CHINESE SECURITY COOPERATION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, 2000-2017: EVIDENCE FROM THAILAND AND THE PHILIPPINES
Bischoff, Kelly L.
Malley, Michael S.
Glosny, Michael A.
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Since the turn of the 21st century, China has steadily expanded security cooperation in Southeast Asia, reflected in more frequent naval port calls and military exercises and in increased arms sales to states in the region. Why has China been pursuing closer security cooperation in Southeast Asia, and what factors influence the degree to which Southeast Asian states seek, accept, or reject security cooperation with China? This thesis finds that China is primarily motivated to improve security ties in Southeast Asia in order to establish regional preeminence and cement its status as a great power. Related and supporting Chinese objectives include using security cooperation to achieve the following: establish influence within key Southeast Asian states that can be wielded to serve Chinese interests, prevent encirclement by the United States or its allies, and assuage regional anxieties about perceived Chinese aggressiveness. This thesis also finds that factors influencing the degree to which Southeast Asian states seek, accept, or reject security cooperation with China include the level of U.S. security cooperation a state receives, an interest in diversification of security partnerships, the prevalence of illiberalism or human rights abuses, and the presence or absence of a territorial dispute with China.
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