Double dilemma and dynamic balance: Sino-US leadership competition in the Asia-Pacific region and the strategic choice of US Asia-Pacific allies

Mar. 3,2020
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As the competition for dominance between China and the United States intensifies, the strategic choices of Asia-Pacific countries between China and the United States have been greatly affected, and Asia-Pacific allies of the United States are, to some extent, faced with the double dilemmas of alliance and taking a side. The existing studies have analyzed how US Asia-Pacific allies deal with the competition between China and the United States from four perspectives, namely domestic politics, alliance politics, structural realism and neoclassical realism. Based on the perspective of neoclassical realism, the author tries to analyze the “dynamic balance” strategy of US Asia-Pacific allies between China and America. System pressure is mainly focused internationally while strategic preference and common interests are mainly focused on domestically. The study finds that in order to alleviate the double dilemmas they are faced with, US Asia-Pacific allies, due to the situation of the double dilemmas, will strike a dynamic balance between China and the United States based on strategic preference and common interests. Their strategic choices show that the one-way dynamic balance or two-way dynamic balance between China and the United States should be given priority for the time being. In order to understand more clearly the dynamic balance strategy of US Asia-Pacific allies, the author explores in a case study on “the ROK’s diversion” caused by the establishment of THAAD in the ROK in 2016 and “the Philippines’ diversion” caused by Rodrigo Duterte ’s coming to power. Its policy implication to China is that US Asia-Pacific allies do not always follow the United States, but seek to strike a dynamic balance between the United States and China and take into consideration simultaneously economic and security interests as far as possible. China should adjust the strategic preference or interest relations of US Asia-Pacific allies as possible as it could, thus influencing their dynamic balance strategies.

Corresponding Author: LING Shengli
CNKI Press Officer: ZHONG Ming

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