Over the past several years, the most significant overall U.S. foreign policy action of relevance to China has been the announcement and initial follow-through of the so-called “Pacific Pivot” or “Rebalancing” of U.S. attention and resources to the Asia-Pacific. This policy move (hereafter termed the Pacific Pivot) , albeit in many ways expressing great continuity with past U.S. policy, is being viewed by many observers and officials in the U.S., China, Asia, and elsewhere, as an important response not only to the growing overall significance of the region to American interests, but in particular to the challenges and opportunities presented by an increasingly powerful and influential China. The Pacific Pivot has thus drawn considerable attention and levels of controversy in many quarters, and nowhere more so than in Beijing.
This article takes a close look at the Chinese reactions to Washington’s increased stress on Asia, including Chinese assessments of the perceived implications of this policy shift for the region and China in particular. Three categories of sources are examined :
The essay begins with a brief summary of the history and evolution of the Pacific Pivot (centering on key leadership speeches and writings as well as statements by U.S. government sources, such as State Department and Defense Department officials and spokespersons), followed by a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the Chinese response, divided into both authoritative and quasi-authoritative versus non-authoritative sources. The quantitative analysis examines the frequency and timing of the appearance of statements regarding the pivot in selected key media.
The qualitative analysis examines the content and timing of Chinese statements and commentaries with regard to five issue areas where references to the Pacific Pivot are most evident:
However, not all of the authoritative, quasi-authoritative, and non-authoritative sources examined cover every one of these six issue areas.
The Carnegie Asia Program in Beijing and Washington provides clear and precise analysis to policy makers on the complex economic, security, and political developments in the Asia-Pacific region.
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