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The Middle Kingdom, halfway between principles and Realpolitik. What the Chinese foreign policy tradition has to teach us
In an international system in which the globalisation process at once dilates and constrains the leadership of the West, the People’s Republic of China’s challenge to Asian – but not only Asian – geopolitical equilibria takes on crucial importance. It emerges that Beijing has operated for more than two millennia as a hegemonic actor within a world system stretching from the Himalayas to Japan, from the Gobi Desert in the centre of Asia to the Moluccas. Understanding of the operational dynamics of this system – founded more on identification-ideological and economic mechanisms than military factors – may provide a new perspective for study of the matrices of contemporary Chinese foreign policy.