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Presentation of Chaillot paper 121

19 September 2010

Against the background of China’s ascent as a major economic power, this Chaillot Paper offers a unique overview of the debates on foreign policy that have taken place in China over the past decade. It analyses the main trends in the domestic strategic debate and the extent to which they are likely to shape China’s role in the international arena. Various issues are highlighted, including the implications of the ‘peaceful rise’ strategy for China’s foreign policy, the question of China’s international identity and China’s responsibility as a stakeholder in the international system. Chinese attitudes to the concepts of sovereignty, hegemony and multipolarity, and how they differ from prevailing Western assumptions, are also explored. The analysis also focuses on the tensions between the ‘peaceful risers’ and the proponents of a more militant nationalism in China.

China’s future evolution as a world power is an issue of paramount importance to the European Union. For the EU, the key challenge is to engage China in a multilateral approach to global governance. In this context, it is hoped that this Chaillot Paper will provide valuable insights into the different schools of thought underpinning the formulation of Chinese foreign policy.