China, ASEAN, and the Re-centering of Asia

Brantly Womack1 ZHAO Yang2

(1.University of Virginia, the United States)
(2.School of International Relations, University of International Business and Economics)

【Abstract】The Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for international cooperation in Beijing was a historic milestone in a comprehensive and cooperative plan to reconfigure the connectivity of Asia. China has announced various initiatives to bring together all of Asia and to improve Asia’s connectivity to the rest of the world. The Belt and Road Initiative is a marker that China will come to be the center of Asia again, and it is the certain consequence of China’s rapid development. That China is returning to its historic role is beneficial to other Asian countries as well. Different from the Western world system, a system with China as its center is more accommodative and cooperative. With connectivity as its core, the Belt and Road Initiative promotes not only the connectivity between China and other Asian countries, but also between Asia and other areas. China’s relationship to ASEAN has played a special role in the evolution of this new thinking about Asia, and there is no doubt that ASEAN will be a main beneficiary of the re-centering of Asia. It is evident that the relationship between China and ASEAN is an asymmetric one, and mutual respect is required for the management of this relationship.

【Keywords】 Belt and Road; connectivity; re-centering of Asia; asymmetric relationship; regional order;

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This Article


CN: 11-1343/F

Vol , No. 07, Pages 65-76+156-157

July 2017


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 From traditional centrality to the Western world system
  • 3 From post-colonialism to regionalism
  • 4 China becoming ASEAN’s good neighbor and then becoming the big neighbor
  • 5 China, ASEAN, and the global political crisis of 2017
  • 6 Connectivity in a new age of uncertainty
  • 7 A new “Chinese Empire?”
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