The Impact of Chinese National Identity on Sino-ASEAN Relations


China and ASEAN possess tremendous opportunities for economic cooperation, but also face significant security challenges, particularly regarding the South China Sea. In both domains, China’s national identity has greatly influenced the trajectory of the bilateral relationship. China’s ASEAN policy is characterized by a desire to recreate the Sinocentric structures of the tributary system, a belief in the historical legitimacy of China’s maritime and territorial claims, a vision of China as a global economic powerhouse, and a sense that China has already “peacefully risen” and can more actively assert itself to reap the rewards.

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