The Institute for Japanese Studies presents:
Department of Political Science
University of Waterloo, and Balsillie School of International Affairs
Title: China’s Hot-Button Maritime and Territorial Claims: A Role for Japan
Flyer: Welch Flyer
Abstract: In Asia-Pacific (or, increasingly commonly, “Indo-Pacific”) security discourse, a dominant narrative has developed in recent years—namely, that China has become a revisionist, expansionist aggressor. The primary drivers of this narrative have been China’s behaviour with respect to maritime and territorial claims and its rapid military modernization and expansion. For the most part, however, perceptions of the “Chinese threat” are misperceptions founded upon misunderstandings of China’s internal decision-making processes and a lack of empathy with Chinese leaders. The international community, in short, has largely overestimated the Chinese threat. On at least one important issue, however, the international community has underestimated the Chinese threat—again, largely owing to a lack of empathy. This pattern of threat misperception can readily be understood with reference to bureaucratic politics and cognitive psychology. Perhaps no country has misperceived the Chinese threat as dramatically as has Japan; and yet, ironically, Japan is particularly well-positioned to take a leadership role in making appropriate policy adjustments and in promoting an approach to regional security governance that is better suited to dealing with China’s hot-button maritime and territorial claims.
David A. Welch is University Research Chair and Professor of Political Science at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo. His 2005 book Painful Choices: A Theory of Foreign Policy Change (Princeton University Press) is the inaugural winner of the International Studies Association ISSS Book Award for the best book published in 2005 or 2006, and his 1993 book Justice and the Genesis of War (Cambridge University Press) is the winner of the 1994 Edgar S. Furniss Award for an Outstanding Contribution to National Security Studies.
Welch is also co-author of Understanding Global Conflict and Cooperation 10th ed. (Pearson Longman, 2016); Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy had Lived (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009); The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Concise History (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed. 2011); On the Brink: Americans and Soviets Reexamine the Cuban Missile Crisis (2nd ed., Noonday 1990); and Cuba on the Brink: Castro, The Missile Crisis, and the Soviet Collapse (2nd ed., Rowman & Littlefield, 2002).
Welch is also co-editor of Japan as a ‘Normal Country’? A Nation in Search of Its Place in the World (University of Toronto Press, 2011) and Intelligence and the Cuban Missile Crisis (Frank Cass, 1998). His articles have appeared in Asian Perspective, Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, Ethics and International Affairs, Foreign Affairs, The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Group Decision and Negotiation, Intelligence and National Security, International Journal, International Negotiation, Security, International Studies Quarterly, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, The Mershon International Studies Review, The Review of International Studies, and Security Studies. He is currently co-editor of the journal International Theory (Cambridge University Press Journals).
Free and Open to the Public
The IJS Lecture Series is supported by a U.S. Department of Education Title VI grand to The Ohio State University East Asian Studies Center. This lecture event is co-sponsored by the OSU Institute for Chinese Studies, the IJS Brad Richardson Memorial Fund, and the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Consulate General of Japan in Detroit.