First Dispatch

The return of China to great power status some sixty years after the end of its century of humiliation heralds significant change. Economically, China’s industrialisation has dramatically reduced the number of poor in the world. It has challenged the global economy with enormous imbalances in current accounts and rising commodity prices. And it has amounted to an intense competitive threat to manufacturing economies both within and outside Asia.  Politically, China’s rise raises questions about whether East Asia will in time move towards an international system that it dominates, whether the US can maintain the "hub and spoke" bilateral alliances with regional powers that it needs to provide its post-war security guarantee - or whether some new hybrid regime may in time emerge.

This blog is about China and its neighbours in East and Southeast Asia, and its aim is to explore some of the issues thrown up by this shift in power. It is as much about Asian states’ reactions to change as it is about China proper, and as much about broader historical processes as it is about current issues, in a varied region which is growing richer but remains inherently combustible.  Ultimately, this blog represents a personal effort to understand a major historical change, and to try to imagine what kind of world the next generation might inhabit.   

-- Kit Dawnay, Hong Kong