Chinese Management of Territorial Disputes

China is involved in nearly thirty long-standing territorial disputes with several of its neighbors, including states such as Japan and Taiwan.  Historically, rising powers have viewed territorial expansion as one means of increasing their security.  As Chinese economic and military capabilities continue growing, these states are understandably concerned China may flex its muscles to the detriment of their security interests.

Overseen Professor Taylor Fravel, this project explores the conditions under which China may violate prior territorial agreements or escalate existing disputes.  To better understand the potential for such conflicts in the future, this project explores the domestic and international drivers of Chinese territorial behavior.  It also assesses the mechanisms by which China opts to escalate or de-escalate its territorial disputes; this provides insight not just into China’s management territorial issues, but also the options and constraints on China’s capacity to exert influence in the region. 

The project has already resulted in one book and several articles.  Additional publications are in progress.

Related Publications

M. Taylor Fravel, "International Relations Theory and China's Rise: Assessing China's Potential for Territorial Expansion," International Studies Review 12, no. 4 (forthcoming December 2010).

M. Taylor Fravel, “Explaining Stability in the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Dispute,” in Gerald Curtis, Ryosei Kokubun and Wang Jisi, eds., Getting the Triangle Straight: Managing China-Japan-U.S. Relations (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution Press, 2010).

M. Taylor Fravel, Strong Borders, Secure Nation: Cooperation and Conflict in China’s Territorial Disputes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008).

M. Taylor Fravel, “Power Shifts and Escalation: Explaining China’s Use of Force in Territorial Disputes,” International Security 32, no. 3 (Winter 2007-2008): 44-83.

M. Taylor Fravel, “Correspondence: Structural Sources of China’s Territorial Compromises,” International Security 31, no. 2 (Fall 2006): 199-205.

M. Taylor Fravel, "Regime Insecurity and International Cooperation: Explaining China's Compromises in Territorial Disputes," International Security 30, no. 2 (Fall 2005): 46-83.

This project is managed by M. Taylor Fravel, Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Associate Professor of Political Science.