rivals. China is the driving force, while reactions of the other two, especially Japan, are based largely on an evaluation of China’s changing identity as a rising power and their own identities in the light of domestic demands and external circumstances. Since 2009, China and the United States have become increasingly critical of each other’s identity and have been more willing to deny the other’s moral authority in the international community.

If we look at China’s bilateral relations with the United States and Japan from the perspective of identity discourse, there are some early signs of an emerging cold war. If the current tension in identities continues to grow, the chances of a military confrontation will rise as a result not necessarily of strategic miscalculations, but of predispositions to perceive the other side in a more negative light. States play an important role in constructing and cultivating national identity, as seen in the experience of identity formation of all three great powers. The identity discourse in China over the past few years has been driven by the government, although the growing influence of popular nationalism should not be ignored. Similarly, the Japanese government has been actively promoting national identity discourse that reflects its political and security agenda. US foreign policy is underpinned by the identity that America should seek to play the role of a global leader on the basis of its liberal values.

The current situation reminds us of the US-Soviet rivalry in the Cold War years, when a deep ideological division existed between the two superpowers despite efforts to improve diplomatic relations. The circumstances today are of course very different but the intensity of China’s identity clash with the United States and Japan is a cause of serious concern. Recent Chinese writings indicate that China is increasingly assertive in contesting the merits of the US-led international liberal order and advocating an alternative conception of the world order based on Chinese civilization and values. This is viewed as a competition for the dominant discourse (huayu quan) in the international community, which has long been monopolized by the West.49 Some have even declared “the end of a monolithic Western discourse.”50 A conscious effort has been made by PRC leaders and elites to develop China’s soft power and cultural influence in order to advance its global position. Meanwhile, Japan’s active pursuit of a “normal power” status, combined with its support for universal values, has resulted in an intense identity clash with China. Chinese reactions to perceived US-Japan collaboration to prevent China from achieving its national revival (minzu fuxing) and great power aspirations may well lead to a cold war divide over national identity.

However, a new cold war in the Asia-Pacific is not inevitable. A product of social construction, national identity can be altered through various channels. To avoid a new cold war, political leaders and policy elites in China, Japan, and the United States would need to shape the process of national identity construction in a positive way that would reduce the concern of their competitors and contribute to de-escalation of tensions. This will be a formidable task for the leaders of all three countries but it is a challenge they have to face.

1. Anthony D. Smith, National Identity (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1991), 17, 143.

2. Dominic Abrams and Michael A. Hogg, eds., Social Identity Theory: Constructive and Critical Advances (London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1990).

3. Iver B. Neumann, “Identity and Security,” Journal of Peace Research 29, no. 2 (May 1992): 221–226.

4. Samuel S. Kim, “Northeast Asia in the Local-Regional-Global Nexus: Multiple Challenges and Contending Explanations,” in International Relations of Northeast Asia, ed. Samuel S. Kim (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), 41.

5. Samuel S. Kim and Lowell Dittmer, “Wither China’s Quest for National Identity?” in China’s Quest for National Identity, ed. Lowell Dittmer and Samuel S. Kim (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), 11, 13.

6. Gilbert Rozman, ed., East Asian National Identities: Common Roots and Chinese Exceptionalism (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012).

7. Samuel S. Kim, “Northeast Asia in the Local-Regional-Global Nexus,” 41.

8. Alexander Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 231.

9. Ronald L. Jepperson, Alexander Wendt, and Peter J. Katzenstein, “Norms, Identity, and Culture in National Security,” in The Culture of National Security, ed. Peter J. Katzenstein (Columbia: Columbia University Press, 1996), 60-61.

10. David Campbell, Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998).

11. Gilbert Rozman, “China’s Quest for Great Power Identity,” Orbis 43, no. 3 (Summer 1999): 384.

12. Rex Li, A Rising China and Security in East Asia: Identity Construction and Security Discourse (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009).

13. Tang Xiao, “Oumei meiti dui ‘Zhongguo moshi’ de pingjia jiqi qishi,” Waijiao pinglun, no. 1 (2010): 37-52.

14. See Pan Zhongqi, “Cong ‘suishi’ dao ‘moushi’—youguan Zhongguo jinyibu heping fazhan de zhanlue sikao,” Shijie jingji yu zhengzhi, no. 2 (2010): 4-18; Yu Zhengliang, “Shilun Zhongguo waijiao xinzheng de guoji zhanlue huanjing,” Guoji guancha, no. 3 (2010): 1-9; and Cai Tuo, “Dangdai Zhongguo guoji dingwei zhong de jige zhongyao wenti,” Dangdai shijie yu shehuizhuyi, no. 1 (2010): 103-108.

15. Yu Zhengliang, “Shilun Zhongguo waijiao xinzheng de guoji zhanlue huanjing,” 1.

16. Zhan Yongxin, “Cong Xifang guojia de caijing weiji kan qi zhidu kunjing,” Guoji wenti yanjiu, no. 2 (2012): 100-109.

17. Zhang Weiwei, “Yingxiang shijie de Zhongguo linian,” Shehui guancha, no. 3 (2010): 20-23.

18. Zhu Fenglan, “Yatai guojia de haiyang zhengce ji qi yingxiang,” Dangdai Yatai, no. 5 (May 2006): 30–36.

19. Ni Lexiong, “Cong luquan dao haiquan de lishi biran,” Shijie jingji yu zhengzhi, no. 11 (November 2007): 22–32.

20. Zhang Wenmu, “Jingji quanqiuhua yu Zhongguo,” Zhanlue yu guanli, no. 1 (2003): 86. See also Zhang Wenmu, Zhongguo hai quan (Beijing: Haijun chubanshe, 2009).

21. Robert S. Ross, “China’s Naval Nationalism: Sources, Prospects, and the US Response,” International Security 34, no. 2 (Fall 2009): 46.

22. Christopher Hughes, “Reclassifying Chinese Nationalism: the Geopolitik Turn,” Journal of Contemporary China 20, no. 71 (September 2011): 601-620.

23. Song Xiaojun et al., Zhongguo bu gaoxing: Da shidai, da mubiao ji women de neiyou waihuan (Nanjing: Jiangsu renmin chubanshe, 2009); Liu Mingfu, Zhongguo meng: hou meiguo shidai de daguo siwei zhanlue dingwei (Beijing: Zhongguo youyi chuban gongsi, 2010).

24. Wu Xinbo, “Not Backing Down: China Responds to the US Rebalance to Asia,” Global Asia 7, no. 4 (Winter 2012): 18-21.

25. Cai Tuo, “Dangdai Zhongguo guoji diwei zhong de jige wenti,” Dangdai shijie yu shehuizhuyi, no. 1 (2010): 103-108.

26. “China Hits Back with Report on US Human Rights Record,” China Daily, April 21, 2013,

27. Zhang Weiwei, “Yingxiang shijie de Zhongguo linian.”

28. Rex Li, A Rising China and Security in East Asia, Ch. 4.

29. Zhang Jingquan, “Rimei tongmeng yu Meiguo congfan Yazhou zhanlue,” Guoji wenti yanjiu, no. 5 (2012): 46-54.

30. Zhang Yaohua, “Anbei er shidai de Riben waijiao,” Guoji wenti yanjiu, no. 3 (June 2013),

31. Nicolas Bouchet, “The Democratic Tradition in US Foreign Policy and the Obama Presidency,” International Affairs 89, no. 1 (2013): 31-51.

32. Hillary Clinton, “Foreign Policy Address at the Council on Foreign Relations,” Washington, DC, July 15, 2009, US Department of State,

33. James Goldgeier and Kurt Volker, Setting Priorities for American Leadership: A New National Security Strategy for the United States, The Project for a United and Strong America, March 2013,

34. The Bradley Project on America’s National Identity, June 2008,

35. G. John Ikenberry, “The Liberal Sources of American Unipolarity,” in International Relations Theory and the Consequences of Unipolarity, ed. G. John Ikenberry, Michael Mastanduno, and William C. Wohlforth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 216-51.

36. Hillary Clinton, “America’s Pacific Century,” Foreign Policy, November 2011; Elisabeth Bumiller, “US Pivots Eastward to Address Uneasy Allies,” New York Times, October 24, 2011,

37. Mark McDonald, “New Survey Finds US Concerns Over a Rising China,” International Herald Tribune, June 27, 2012,

38. Yu Xintian, “Zhongguo wenhua jiazhiguan de goujian yu chuanbo,” Guoji wenti yanjiu, no. 6 (2011): 5-19, 126; Cai Tuo, “Dangdai Zhongguo guoji diwei zhong de jige wenti.”

39. David Campbell, Writing Security.

40. Joseph R. Biden Jr., “China’s Rise Isn’t Our Demise,” New York Times, September 7, 2011,

41. Yuan Peng, “Guanyu goujian Zhongmei xinxing daguo guanxi de zhanlue sikao,” Xiandai guoji guanxi, no. 5 (2012): 1-8.

42 Gilbert Rozman, ed., National Identities and Bilateral Relations: Widening Gaps in East Asia and Chinese Demonization of the United States (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013).

43 Liang Yabin, “Cong liyi youguanfang dao zhanlue zaibaozheng: baquan shuailuoxia de ZhongMei guanxi,” Dangdai Yatai, no. 3 (2010): 22-40.

44 Kazuhiko Togo, “Japanese National Identity: Evolution and Prospects,” and Yuichi Hosoya, “Japanese National Identity in Postwar Diplomacy: The Three Basic Principles,” in East Asian National Identities, ed. Gilbert Rozman, 147-168, 169-195.

45. Kenneth N. Waltz, “The Emerging Structure of International Politics,” International Security 18, no. 2 (Fall 1993): 44-79.

46. Takeshi Inoguchi, “Japan as a Global Ordinary Power: Its Current Phase,” Japanese Studies 28, no. 1 (May 2008): 3-13.

47. Bhubhindar Singh, Security Identity, Policy Making Regime and Japanese Security Policy Development (Singapore: Working Paper, no. 255, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, March 5, 2013).

48. Andrew L. Oros, Normalizing Japan: Politics, Identity and the Evolution of Security Practice (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008).

49. Jiang Yong, “Zhongguo yao shuohua, shijie zai qingting – guanyu tisheng Zhongguo guoji huayuquan de sikao,” Hongqi wengao, no. 5 (2010): 4-8.

50. Zhang Weiwei, “Yingxiang shijie de Zhongguo linian.”

  • Richard Eves

    Flawlessly written. Thanks for the lesson in Chinese. I can see how you can bridge the gap between Chinese and American relations with your use of English and the Chinese language. You’ve covered concepts in International Relations like constructivism, hegemony and liberalism. From reading the piece I understand that you see the possibility of a cold war in the Asia-Pacific region as being a struggle for national identity between the three major powers – America, China and Japan.