Lamia Afrin

Is China a Hegemon in the Asia-Pacific Region?
An Evaluation

Hegemony” is a core and central idea of political science and international relations. Not only as a material for study but also as a fact in international politics. No one can deny the importance of it. China, being the most populated country and an ancient civilization, has acquired the characteristics of a hegemon in the Asia Pacific region. This work intends to show the clear picture of whether China is becoming or has already become a hegemon in the Asia Pacific Region and tries to find the incorporated causes behind it.


The Concept of Chinese Hegemony

To understand the idea of Chinese hegemony, it is important to understand what is actually called hegemony. Hegemony simply refers to the dominance of a certain group over another. The term “hegemon” initiated from this, refers to the dominant group. This hegemony can be set on different terms and norms that may or may not validate the dominance. (Rosamond, 2016). This can be based on the consent of the dominated group as well, whereas, other kinds of dominance can be based on the will of dominating leader or group. (Holzschuch, 2020).

Now, an Italian politician and the Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci properly introduced this theory. Three primary types of hegemony—military, political, and economic—were identified through the analysis of hegemony. Speaking of examples, the United States currently serves as the best illustration of economic hegemony, whereas Nazi Germany served as an illustration of military hegemony and the former United Kingdom as an illustration of political hegemony.

Returning to the idea of Chinese hegemony, it is important to note that, between 600 and 1450 CE, communication and distance made it impossible for one empire to rule the whole world. Since their lands were too enormous to be governed, both the Islamic caliphates and the Mongol Empire at least in part crumbled. (Gokhale, 2021). These actions have been indications of tension in the region. 

The Presence of China in Asia Pacific

Economic Power: As China’s economy expands, so do the region’s economies throughout the Asia Pacific. These nations are essential to China’s foreign policy because of their cultural linkages and potential economic advantages. Shifts in relative economic and strategic weight are accelerated by the compounding effect of China’s growth. China’s strength and influence in various regions of the Asia-Pacific region are rising to parity with, and in some cases, surpass those of the United States. As soon as China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2011, its influence started to increase dramatically. China’s economic growth benefits the rest of the Asia-Pacific in a variety of ways, including.

The ASEAN-China Aggrement: China’s market is currently the second largest in the world, which has attracted the interest of both the US and neighboring countries. (Guerrero, 2007)

Trade partnership: As China’s manufacturing industry develops, so does its reliance on imports to supply its factories. Due of this, significant economies like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and India all have trade surpluses with other countries. As a result of moving their labor-intensive sectors to China, nations like Taiwan, Korea, and Japan are now depending on China to support their manufacturing lines. (Bader, 2005)

Political Partnership: As China develops, the rest of South-East Asia will experience political stability and security. China makes certain that it helps its neighbors realize their full potential. China sends aid to developing nations including Laos, Burma, and Cambodia by contributing to the building of power plants and the linking of local grids.

AIIB, Road and Belt: Two ideas revealed in 2014 represented the most audacious Chinese attempt to assume a leadership position in Asia-Pacific investment and trade. The Asian Infrastructure Development Bank was one of the things China offered (AIIB). The second strategy focuses on promoting trade and investment via a “Silk Road Economic Belt” and a “Twentieth-Century Maritime Silk Road” The Belt and Road Initiative calls for greater economic linkages between China and nations ranging from Central Asia.

Military Power

China as the second position in world trade including technology, instruments, machinery is also in a good position in arms trade. This country increases trade with many countries but in Asia- pacific region it has special interest. This Asia pacific geopolitical importance and also the economic nature of most of the countries creates opportunity to China for trade. In Asia Pacific East Asian countries, south East Asian countries now in a good of the economic growth and many countries are working in cooperation with China for greater development. 

This development includes military sector development. In the recent years in Asia pacific region China also increase the arms trade with competition of USA, Russia, France and Germany. In the arms trade China is in fifth position and in a process of increasing day by day. From the period 2010 to 2020 China export 16.6 billion arms to the world. Specifically in Asia the percentage is 77 percent and all the countries is in Asia- pacific. (“How Dominant Is China in the Global Arms Trade?” 2018)

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